The Federal Capital City stood still when His Royal Majesty, Eze Igbo 1, Abuja, HRH Dr., Sir, Amb. Eze Ibe Nwosu, and his councils led Igbo in Abuja to celebrate new yam festival in Abuja yesterday.
The Igbo Community in Abuja and environs went agog at the palace Igwe Ibe Nwosu, were the event was held. Monarchs from Abuja local councils were fully present.
As early as noon on that day, the precincts of the palace where the event holds sway had already begun to witness massive influx of spectators.
Igbo rich cultural heritage was on display on.
For several hours it took, guests from far and near converge to celebrate the ceremonial event. The palace was literally shut down for the huge crowd, the air filled with heavy drumming, singing, trumpeting and breath-taking dance steps by various cultural dancers who thrilling the guests.
The epic ceremony was all glamour and show of opulence, as multitudes that include friends, well-wishers, prominent indigenes of Abuja and politicians were seen, and all present and participated in the celebration of the this pristine and long-standing cultural carnival Igbos are known for.
Then coming to the palace, it was largely suffused with beautifully coloured traditional dancers who entertained the people and gaily dressed Igbo women known for their panache and active social lifestyle were a marvel to behold.
The men equally in their beautiful Igbo attire swirled to the suiting rhythm of drums and other musical instruments in that somewhat balmy afternoon.
It was a gathering of who is who.
It is customary among the Igbo that before the new yam is consumed after the harvest, the crop, known as the king of food, is celebrated to thank God for the successful harvest.
Conspicuously present are HRM Igwe Ochendo Ogidi-Igbo, Wakili Igbo Ado, Eze Igbo 1 of Ado Kingdom,
HRH Prince Ikechukwu Ezika, Eze Igbo Agbanechuka 1, New Nyaya, HRH Eze Okechukwu Nwokolo, Ochi-Igbo Durumi and, other monarchs from almost all the Abuja local councils.
EzeIgbo 1 Abuja, Eze Dr. Amb. Ibeh Nwosu was also joined to celebrate by Senator representing Federal Capital City at 8th National Assembly, Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda, PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar delegates, Young Progress Party House of Representatives Candidate, Prince David Adetunji Adeyeye, Amac Vice Chairman, Hon.Lawrence Onuchukwu, Chairman Yoruba Council of Oba’s Abuja, Oba Ramoni Atanda, Nigeria Women For Peace Association, Association of Solid Women Initiative for Development Worldwide, Igbo Community Association Support Group For Atiku 2019 and other dignitaries.
Senator Philip Aduda paying homage with his entourage
On his speech, Dr. Sir. Nwosu said that the occasion was an avenue to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Ndigbo, positing that the coming together of Igbo people presented an opportunity through which they were reminded of the need to embrace their culture and traditions.
Different Women Groups there to participate
According to him, this was necessary because no nation or society could develop maximally if it neglected its cultural heritage. In his words, a people not versed in their culture and traditions were preparing themselves for extinction.
“Culture is a way of life which are being communicated from generation to generation. The yam festival is one of the ancient traditional and cultural practices we inherited from our great-grandfathers. If they did not hand down their ways of life and behaviours, we would not have gathered here to do what they did, probably, centuries ago,” he said.
He appreciated all the monarchs present, Igbo cultural groups and everybody who came from crook and cronies of Nigeria who took time to be present to celebrate with him and prayed that Almighty God will lead them back to wherever they come from.
Nwosu also preached peace and togetherness among the Igbo and their host communities, especially the government and people of Abuja:
“We should also be at peace and live cordially with members of other ethnic groups resident in Abuja and as we are in electoral season, you should avoid violence in any form. As you travel for Christmas, I pray for your safety ,” he said.
Speaking on how culture enhances unity, Amac Vice Chairman, Lawrence Onuchukwu described Igbo yam festival culture as a unifying forum.
“Igbo yam festival is a forum that brings all Igbos together to celebrate and know themselves and like I always says, Igbos should unite and love themselves irrespective of where they are from, division of states was for developmental integration, and so Igbo must remain One. No one should leave his brother behind in what ever one is doing. We are one,” he said.
On his part, HRH Eze Okechukwu Nwokolo, on his response to interview questions by the press present, urged all Igbos to make sure they relate very well with each others where ever they are and, keep Igbo culture alive.
Commenting on the new yam celebration, he says, “Yam is the first thing that the Igbo people have as food and that is why the Igbo see yam as king of all food and, and always marks a day for it celebration”, he remarked.
Describing the festival as colourful
Says, “Having been witnessing all that are happening here today, I would say that it is a perfect and colourful festival”.
The highpoint of the occasion was the cutting of the roasted new yam, in line with tradition by EzeIgbo 1 Abuja, Dr. Sir, Ibeh Nwosu, the celebrant, he dipped the chopped piece of the yam inside the oil sauce, took a bite, the action was greeted with thunderous chant from the crowd, “Eze Igbo 1, May you live long!”.
The rest tubers of roasted yams were shared and savoured by all presence washed down with palm wine.
Pamela Ogwata was present and reports