Mushin, a popular Lagos community, was recently agog with the celebration of the New Yam Festival (Iri Ji).
It was held at the palace of Eze Ndigbo of Mushin Ajina/Odi-Olowo Local Council Development Area, Eze Peter Umeh, Ezechimereze.
The event had in attendance various traditional rulers and well-wishers, like Ezeigbo of Isolo, Eze Ikem Agbasi, chairman, South East APC Forum Lagos, Chief Anselm Njoku, and the Onowu of Mushinland, Chief Jude Ejeagha, among others.
Also, Sunday Adeneye Adetayo was given the Igbo chieftaincy title of Ezi Enyi Ndigbo (Friend of the Igbo) while, Eze Peter Umeh, Ezechimereze also received an award from the board of trustees, Friends of Kind Heart Foundation, for his philanthropy and contributions to the development of the Igbo community.
Eze Peter Umeh said the festival was a very common festival in Igboland, noting that the Ezes in the diaspora were celebrating their own wherever they are, to teach the younger ones the culture and tradition of Igbo people.
“We are celebrating our own in Mushin today. It is an avenue we normally use to thank God for a bountiful harvest and we are also praying to God that next year’s harvest would also be bountiful.
“We are celebrating this in Lagos because we reside in Lagos, and also to teach our cultures and traditions to the young ones who have not travelled to the village. It is through this avenue that they will learn the ways of our people.
“From what you can see, our tradition and culture is very rich. So, our duty as Ezes in Lagos is to promote our culture and tradition in Lagos and anywhere we found ourselves in.”
He reiterated that the event served as a medium to celebrate and unite with their host community and other tribes in the area.
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“You can see the Yoruba, Hausa and some other tribes are here today to celebrate with us. This fosters unity. It is an opportunity to interact with one another.
“In Mushin, we relate very well with our host community. If there is any problem, we call them and iron things out. That is because God created us to live in harmony. If we all live in peace, Nigeria will be a better country.”
He also advised Nigerians to vote wisely for people that have integrity in the 2019 election, adding that they should vote for those that would carry the people along and take Nigeria to the next level.
Eze Ndigbo, Lagos State, Eze Uchechukwu Nwachukwu, who was also present at the event, said Ndigbo in Lagos have resolved to work together and do things together.
“Today is a special day for Ndigbo in Mushin because the Igbo in this vicinity are celebrating their tradition and custom.
“We allow all sons and daughters of Ndigbo to celebrate the new yam festival wherever they find themselves. This palace is more like the embassy of Ndigbo in Mushin, so they come to celebrate here.”
Vice chairman of Mushin Local Government Area, Tunbosun Aruwe, said the festival was colourful and entertaining. He said such programmes would unite the people in the local government more and make them live in peace.
“We are here to celebrate with the Igbo in the community. I enjoyed the festival. It is their culture and we are one in Mushin. They are with us and we are part of them,” he said.
“This is going to unite us more. You know the election is approaching. We appreciate them and also use this opportunity to tell them that they should be with us and vote for our candidate.
“Mushin is a very quiet area. We have a lot of leaders who know what we want in Mushin. That is why Mushin is relatively peaceful now.
“We have been together, living in peace with the Igbo in Mushin and we will continue to live in peace with them.”