From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
At last, the Uga community in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State has heaved a sigh of relief with the celebration of the new yam festival by its new traditional ruler, HRH Igwe Chidi Ezenwugo.
Igwe Ezenwugo was finally crowned the traditional ruler of the community after a protracted leadership crisis in the agrarian town.
As tradition demands, Igwe Ezenwugo kick-started the ceremony in his palace before the entire community followed suit the next day with fanfare at the community’s square where all members of the four quarters that make up Uga, including Anaras, Umuoru, Oka and Umueze gathered in their colourful traditional attire.
The ceremony started in earnest when the Igwe arrived with his cabinet chiefs and other members of his entourage.
Their coming was heralded with canon shots, shouts of acceptance and approval which charged the atmosphere.
The Igwe on arrival moved round to acknowledge cheers from members of the four quarters and their visitors at the arena who were already on their feet shouting: Igweee, Igweee, Igweee, as a mark of reverence to the traditional institution.
Flanked by the Igwe at the seat prepared for him at the arena was his Lolo (wife) who was decked in traditional attire like the husband to reflect their positions as the Isi Obis in charge of the four quarters seated near them.
While praying after the kolanut was presented to him to break, the Igwe asked God for sustainable peace and brotherly love in Uga.
He said that the people were there to observe an age-long tradition of the community and to celebrate peace that had finally come to the entire people of the town.
Igwe Ezenwugo assured that he would carry everybody along in his leadership, saying that he would bring the Uga people together so that they would no longer lose any share due to them.
“And I will ensure that there is complete peace,” he said, adding that he would always support the government of Anambra State.
Also speaking, the President General of the community, Sir James Umezuruoha, disclosed that there were 16 sponsors of the 2016 new yam festival who the community members fondly nicknamed 16 wise men.
The president general said that each quarter brought four sponsors to make up the number.
He said that the sponsors contributed their resources to make the ceremony a grand success, noting that it was a challenge to other sons of Uga.
Sir Umezuruoha called for peaceful co-existence in the community after the 16 wise men had been called out to receive royal blessings from the Igwe for a job well done.
He announced that next year’s new yam festival sponsorship in Uga should be voluntary or the village heads be tasked.
The PG later announced that there would be mass return to Uga in December this year to celebrate what he called the Obu Ofo centenary.
Talking about customs and tradition in Igbo land, the immediate past President General of the community, Chief Emmanuel Onyeghara (Ezeudo) noted that the dwindling culture and tradition amongst the Igbo had been caused by overwhelming influence of Western culture.
“Some Igbo allow themselves to be so much influenced by foreign traditions thereby jettisoning our rich cultural heritage. This is a bad omen and a threat to our existence as a people. Each community in Igbo land should embark on serious cultural revival and that will be passed over to our children and generations unborn. Every Igbo community should value its cultural heritage. This cultural erosion has even affected our language display which has equally suffered a major setback,” Chief Onyeghara said.
One of the side attractions on the occasion was cultural dance display by the Uga Students Union members who took turn to exhibit their dexterity in traditional music dance.