The paramount ruler of Elele/Elele Alimini/Apabo/Itu Communities, in Ikwerre LGA of Rivers State, HRH Eze Jonathan O.G. Amadi has called on the people of the communities to cultivate the culture of participating actively in the annual celebration of their New Yam festival (Hozuzu).
In a chat with journalists during the celebration of the 2012 New Yam festival (Hozuzu) at Elele, Eze Amadi who decried low participation of people of the communities in the celebration, attributed it to their involvement in religious activities.
The royal father who said he did not ask them not to participate in their religious programmes stressed that such should not prevent them from participating actively in the New Yam festival celebration which is part of their culture.
Eze Amadi who recalled the origin of the new yam festival (Hozuzu) noted that the festival started from time immemorial before he was born.
According to him, a man who hails from Elele committed adultery and ran to Elele-Etche, in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State and settled there for years. At Etche they celebrate new yam festival (hozuzu) annually, this young man got this idea and decided to carry the same celebration to his original home Elele and with the help of people of Omualikor and Omumenye communities in Elele who assisted him to carry the drums to Elele town in Ikwerre LGA, thereafter this celebration started from then till date. At first the celebration was successful, a large number of people from Elele and other communities participated actively until the advent of Europeans (white men) to Nigeria who introduced Christianity in all parts of the country including Elele “when things fell apart, most people from Elele and other communities were no longer interested in the annual New Yam celebration, it is only few persons that participate in the celebration unlike before”, he said.
The royal father hinted that the three week-celebration between the ending of August to September is always declared as week of peace, no one forments trouble in these weeks.
The royal father who recalled some of the activities involved in the celebration such as preparing of yam pepper soup, dancing, initiation of manhood (Ibu Isiahi), killing of cow, among others noted that any male child between the age of two and above who did not participate in the initiation of manhood killing of cow (Ibu Isiahi) would not be regarded as a man in the community and such person will be deprived of certain things in the community including chieftaincy titles, among others.
On the plan of Central Bank of Nigeria CBN to introduce N5,000 denomination and coins, the royal father condemned it stressing that it will bring sorrows and hardship to the people of Nigeria because if anyone loses N5,000 note such person has wasted big amount of money which would take months before he/she will get another one.
Similarly, a royal father from Elele HRH Eze Clifford Alikor the Ugo Chinyere 1 of Elele frowned at the people of Elele and other communities’ inability to participate in the new yam festival (hozuzu) celebration enmasse and also attributed it to their religious involvements.
The royal father debunked speculations that the celebration is fetish, stressing that new yam festival is cultural there are no bad things attached to it but geared towards enhancing the Elele, Elele Alimini, Apabo, Itu communities cultural heritage and enjoined the people of the communities to always avail themselves of the celebration.
On N5,000 note and coins, the Central Bank of Nigeria has planned to introduce, the royal father condemned the plan, stressing that the officials of government want to use this method to divert public fund easily to themselves adding that it will cause inflation as well. ###
Emeka Jilly Ejiowhor