From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
It was a day to remember for aged people who are up to 80years and above in Nkpor community, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State yesterday as the community rolled out the drums to celebrate them in an occasion tagged Etoluo Ceremony.
Organized by the town union known as Nkpor Development Union (NDU), the celebrants stormed the venue in full strength with their children, grand children, friends and well-wishers to express their joy and appreciation for the kind gesture offered them by the community.
In his address, the President General of NDU, Ogbueshi Emeka Mbagha explained that the Etoluo Ceremony is organized as one of the cultural heritage of Nkpor community designed to celebrate octogenarians in similarities to Ito Ogbo (coming of age) as obtained in neighboring communities like Obosi, Oba and Ogidi.
Former Registrar, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) Ngozi Anyakora along with 127 others make up the celebrants who were mostly retired civil servants and academia with Anyakora heaping praises to the town union. 47 aged men and and 81 aged women made up the Etoluo fold.
Moved by the joyous atmosphere in town, a businessman in the community Mr Francis Okeke announced that he will give a monthly stipend of N5000 to each of the 128 celebrants for six months. The announcement was greeted with standing ovation.
In the same vein, Senator Uche Ekwunife representing Anambra Central in the Senate and Hon Obinna Chidoka representing Idemili North/South in the Federal House of Representatives congratulated the celebrants praying God to continue to sustain them in good health.
The ceremony kicked off with Church service officiated by Nkpor indigenous clergy men from various Christian denominations with special prayers offered to the celebrants.
Chairman of the occasion, Chief Felix Okeke said that going by what is written in the Bible where it is written that a man’s life time should be three scores and ten years anybody that lives up to 80years and above have to be grateful to God.
“Methuselah live 969 but at a point God narrowed it down 120 and subsequently down to 70 so for us to have 128 people of 80years and above in Nkpor calls for celebration and I must thank the town union for organizing this ceremony. Also I wish to say congratulations to the celebrants” Chief Okeke added
In his message during the service, Rev Fr Peter Obiaga told the audience that the ceremony is an opportunity to appreciate God’s blessing of old age to the people of Nkpor and also to get closer to God in prayers and with good characters and behavior such as showing love to each other and rendering selfless service to the community.
Fr Obiaga described the aged ones as very good teachers and mentors whose services are still relevant to the community because the young ones can rely on them for good knowledge of the laws of the land and advice that would help them in life.
The Catholic clergy noted that history shows that the celebrants represents the good values that Nkpor community is known for pointing out that it is good for the younger to always consult with the aged ones in their midst for useful advise capable to enhance fear of God, respect for the laws of the land and love for one and other.
Major high points of the occasion were cutting of the Cake, issuance of Etoluo certificate to the celebrants and announcement by the PG that Etoluo has to be attached to the name of the celebrants such as Etoluo Sir Ngozi Anyakora.