BY SUNNY A. DAVID
The rich cultural heritage of Ihiala town came to the fore during the 2019 New Yam and Ofala Festivals of Igwe Thomas Obidiegwu, Oluoha the Seventeenth of Ihiala at Saint Martin’s field, Odata Ihiala.
The New Yam festival which was the first to be celebrated by Igwe Obidiegwu attracted personalities from across the country.
Igwe Obidiegwu in an address said the New Yam Festival marked the beginning of a new dawn in Ihiala and thanked the State Governor for issuing him the Certificate of Recognition, a singular act which according to him, restored peace in Ihiala and pledged the total support of Ihiala people to his administration.
He appealed to those who are still aggrieved to give peace a chance for the progress of the town.
The Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Honourable Uche Okafor at the festival, praised Ihiala people for rallying round their Igwe who he described as a man of peace.
He said that Anambra State Governor created Ministry of Culture and Tourism to promote, showcase and strengthen rich Igbo cultures and tradition and urged Igwe Obidiegwu to continue with the good work he is doing in the town.
In his speech, the Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Chief C-Don Adinuba, who is also an indigene of the town described the festival as a unity rally as Ihiala people came out in their large numbers to speak with one voice pointing out that with the festival, Ihiala people have entered a new era of Unity, stability and Progress .
The Commissioner thanked Governor Willie Obiano for restoring peace in the town through proper selection of traditional ruler of the town.
Also speaking, Anambra State Commissioner for Transport, Dr. Christian Madubuko said New Yam festival is an important culture of Ndigbo which must be celebrated among Ndigbo while his counterpart in charge of Public Utilities, Engineer Emeka Ezenwanne, said that New yam festival is the king of all the celebration in Igbo land that signifies fruitfulness, and gift of food .
In his remarks, the President General of Ihiala town, Chief Okey Chukwu said the celebration was beyond their expectation and called for peace among the people while Retired Air Vice Marshal Ben Obi, Special Assistant to Governor Obiano on Security urged Ndigbo to join hands to uphold their rich cultural heritage.
Earlier, during the Interdenominational Service that ushered in the festival at Saint Martin’s Catholic Church, Ihiala, Reverend Father Sergius-Paul Iberi, an indigenous Priest of Ihiala called for patience and hardwork among the youth and for all to make sacrifices for unity and brotherhood.
Igwe Obidiegwu amidst jubilation from the mammoth crowd at the field cut and ate the roasted new yam.
Igba Uhio dance by the Igwe Obidiegwu accompanied by some traditional rulers who attended the event together with his Council Members, breaking of kolanut, Ima-mbem and masquerade displays added colour to the event.
Different villages, Youths, Friends and Well wishers also paid homage to the Clan Head of Ihiala Ancient Kingdom.