Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, yesterday, received a Haitian delegation at the Government House, Enugu, amid excitement and pomp.
The 10-man delegation led by Senator Moise Jean-Charles was on a homecoming mission to Enugu, the political capital of Igboland, to perform conventional Igbo rituals such as traditional naming and name adoption, after they traced their roots to Igboland.
Addressing the delegation, Ugwuanyi, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya, delightfully welcomed them to Enugu State in particular and the entire Igboland in general, and commended them for the bold step.
The governor also appreciated them for keeping a date with history and following their heart and for getting back to their roots.
The governor, while stressing the significance of the visit said: “Today is a new beginning for all of us. We open our doors to you and we are ready as we have demonstrated. We also want you to know that changing your names is in agreement with the Igbo tradition that you have a new name for a new born.
“Today, you are born new in Enugu State and in the land of your fathers. Congratulations!”
In his remarks, leader of the delegation, Sen. Jean-Charles, who described the visit to Enugu State as homecoming, thanked Ugwuanyi for the hospitality accorded to them in the state.
He recounted the affinity of the people and culture of Enugu State and Haiti, revealing that Enugu has five letters as Haiti and that Enugu and Haiti mean cities on top of a hill.
“I have visited many countries, many places around the world but this is the first time I have visited a country where everybody looks like me. I have not come here as a foreign person. I have come back home.
Before I keep on talking, I want to on behalf of all Haitians, all the blocks in Haiti, to thank you (Ugwuanyi) for receiving us after 218 years,” Jean-Charles said.
In their separate goodwill messages, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Ugonna Ibe, the Chairman, Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRH Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu, the immediate past President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo and Ozo (Dr.) Ferdinand Anikwe, gave a historic background of the Haitians and their link with Igbos, applauding the visitors for taking such a bold step in identifying with the place of their origin.
The climax of the event were the traditional naming and name adoption by the Haitian delegation, which was performed by Igwe Agubuzu in company of other traditional rulers present.
The visitors also performed the Igede cultural dance and also received souvenirs from the Enugu State government.