Ihiala New Yam Festival, Salvaging The Fate Of Igbo Culture.

 

Ihiala New Yam Festival, Salvaging The Fate Of Igbo Culture.

BY NKIRU NWAGBO.


Igwe Thomas Obidiegwu, Oluoha Ihiala the 17th and his Lolo acknowledging cheers from the crowd. 



The loud sound of twenty five mpko na ana cannon shuts heralded the the royal procession of Igwe Thomas Obidiegwu the Oluoha 17th of Ihiala town in Ihiala local government area of Anambra state.


As the cannon shuts raved in sporadic succession, Oluoha led by Ndichie royal cabinet took a long procession to the Holy Ghost juniorate Seminary field which was the venue for this year's New Yam festival.

Procession of Ndi Ichie.


Shortly after the procession, the ancient Royal cultural dance known as Uhio dance for the monarch and titled men followed with the crescendo of the African jungle drums and gongs to the delight of visitors and members of the community.

Ndi Ogbuehi were not left out in the procession.


The dance according to legendary stories is exclusive to the Oluoha and tittled men who had made distinguished contributions to the security and socioeconomic development of the community.

Procession of Ndi Idu


Earlier before then a service was held at the seminary church which had in attendance the gubernatorial running mate to Prof Charles Soludo, Dr Onyeka Ibezim.

Oluoha cutting yam at the event.


Speaking at the occasion, Ibezim noted that the culture and traditional of Igbo people have been facing serious challenges adding that the only way the younger generation can embrace and appreciate the Igbo culture and tradition is through the yearly celebration of the New Yam festival.


He further urged parents are village heads to try as much as possible to revive similarly festivals in other to secure the future if Igbo belief and practices.


It was also an opportunity for the community to improve the educational standard of the area, the Ihiala Community  by instituting special Award for Excellence for first class graduates in the area.


It  also introduced scholarship for exceptionally brilliant indigent students from the area .


The traditional ruler of the town, Igwe Thomas Obidiegwu  explained that it has become instructive that sons and daughters of the community are encouraged in the area of education.


He frowned at the worrisome level of cultism as well as drugs and substance abuse in the community and announced his determination to curtail it.


"This year's celebration is unique as it will mark the beginning of some innovative programs aimed at behavioral change in the attitudes of youths and the young ones.  We are launching today a serious campaign against drugs and substance abuse as well as cultism


'We believe that unless a decisive step is taken to curtail this dangerous trend, we will lose our young ones to drugs and substance abuse. Also worrisome is cultism and its ugly consequences."


He said he will soon announce a Committee to midwife and develop a blueprint for the implementation of the program' he added

Ody Chukwube Ichie Ugwumba & Oluoha Ihiala during the occasion.

Chief Ody Chukwube, the Chairman of the Planning Committee enjoined Ihiala people to join hands with the Oluoha in eradicating drugs and substance abuse as well as cultism.



He announced the plans of the community to construct a permanent Central Palace for the Oluoha soon. The palace will , among other things, have a museum for the protection of relics in the monarchy which has lasted over 700 years.


Anambra state Commissioner for Information who is also a son of the town Chief C Don Adinuba who represented Gov Willie Obiano said that government would continue to encourage agriculture adding that before the advent of Obiano administration rice and vegitable production was at it's lowest rate but was quick to add that in the last seven years Anambra now export farm produce abroad .


Adinuba announced that farmers at the river line and those at the up land are being provided with improved seedlings and with the assistance of the Bank of Agriculture farmers are being encouraged.


He further noted that the state government has continued to construct roads to food producing areas while facilities have been put in place for the preservation of agricultural produce in the state.

Ndi Nze na Ozo.



A prominent member of the Council, Chief ( Bar) Vin Ezeaka commended the Committee for effective mobilisation of the indigenes of the town for the Iri ji and promised that efforts will immediately commence for the implementation of the innovative programs of the Oluoha.


The Deputy Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Mr Paschal Agbodike in his speech noted that the Igbod of the South East should embrace agriculture, adding that over dependency in crude oil has made the country a monolithic economy.


Agbodike urged other communities to borrow a leaf from the Ihiala Community in exemplary celebration of Iri ji festivals. He urged them to access soft loans from Agricultural banks to improve food production in the country.


The occasion also attracted the political class who used the opportunity to make their ambitions known to Ihiala Community.



Gubernatorial candidate of the Zenith labour Party ZLP Chief Obiora Okonkwo noted that the celebration of life New Yam festival goes to show case that yam is the king of crops in Igbo land adding that his administration has already put in place blue prints for improved food production in Anambra state as well as provision of soft loans for rural farmers in the state.


It is regrettable that subsequent administrations in our state have not taken the needed bold step at boosting food production and Anambra state is blessed with resources both agriculture and minerals that needs to be tapped.


My administration would provide soft loans for village farmers and also make provisions for our state to go into mechanized agriculture and all year round farming to sustain food production.


Chief C.Don Adinuba testing the new yam onbehalf of Gov. Obiano.


Akachkwu Nwankpo  the candidate of African Democratic Congress ADC recalled that in the time past Igbo language was part of the school curriculum but lamented that it is no longer given the attention that it deserves..

Rt .Hon Dr. Paschal Agbodike Deputy Speaker ANHA , & Ihiala 11 member among other dignitaries at the high table.

Nwankpo lamented that people are contesting for power but he is contesting for the progress and development of Anambra state adding that for twenty three years the state has continued to do the same thing and have been getting the same results which according to him is the bane of the state.

Chief Vin Ezeaka, Uzor Nzeribe and Ichie Emeka Egesinmba.


The occasion was an opportunity also to show case the bountiful harvest of yams this year in the community as the monarch received forty eight homages of the traditional nine yams per homage.

 presentation of Trumpy by HRH Igwe Obidiegwu during the occasion.


It was also a competition for the college's that make up Ihiala community and accordingl to one of the organizers of the competition Chief Okey Chukwu who is the President General of the community said  that contest is aimed at encouraging food production in the community and to evolve healthy rivalry among the villages and the farmers.

Akachukwu Nwankpo


He noted that this year's festival was unique as accordingl to him elaborate preparations were made to get Ihiala people both home and abroad to interface with the rich cultural heritage of their fore fathers.

Obiora Okonkwo


Amamu B community Igboro emerged as the over all winner while Amamu  A  and Ubahuekwem/Akwa were the first and second runners up respectively.

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