culled from sun news
Mrs. Nora Namwinga Nwosu is a Zambian by birth, but love and marriage brought her to Nigeria. She is married to His Majesty Obi Gibson Nwosu, the traditional ruler of Awka, capital city of Anambra State. Interestingly, she is of royal blood too in Zambia and had also worked in the public service as a graduate teacher and caterer.
What does it feel like to be the wife of a prominent Anambra traditional ruler? How does the traditional institution in Nigeria compare with Zambia? In this interview, offers an interesting answer. Excerpts…
You have lived in Nigeria for the past 30 years and married to a Nigerian. What are your impressions about the country?
Nigeria is a big nation with several good qualities and of course its own problems like any other country. The country is great and has potentials of being greater if her resources are harnessed and geared towards greater heights. The nation is blessed with abundance of mineral and human resources that give one hope and satisfaction. I am happy to be part of it.
What were you doing before you got married?
I was a teacher at the time and he was working for the Zambian government. When I met him, he was neither a military man nor a traditional ruler. The Biafra war had ended and he was training Air Force personnel in Zambia. He was the Vice Principal of a flight training school in Zambia. I graduated in 1970 and went back to Lusaka where I was employed as a lecturer and Head of Department of Economics in one of the secondary schools for five years before I was promoted and sent to Hone College Hotel where we prepared people to work in the hospitality Industry. I later became Zambia’s Chief Examiner in GCE Home Economics subject and worked with Inspectorate Headquarters of the Ministry of Education.
How did you and the monarch meet?
I met him in a pharmacy where I went to buy a drug for my elder brother’s daughter. I remember it was raining profusely and he offered to drop me off in our house. After that day, he started coming and became friendly with my elder brother. His relationship with my brother brought him closer to my family and after a long time he proposed marriage to me.
Were you also ‘eyeing’ him before he came up with the proposal?
No. At first, I did not agree, knowing that such a marriage would eventually take me far away from my family and from Zambia. After sometime however, I began to appreciate the qualities in him until I eventually accepted the proposal. As I narrated in his recent biography, if it is really true that after this life, one may come back again as a human I would like to search for His Majesty again and marry him. No Regrets.
Before you finally came to settle in Nigeria with him, were you able to visit the country and on which occasion?
I visited Awka when I had my first child and again when I was delivered of my second child. I came to present the children to his people and they were very happy. He couldn’t come himself as of that time, because as a key figure in the then Nigerian Air Force (from 1963) and later in Biafra Air Force (1967), he dared not return without a confirmed military clearance. He dreaded the possibility of being detained as a rebel.
Do you feel comfortable marrying a royal personality with the apparent social restrictions, regimented practices and protocols?
Some of those practices are not new to me. I also have royal blood because my maternal grandfather was a traditional ruler. They used to call him Kateya i.e. head man in the colonial days. My father was one of the first colonial teachers in Zambia and he taught some of the ministers.
Tell us a bit about your parental background.
Both my father and my mother were teachers. While my father was more at a place, my mother was traveling to many cities teaching home economics. They were not very rich, but had enough to train their eight children – five boys and three girls. I became the second child of my family.
What major thing would you say you lost leaving Zambia your country of birth?
Apart from missing the company of my people, what I felt sad about was leaving my pet project in Zambia. At the time my husband wanted us to come finally to Nigeria, I had already concluded arrangement with my Portuguese partner for her to come down to Zambia so that we could develop our confectionary project. When my husband decided that we would come back to Nigeria I felt bad, but my marriage came first. I left the project with a friend of my husband and eventually lost it.
How have you been managing to assist the monarch, especially when he is overwhelmed by the challenges of his office?
I really feel sorry for him whenever he is overwhelmed by functions of his office. There are times people will either call in or call over the phone even at odd hours and he normally spends time attending to them. At such times, I don’t have any option than to allow him and sympathize with him. The fact however, is that he seems to enjoy what he is doing and when I see that he is enjoying it, I feel happy. I just hope that people will appreciate what he is doing, the devotion or dedication to that work and that God will continue to give him the energy and wisdom to continue serving the people well.
What are the major challenges you encounter as the wife of Eze Uzu?
The challenges are numerous; the major one is receiving numerous and varied visitors to the palace. You see, every visitor to the palace is supposed to be well attended to, and there is the need for capable hands that could attend to some of the dignitaries so that they don’t feel bad. The main problem there is that sometimes, most of the visits are not scheduled and in such cases they come to you when you are not ready for such high caliber personalities and you are overwhelmed.
Are there things you miss by virtue of your position as the wife of the monarch?
Yes, I am a workaholic and I am kind of restricted from doing some of the things I want to do. For example, I would have loved to go out and set up farms where I could be growing crops but I will not be allowed to do such things. As for social relationships I am not and in such cases, they come to you when you are not ready for such high caliber personalities and you are overwhelmed.
What would you say are the major differences between traditional institutions in Nigeria and Zambia?
In Zambia, traditional stools are hereditary but here it rotates and sometimes people even contest for it. It is more political in Nigeria than in Zambia. Secondly, in Zambia, traditional rulers represent government in their locality; they receive salary from government, which enables them to reach their communities more. The people also take care of their traditional rulers and respect them with all their hearts.
Did you anticipate that your husband would be a traditional ruler?
No. I did not think about such thing. When he mentioned it to me before he was selected, I did not take him serious and the day he came to receive the Certificate of Recognition, I just followed him without even knowing that it involves much.
How would you describe Ezeuzu as a husband?
He is a responsible husband and father. He likes his job and is very hardworking man who likes his family so much. He is very kind and very forgiving by nature. However anyone who takes advantage of that faces some risks.
What suggestion do you have that could help traditional rulers function more effectively?
I think traditional rulers could be of more assistance to government if they are funded. They could help in handling the training of youths in their areas. Funds will enable them hire capable hands to teach the youths to acquire technical skills that will enable them be self-employed and self-reliant. But one little observation is that very few Igbo people really show enough respect to their traditional rulers compared with other tribes of Nigeria.
In Zambia, the traditional ruler has the last word in choosing people for elective offices, thereby reducing tension, thuggery and lavishing of funds as is the case in Nigeria. When two or three people wish to contest for one elective office, the traditional ruler takes the final decision. Not even the president, the governor or the Party leader can over-rule that.