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By NBF News
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Prof. Okolo blessing his son-in-law while his daughter watches

The Amankwo village in Eke town, Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State could not contain the unprecedented crowd that thronged to its community last Thursday, November 3. According a certain youth from the area, for many years, no festival or occasion had attracted such a high number of dignitaries to the community.

It was the traditional marriage of Miss Ugochinyelu Okolo, daughter of Prof Bartho Okolo, vice chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

She was being given out in marriage to Mr Chukwuka Anidi, who hails from Aboh in the same Udi Local Government Area.

At noon, one hour before the scheduled time for the occasion to start, the country home of the vice chancellor has been filled to the brim.

As the Okolo compound was already filled with exquisite and state-of-the-art cars those who could not come into the compound struggled to get parking spaces even two kilometers away from the family house.

At 4:10 p.m., shortly after Governor Sullivan Chime and his wife, Clara, arrived, the in-laws of the Okolos from the Aboh clan started bringing out their marriage items according to Igbo tradition.

The items they came with included the traditional palm wine, a giant goat and 35 cartons of beer.

After bringing out the items, the eldest man who led the Aboh people urged their in-laws from Amankwo Eke to reconfirm what they had brought to ensure they are complete.

The Amankwo people led by their oldest man, Chief Donatus Ilo agreed that the items were complete and then the stage was set for the wife-to-be to the Anidis to come out to greet her would-be husband's people.

Thus, by 4:30 p.m., young Ugochinyelu led by a retinue of other young ladies in beautiful red ashebi attire that formed her bridal party came out to welcome formally the Aboh people and this charged the Okolo compound as people rose up in appreciation of the bridal train.

After the greeting, Ugochinyelu and her bridal train retired to the house to get ready for the main action of the day which was to come out to search for the husband.

By that time, it was already evening and Governor Chime and his entourage were taken into the Okolo family house for refreshment after Prof Okolo had brought his amiable wife, Nwanneka to greet the governor and his team.

By 5:08p.m. Ugochinyelu came out and went straight to her father who sat close to elder Ilo and his younger brother and Secretary to State Government (SSG) of Enugu State, Amechi Okolo, to receive the wine with which she would begin the search for the man who had come to marry her.

When Ugochinyelu got to where her father and his kinsmen were seated, Chief Ilo took time to advise her, directing her to collect the wine from her father after which she should go in search of the man in a bid to show them who he was.

After this, Prof Okolo before he finally gave the wine cup to her advised Ugochinyelu of the importance of what she was about to do, urging her daughter to carry her good upbringing to her new home.

Then the search for Chukwuka began as Ugochinyelu carried the wine in her two hands, traversing the traditional marriage arena to look for her husband-to-be.

There was great joy when she found him at the extreme of the arena where he was sandwiched by his friends and relations from the Aboh clan.

As soon as Ugochinelu gave the wine to her husband, they smiled to themselves as they walked out, dancing to meet Prof Okolo and Chief Ilo to go get their blessings in marriage.

After receiving their marital blessings from the bride's parents, they took to the open floor to dance with their friends and family members coming out to appreciate the new union; and the Okolo compound went up in joy and jubilation as the traditional marriage rites had been completed and accomplished.

Ordinarily, refreshment for the traditional marriage would have started after the search, but this was not followed as the large crowd could not be allowed to remain unattended to; so there were buffet points at strategic locations in the compound from where guests helped themselves.

Besides the Enugu State governor who came with his wife, former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, APGA National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, VCs of other universities in the country, heads of departments at the UNN, among many other dignitaries, attended the traditional wedding.