For Eze Willy Okonkwo Ejimnkeonye, the Ezendigbo ( Igbo 1) of Ogun state, and other Igbo high chiefs, Sunday, September 15, 2019, was a special day.
It was a day indigenes and non-indigenes of Igbo, resident, working, or doing business within and outside state, gathered at the Obi Ndigbo palace of the Eze, located at Agosi Estate in Ifo, Ogun state, to celebrate the annual new yam festival, a tradition that has been handed over to them by their ancestors.
As about 2.pm on that fateful Sunday, the chiefs and other participants arrived the palace for the traditional homage to the Eze.
They came from all the local government areas of the state, armed with tubers of yams, assorted drinks, and money to pay the traditional homage to the Eze and asked for his prayers and blessings for their families and businesses.
Some of the prominent Igbo chiefs on attendance at the event were: High Chief Ndubuisi Njoku, president emeritus, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Barrister Goddy Okolie, legal adviser to the Eze, and High Chief & Lolo Sunsday Onyenwe, who was conferred with the title of Akudinwa and the spouse, Osodiemeaku, by the Eze during the celebration.
After series of prayers for peace, unity, prosperity and progress was done, the traditional breaking of the kolanut commenced and all chiefs presence as well as other participants were offered kolanut and palm, among other items, as a sign of unity and friendship.
In his welcome address, the Ogun Ezendigbo explained that he is delighted and grateful to almighty God to note that over the years, Igbos, across the globe, have always live in peace and unity with their host communities.
His words: “This is the reason God has continue to bless Ndigbos in whatever profession, vocation, business of trade they find themselves, regardless of their grass-to-grass story-line”.
The Eze thereafter embarked on yet another marathon prayer, petitioning God to ensure there is peace, happiness, unity, prosperity, in Ogun State in particular, now that Dapo Abiodun is the governor, while Kayode Taiwo Oluomo, is the speaker.
He also prayed for the regime of President Muhammed Buhari, asking God to guide him aright in a country, whose economy is presently galloping.
The second part of the celebration was held at Winnars Hotel, located opposite Ifo General Hospital, Ogun state, along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, where new yam festival was done with prayers and roasted yams pieces and shared with African Salad to the participants.
Sunday Onyenwe, who was earlier conferred with the titile of Akudinwa and his spouse, Osodiemeaku, by the Eze, express satisfaction with the peace and friendly manner the new yam festival for this year was conducted and called on all Igbos within and outside the state to continue to exhibit that maturity in dealing with their host communities for the sake of peace and unity.
Dauda Onabanjo, an indigene of Ijebu Ode, who attended the celebration, thanked the Eze for ensuring that Igbos live in peace with members of their host communities in the state.