… To Introduce Cultural Carnival for his Constituents
Member representing Ezza South/ Ikwo Federal Constituency at the National Assembly Comrade Chinedu Ogah, on Tuesday 25th February, 2020 had advocated for the promotion of Africa culture and Tradition as a way to promote unity and peace in Ikwo, Ebonyi and Nigeria at large as he said he has plans to introduce Ikwo cultural carnival which will start in December, 2020.
Comrade Ogah made the call at Echara Community in Ikwo Local Government Area during the Aji Echara Nkpoke annual carnival where he said culture is a critical tool for enhancing unity, peace and economic development in Ikwo Noyo clan and beyond.
Hon Ogah who recently clocked 100 days in office said his priorities at the National Assembly are events that will promote unity in his constituency which has been facing communal crisis.
He said that the committee to oversee the proposed cultural carnival is already set up and its members are working, during the carnival, each community will showcase their own culture.
According to him, “We have set up a committee in motion working on reviving the entire culture of my people considering the fact that culture encourages respect, and build the people to abide in love and unity which if promoted will help to wipe away communal crises we are witnessing today.
The lawmaker who unveiled the plan while addressing members of Echara Mkpuoke Community in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi during their annual Aji Cultural festival cautioned youths against engaging in any act that will bring crisis in the area.
He also warns against any form of political intimidation and molestation on his people.
He noted that culture is the only thing that brings people together irrespective of their political inclination and called on all and sundry to put hands together towards reviving dying Ikwo, Ebonyi and Nigerian cultures to promote national peace and unity.
Aji Echara Nkpoke carnival is an annual event marking the beginning of a new year calendar in Echara Community of Ikwo Local Council Area and the biggest festival in the land which attracts indigenes and foreigners to the town, and it is coloured with different types of masquerades display with family and neighbours exchange special native food as sign of love.
The Aji festival is the climax of a five-day ceremony celebrated annually by members of the community to mark the end of the traditional calendar year.
Over twenty masquerades were displayed, traditional performances and procession by adult male and women, who usually dress half naked, an attire signifying ‘purity’ and ‘holiness’ in the land.
“We are going to start a cultural carnival; all the communities will come to showcase their culture.”
“Definitely reviving culture will bring unity, communal crisis will not be if we can go back to our culture and it will unite us and bring more development to the people.”
“I feel the best way to promote unity among our people is by reviving our culture irrespective of our political inclination. Culture is all about understanding. The feast is symbol of unity.”
“We are going to ensure that the Aji festival and other traditional festivals celebrated by our people in the five communities that make up Ikwo are unified, promoted and projected to the national scene.”
“We will create Ikwo Cultural Carnival that will promote tourism; bring our cultures to national limelight and also protect our cultures from becoming extinct,” Ogah said.
While thanking the people for their support during the 2019 general elections, he promised to restore electricity in the community and also donate more transformers to the community.
A retired police ASP who is the Chief priest of the community, Onele Nte Onele while Speaking with journalists said the significance of the festival are enormous.
He said, during the aji, they celebrate with masquerade which male child will remove their cloth to respect the masquerade. Adding that it promotes unity and anyone who is facing life challenges after the festival will receive help.
“The men, during the celebration remove their shirts while women tie wrapper up to the breast region. This practice signifies purity, holiness and only those that are pure and holy can come out to watch the masquerade and other traditional performances.”
Another resident of the community, John Oke said “one of the significance of this Aji festival is that if you are sick, after the celebration you will be healed, and rain will fall after one week of this celebration that rain will usher us into the year farming season.
He further gave details of the festival based on their belief.
“If you are a sinner or have committed any act considered a taboo in the community in the outgoing year, you cannot come out to watch the masquerade during the festival.”