From Walter Ukaegbu
It is a yearly tradition for Igbo. New yam festival is observed between August and September not only in the South East but across the world. For those in Igbo land, it is held with funfair while those outside the shores of South East mark it with nostalgia.
Last week, the Amaokwe Item Welfare Union, Abuja, held a colorful festival at Wuse. It was an occasion that drew all the indigenes of the town resident in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) together. It was turned into a carnival. It also served as a rare opportunity for the leadership of the union to address members on crucial issues concerning Item .
Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Kesandu Joshua Uko said the New Yam festival was meant to mark the traditional end of another year and the beginning of a new one.
He explained that it is during the period that the people take stock of activities, stating that during the process, meetings are held by members of various families with a view to charting the way forward.
Chairman of Amaokwe Item Welfare Union, Abuja, Mr. Joseph Chukwu said the community was celebrating another harvest season and presenting the New Yam, which is the abundance grace of God’s provision of all crops, signifying the reward of their labour by God who made the seed and all that had been planted to grow and bear fruit in abundance.
He prayed that the labours and endeavours of the people from the beginning of this New Year shall bear fruit in abundance as the community stepped into the season of harvest.
Chukwu appreciated God for elevating a member of the union, Justice Anyim Ikoro, to the position of a High Court Judge to the Gambia, a West African country.
He advised him to remain faithful to what is true, noble, right and whatever is pure, adding that anything excellent and praiseworthy he should think about and put into practice .
After the presentation of kola nut and dance by a colorful cultural group dressed in native attire, the traditional “Iri-Ndi” (iwandi) commenced with cultural entertainment, which was conducted by Elder Ekekwe Egu (Otimkpu Jesus) described as the great custodian of the tradition of item people.
His dances were captivating as he stepped out to dance on the tune of the “Ilu” a traditional dance of the community and the popular war dance called “Ikperi-ikpe Ogu.”
After the “Iwandi”, leaders of each of the nine villages that make up the Item community proceeded to take a piece of the yams roasted for their people to partake in the eating while appreciating the ceremony with some money.
The highlight of the occasion was the Award presentation to seven members of the community who in one way or the other have been described as a pillar of support to the community and the union.
They were Sir Sylvester Chukwu a businessman, Justice Anyim Ikoro, Mr. Ogan Eke Okeudo, geologist, Joseph Abiayi Eke who for 28 years worked in the National Electric Power Authority, Chief John Ndukwe Ukaegbu, auto- mechanic and Board of Trustee member who initiated the union in Abuja and Elder Christopher Ogbonnya Okpo, an elder statesman.
The Amaokwe Item Welfare Union used the opportunity to appoint five of the people into the BoT.