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From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Nkpolo village, Adazi Nnukwu, Anaocha Local Government Area, Anambra State was in a festive mood recently when the Igwe Adazi ji wee di Ebube, Ikechukwu Emmanuel Chukwuma, marked this year’s new yam festival.
Chukwuma popularly known as Igwe Nwatayanachiyadinamma is also the Ezeigbo Cote d’Ivoire where he runs successfully chains of businesses.
He has been involved in many community development, philanthropy and empowerment of his people at various times.
He had come tops in the selection process to succeed the departed monarch, Igwe Michael Orjiakor, Adama the 3rd of Adazi Nnukwu Kingdom though his formal coronation was stalled along the line.
Various dignitaries including traditional rulers from different communities, friends, relatives, and business associates converged on his palace at Chief Nwata Avenue, Adazi Nnukwu, venue of the ceremony, which started around 12pm with the booming of several canon shots.
Apart from the traditional cutting of the new yam with prayers and drinks, Chukwuma also empowered members of the community with cash, cars and material gifts while also using the opportunity to draw the attention of the state government to some burning issues in the community.
Igwe Chukwuma prayed for God’s blessings on the people just as he spoke on various issues affecting governance and development both at the state and national levels, calling on the people to allow peace reign in the community.
He noted that no meaningful development could take place in any community where there was rancour and disagreement.
He said the new yam festival was a cultural event devoid of any western influence, pointing out that it used to be “the beginning of the year festival in the days of yore when yam was regarded as legal tender or monetary exchange in trade by barter.”
Igwe Nwata promised he would continue to promote Igbo culture and cultural revival, which, he said, was at the verge of going extinct, as well as helping the indigent ones, which he has done for the past 15 years.
He said he was assisting the people of “his community because life is not about primitive accumulation but a life poured forth in lifting others.”
He said such legacies and footprints were fond memories which one would be remembered for when life has been taken away by death.
On his message for the Igbo, he called for a rallying point among the Igbo, advising them to always speak with one voice so that marginalization could be addressed.
He bemoaned the discrimination in the sharing of both material and human resources in the country, saying that the denial of the Igbo of their rights and entitlements in the country could only be stopped when there is unity among the Igbo.
He tasked Igbo leaders, the legislators, the governors and others in any representative capacity in the region to sharpen their collective bargaining skills for the benefit of the Igbo.
He regretted that the Onitsha-Enugu expressway has remained a campaign tool for many years by politicians while the reconstruction has always been at a snail speed.
“When accidents claim lives because of bad roads, destinies are wasted while no one knows who will be our saviour tomorrow. Everything is not about money or personal accumulation because integrity supersedes material wealth. That has been the norm in Igbo culture before some people started worshipping money.
“There is no peace today in Adazi Nnukwu because few persons who feel they have connection in government circles have refused to speak the truth. They have murdered sleep in the community by submerging the wishes of the majority of the people of this town. I always stand by the truth and will die by truth,” he said.
He also lamented that “many communities in Anambra State are in chaos today because of chieftaincy tussle. If the government doesn’t listen to every sides of the story before taking certain actions, it breeds disharmony, acrimony and rage in the communities. Brothers don’t talk to each other again because some people think they have the ears of the government, but they forget that injustice breeds agitations.
“Anambra is a pacesetter State and Adazi Nnukwu cannot continue to exist in a situation where some people arrogate to themselves the power of owning the town. In times of financial contributions and work, the entire community will be involved but in times of reaping, some selected few will corner the whole thing. This is injustice and this is the root of the crisis in our town.”
The elder brother to Igwe Nwata who is also the President, Igbo Community in Cameroon, Chief Kenneth Chukwuma, described the new yam festival as a unification factor in Igbo land.
On the crisis bedeviling the community, he condemned the frivolous manner the rules and regulations of the community were altered at the whims and caprices of a few elite.
He challenged the elders of the community to stand up for the truth and reminded them that if they fail to take the necessary step, the youths may be forced to take up the task of restoring peace.
The President General of Adazi Nnukwu Progressive Union (APU), Dr. Theo Belonwu said the body took it as a challenge to fight intimidation and arbitrary imposition of fines in the community.
Giving an insight on the chieftaincy tussle tearing the community apart, he said: “Our people duly chose Chief Emmanuel Chukwuma as the next Igwe of our community. After we have done that, few people who have connection at the government house felt otherwise and started fighting the collective will of the people thus plunging the community into crisis. My take on this matter is simple; let the governor listen to all the parties involved in this matter, leading to the conduct of proper elections in all positions in the community. This is the only recipe for peace.”