Use new yam festival to foster peace, leaders task Enugu communities

Igwe Emeka Ojukwu (middle) cutting the new yam to usher in the festival.

Leaders from Obeagu Town, in Awgu Local Council of Enugu State, have asked residents of the state to use the new yam festival to embrace peace for the development of the various communities.

The leaders spoke at the event held, for the first time in eight years, at the Igwebike Primary School Field, Obeagu.

According to them, peace is crucial to the survival and growth of any community.

At the celebration, which also marked the ascension to the throne, the paramount ruler of the community, Igwe Okolo Sylvester Emeka Ojukwu, urged the people to reflect the essence of the ceremony, which according to him was to unify the people and bring development.

“I am going to ensure that peace prevails in Obeagu by setting up a committee that will ensure unity and peace in the kingdom.

“We will make sure that there will be nothing like stealing again in this community. Parents look after your children, discipline them, warm and advise them.

“I will ensure that we address issues and concerns from various groups to actualise the peace and progress that we need as a kingdom,” he said.

President General of the community, Ogbuefi Callistus Orjiogbu, said that the new yam festival is a way of honouring the ancestors and promoting the cultural heritage of Obeagu Kingdom.

“Yam, as the king of crops occupies a very important position both in the diet and socio-cultural lives of an Obeagu man. As the king crop, it appears in important ceremonies like marriage festivals, birth and burial ceremonies as well as conferment of titles and reception of heroes. During such ceremonies, the most preferred food is usually pounded yam with egusi and okra soup with meat and fish to taste.

“The Iri-Ji (meaning eating of yam) festival is exclusively organised in the olden days by the menfolk who have attained the age of maturity.

“This celebration and others were the creation of our forefathers in response to socio-cultural and religious demands for survival between man and his environment to exist in harmony. Therefore, we are calling our children and female members of Obeagu Nevon Ugama Community to join in the celebrations to promote and sustain our culture in this modern age, so as to sustain peace for development,” he stated.

A youth leader, Tochukwu Chukwu, urged them to refrain from practices that will tarnish the image of the community, noting that there is no gain in crime.

“This is an opportunity to unite, advise the youths and see how we can move forward. There is no gain in crime. There is no gain in making problems. No to drugs, most at times when they take drugs they turn to exhibit these criminal tendencies, but when you are in your clear senses you will not think of kidnapping or stealing,” he said.

Also speaking, the councillor representing the Obeagu Award, Roseline Udeh, urged the people to eschew hate and embrace peace.

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