FROM EVEREST EZIHE, Isinweke
Amainyi community is one ancient autonomous community in ihitte Uboma Council area of Imo state gifted with lots of cultural and traditional heritages probably as it is surrounded by communities like Umuahia, Obowo, Isinweke and Isuochi.
Poised by the New World Order and coupled with the mind set and vision of their traditional ruler, HRH Eze Pharm. Emeka Ogbonna ( Inyi of Amainyi , the 3rd) popularly known as Eze Ohazurumee, the community’s 2021 famous annual Ekengu/Iriji cultural heritage was harnessed into development of a road map/blue print for the community developmental plans initiative using an illustrious son of the community, Chief Uchenna Obilagwa, Belgium based Agricultural expert to pilot the developmental revolution.
The event which started at Eze Ogbonna’s palace as he and his cabinet members played host to their subjects, in-laws, friends, well-wishers, tourists and associates who have trooped out en masse to witnessed the long awaited annual cultural fiesta that marks the end of harvesting yam in Igboland as the king of all agricultural products and ushering in the new planting season.
The people were mainly entertained by Inyi Okonko ancestral traditional dance troupe adoring their beautifully customized costume. Their dance steps and the juicy folklore they were oozing out synchronize with their beating of the traditional drums and xylophone as they nostalgically invoked the spirit of brotherly love and unity of purpose.
The song was incisive and emotionally touchy raising tears of joy that even the elders were nodding their heads while the youths spontaneously went haywire as they tried to outsmart each other’s dancing prowess. Peace, love and happiness became obvious that despite his regalia Eze Ohazurumee stood up only to justify an Igbo adage that says an elderly woman can never be old when it comes to the dance she is used to.
The members of the Eze’s cabinet in spite of their old age, equally got themselves to the dancing floor and exhibited different traditional dancing skills while exchanging banter with their walking sticks. Honestly, it was not men affairs as the women in their rich cultural attires were on the other canopies salivating as they joined the train with persistent ululation. People were lavishly entertained as that seemed to be a mere prelude.
The highlight of the occasion was the cutting and eating of the roasted yam by the traditional ruler, HRH Eze Pharm. Emeka Ogbonna with his cabinet members.
Subsequently, the Eze as part of the tradition cut out 16 piece of small yam from the roasted yam with 16 pieces of broken Igbo kolanut which he offered to appease the ancestors as an honour and in appreciation of their immense contributions and sacrifices towards the growth, development and advancement of the area.
The royal father then prayed to Almighty God for the blessing, progress, peace and protections of his subjects in all their endeavours, the people chorused- Amen and 21 gun salutes were fired to cement the cultural acceptance.
The traditional ruler and his cabinet members led the people as they majestically trekked to Ekengu Market Square, about a kilometre from the palace. Surprisingly, the crowd was intimidating as the royal train were received with traditional dance troupes as the environment charged and the masquerades had a field day. It was another entertainment galore as Prof. Edibo Cultural Dance Group stole the show.
Eze Ogbonna in his address informed that Ekengu/Iriji are special annual thanks giving ceremonies their ancestors initiated as highly spiritual people.
According to him” for every Amainyi man or woman, there’s time for clearing the farm land, time of weeding and time of harvest and a time for thanks giving. We are highly spiritual. We work, we play, we pray, we exercise and we meditate.
As we celebrate Ekengu/Iriji we will play, we will dance, we will pray and thank God for the gift of life and a bountiful harvest. We offer the new yam and parts of our farm harvest to our ancestors. We then eat, dance and make merriment for better life, better harvest and promise of better celebration for next year,” he said.
Eze Ohazurumee expressed profound gratitude to some of his illustrious sons and daughters who are patriotic and philanthropic on matters concerning the ancient autonomous community among whom are Ms Chidi Ehiahuruike, Prof. Joseph Uwaleke, Mr. Livinus Amajuoyi,Mr. Peter Ezenwa Orji, Nze Ignatius Obilor, and Mr. Uchenna Obilagwa.
Others are Sir Charles Obilo, Sir Ugochukwu Edomobi, Brigidier- General J.C. Ogbonna, Mr. Joe Ibezim, Mr Damian Ndulaka, Chief Gerald Anuka, Hon. Agumuo C.O and Onyekwere Osigwe.
The Royal Father introduced Mr Uchenwa Obilagwa as the festival special lecturer.
According to him”Mr. Obilagwa will introduce to us the asset based community development model of development. He has shown some levels of fanaticism in his belief in this principle of community development. Any time he came home he kept going around Amainyi planting trees and he kept talking to the youths about the principles of self-reliance. This model encourages us to consider what we can give to the community not what we will get from the community.
After my interactions with him, the need for a road map/ blue print for the development of Amainyi became clearer and more compelling,” he noted.
Obilagwa in accepting the Clarion call described the theme of his short but impactful lecture as : Concept is For Development ( Nku noo na mba na eyere mba nri, O di n’ala, ihe eji ebi ndu di n’ ala, Mba awu otu).
He anchored his lecture on the need to maximize the people’s natural endowments and potentials for their overall developments.
Obilagwa canvassed the need for hard-working, sacrifices, focused, discipline and unity of purpose insisting that the raw materials for the living is in the land and that human capital development is the greatest of all developmental plans.
While noting truth as the bedrock for trust observed that Amainyi autonomous community have the best natural resources needed for modern developments.
He reassured the community that if they can offer him land that he is willing to bring foreign investors for a collaborative partnership in the areas of constant power supplies and agricultural revolution.
Another highlight of the occasion was conferment of chieftaincy title to Mr. Uchenna Obilagwa as Akuruolu 1 of Amainyi by Eze Ohazurumee, Inyi 3 of Amainyi.
The Traditional Ruler who quickly led the exiting crowd despite the heavy down pour to the market stand of each of the three villages that constitutes the ancient autonomous community in order of seniority where their delicacy called ngu was happily served to all and sundry with fresh palm wine and kolanut.