Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state at the weekend tasked the pan-Igbo sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo on the need to promote and preserve Igbo cultural heritage as the custodian of Igbo culture and tradition.
Governor Ugwuanyi gave the task at the Okpara Square Enugu as the State chapter of the apex Igbo socio-cultural group marked the 2022 Iri-ji (New Yam) Festival.
The event, which attracted the high and mighty in the State and beyond, was described by guests as epochal.
In his remarks, Governor Ugwuanyi, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, congratulated Ohanaeze for sustaining the rich cultural heritage of Ndigbo and urged the group not to rest on its oars.
In his own speech, the State President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. Frederick Odo Eze expressed gratitude to God for the grace to put the event together.
He congratulated the State Governor for the numerous accolades he has received in recent times, particularly the national honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) as well as the Distinguished Award for State Judicial Reform.
He also thanked the Governor for the massive support his government has extended to Ohanaeze Ndigbo Enugu State Chapter, especially in providing the resources that made the event possible.
On the reason for this year’s festival, Prof. Eze explained that yam is the king of crops and Iri-ji festival symbolizes the conclusion of farming season and the beginning of the next cycle.
“This is a special and solemn event, and an occasion for our people
to express gratitude to God for a bountiful harvest. We celebrate the Iri-ji festival in keeping with the age-long tradition of Ndigbo that was laid by our ancestors.
“We use it to thank God for His grace and mercies on His people for protecting and preserving us through the lean and hard times of cultivation to the season of harvest and plenty,” he said.
The event witnessed several side attractions including cultural displays, giving of awards to deserving individuals and the installation of 2022 Eze-Ji in the person of Chief Gregory Onuorah, a South Africa-based business mogul.
The highpoint of the event was the traditional iwa-ji (cutting of the yam) ceremony which was performed by the Royal Father of the day and Chairman of Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRH Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu.