It was a day to remember as Eze Ndigbo Lagos State, Eze Christian Uchechukwu Nwachukwu, his cabinet members and the Igbo in Lagos, friends and well-wishers gathered at the Igbo Community Centre, Okota, Lagos, to celebrate their cultural day and the New Yam Festival (Iri Ji)
The colourful event started with the breaking of kolanut and varieties cultural performances to thrill the audience.
While blessing and cutting the new yam, Eze Ndigbo Lagos State, Eze Christian Uchechukwu Nwachukwu explained that the celebration of new yam was one
of the traditional ethos handed down to the Igbo people by their forefathers.
According to him, wherever the lgbo are found, they regard it as a cultural duty and responsibility to observe the festival. He said this is because, among the farm crops, the yam is regarded as the king.
“The lgbo in Lagos have been celebrating the new yam for some years now. We want to use the opportunity the occasion offers to talk about certain important areas concerning the lgbo.
“The lgbo, wherever they find themselves are very industrious and peaceful. They believe that everywhere is home to them. That is why they take active part in the developmental drive of their host communities. This assertion is made manifest in the actions and activities of Ndigbo who live in Lagos.
“They believe that Lagos is their home and therefore should be part of the development of the state as stakeholders. They are peace-loving and law abiding.”
Eze Nwachukwu appreciated Akinwunmi Ambode and Lagosians for being good hosts.
“Essentially, we thank Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for being a lover of Ndigbo. “We also thank former governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu for his contributions towards peaceful coexistence among the diverse ethnic nationalities in the state.”
Speaking further he also appreciated Governor Ambode for the reconstruction and completion of the Ago-Nwachukwu-Okota Link Road which has been dilapidated for years.
Just as he appreciated the Isolo LCDA Chairman Hon.
Samshudeen Olaleye for initiating the project, the former Commissioner of Works and now House of Representatives Aspirant, Hon. Ganiyu Johnson and member Lagos State House of Assembly, Jude Chukwuemeka ldimogu for facilitating the project.
Nwachukwu said Ndigbo in Lagos have endorsed the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the state, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-olu. Also the Director-General, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-olu Campaign Organisation (BOSCO) Tayo Ayinde was given a chieftaincy title by Eze Nwachukwu during the event.
He pledged that the Igbo in Lagos will continue to be law abiding and committed to peace and development of the state.
Governor Ambode while receiving the award of honour for his outstanding commitment and dedication towards the wellbeing of Ndigbo in Lagos, through Mrs. Cecilia Oyindamola Dada, appreciated Ndigbo for the recognition and said Igbo will continue to prosper, recognised and live freely in the state.
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Member representing Oshodi-Isolo Constituency II in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Jude Chukwuemeka Idimogu, noted that the Igbo are known for their cultures and traditions.
According to him, “back in the South East, where the Igbo came from, the Iri ji is their culture and it is to remember the traditions their forefathers handed over to them.
“Most times in Igboland, before you eat new yam, you must observe this tradition of Iri Ji. Although, most times, in the towns it is not done the way it is normally done in the village. In the town, most of us eat yam without observing the Iri Ji festival irrespective of that, we must map out one day in the year to observe it, to keep the tradition going and also to teach the little ones that Iri Ji is a tradition that should be upheld and cherished as an Igbo in Lagos.”
Idimogu said the programme helps in uniting the Igbo and their host communities in Lagos.
“You can see that the chiefs are around. It brings harmony, peace and understanding among the Igbo community and their neighbors.
“Programmes like this also gives me the opportunity to see my people, irrespective of the parties, APC, PDP, we see ourselves as one. We don’t talk about party, we talk about Ndigbo as a people.”