This is 2021, a year struggling to maintain its balance after the fierce battle with queen Corona, the new Jezebel asking for the head of Elijah.

This is the year many didn’t live to have nor to mark their birthday therewith. Yet it is a new dawn for a high Chief in Esanland,  sojourner  in the land of  the Mongo Parks. His name is Chief Matthew Iria.

Chief Matthew Iria (JP) is a renown personality of the Ebelle kingdom (the home of fresh palm-wine), a grand patron of Ebelle  Unity Forum and driver of unity, and an outstanding member of the Council of Chiefs  surrounding His Royal Majesty, Aipkaogie I (JP), the Ogiebelle of Ebelle  and the Ogienedese of Esanland.

He was born with conditions that made medial experts believe he might not survive beyond 7 days. The parents didn’t lose hope but kept their faith in God and spent their resources to keep his afloat his health challenges. The community of Idumowu Ebelle, his clan,  observed him exceed the dreaded seven days of maximum attention and curiosity, seven months passed, seven years passed, and now, seventy years and one.


In an appreciation of God’s goodness to the highly feeble but intellectually sound personality, the boy growing as Matthew Iria was allowed to go through schools like other sound children. He fell in love with schooling and grabbed the opportunity with all seriousness. He therefore partook in the booty of the educational  height his average parents could give him.  He lived and conquered Nigeria and moved on to Britain to dine with the Queen and princes. Today, Chief Matthew Iria is one of Nigeria’s representative in the Diaspora. For his sake also, his home people, the Idumowu people of Ebelle kingdom walk tall under his unflinching support and jealous watch.

He is a man who believes in unity. He works assiduously for the love and unity of families, communities and the nation at large. He has become a “fire fighter” in homes and community as a lover of peace. No wonder he a Justice of Peace (JP). He doesn’t just bear the title. He lives the title.


The Esan people in the Diaspora get so influenced, or socially nourished,  counselled, prepared and propelled  for excellence, wherever they find themselves. The child that was so weak at birth have now become so strong with repute and stamina of a true patriot, with resilience commanding commendations from the young and the old, thus standing tall as a rally point for progressives.

How can such a man forget the goodness and the mercies of God upon his life. Why shouldn’t “a year plus” mean so much to him having defied death? Why shouldn’t cows be slaughters for laughter? Why shouldn’t the cities and the social media be coloured with his image? Why shouldn’t artificial sounds of Dane guns and Cannons replace thunderstorms? Why shouldn’t our DJ sounds swallow that of a moving trailers of Dangote? Why should our rejoicing know any bounds? Why shouldn’t the Egbabonelimhim summsult like the eagles about to catch its prey? Why shouldn’t the Esan people defy Covid 19 protocols temporarily for the one who had escaped the definition of men as a weakling, clinging unto the definition and the holy and lofty sentences of angels.


He is Managing Director/CEO of Miria Integrated Service Ltd, Lagos.

He has several chieftancy titles including the Obarisiagbon of Ebelle Kingdom (1992) and the Arala of Urohi in (1995).


He is happily married to Chief (Mrs) Jane Osabhohien Iria, the Aigbokhabho of Ebelle Kingdom. (www.uwagamedia.com)

Surely, a man that has known the grace of God was born to show that grace. A recipient of mercy turn our eyes from impediments and lack on the God of mercy and benevolence who rescues in spite of our weaknesses. Isn’t it time to lift the banner of a man who stands for justice as a lifestyle.  His name is Chief M.O. Iria, the Obarisiagbon of Ebelle  kingdom. Happy birthday to a winner! Glory to the God that showed him mercy these fulfilling 70 years and 1.


About Gabriel Iruobe

I have a background in Sociology from the University of Ibadan. Although, an industrial sociologist, my interest in rural societies have grown over the years. The sociological insight gained in my school days have had me define development in a fashion slightly different from an orthodox orientation. Studying or researching on rural life is quite easy for me since I spent my early life in a rural setting, viewing all the attractions often overlooked by the urban elites. If the rule of sustainable development is to be followed, no aspect of the world's cultural heritage is to be ignore or neglected. This is my obsession.

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