Igbo Cultural Day: Ezendigbo Ijegun Ijeododo celebrates Iwaji with Igbos in Lagos.
…Confers titles on 5, awards over 20 persons.
Mammoth crowd gathered at the Obi Eziokwu palace of Eze Chika Nwokedi, Ezendigbo Ijegun Ijeododo, chairman council of Ndi Ezes Lagos to celebrate the Iriji festival which took place on 17th September, 2023.
The new yam festival is said to be a day set aside to celebrate a new season of the king of all crops “YAM”. The igbos observes Iriji as culture and traditions demands before it can be consumed, yam is a dominant male crop as revealed.
Dignitaries from all walks of life was seen in attendance, this includes: AIG Ari Mohammed Ali presiding officer of Zone 2 Command Onikan and entourage, Bishop Anene Nwachukwu of Rhema Deliverance Mission and entourage, Rev. Chidi Anthony & Wife, Eze Alex Nwoye, Bobaselu of Ejigbo, Eze Njoku the Ezendigbo Bucknor, Eze Barr. Apachi (Lekki)HRH Jude Arinze – Eze Ndigbo Okota/Isolo (Vice Chairman Ndi Eze Council Lagos), Eze Monday (Mushin), Eze Nwachukwu( Lagos State Igbo 1) Eze Ferdinand Aguneke – Eze kingsley Nwaololo ( Etiosa), Eze Sunday A. Ojukwu – Eze Ndigbo Awumo Odofin ( Financial secretary Ndi Eze council Lagos), Eze John Nwoche , Eze Nicholas Njoku( Ejigbo) Ezendigbo Oshodi, Ezendigbo Satellite town, Ezendigbo Ikorodu, the President General of Igbo speaking community, Chief Sunday Udeh, Chief Martins Ugo former chairman electrical association of Ojo Alaba general market and friends, Hon. Nonso Chiufo, Hon. Ikenna Ezenwa, Prince Olusukanmi Ismail, Chief Randy Ugochukwu, Amb. Blossom Otabor amongst other dignitaries who are: Traditional rulers, titled men, Cabinet chiefs of Obi Eziokwu palace, Igbo speaking community, Ohaneze groups, Friends, well wishers of Eze Okpoko 1, Ezendigbo of Ijegun Ijeododo and a heavy presence of pressmen.
The program commenced with conferment of title and certification for 5 individuals, they are:Chief Abiakam Okey Casmir, High Chief Dr. Anthony Owoh Ben, Chief Mrs. Nkiruka Ugwu, Prophetess Oby Aleabo, High Chief Chuka Christian Mekaowulu….
Certificate Awards was also presented by AIG Ari Mohammed Ali to diligent police officers and deserving members of the public who has shown patriotism and true citizenry in their dealings, they are: Hon. Nonso Chiufo, Hon. Ikenna Ezenwa, Prince Olusukanmi Ismail, Chief Randy Ugochukwu, Amb. Blossom Otabor, SP. Gana Jacob, Asp Waheed Oketunji, Asp Nwadike Joel, Insp. Jimoh Soliu, Insp. Nneka Frank, PC Olawuyi Israel amongst others…
AIG Ari Mohammed Ali told the officers who were presented with the Certificate Awards of Merit to maintain the quality of service in accordance with being honored as this should spun them to do more, particularly advised officers not to disappoint those who have found them worthy to be awarded.
HRH Chika Nwokedi had always been a man of the people ” Digital Eze” as fondly called by Journalist and as such attracts a lot of well wishers when carrying out ceremonial duties due to his generosity and diligence in handling his subjects and people in general.
Traditional prayer was observed with the breaking of colanut, unveiling of the yearly magazine by Eze Chika Nwokedi of Ijegun Ijeododo, some side attractions like the masquerade dance, traditional displays, the cutting of the traditionally roasted yam in correlation with the essence of the gathering, amongst other activities.
The host Eze Chika Nwokedi unfolded various plans he has in stall for the igbos in his jurisdiction of reign, promises to make health care services available for the underprivileged thereby giving igbos the right to good health care services. Says as the founder of Ndi Igbo Buru Otu Association of Nigeria, he made available easy access to health care services thereby enabling affordability.
While speaking with journalist at the event, Eze Chika stated that the Iwaji is an Igbo Cultural day celebrated by Obi Eziokwu palace for 2years on since his coronation as Ezendigbo Ijegun Ijeododo and Chairman of council of Ndi Ezes. He said the Iwaji is usually set for 3rd week in September for the 2yrs already observed, which is 17th September 2022&2023 respectively..
HRH further stated that the most significant thing about the celebration of Iwaji is the magnanimity attached to it, a reason he has so far called various Igbo groups to partake in sharing of livestock donated for the purpose of Iwaji just to make them unite and be happy. He said every Igbo man makes it important to observe tradition before eating the new yam yearly as this is a time to pray for Gods blessings, a new season of abundance, prosperity and long life. The land requires that culture should be observed before new yam is eaten.
