The Traditional ruler of Abacha in Idemili North Local Government Area, Igwe Godwin Nwabunwanne Odiegwu, has performed his first “iwa ji” ritual as the Igwe of the community, after his coronation on the seventh of January this year.
Correspondent, Blessing Uchendu, reports that the event, held at Igwe Odiegwu’s palace, Umudisi Abacha, attracted people from all walks of life.
New yam festival, iwa ji, iri ji or ilo mmuo, is an annual cultural event in Igbo land that is held to appreciate God for a successful planting season and bumper harvest and pray for repeat of such blessings in the new planting year.
Igwe Odiegwu, while performing the kola nut and new yam rituals, stressed the importance of love and peaceful coexistence among the villages in Abacha, which, according to him, would enthrone progress.
The Traditional ruler commended members of the community for their support in ensuring the success story of Abacha, and appreciated Governor Willie Obiano for restoring peace in the town.
Earlier in a holy mass to herald the festival, the Parish Vicar of St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Abacha, Reverend Father Bedemoore Obiekezie, urged the people of the town to eschew rancor and bitterness, uphold a sense of community and also lay good legacies for the younger generation.
Also speaking the Traditional Prime Minister of Abacha, who is said to be the oldest Onowu in Anambra State, Chief Paul Omofia, said that he felt elated that his town is among peaceful communities in the State and prayed for sustenance of love.
In their separate remarks, the Special Assistant to Governor Obiano on Projects, who is also the Cabinet Secretary of Abacha, Chief Jeffrey Ubah, the President General, Chief Ifeanyi Okeke-Obata, and a former President General of the town, Chief Emeka Okeluo, expressed satisfaction with the success of the event, and thanked God for giving them a God fearing Traditional ruler, who has brought positive changes to the community.
A former Ambassador of Nigeria to South Africa, Chief Uche Ajulu-Okeke, a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Chief Ikemefuna Okoye, as well as Engineer Chinwuba Adabanya and Chief Ugochukwu Onyekwelu, who came to felicitate with Igwe Odiegwu, described new yam festival as a cultural heritage of Ndigbo, which must be upheld, and commended Igwe Odiegwu for the communal love that he has restored in Abacha community.
Motorcycles donated to Abacha Vigilante Group by Igwe Odiegwu, to boost security in the community, were later officially handed over by a one-time member that represented Idemili North and South at the Federal House of Representatives, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Ibezi.
Different groups, youths, seven villages in Abacha community, families, as well as business associates, paid homage to Igwe Odiegwu, while different cultural displays and cutting of new yam by Igwe Odiegwu stood out in the event.