From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
Enugu State Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has emphasized the need for the promotion and preservation of Igbo cultural heritage.
Consequently, he has urged the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndígbo to take the lead in that direction as the custodian of Igbo culture and tradition.
The Governor spoke through the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Simon Ortuanya, at the Okpara Square, Enugu at the weekend, when the state chapter of Ohanaeze Ndígbo marked the 2022 Iri-ji (New Yam) Festival.
At the event, which attracted the high and mighty in the state and beyond, the Governor congratulated Ohanaeze for sustaining the rich cultural heritage of Ndigbo and urged the organisation not to rest on its oars.
Earlier in his address, the State President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. Frederick Eze expressed gratitude to God for the grace to put the event together and thanked Governor Ugwuanyi for the massive support his government has extended to Ohanaeze Ndigbo Enugu State Chapter, especially in providing the resources which made the event possible.
Eze also congratulated the Governor for the numerous accolades he has received in
recent times, particularly the national honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) as well as the Distinguished Award for State Judicial Reform.
Giving reason for the festival, Prof. Eze explained that Yam is the king of crops and Iri-ji festival symbolizes the conclusion of farming season and the beginning of the next cycle.
He said, “This is a special and solemn event, and an occasion for our people to express gratitude to God for a bountiful harvest. We celebrate the Iri-ji festival in keeping with the age-long tradition of Ndigbo that was laid by our ancestors.
“We use it to thank God for His grace and mercies on His people for protecting and preserving us through the lean and hard times of cultivation to the season of harvest and plenty.”
The event featured cultural displays, giving of awards to deserving individuals and the installation of 2022 Eze-Ji in the person of Chief Gregory Onuorah, a South Africa-based business mogul.
Climax of the event was the traditional iwa-ji (cutting of the yam) ceremony which was performed by the Royal Father of the day and Chairman of Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu.