Imo Government celebrates cultural values at Lorji
By Ferdy Onyedi Ibechodo
It was yet another moment of joy and reflections, as well as the revival of the African culture and tradition when the traditional ruler of Lorji NweEkukwu Autonomous Community in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo, HRH Eze Stephen Nwabueze Ugorji, celebrated his 2021 Iriji (New Yam Festival) at his palace.
The iconic event was held on Sunday, August 22, 2021.
The Special Guests of Honour were Chief Nnamdi Anyaehie, the Chief of Staff to Governor Hope Uzodimma, who was represented by Hon. Tanana Biaduo, and Chief Marcellinus Macron Nlemigbo, the APC State Party Chairman of Imo State, who attended the event in person.
Special Guests who attended included Chief Dr. Pat Ekeji, Deputy Chief of Staff to the governor, represented by Nze Milo Olewuike; Barrister Emmanuel Njoku, the IMC Chairman of Aboh Mbaise; Chief Dr. Ikay Njoku, the APC leader in Aboh Mbaise and former Commissioner for Environment; HRH Eze Sabinus Nwaneche, Chairman of Ndi Eze for Ahiazu LGA; HRH Eze O. B. Nwokorocha the Chairman of Ndi Eze in Ezinihitte Mbaise; Sir Tony Awusaku, the APC Chairman in Aboh Mbaise LGA; Dr. Paddy Njoku, a former President General of the Lorji Nwekeukwu Association for Progress (LNAP); and Barr. Charles Akwuete, current President General of the LNAP.
At the occasion, the Governor of Imo State, Distinguished Senator Hope Odidika Uzodimma, called on the Igbo people of the state and beyond to hold tenaciously to the rich culture and traditions of the people.
Represented at the ceremony by the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo state, Chief Marcellinus Nlemigbo, stressed that the Igbo culture has unique values, which according to him, should be maintained and celebrated.
The governor congratulated the traditional ruler on his festival.
On his own part, Chief Nlemuigbo said he was glad to be at Lorji, Aboh Mbaise at the invitation of the Special Adviser to Governor Uzodimma on Homeland Security and Intelligence, Dr. Ugorji Okechukwu Ugorji.
“When I met your son, Dr. Ugorji, after his appointment, I took an immediate liking to him,” the APC Chairman said. “So I have come because of my relationship with him, and to tell his people of Mbaise that their son is going places politically.”
Incidentally, Dr Ugorji Okechukwu Ugorji also served as the Chairman of the occasion.
A celebrated writer, scholar and publisher, Dr. Ugorji was invited by Governor Uzodimma in 2020 and later appointed the premier Special Adviser on Homeland Security and Intelligence for Imo State.
Dr. Ugorji said he was happy to be with his father, HRH Eze Ugorji, at this year’s Iriji ceremony as opposed to having to just send support from the US. He extoled the legacy of the iriji festival as a heritage that binds the people together in harvest, peace, and remembrance of the ancestors.
The Chief Celebrant HRH Eze Ugorji told his guests that the annual event was to keep alive the old traditions of the forefathers.
“Before we eat the new yam, we make sure to present the harvest to God in thanks and in remembrance of those who came before us,” the traditional ruler said.
“This year’s celebration is much larger and unique because the structure of the Imo government has come to join us. I am honoured and my community is grateful for the attention brought to our small but historically important community.”
The event, which was attended by the who is who in the state and the prominent sons and daughters of the community, featured Royal Iwaji , Royal iriji, Ipa Oji, and traditional songs and dances.
A feast for APC members
Hours prior to the formal ceremony of Iriji by HRH Eze Stephen Nwabueze Ugorji, his first son, Dr. Ugorji Okechukwu Ugorji, who currently serves as Special Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, shared yam tubers for APC members in all 6 booths at the Lorji Ward in Aboh Mbaise LGA.
Dr. Ugorji said the sharing of the fresh yam tubers out of his own resources was consistent with and in furtherance of Governor Hope Uzodimma’s concept of shared prosperity.
Representatives of each booth were present to collect yams for all the booths, including the following: Umugama (Benjamin Okwuonu), Eziala Ukwu (Akajiaku Oguala), Eziala Nta (Izuchukwu Aliche), Eziamata (Innocent Nwachukwu), Ndiokwu (Chidi Nkemnagum and Onyekwere Ukanwa), and Umosike (Emeka Nwachukwu Ositadinma Emeka).
The writer, Ferdinand Oyedi Ibechodo, was the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Imo State Chapter.
He currently serves as the Executive Assistant for Communications in the Imo State Office of Homeland Security and Intelligence, Owerri.
See more photos of the event below: