Thursday, 26 May 2016

Anambra to host National New Yam Festival for all Igbos

By James Eze

Anambra State has concluded plans to host the Igbo world to a National New Yam Festival in August this year. The event which is being planned in partnership with the Inter-Agency Committee on Culture and Tourism is scheduled to take place from 23rd to 27th August this year at the National Yam House in Etiti village, Igboukwu in Aguata Local Government Area.

The event is a bold attempt to organize a National New Yam Festival as approved by the Federal Government for the people of the South East region.


Speaking while receiving a delegation of Traditional Rulers from Igbo Speaking States and the Inter-Agency Committee on Culture and Tourism Development at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia, the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano observed that the festival would play a role in re-awakening the consciousness of the Igbo speaking people from all over Nigeria and galvanize them into assuming their rightful position in the country.

According to him, the Igbo nation is highly blessed with rich cultural heritage and moral touchstones that when harnessed would lead to the much needed general rebirth that could transform the fortunes of Ndigbo in Nigeria.

Governor Obiano commended the choice of Anambra as the venue for the festival, pointing out that as the safest state in Nigeria, Anambra was the ideal place for a cultural revival of that magnitude.

He further maintained that with the booming hospitality industry and an array of exotic tourist locations dotting the state, visitors who would be attending the National New Yam Festival would find enough entertainment to justify their adventure.

"We have just returned from an exhilarating visit to Ogbaukwu Cave and Waterfall in Owerre Ezukala in Orumba South Local Government. It is an amazing place to visit. The cave is reported to be over 2 million years old. There is another one in Ogbunike. There is Obu Gad in Aguleri where the progenitor of the Igbo race left his imprint. These are some of the spectacular sights that await those who will visit Anambra for the National New Yam Festival in August this year," Governor Obiano surmised.

Earlier in their address, the delegation of Traditional Rulers of Igbo Speaking States and the Inter-Agency Committee on Culture and Tourism Development had appealed for the assistance of Anambra State Government to ensure a successful hosting of the festival in the state.

"As the leader of Ndi Igbo worldwide, the national festival will present a good platform for you to address the Igbo nation and race because Igbos at home and in diaspora will be at the festival arena and to make a policy statement for the advancement of Igbo cause like the other races use theirs to do," the delegation explained.

The delegation further submitted that "Anambra is the cradle and origin of Igbos and you are the leader of the Igbo people, therefore we cannot afford to fail our people now. All eyes are on you to provide leadership and direction to the best race in the world."

They appealed to the government to assist in constructing the road that leads to the National Yam House venue of the festival.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Town Union Affairs, Mr Greg Obi explained that in in recognition of the role of culture and tourism in societal transformation, has created the enabling environment for cultural expression in the state.

In a vote of thanks, the Chairman, Etiti Village, Igboukwu, Mr Andrew Madumelu commended Governor Obiano for showing genuine interest in the Festival, which he noted, would help highlight the cultural significance of Igboukwu Kingdom.               

The climax of the visit was the presentation of a sculpture to Governor Obiano in recognition of his contributions to the development of culture and tourism in the state.             

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