THE gathering of Aniocha/Oshimili community in Los Angeles was amazing with members of the Association (the male folks), relatives and friends coming together in one spirit to celebrate this year’s Iwaji (New yam) festival. The event which was hosted by Ogbueshi Azubuike Okafor, the Vice President of the Association; in his home at Fontana, Los Angeles, also marked the monthly general meeting of the Association.
As an agrarian community, yam is a staple crop in Anioma nation. Accordingly, yam is celebrated annually in form of iwaji Festival with pomp and ceremony both at home and in Diasporas. It is usually an avenue to give thanks to God in heaven and to pay obeisance to the ancestors for sustenance in the year past and to pray for bountiful harvest in the coming year.
The chief host, Ogbueshi Okafor, from Okpanam, did not disappoint as members and guests were treated to a buffet; with an array of sumptuous dishes and assorted drinks. Adorned in a white top of the legendary Okwa–Ocha, of Anioma nation, which signifies purity and peace, Ogbueshi Okafor was on his feet throughout the event, felicitating with everyone present in Anioma style. And some with good vitality of the limbs took to the dance floor; leading the pack was the chief host, Ogbueshi Okafor, Mr. Nelson Agbagwu, Mrs. Jo. Monyei, the Ugo Odogwu of Akwukwu-Igbo, Mrs. Helen Chima, Mrs. Okafor and a host of others.
In validation of the saying, of our forbears, which states that “individually, we are one drop, but collectively we are an ocean”, members of the Aniocha/Oshimili community in Los Angeles and other progressive Associations in USA seems to have imbibed their approach from the advice of our forbears. Unconsciously, members of this Association among others; have been in the forefront working assiduously, as part of their service mandate, to preserve and promote Anioma cultural heritage and above all, to be their brother’s keeper in their place of residents and in the homeland-Anioma.
The highpoint of the meeting which preceded the iwaji Festival was the resolution passed by members of the Association; to ensure discipline and soundness of character in relation to the progress of the Association in Los Angeles and individual members alike. More importantly, as exchange of ideas and pulling of resources make work lighter and increases efficiency of productive processes for community development.
It is gratifying to note that Anioma Associations in United States are holding true to Anioma cultural heritage. With all the glitz and glamour associated with American lifestyle, Anioma people, both young and old are holding their heads high above the usual acculturation of our cultural values, presented in the garb of modern civilization.
Prominent among the members of the Association and guests that graced the occasion were Mr. Emmanuel Nnamdi Anyakpor, President of the Association, Chief Emmanuel Monyei, the Odogwu of Akwukwu-Igbo, Mr. Alex Nwochie, Mr. Austin Odume, Dr. B. Ojoko, Mr. Mark Olele, Mr. Anthony Ochei, Mr. Jude Okwuokei, Mr. Nelson Agbagwu and Mr. Walter Obi.
Others include Mrs. Jo. Monyei, the Ugo Odogwu of Akwukwu-Igbo, Mrs. Helen Chima, Mr. Godfrey C. Osakwe and Mrs. Okafor among others.