By Felix Ikem, Nsukka
Ohanaeze Ndigbo has called on the Igbo to explore the various practices associated with traditional presentation and breaking of kolanut (Iwa Oji) and preserve them for upcoming generations.
This formed part of a communique issued by Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nsukka Local Government chapter of Enugu State, after its one-day seminar, tagged: ‹Iwa Oji› held at Adada Hall in the council headquarters on September 21, 2022.
The communique which was signed by chairman of the chapter, Prof Damian Opata, noted that the reason for the seminar was anchored on the need to explore the practices associated with the presentation and breaking of kola nut in Nsukka LGA and the need to maintain them as well as pass them over to the younger generation.
Opata added that the kola nut remains a symbol of hospitality in Igbo cosmology which plays an important role in the celebration of Igbo culture and tradition, stressing that, it was why the item is the first thing given to guests as a sign of welcome by the host: «Kola nut is a symbol of hospitality in Igbo tradition and that is why it›s the first thing given to a guest by the host.
“There is a need to uphold and preserve the traditional practices of presenting and breaking of the kola nut, as well as educate the young ones of its sacred importance in Igbo culture.”
Opata said that the major reason Nsukka people broke the nut before the associated ritual was to ascertain that it was not infected with bacteria which would be seen from the lobes: «It›s believed that any kola nut presented must be wholesome, as infected one will be thrown away since it will be rejected by Ezechitoke (God) and ancestors.
“Any person designated to break kola nut among the Nsukka people does it and gives the lobes to the oldest person in the gathering from the area for prayer.
“Kola nut and Ofo (Traditional symbol of authority) constitute the two most important ritual symbols in Igboland.
“In this age of modernity where many young persons have become alienated from their culture, youths should be taught how to present, break and pray with kola nut in Igboland using their mother tongue.
“They also know that the sacred fruit is an object of ritual and communication with God, deities, and ancestors.”
Participants expressed appreciation to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Chief Walter Ozioko, Chairman of Nsukka LGA, for their continued support for Ohaneze Ndigbo as well as their passion for promoting Igbo culture and traditions.
Ozioko was represented by his deputy, Mr. Sylvanus Asogwa while representative of Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU), Paully Eze, scholars, and lovers of Nsukka/Igbo culture, were present at the seminar. Igwe Patrick Okoro and Igwe Christian Asogwa were among speakers at the event.