Tomorrow, Chief Sylvester Nwoye Okoye (Ewulu) will be initiated into the prestigious Ozo Awka society. The ceremony will be followed by Ikpoiru Ozo, while Ideabani holds today, December 1st. All the ceremonies will take place at the celebrant’s compound after the second market.
In Igbo land, before one is initiated into the Ozo Society, such a person must be of good character. He must be honest and straight forward at all times. An ozo title holder should never engage in any act capable of bringing his community to disrepute. He is an apostle of peace.
In Awka, before one is initiated into the Ozo society, such a person must have performed some basic cultural ceremonies such as Ajaghija chieftaincy title, which comes after Igba-Agu and Ivu Amanwulu before embarking on Mbari and Kpololo ceremonies.
After the initial ceremonies, the prospective candidate should inform the Head of Ozo Awka of his intention to join the society. Thereafter, the head will table the proposal before an enlarged meeting of Ozo Awka, drawn from the thirty-three villages for deliberations. Shortly after this, there will be house inspection of the candidate during which he will be interviewed by Ndi Ozo.
If the candidate scales through both the house inspection and interview, the Ozo Society will give their nod for the next step, which is Igbuawiaozo by the candidate for his immediate family, relatives, kindred and the village at large. Due to the sacred and prestigious nature of the society, two persons cannot, at the same time and same day be initiated into the Ozo Awka Society.
Chief Sylvester Okoye, who will be initiated into the Ozo Awka Society tomorrow, is the son of the late Chief Ezedebe Okoyeatu from Agbana Ifite Awka. He is a graduate of the University of Science and Technology with Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 1987; and Master of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering in 1990.
Chief Sylvester Okoye is a member of the Nigeria Society of Engineers, Council for the Regulation of Engineers in Nigeria (COREN) and Computer Professional of Nigeria. He has over thirty years experience in Oil and Gas and Banking industries.
He started work in 1991 as Hardware Consultant at Computronics System Limited and rose to the position of Engineering Manager in 1994, and was accountable for the deployment, repairs and service support of telecom and computing infrastructure in most Nigerian banks.
He joined United Bank for Africa as Manager, Network Development and Support Units in 1995 and rose to the position of Senior Manager, Computer Systems Units, in 1998. From UBA, he joined the Shell Petroleum Development Company in 2001 as Senior Telecom Engineer, Infrastructure Development and rose to the positions of Principal Telecom engineer, Infrastructure Development in 2004.
Chief Sylvester Okoye later moved to become Regional Information Technology Programme Team Lead for Well, Reservoir and Field Management between 2008 and 2009, from where he rose to become Regional Production Information Technology Application Manager in 2010.
Chief Sylvester Okoye took an early retirement from Shell Petroleum Development Company in 2018 and joined Jake Riley Limited in 2019, as Lead Information Technology Strategy and Governance consultant for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. Chief Sylvester Okoye is married and the marriage is blessed with children. As people from all walks of life converge on Ifite Awka tomorrow for his formal initiation into the Ozo Awka Society, it is expected that he will bring his vast experience to bear in promoting the rich cultural heritage of Awka.