The traditional ruler of Umutowe Autonomous Community of Olokoro in Umuahia South LGA of Abia state, Godfrey Chinedu Onwuka has advised the federal government to look towards employing the traditional new yam festival commonly celebrated in the South Eastern part of Nigeria as a tourist event.
HRM Eze Onwuka, the Towe I of the community and Chairman, Olokoro Council of Traditional offered this advice in his Olokoro palace during the community’s 2017 new yam festival, stating that the event is capable of attracting foreigners into the country, and who would want to witness the festival “all over again”, stating “government should make it a national annual event”.
This, he said will attract non-Nigerians into the recessive economy the country has now and which will do the economy good.
While declaring that new yam festival in Igbo land is not fetish, the traditional ruler disclosed that 90per cent of the new yam used during the occasion was a product of their farms , stating that yam is the chief farm product in the south east, hence the celebration.
“Here we do not pour libation, but had a priest that prayed for us before we started the ceremony”, he said pointing out that due to late farming, some farmers were yet to harvest, “but the yams we ate are purely our product and not bought from the market”.
Theoretically he said, the Federal Government is doing a lot and has been able to export yam, stating, “if he can put the theory into practice, Nigeria will be good”, advising the Federal Government that road infrastructure challenges faces the farmers in the rural Communities in the country.
He pleaded with government at all levels to get the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC to be back to Ahiaukwu-Itaja road in Olokoro in Umuahia South and completely repair the road they abandoned, as the commission did a bad job.
Collaborating with Eze Onwuka, the traditional ruler of Agbama Autonomous Community, also in Olokoro, Eze said the modern day Christianity has taken over the method of new yam festival in the country, hence nothing fetish is found within it.
Also collaborating with the traditional rulers, a community leader and Agbama Olokoro President General designate, Dr. Ifeanacho Eze said the 2017 new yam festival was peaceful, specially as the community want peace.
He described the occasion as one that ensures peace in the community, stating that his community has two major ceremonies in a year, – the new yam festival and that of August meeting by their women folk, stating “these we do through prayers to God.
New yam festival, he said offers people the opportunity to come back to thank God, and that the community has stopped certain things that happen during the occasion and which include carrying knives, unacceptable and indecent dressing, and other forms of vices, pleading with government at all levels should ensure that roads in the rural communities are put in order as something that is very important to them, as well as school and recreational infrastructures.
Sunday Nwakanma- Umuahia