Ebenator Celebrates New Yam Festival, Installs New Onowu
By Izunna Okafor
Ebenator Ozulọgụ, the great community of Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State has marked her 2021 new yam festival amidst jubilation, funfair and encomium.
The well-attended event, which held at the palace of the Traditional Ruler of the community, H.R.H. Edwin Chinaewubeze Ezejiburu, drew the participation of noble sons and daughters of Ebenator, who came from far and near to witness the occasion.
The new yam festival (Iri Ji Ebenator) was coming two days after the Igwe and the community had installed and presented certificate to Prof. Sam Uzochukwu as the community's new Traditional Prime Minister (Onowu) —another great event that held over the week, with about fifteen other traditional prime ministers from different parts of the state in attendance.
Performing the kola nut and new yam cutting ritual, Igwe Ezejiburu, who described new yam festival as a great cultural event in Igbo, appreciated God for gift of life, successful planting season and bountiful harvest.
While thanking God for His blessings upon the sons and daughters of Ebenator and the progress of the community, Igwe Ezejiburu, who is also the longest serving monarch in the entire Nnewi South Local Government Area, also appreciated the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano on the Community Choose Your Project initiative, which Ebenator benefitted from. He also used the medium to appeal to the Governor to come to the community's 'rescue' in areas of road infrastructure and Ebenator Erosion Gully, which is one of the deepest and most devastating erosion gullies in the southeastern Nigeria, and which has been battling the community for decades.
After the symbolic cutting of the yam into four pieces (representing the four market days in Igbo land), the new yam festival kicked off in earnest, as different cultural dance groups took over the stage to thrill and entertain the participants with their performances, including the uhie cultural dance, followed by merriments and paying of homage to the traditional ruler, by different groups and individuals.
In an interview, the queen of the land, Lọọlọ Elizabeth Ezejiburu, who thanked God for clement weather, also hailed the sons and daughters of the soil who came from far and near to witness the event, praying for more divine blessings upon them in their respective fields of endeavours.
In a remark, the President General of Ebenator Development Union, Dr. Anthony Okechukwu congratulated the traditional ruler and the community on the successful 2021 new yam festival, and described new yam festival as a cultural festival held to a great esteem in the community and the entire Igbo land.
Speaking on the recent Onowu installation, Dr. Okechukwu described it as a welcome development, owing to its enormous benefits.
He said, "One of the most interesting things about his installation is that he is not just an Onowu, but also somebody who read Igbo language and culture and rose to the rank of a professor in that field. That means that whatever that is involved in the Onowuship, he knows it very well and will put it into practice. And by so doing, this community, and other communities in this area will benefit immensely from his knowledge and experience. And more importantly, he will support and assist our king in the rulership of the community."
In their separate remarks, the Planning Committee Chairman for the Onowu installation and the new yam festival, Hon. Pualinus Ubah, and the Committee Secretary, Mr. Anthony Ezepuo registered their heartfelt joy for the success of both events and appreciated everyone who contributed in one way or the other to the success.
While expressing optimism that next year's edition of the new yam festival will be greater than this year's edition, they also registered their expectations that the recent installation of Onowu will help in greater way, to drive and propel the developmental wheel of the community and take the community to more enviable height.
In his address, the newly installed Onuwu of the community, Prof. Sam Uzochukwu, who goes by the name 'Onowu Ọ̀kàmmụ̀tá', appreciated the community for finding him worthy of holding such esteemed position, and promised to uphold the confidence the community reposed in him, and to faithfully work with and under the Igwe in utmost humility, for the overall progress and well-being of the community and her citizens.
While recalling the community's erstwhile feats and heroism, especially in education, Prof. Uzochukwu, who is also a reputable academic, expert in Igbo oral poetry and the first Professor in the entire Mbanese region of Nnewi South Local Government Area, also floated the "Sam Uzochukwu Education Fund" with the sum of two million naira (N2m), through which he also awarded scholarship (including WAEC fees) to every SS3-class student who is an indigene of the community, studying in the community's secondary school.
The new Traditional Prime Minister also pledged to keep supporting the community in diverse ways, and also called for more collaborative efforts of the indigens to take the community higher educationally, developmentally and otherwise, in line with the age-long tenet of "Ibu Anyì Danda", for which the community was known from time immemorial.