From Obinna Odogwu, Ekwulobia
Alor community in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, the home of the Minister of Labour and Employment and one-time governor of then state, Dr Chris Ngige, was agog recently as the traditional ruler of the town, Igwe MacAnthony Elibe Okonkwo (Ezedioramma 111) of Alor Kingdom celebrated the New Yam festival.
The festival, which marks the second Ili Ji festival since his assumption of office two years ago, attracted the crème de la crème of the society, including the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, his deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke, other top government functionaries, over 150 traditional rulers, traditional prime ministers, other first class chiefs from various communities within and outside Anambra State, members of F15 Club Lagos and Diamond Fitness Club Lagos, business moguls from Abuja Deidei market, captains of industry, among others.
The event, which held at the Igwe’s palace in Alor, also attracted illustrious sons and daughters of the kingdom who came to show solidarity to the millennium king, Igwe McAnthony.
The event also witnessed displays from different masquerades and musical troupes that thrilled the large crowd that gathered to witness the monarch celebrate this year’s New Yam festival.
Declaring the event open, the Deputy Governor of Anambra, Dr Okeke, noted that Ili Ji was an annual event marked by Ndigbo wherever they are around the world, saying that it symbolizes a mark of deep appreciation to the God Almighty for His kindness and blessings upon Ndigbo which are seen in all aspects of their endeavours.
He pointed out that it has remained one of the secrets of Ndigbo’s success story all over the world.
“God has been so good to Ndigbo and everybody sees it in all facets of lives. New Yam festival being celebrated by Ndigbo which started from Adams was basically to render a whole-hearted appreciation to the Almighty God for His goodness and mercy upon our people. So, it’s symbolic and cultural to Ndigbo. And Ndigbo will remain forever grateful to God for this kindness,” he said.
Breaking the kolanut at the event, Igwe MacAnthony explained that New Yam celebration was an indispensable and paramount aspect of the Igbo culture which should not be taken for granted.
He also seized the opportunity to thank God for the bountiful harvest the town recorded in the past farming season and prayed God to continue to bless his subjects and Alor town in all ramifications for them to keep flourishing in their endeavours.
While eulogizing the Obiano-led administration, Igwe Okonkwo assured the governor that Alor would remain unflinching and resolute about supporting his government, assuring him that they would never be found wanting in their own part in ensuring that the good works of his government was sustained and consolidated.
Responding, Governor Obiano, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Town Union and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr Ikechukwu Onyeabo, charged the Alor people to sustain the enormous support being given to Igwe Okonkwo and the government of Obiano, assuring them that with the robust relationship Alor monarch has with the state government no stone would be left unturned in ensuring that the community gets its fair share in all of government development plans and programmes.