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Nnesweoha: Ikwo Noyo Decry Lack Of Traditional Rulers, Hampered Culture

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By Theresa Udochukwu, Abakaliki

The People of Noyo in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State has lamented over lack of Traditional Rulers in their various communities.

They made known their plight yesterday during the celebration of their new yam festival which they popularly call ‘Nnesweoha’ which took place at the ‘Ili Noyo’ in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

In an interview with the immediate past Caretaker Chairman of Ikwo LGA, Elder Steve Orogwu, he lamented over such lack, saying that the Rulers are the Custodians of the culture who should head the tradition but the situation he said, has turned the reverse to be the case, whereas he noted in another dimension that Christianity has in one way given birth to their diminished cultural values.

“Those who are actually the Custodians of this culture and tradition are the Traditional Rulers, the town union executives and the ‘Ozos’. Most Communities in Ikwo today don’t have traditional rulers. We don’t have more than five(5) Traditional Rulers and out of this five, only two are active, the remaining three are almost inactive and so the issue of promotion of culture and tradition is being hampered because the Custodians are not there.

“Those that introduce Christianity have tried to take us away from our culture. Yes, the ideal thing really is that as Christians, we should not worship idol but anything that affects our faith as Christians, we should not acknowledge that, but that does not rule out the fact that our culture and our tradition should be epitomized and maintained. Therefore, the greatest challenge is the issue of Christianity.
We should rather understand ourselves and marry Christianity and Tradition, not idol worship.” Elder Orogwu reiterated.

Speaking on the’Nnesweoha’ festival, the Elder described it as symbolic, saying it is a celebration for all thus,

“This is very symbolic, culturally. ‘Nnesweoha’ is a celebration where the head of the family wakes up in the morning and calls on the gods, invoking the spirits in appreciation of the protection. After that, he does his sacrifices to the gods but for us who are Christians, we are not involved into that.

“Thereafter, the head of the family brings out yams and shared the yams among the members of his family. This yams they will use and prepare yam porridge, receiving the ‘Nneswioha day.’
There is corn porridge, we calm it ‘Mbvuakpe’ prepared in special ways and in the morning, they are brought out and eaten. There is this ‘akpaka’ that is pounded and prepared, they are all eaten and throughout the day, there are lots of food to be eaten and they are garnished with Palm wine. These and more are the features.

“It’s a celebration of the young and the old, it’s a celebration of men and women, it is a celebration of girls and boys and everybody is always in a festive mood and we look forward always to this very day.

“There had been challenges and there had been problems here and there but at the end of it, these are what I classify as the RESILIENT GROUP that have been able to pass the challenges of year we are going out of and we are now celebrating the opportunity God gave us to transit into the next year.”

Some Catholic Priests who identified with the people opined that culture and tradition make up full and worthy organization in any society. Reverend Father Charles Nweke spoke on behalf of the Clergy saying:

“We are here to let the whole world know that there is no discrimination between the church and the tradition because any community without custom and tradition is not worth existing.

“Church also has tradition and that makes it real.
The church is only against any tradition that is harmful to the progress and well being of man. So, we thank God for this gathering and pray for unity and peace in our land.”

Also Present at the festival were, the Honourable Member representing Ikwo/Ezza South Federal Constituency, Comrade Chinedu Ogah, Members representing Ikwo North and Ikwo South in Ebonyi State House of Assembly,
Engr. Humphrey Nwuruku and Hon. Moses Odunwa respectively, Dr. Anthony Itumo of Ebonyi State University, amongst others who maintained that the event has been an old tradition and further prayed for the unity of Ikwo people through this 2020 ‘Nnesweoha’ festival.

See more photos below;

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