By Mike Nnamah
The people of Amawbia in Awka South Local Government have celebrated their Iliji, New Yam Festival. The event which took place on Saturday, September 29, started with the cutting of the roasted yam by Ozonkpu Francis Anyikwa, on behalf of the traditional ruler, HRH Igwe Michael Okoye.
Performing the rituals, Ozo-Nkpu Anyikwa, thanked God for making the people witness the 2018 Iliji festival, praying that the 2019 version would be more grandiose than the present year’s.
At Eziokpaligwe square, where the community gathered for the celebration of the new yam festival, the chairman of the occasion, Ozo-Nkpu Eddy Nwokoye, thanked God for giving the community a bumper harvest of crops this year. He remarked that Amawbia was not celebrating their new yam in September, but that the community only wanted to key into the current trend in Igbo land.
The chairman also advised Amawbia people to always endeavour to plant their yams in good time so as to use their planted yams for the New Yam celebration.
Speaking to Fides, the President-General of Amawbia Town Union; Engr. Chris Nwoye, thanked God for the event which he described as very colourful and an improvement on the 2017 ceremony.
Also lending his voice towards the ceremony, Dr. Ikem Odumodu, a one-time Director-General of SON, noted that the events marking the celebration were peaceful and encouraging but advised Amawbia people abroad to always try to come home during such occasions and celebrate with their kit and kin.
The celebration attracted some other prominent sons and daughters of Amawbia, including the Head of Service of Anambra State, Barr. Harry Udu; and the Principal Secretary to the Governor, Sir Willie Nwokoye. Others who attended the events were the Odinana-Amawbia group led by its chairman, Hon. Anthony Nwogbo, who pointed out that the celebration of the new yam was for the good and progress of the community.
The occasion was an avenue to raise funds for the community’s projects as all villages, age grades and other groups were represented and made cash donations.
Also in attendance were Chief Anayo Nnebe, representing Anambra North/South in the House of Representatives; the Nze and Ozo titled men among who were Ozo Mike Akubude and Ozo Felix Nzeamalu, among others.
The high point of the event was the eating of the new yams.