Ojiji Festival Remains Our Pride – Monarch
By Okereke Wilson Ogbonnaya and Nwogha Ndubuisi Andy
The Chairman, Izzi Forum and Traditional Ruler of Nkaleke Echara Unuphu autonomous community, His Royal Highness Eze Sunday Okey described new yam festival in Izzi land as the clan’s great inheritance that deserves to be held at high esteem.
He made this known to newsmen on Friday 16th August, 2019 at his palace in Ugwu Achara during the annual event, Ojiji as it is commonly called. While stating that it was a period where kiths and kin do show love towards one another by exchanging gift items and dining together in respect to the new yam celebration.
He told Citizens’ Advocate that for the fact that yam was not only the first but also the chief of all crops since the creation, because of this; the people deemed it necessary to celebrate it as to preserve its prestige, adding that the period also marks beginning of a new year in accordance with the peoples traditional calendar.
He said that the crop is valued in such a way that no resident dares harvest his or hers until the merriment associated with it is observed and as a result charged all to endeavor towards sustaining the culture.
HRH Eze said, “This feast is usually celebrated with the best local soups such as Egusi, Bene Seed, Ogbono etc which will be accompanied with pounded yam and drinks as the case may be. It is a special day in our land as all relatives and members of various families do dine together and pay homage to one another.”
The Traditional Ruler also said that the festival fosters unity and love among his people as neighbours could easily meet one another and show respect devoid of pretense while pointing out that if not for development,
Yam from the outset of his kingdom had been the major food of an average Izzi man and as a result advised all to participate in observing the activity since it is not fetish in any form.
Collaborating the report, the National president Izzi Nnodo Youth Forum, and Special Assistant to Ebonyi State Governor on internal Security and Utility, Hon.
Benedict Nwovu said that the day was a remarkable one in the life of Izzi people which cut across Ebonyi, Abakaliki, Izzi local Government and others who live in part of Benue state.
He noted that the old culture tracing to history marked the beginning of a new year and was a period to share happiness among family, relatives and neighbours, pointing out that the day gives room to in-laws to renew their relationship as they exchange gift.
Hon. Nwovu appreciated God for bringing peace in parts of the clan that was faced with communal clashes and encourages youths to promote the culture as it remains a unique and rich inheritance of the people which must be sustain.