Tombra Alamieyeseigha, the look-alike and first son of former first civilian governor of Bayelsa State, Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha, is a well-meaning and promising young man, who has recently married to his heartthrob, formerly Miss Stella Chikodi Ononiwu. The wedlock had been some celebrated news that dominated the social media and the circles of the oil-bearing state of Bayelsa, Imo State, Abuja and outside of the country. It especially engaged the thoughts of the ‘Imolites’, as the indigenes of Imo State, where the wedding took place, are called.
Preparations were at frenzied pitch as the bride’s town in Nwangele Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State, particularly the Ononiwu compound, in which the wedding ceremony took place, was wearing a new look. Apart from the sparkling canopies which were erected in the elaborate and descent compound of the bride’s family, seats were also arranged, with other fantastic decorations.
The guests list from both bride and groom families were endless, several hundreds of people turned up to witness the occasion because of the personality of both families. The entire extended family members, friends and well-wishers of the Ononiwu and those of Alamieyeseigha, graced the occasion in their hundreds.
From the eve of the wedding to the d’ day, visitors and invitees thronged to the land for the most spectacular marriage event to hold in the town of recent time. It was also a special event where the Ibo tradition of Imo State was challenged by that of Bayelsa, as the traditional wedding ceremony brought out the very best of both traditions.
There was the display of the mixed tradition of the Ibo and Ijaw, as represented by the tribes of the bride and groom, respectively. It was also a day the Ijaw traditional wears competed with that of the Imolites, judging from the various traditional attires on display.
Payment of Bride Price (Igba Nkwu)
Igba Ukwu, the traditional ceremony of paying the bride price by the groom’s family was the highlight of the programme, which was done with fanfare and according to the Ibo tradition. In the usual practice in Ibo land, with some modifications already made, there are specific and compulsory items that the groom must present to the bride’s family, through the traditional marriage list given to him by the bride’s family. These include; kola nuts, palm wine, varied drinks, heads of tobacco, snuff, cloths, jewelries and other assorted apparels. Most of the items are meant to be given to the bride herself; in order to make her more comfortable in the wedlock. A ‘welcome drinks and food, with other entertainment items’ are usually first given to the groom’s family for their refreshment, in preparation for the elaborate wedding event.
The Wedding Cake
The wedding cake was no doubt specially made for the occasion. It was an innovative twin of a cake. The first was an exotic brownish calabash of a foaming palm wine and a foaming brown cup of wine, with improvised kola nut lobes put on a white base, decorated with flower’s petals. The other was of a brownish base mounted with assortments of red beads made into a crown, hand and neck wears. The cake was later cut by the bride and groom, in the usual styles.
After the ceremonial rites, the newly married couple, officially took their seat at a very conspicuous location in the compound, were relatives, friends and well-wishers then took turns to present gifts to them. The eating and drinking and general merry-making goes on till late into the night. As the party begins to wind down, the family of the groom, by way of a song indicated that they are about to leave, and that they have to take their wife with them, the parents of the bride then presented their own gifts to her to take to her husband’s place. The parting of the bride from her family is always an emotional one, but in the end, the bride joined her husband’s party as they make their way back to Bayelsa en-route Abuja.