By VERA WISDOM-BASSEY
It was pomp and ceremony recently when the entire people of Umuezie Autonomous Community in Aboh Mbaise, Imo State celebrated the Iri-Ji festival. The festival is marked annually in the community to usher in the beginning of a new harvest season.
The well-attended ceremony was held at an open field right in the community. Indigenes and natives, including men, women and children all rolled out their drums in celebration.
The traditional ruler of the community, Eze Charles Ndubuisi Iroegbu, said the event was unique, adding that it ushered in a new era of oneness, peace and progress for people of the town.
The monarch stressed that one of the significanct aspect of the get-together was that it created a forum for the people to come together as a people and rub minds on how to reposition and move the community forward in the area of unity and general development.
The priest in-charge of St. Anne’s Catholic Parish, Umuezie autonomous community, Rev Fr. Law Opara, commended them for involving God in the planning of the annual event. He thanked the people for maintaining oneness in the community. He said their unity played a major role in their decision to choose a monarch for the village.
Chairman of the SURE-P in Imo State who was also chairman of the event, Nze Doncee Njoku promised the people that the federal government would do more for them. He assured them that the maintenance of peace and unity in the community would bring developmental amenities and empowerment to the people.
Sole Administrator of Aboh Mbaise Local government area, Hon. Anthony Atudume commended the people of the community for promoting Igbo cultural values through the event. According to him, it was in line with the Imo state government’s aim to reposition all traditional institutions in the state.
He urged them not to relent in the promotion of the Iri-Ji festival, adding that such cultural means would encourage national unity and peaceful co-existence.