The people of Awkuzu in Oyi Local Government Area over the weekend converged at the palace of their traditional ruler, HRH Prof Charles M Anikweze to celebrate the first anniversary ofhis new yam festival.
The festival, an age-long tradition of the Awkuzu kingdom, is celebrated once a year in September, to mark the climax of the New Yam.
The festival which started with interdenominational praise and worship had in attendance members of the ruling council, hundreds of men, women and youths – attired in beautiful traditional and ceremonial costumes – dancing to the pulsating beat of traditional drummers, instrumentalists and singers, which heralds the celebration with the high chiefs.
Speaking shortly after the homily, A member of the community, Rev. Father Prof. Josephat Oguejiofor of UNIZIK and also a priest of Arch Diocese of Onitsha noted that the customs and rites of the people as regards to religious afflictions, noted that doing something that is traditional as it hinges on the gospel because the gospel should find a place anywhere it goes, so we are now Christianizing “Iwa ije” New Yam Festival and so that in future, no one sees it as pagan rites, though it is traditional and since we are Christians, we take that tradition that is good into Christianity that is what we are doing. king is starting this New Yam Festival with the service. We are calling on God whether we are traditionalist or Christians to show as the true light because we recognize that God is the origin and the owner of life.
The traditional ruler of Awkuzu Igwe Anikweze, during the breaking of kolanut said that this year New Yam Festival is very significant and that yams are known as the king of crops, “that is why we call upon God to have mercy on Aw kuzu community. Those who have grudges to forgive and forget. Those who are planning evil to have a change of mind and let those with good hearts receive blessings from God. It shall be well with us, let’s join hands together to rebuild Awkuzu”.
Also speaking, high chief Dr. Mrs Florence Maduka, who is in charge of Education in Awkuzu stated that “today is a special day to the people of Awkuzu as the king and his cabinets celebrates the 1st anniversary of the New Yam Festival”.
Chief Mmaduka equally added that the Educational System is gradually taking a positive shape as no stone is left unturned especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. While calling on the Sate Government to put in measures in improving the standard of Education in Awkuzu.
The event however, attracted noble men and women in the society as well as political stalwarts, different security operatives and those who came to pay homage to the traditional ruler.