It was an aesthetic display of tradition, colour, class and the cultural heritage of the Igbo people. The event was the 2018 edition of the Mushin Cultural Day and Thanksgiving, held in Mushin, Lagos, recently.
In attendance were many celebrities, captains of industry, politicians, journalists and many more.
The seats at the venue were fully occupied as hundreds of gaily-attired men and women danced to the beat of traditional drums, while assorted masquerades thrilled the guests.
Chairman at the event, Chucks Okwugili, a lawyer, said the day was one that had been beneficial to those who associate with it.
Okwugili explained that, in both hard and good times, it was important for people to give praise to God. He also noted that leaders must always pursue the unity of the country, even as he praised the leadership and organisational capacity of the chief host and Eze Ndigbo of Mushin, Dr. John Nwosu, Eze Kwesili Eze.
“It is a very wonderful day indeed for Eze Kwesili Eze to put this together to showcase the Igbo culture. We have in our days the Iwa Ji, and we have carried on with the tradition, which means thanksgiving. We are showing gratitude because thanksgiving is meant to say thank you to God for all he has done. I am celebrating with Eze.
“The condition of this country is better than that of some others, so we still say thank you. By saying thank you to God then we can ask him to give us more, especially the strength to unify Nigeria and the Igbo race. The Igbo stand to gain more growth in one Nigeria,” Okwugili said.
In his welcome address, Eze Kwesili Eze commended the Igbo people in Mushin and in other parts of Lagos for being law-abiding and cooperative over the years. He also encouraged the Igbo that would soon be vying for elective positions in the state not to see politics as a do-or-die affair.
“For Igbos to contest successfully in the community and state shows a sign of oneness that we are preaching and one of the major reasons is to bring our people together. There is no way we would spend the whole year without celebrating our people. This state is like our home and there is a need to contribute to the growth of the community,” he said.
The community leader had earlier performed some traditional rites to welcome guests and other leaders who graced the occasion.
President-general of Ladipo Market in Mushin, Jude Chikere Nwankwo, in his welcome address, noted that: “The most important thing we should be after is the peace and unity of our communities, which will transcend to the country in general. This country has a lot to offer us and this land has given us a lot. We all know that Ladipo is the hub of spare parts and the progress of the market is determined by the progress of the host community and the state.”
He added that, as the leader of Ladipo Market, he would ensure that the Igbo in the community
participate in developmental events, including elections.
The ceremony, which lasted till late in the day, saw different entertainment groups performing, displaying scintillating dance steps and rendering great songs. Ceremonial gunshots were fired into
the air, and the flutes of masquerades serenaded the audience.
One of the groups that thrilled the crowd with rhythms was the Uhio Nde Nze Na Ozor troupe. Members of the group arranged themselves in a triangular form, leading the band with the huge, brown wooden gong.
Leader of the troupe, Chief Okechukwu Adaike, said they came from Anambra State, and the group only performs where titled chiefs are gathered and it is meant to calm the nerves of the people.
“It is for those who believe and understand tradition. An ofeke (a non-title holder) is not to dance to the beat,” he said
At least four masquerades entertained the crowd. One of them was Ugonoma, who wore the costume of a white bird with a follower carrying its egg in a symbolic gesture of peace and rebirth.
There were also Enyi, Aku and Ezu Me Zu, and Ijele, which originated from the old Anambra State. The king of masquerades, as it is referred to, was covered in mirrors. It was said that it mysteriously picks and sees anyone with charms or destructive weapons. The mirror then brings such a fellow to Ijele for punishment.
The celebration also featured awards and installation of chiefs. There were 13 chiefs installed at the event, including Nkoli Nwa Nsukka and a reporter with The Sun Publishing Limited, Mrs. Tessy Igomu, who got the Adadioranma Ndigbo title. Daily Sun was also garlanded at the event.
While giving the award, Okwugili said: “This is for giving us an audience and making sure that the culture and tradition of the people do not die.”
Igomu, while thanking the Eze for the award, said she was pleasantly surprised at the recognition. She also expressed gratitude to her bosses at The Sun as well as colleagues and friends that attended the event.