By Jude Atupulazi
Although it is something that comes up on 26 December every year, the 2022 version of Eze-Akaa Festival by Umueze Village in Amawbia, Awka South LGA of Anambra State, was the biggest in a decade.
The festival, according to Engr Ezekiel Nwokoye, chairman, organising committee and SSA to the Governor of Anambra State on Political Matters, is held yearly in honour of two of the progenitors of the village: Akabusi, the woman who gave birth to Umueze Village, and her son, Ezenagum, a great warrior.
The name of the festival, Eze-Akaa, is a coinage of Ezenagum and her mother, Akabusi.
Umueze became the first to select anything in Amawbia because of the request of Ezenagum, many years ago, to be allowed to be the first to select anything in the entire community of seven villages. Thus, even if a king is being crowned, Umueze will select first, including the sharing of the kola nut.
During each festival, deserving sons of the town are usually given the title of Dike Eze-Akaa Di Iche, while the women who are married outside are given Ada Eze-Akaa Di Iche. Their nwadianas who have done well are given the title, Nwa Eze-Akaa Di Iche. Those that are considered friends of the village are given the title, Enyi Eze-Akaa.
‘Any time we hold this festival we recognize those who have given value to the village,’ Nwokoye added.
During the December version of the festival, notable sons and daughters of Umueze Village, as well as outsiders were given awards of different categories.
The award of Dike Eze-Akaa was given to Pharm. Emeka Nwachukwu, Barr. Frank Ndibe and Engr. Godwin Aronu, among others.
The Ada Eze-Akaa Di-Iche award went to Mrs Philomina Ifeoma Nwokike, Prof. Gloria Akunniyi, Mrs Amaechi Nwalusi, among others.
The Enyi Eze-Akaa award went to Chief Hon. Chukwuma Okoye, Barr. Sir Ebele Osakwe and Mr Ikenna Okeke, among others; while the Nwa Eze-Akaa award went to Engr Alloy Nzeamalu and Mr Chukwudubem Ajuluchukwu.
Awards of recognition was also given to many individuals.