The month of August has become very similar to the celebration of the king of crops, the revered yam, in Igbo Land.
No community wants to be left behind, as they use the celebration to showcase the uniqueness of their Igbo culture and tradition.
For the people of Ogbunka in Orumba South Local Council Area where the celebration is called “Ihejioku”, it is not just about the beauty of the peculiarities of their tradition, as this year’s event is more special for them, being the first to be marked by the new Traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Ambassador Johnmark Anyaoha.
Correspondent, David Okpokwasili, reports that the annual festival commenced with a procession round the town by the Traditional ruler, accompanied by Ndị Ichie, Amala Ogbunka, Umuokpu, different women groups and terminated at the venue of the celebration, the Nkà One of Ogbunka Palace.
At the palace, the breaking of kolanut, paying of homage, masquerade displays and cultural dances featured to add color to the celebration.
Governor Willie Obiano represented by the Commissioner for Housing, Architect Mike Okonkwo, while speaking at the event, said new yam festival represents the huge importance Ndị Igbo place on agriculture, and called on the community not to neglect farming, as it is the future of the Nigerian economy, beckoning on them to fully adopt the “Ugbo Azụ Uno” initiative of the State Government.
The Traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Anyaoha, said this year’s “Ihejioku” festival marks a new beginning for the numerous initiatives that will be embark on to promote the unique culture of the community and showcase it to the global community.
In a goodwill message, the Transition Committee Chairman, Orumba South Local Government Area, Chief Cyprian Okeke, emphasized the need for Ndị Igbo to promote and sustain their culture and tradition as their identity.
Raining her motherly blessings on the community and the reign of his son, the mother of the Traditional ruler of Ogbunka, Mrs Maria Anyaoha, prayed for peace, tranquility, unity in the community and the progress of her youths.
In their different remarks, the Traditional Prime Minister of the community, Chief Matthew Ezeabiakwa, the Palace Secretary, Bernard Eze and Chief Sunday Ndubuisi, all praised the new dispensation that the community has entered and prayed for the sustenance of peace in the community.
The event had in attendance Traditional rulers from the communities in Orumba South led by their Chairman and Traditional ruler of Nawfija, Igwe Clifford Okeke.
Highpoints of the festival were the commissioning of two Toyota Sienna buses donated by Igwe Anyaoha for use by the Ogbunka Vigilante Services by Governor Obiano, and official coronation and presentation of Chief Ezeabiakwa as the Traditional Prime Minister of Ogbunka.