By Chukwudum Ebele
It was merriment galore at Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area, Anambra State, when Igwe Chibuike Okafor Ezeaganama, played host to Diaspora traditional rulers within his kingdom as he celebrated 2023 newyam festival.
First to pay homage during the celebration was the Igbo traditional ruler of Lagos State Riverine communities, Ezechinedu Nweke Muodozie, who thanked God for keeping Ezeaganama to celebrate the new yam.
“My maternal home is here in Aganama, Igwe Ezeaganama is our traditional ruler, it is inherited here, I represent him in Lagos as the Igbo Riverine communities’ monarch. We are here to pay homage to him. Newyam festival is to showcase the reach cultural heritage of Awkuzu people and by extension, Igbo race.
‘Yam is the Chief crop, imagine that the little you cultivate will grow to big yam that can feed eight people. Everybody should invest in agriculture as a way out of hunger. I am an agriculturist and I farm in Lagos. I have cow, goat, fish, among others in my farm and will soon come down to Awkuzu to invest in agriculture.
“Youths should refrain from hard drug consumption and keep themselves busy by learning a trade, vocation or education because hard drug kills,” he advised.
Also contributing, the Ezeigbo in Mushin and Major of Ladipo market, HRM, Eze Chinedu Muozie, said that he was happy to be with Igwe Ezeaganama in the 2023 newyam festival adding that, “He is our natural traditional ruler and we are here to pay homage to him and have his blessings as traditional rulers in Diaspora,” he stated.
Earlier, prior to cutting the yam, Igwe Ezeaganama thanked God for the abundant harvest and prayed for bigger harvest in future pointing out that agriculture is everyone’s business as hunger is enemy to all.
“We thank God for the 2023 newyam festival and I commend the Diaspora traditional rulers, Awkuzu indigenes, friends and well wishers who despite their tight schedules, resolved to be physically present to join me in the celebration.
“I will continue to pray God for peace and development of this community and with your support we will not relent in moving the community forward. God has blessed us and I will advise the youths to refrain from hard drugs and engage themselves in meaningful profession,” he pleaded.
Speaking, Hon. Obiesie John Ifemelunma, who led the Ifite village delegates to the arena, disclosed that any monarch in Awkuzu must be crowned and given staff of office by the Okpala Awkuzu, Chief Nweke Ozoemena Mgbedike, adding that Igweship throne is inherited in Aganama family.
“Government only recognises the person presented by the community as their monarch, government does not choose and present by itself. So our monarch, Ezeaganama is a pure traditional monarch, not government appointed. That is why the celebration of the newyam is like celebration of Ofala festival. People came from far and wide to join him in the celebration,” he revealed.
Also reacting, the Owelle of Awkuzu, Chief Peter Emenaka, said that the newyam was an opportunity for the monarch to also bless the people adding that he was crowned Igwe because he completed the processes involved.
“We have our tradition and institution, we should tell ourselves the truth, Igwe Ezeaganama is the widely accepted monarch in Awkuzu and it is inherited in Aganama family. It is not disputable and anyone crowned must be given Offor by the Okpala Awkuzu,” he stated.
The Owelle also advised the youths to avoid acts capable of dragging the image of the community to the mud by engaging in meaningful projects and avoid consumption of hard drugs as it is an ill wind that blows nobody good.
Former chairman of Oyi Local Government Area, Hon. Dr.Tony Jiendu, expressed satisfaction with the newyam celebration adding that Igwe Chibuike Okafor Ezeaganama 111, is a man of the people who was given staff of office as monarch of the community by the Okpala Awkuzu that is the only authorized person to do so, pointing out that Igweship throne is the inheritance of Aganama family.
A retired Federal controller of Works, Engr. Emma Ifeanyi Anizoba, said it was the first time he witnessed newyam festival adding that as an indigene of Awkuzu, he is after equity, integrity, respect for human dignity.
“I told Prof. Charles Anikweze, rival monarch, that even if President Bola Tinubu supports him, he will not fly in Awkuzu as monarch. I am a peace maker and I don’t want violence. Igweship is not contestable in Awkuzu, it is inherited by Aganama family.
“I told Anikweze there is nothing he can afford the communty, if I am gullible I would have been with him to oppose Igwe Ezeaganama who today is celebrating 2023 newyam festival. I also refused being part of ADIMMA group in the community.
“We celebrate our king, Ezeaganama, because he has integrity, fairness, and anyone that has these qualities must have my support and respect. Igwe Ezeaganama is a peace maker and grassroot monarch,” he stated.
Recall that a rival monarch, who was given certificate, Prof. Charles Anikweze, when contacted said he remained the monarch adding that activities of Ezeaganama 111 is illegal.
“If somebody rises up as an imposter, he is on his own, they are trying to woo some crisis but we wait and see. The case is in court, I am still the Igwe Nnamenyi of Awkuzu, Okafor is an impostor,” he stated.
Pix 1. shows Igwe Ezeaganama middle. pic 2 shows Ezeaganama 2nd from Right