Pst Mrs Tessy Chika Nwokedi, Queen Ugoeze, Adakada 1 said the festival is celebrated to welcome the new yam while the old yam phases out. Igbo kings & title men will always do these ceremonies to usher in the new yam before consumption. The new yam festival brings in abundance, blessing, open doors and so on, this is why the festival must take place. Appreciates all who despite the unstable weather condition registered presence.
Bishop Anene Nwachukwu of Rhema Deliverance Mission said Eze CC Nwokedi has been a part of his life for over 20yrs, whatever HRH does gets moral and spiritual support . As an indefatigable Oracle of God, Anene noted that he works hand in hand with Eze Chika as they patronize each other when needed, says the occasion is a unique one as Eze Nwokedi started from nothing to something. Gladly revealed how his impact in the life of HRH has brought about positive and progressive changes.
Speaking about culture and traditions, Bishop Anene throw more light on the reason why chieftaincy title for Men of God is not idolatory as it doesn’t concern idol worshipping instead the chieftaincy title should be seen as a traditional honor or recognition as long as idolatry and charms is not involved. He gave an example from the bible of how Jesus was honored by Mary Magdalene, says it’s a sign of showing appreciation of what the individual has done for the society, it is acceptable practice. He also stated that Iwaji can be observed from anywhere not necessarily from your place of birth as long as the tradition and culture is respected. He also said people can use culture to draw souls to the kingdom of God as long as it is for the purpose of soul winning without involving idolatry and charms.
High Chief Owoh Anthony Ben , the chairman planning committee for the Iwaji festival says the celebration is an age long tradition which brings the sons and daughters of the Igbo tribe together to celebrate the king of all crops “Yam”. The fixed period for the new yam festival is usually done between August and October a reason the Obi Eziokwu palace fixed September 17th 2023, same date as previous year for the New Yam Celebration. Says Obi Eziokwu palace is the number one in Lagos when it comes to embracing tradition, one can vividly attest to this claims by the turn out of mammoth crowd for the event. Commends Eze Okpoko as a crowd puller , he is a man of the people, Ohwo noted.
Hon.Nonso Chiufo commends the successful outcome of the new yam festival, says Eze Chika represents the igbos reputably, a reason why everyone is happy to celebrate with him. He revealed that the relationship he shares with HRH Chika started from Ladipo when the host was a former chairman of the spare parts market, affirmed that his leadership qualities even then was impactful. Hon Chiufo also told Naomi Sophy Blog that he is the present chairman of Ladipo market and he intends to have a re-run to remain as chairman with the full support of the former chairman Eze Chika. Appreciates the award of merit presented to him.
Mentions & Appreciation from colleagues, cabinet chiefs and friends of Eze Chika Nwokedi:
Ezendigbo of Ibeju Lekki, Dr. Barr Chukwudi commended the effort of Eze Chika Nwokedi in putting up a great feast to celebrate the Iriji, describes him as a good friend and a great man to be associated with.
Chief Chukwuemeka Ogbuka, Chinyelugo 1 in representation of the Cabinet Chiefs of Ijegun Ijeododo palace said the Iriji festival and Igbo day celebration is observed yearly to thankGod for life and bountiful harvest, says Eze Chika is a man with pure heart a reason people turns up massively whenever he has events.
Chief Ndubuisi one of the cabinet chiefs of Eze Chika established his admiration firmly for Igwe, says he is worth being the over all head of igbos in Lagos, prays for long life. Revealed his connection with the host dated back to when he ‘Ndubuisi’ had nothing, in spite of this, HRH never segregated him but kept their association till date.
Chief Martins former chairman electrical association of Nigeria Ojo Alaba General Market, says he is here to celebrate the Iwaji with Eze Chika Nwokedi and friends. Noted that the new yam festival is an Igbo culture for titled men before new yam can be eaten, said his friendship with HRH was established 15yrs ago. He said Unlike other Ezes who takes pleasure in displaying arrogance, Eze Chika is different yet a giver, prays for long life.
Chief Martins Ifemedebem Egbeyiugo was accompanied by his friends, a former Ezendigbo of South Africa, who commended the host Okpoko 1 of Ijegun Ijeododo for observing the full culture in association with Iwaji, says the festival is a way of bringing the igbos together to celebrate in one accord. While Chief Gabriel Okenwa, another well wisher described Eze Chika as a man with a lion heart,a giver and a man of the people.
Esther Ihechi Oseh, the Uku Feremba 1 of Ijegun Ijeododo from Umuahia north local govt area of Abia state named Amafor where the a national world museum is situated told Naomi Sophy Blog that Iriji is a Thanksgiving to mother earth for a bountiful harvest and to God for the gift of life, before any titled man or woman eats yam in the harvest season they must observe tradition by giving thanks to mother earth and people travel to their villages too to do these ceremonies. Yam is seen as a male crop. Describe Eze as a good man with a good heart.