New Yam Festival is the most important festival amongst Ndi Igbo society. The festival is so important that Chinua Achebe, in his Things Fall Apart, analyzed a New Yam Festival in which a host provided a mountain of pounded yam to his guests and not until the following day that guests at one end of the pounded yam mountain recognized that other people were eating from the same food, after it was leveled by them all. That was when the guests started greeting their family members on the other side of the dish for the first time.
This explanation by Chinua Achebe aptly shows the significance of the celebration of new yam festival among Ndi Igbo wherever they may live, even outside Igbo land.
The new yam festival in Igbo land is always marked with pomp and pageantry. The occasion of Iwa Ji, Iri Ji Ohuru or new yam festival is a cultural feast with its deep significance. Every community has its own days for this celebration. In some communities, Iwa Ji is a public function. Normally, the harvesting of the new yam is followed by thanksgiving.
Today, Igbo people in urban centres and in foreign lands celebrate new yam with equal amount of curiosity and zeal. Not long ago, the Igbo speaking states gathered at the National Theatre, Lagos and uniquely celebrated the New Yam Festival.
This month’s celebration of the new yam festival at Isuofia, in Aguata LGA will be a festival to be remembered in a lifetime. Isuofia Community will, tomorrow, Saturday, August 14, 2021, honour the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo CFR, with a Chieftaincy title. This is in recognition of the enormous contributions of Professor Soludo to the development of the Community.
According to the President-General of Isuofia Peoples Assembly, Chief Jude Chukwukadibia Okeke, Akaekpuchionwa, the event is a major highlight of the community’s 2021 new yam festival, which will hold at the Isuofia Civic Centre, beginning at 12 noon.
Professor Soludo, no doubt, has positively touched the lives of his community members. His philanthropic gestures are legion. The Former CBN Governor adopted one of the community’s primary schools, Amorji Primary School since 2013 up till date, making it one of the best in Anambra State. He has undertaken all the running costs of the school as well as its infrastructural needs.
Again, Professor Soludo, who holds the Chieftaincy title of Odenigbo Aguata and Odenjiji Aguleri, has tarred some roads in Isuofia, supported businesses of rural dwellers and sponsored some students in various tertiary institutions.
This epoch-making event will, not doubt, make this year’s new yam festival in Isuofia community a memorable one. Guests of Isuofia community will pour out in large numbers to appreciate Professor Soludo, who is also the standard bearer of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in the November 6, 2021, Governorship Election in Anambra state.
This first class recognition of Professor Soludo in the town’s new yam festival will be appreciated by his guests with excitement and applause as Dances and songs, masquerading, gun salute, drumming and sounding of big wooden, among others, will provide a vibrant social ambiance of lineage, kinship, neighbourhood, workplace, school, business and friendship connections.
As it stands now in Isuofia, compounds, pathways, local rivers and streams, including markets and deity sites, have been cleared and kept clean for indigenes and guests to have a feel of the geographical beauty of the community. The carnival mood and graciousness at extending invitations and welcoming every visitor and guest means that there is plenty of food to enjoy.
The President-General of Isuofia Peoples Assembly, Chief Okeke and the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Christopher Muoghalu, Isu the second, a retired colonel, together with the good people of Isuofia invite the public to the event.