BY ABUCHI ONWUMELU OF FIDES NEWSPAPER
The Transition Committee Chairman of Awka South Local Government Area, Hon. Leo Nwuba has lauded Gov. Willie Obiano's administration for putting together the celebration of New Yam (Iri Ji) Festival, describing it as first of its kind in the history of Anambra State.
Nwuba who stated this during the recently concluded 2017 Iri Ji festival held at Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, called on wealthy Ndi Anambra, both at home and in the diaspora, to invest heavily in the cultural fiesta, even as he said there was nothing idolatry in the celebration.
The council boss who described the yam as king of all crops, stated that the celebration of it did not start today, noting that it had formed a serious part of Igbo culture and tradition. He urged those who associated the celebration with idolatry to have a rethink.
'Let me say it here that, there is nothing mysterious or satanic about culture. I do not see anything diabolic about masquerade. Masquerading is part of our culture. Though, I will not rule out evil minded individuals being fetist. Generally it is not a harmful practice.
'It is done globally. Go to Asia and other parts of the world, you will see people celebrating their culture with lots of masquerades. People should desist from regarding culture and tradition as idolatry. Let them stop merging the two.
'Our Culture is our identity. I am a Christian but that does not mean that I can not identify with my culture. What is culture if I may ask? Culture is a people's way of life. Culture is the values, beliefs, behaviour and material objects that formed part of the people's way of life. It is something everyone should embrace.
'I really thank our Governor for this initiative. I want every well meaning Ndi Anambra to support this noble idea. You can see the turn out today. I am really impressed with what I am seeing here today. This is how a festival should be,' he gushed.
On the forthcoming election in the state, Hon. Nwuba reteirated his commitment in ensuring that Governor Willie Obiano emerged victorious come November 18, 2017.