Eze Christian Nwachukwu, chairman council of Ndieze in Lagos State has said that the significance of the new yam festival to Ndigbo is the reason it is being celebrated by the people.
Nwachukwu who marked his annual new yam festival; popularly called “Iri ji” on Saturday said that the festival has its origin from the fore fathers of Ndigbo who were sustained eating yam in the time of lack.
He maintained that yam remained the chief crop for any Igbo man. According to him the historical perspective helped their forebears to assess their economic performance and also position them to look forward to another year of prosperity.
The Eze said that the festival also helps to teach Igbo children culture and traditions. He said, “Our fore fathers specifically told us to continue with the tradition, so we have a responsibility to also teach our younger ones the same, just like we learnt from our fathers. Secondly we eat yam anywhere we are, apart from Igbo land because yam is number one in Igbo land and again some of our children are born and raised in the Diaspora and most of them do not have the opportunity of being in Igbo land, so we must teach them our traditions, which as you know includes the Igbo language, our food, dance, clothes etcetera. We have our native delicacies here today, you saw the masquerades, our dresses, dances. It is complete Igbo affair. We need to guide our children especially now that the influence of western civilisation is all around us.
The traditional ruler also expressed his views about the aftermath of #EndSARS and how some people who he called mischief makers planned unsuccessfully to cause disunity among Ndigbo and Yoruba. He said that Ndigbo and their Yoruba host have a long standing cordial relationship which was why the man who claimed to have given Ndigbo notice to quit was dissociated by well meaning sons and daughters of Yoruba. He said that Ndigbo and other ethnic groups have been living harmoniously. “You can see from the attendance at the event, the Yoruba as well as the Hausa communities were here today. Every tribe was well represented.” He said.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State was part of the quest of honour at the ceremony, although he was represented by his aide, Wale Adelano. The governor did not mince word when he thanked Ndigbo in Lagos for their diligence in commerce and their uprightness in the paying of bills in Lagos State, stressing that their partnership in the progress of the State was appreciated.
He said that the progress in the State would not be complete without input from Ndigbo residents in the State. According to the govrrnor every resident of Lagos would be regarded as a Lagosian irrespective of ethnic affiliations.
While presenting Sanwo-Olu’s adress, Adelano said, “The governor does not know Hausa man, Yoruba man or Igbo man, all that the governor sees is a Lagosian. Every resident of Lagos State matters to the governor, which is why we are here and he has sent his goodwill message to appreciate the Eze for his support for his administration. He wants Ndigbo to continue to support the State.”
Hon Jude Idimogu, member representing Oshodi/Isolo constituency 2 at the Lagos State House of Assembly was also at the event, and he used the opportunity to appeal to the youths to shun violence and be ready to dialogue with the government on any matter. He stressed that the governor as a listening leader would be ready to respond promptly to issues concerning the youths which according to him was the reason the governor focused on youth’s employment in the 2021 budget, themed “Budget of Rekindled Hope”.
The chairman committee of wealth creation and employment also commended Eze Nwachukwu for his role in upholding Igbo cultural values, in spite of the challenges of western culture.
The event also offered an opportunity for the commissioning of Igbo traditional secretariat, as well as the ethroning of chieftaincy title on some prominent Nigerians, including Chief Mrs. Vivian Obi, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Aswani who was given the title of Ochi Udo and a host of others.