Members of Odu Na Izuoha, Amuzi Autonomous Community in Ahiazu Local Government Area of Imo State were treated to a grand spectacle on January 4, 2020, when a group of young men went through a rite of manhood performed once in four years. The 2020 initiates, who belonged to the Akajiaku age grade, numbered well over a hundred.
Braving the dusty atmosphere of the harsh harmattan the initiates assembled on the playground of the Community Secondary School to perform the necessary rites required of them to be qualified as men. The ceremony was performed in the presence of a large crowd that witnessed their metamorphoses. The rite started with the traditional hunt in the wild for a bird by the initiates to prove their valour.
Their return set the stage for the next test of their manhood through the enactment of a fierce mock battle. Having successfully scaled the obstacles, they were initiated into manhood, disrobed and then dressed in lengthy wrappers (Iwa Akwa), traditional caps and staff as real men. The journey to manhood had been completed with aplomb.
The ceremony took place in the presence of Eze of Odu Na Izuoha Amuzi Autonomous Community, Eze (Dr.) James Okoronkwo Duzieoha I of Odu Na Izuoha, the traditional Prime Minister, Mr Donne Chikere, palace chiefs and all titleholders.
Eze Okoronkwo admonished the ‘new’ men to be law-abiding, responsible and respectful of the tradition and culture of the community.
Cautioning them to avoid acts that could bring shame to them as individuals and the larger community, he beseeched them to be good ambassadors of their community wherever they may be.
Chairman of the Iwa Akwa ceremony, Oliver Oparah, also in his opening remarks tasked members of the newly initiated age grade to be of good behaviour worthy of emulation at all times.