Ndigbo in Zaria celebrates New Yam Festival as Igwe Unogu advocates help for the need
By Olivia Obijiaku
Ezeigbo II of Zaria, His Royal Highness, Igwe V.I. Unogu (KSM), his cabinet members, and some key members of Igbo Community in Zaria, (ICA) celebrated the annual New Yam Festival at his palace in Graceland Zaria, Kaduna State on Sunday, 18h September, 2022. At the event which was chaired by Prof Reginald O. Obiako who asserted that ‘the Igbos are known to be peace-loving and highly organized people’, the mouthpiece acknowledged how God has been protecting him and his people despite the challenges confronting the nation.
He reminded Ndigbo in Zaria and environs of the need to shun acts that are capable of tarnishing their identity pointing them to the less privileged members for whom he canvassed assistance.
“Yam is the king of all crops.” His Royal Highness intimated. “New Yam Festival marks the beginning of a new year. This festival shall bring us progress and peace. God has blessed us with bountiful harvest. To the glory of God, we will eat this yam with joy and happiness. As we celebrate, let us remember those who have nothing to eat. May God answer my prayers for Ndigbo and Nigeria as a whole. He shall continue to protect us.”
Delivering a paper titled The Role of New Yam Festival Ceremony in the Promotion and Sustenance of Peace and Unity among Ndigbo in Zaria and Environs, a lecturer at Federal College of Education Gombe, MrAliakor Josephat Onyekaozuru kicked against segregation of any kind within the groups calling on the traditional leader and the President of ICA, Engr. Chief Vincent Oriah to ensure peace and unity among Ndigbo in the territory as well as work towards surpassing already established and bequeathed legacies.
During the iwa ji (yam cutting) session when key members of the Igwe’s cabinet and ICA as well as representatives of the six members states cut the yam on behalf of their people, Chief Oriah prayed that peace and joy abide with the community. He further explained in an interview with stadt daily.news that “the culture demands that the Igwe cuts and eat the yam first before any other community. But unlike in Igboland where we have villages, we are partitioned into states and local governments.” On the challenges confronting the association, he asserted that they are handling whatever issues there may be.
Stadt daily .news also learnt from a member of Igwe Unogu cabinet, Chief Pius Egwu (Ananu akamu anaeze okpukpu na Umuchu), that Ndigbo celebrate new yam festival outside Igboland “in order to update our culture and translate what we celebrate at home in towns so that our children may also learn and uphold out traditions.” He then tasked parents and guardians to point their children and wards to the roots.