Meet the Longest-Serving Monarch Alive; Igwe Onyeneke Orizu III of Nnewi

Deborah Dzifa Makafui September 13, 2022
Igwe Kenneth Onyeneke Orizu III of Nnewi in Anambra State, South Eastern Nigeria, is currently the longest-serving monarch alive -- Photo Credit:

Igwe Kenneth Onyeneke Orizu III of Nnewi in Anambra State, South Eastern Nigeria, is currently the longest-serving monarch alive as a result of the passing of Queen Elizabeth. Igwe Kenneth Orizu has held the throne for 60 years.

In 1925, Igwe Kenneth Onyeneke Orizu III was born. The Igbo term for the monarch is igwe. The present Igwe Nnewi is HRH Kenneth Onyeneke Igwe Orizu III. Igwe Orizu III, the 20th Igwe Nnewi, was born on October 29, 1925, and he took the throne on June 2, 1963. He is currently Nigeria’s longest-serving monarch. He is also related to Nwafor Orizu, the nation’s first senator.

With historical sources dating the inception of the Nnewi monarchy to the 15th century, well before the advent of Europeans, the Kingdom of Nnewi is arguably the oldest continuous monarchy in Eastern Nigeria. Primogeniture-based patrilineal succession to the throne is followed. Following the passing of his father, HRH Josiah Nnaji Igwe Orizu II, Igwe Orizu III took the kingdom.

He is a descendant of the Nnofo Royal family and the heir apparent to his great-grandfather Igwe Iwuchukwu Ezeifekaibeya, his grandfather Igwe Orizu I, and father Igwe Josiah Orizu II. There were heads of Nnewi before the introduction of Europeans, unlike the majority of Igbo chiefs. Igwe Kenneth Orizu III serves as deputy chairman of the Anambra State House of Chiefs in that state. After the passing of his father in 1962, he was crowned on June 2nd, 1963. He was 37 years old when he was crowned, and he has been in power ever since, for a total of about 60 years, making him Nigeria‘s longest-serving monarch and currently the world’s serving monarch.

The “OSU” caste system, also known as the outcaste system, was abolished for the first time by the 97-year-old king. He was the first Nigerian monarch to abolish the Osu caste system in Nnewi, calling it as unpleasant and barbaric, and he advocated for the destruction of the Agbo Edo forest. He also declared everyone in Nnewi to be freeborn. He opposes wasting resources during the customary wedding and burial rituals. In the Nnewi kingdom, everyone became freeborn after this abolishment. He commemorates his coronation each year by holding the Ofala cultural festival. The King, who is rumored to be worth over $30 million, has given the people of Nnewi hope and growth. He is highly recognized for being calm and is an excellent mediator.

He is blessed with 5 children; Obianefor Orizu (Crown prince), Engr. Prince Chukwudi Orizu, Chibuzor Orizu, Eziafa Orizu and Joy Chika Orizu.

Last Edited by:Francis Akhalbey Updated: September 13, 2022


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