By AFAM Echi
All roads lead to Dindi Ihiagwa, Owerri West Local Government today as the people mark their new yam feast popularly called the Odu Festival.
The annual event which has been described as the ‘Christmas’ of Ihiagwa people by the traditional ruler of the community HRH Eze Kingsley Ezewunwa Odu, Agwu Ukwu Dindi 1, given the fanfare and the significance that characterize it.
In an interaction with the Daily Nigerian Horn, the natural ruler disclosed that the Odu festival is the fore runner of all the new yam festivals held in the Oratta clan including the Oru Owerre. Said he, ‘after us Oru Owerre will take place.’
According to him the Odu festival is their new yam festival which comes up first among the Oratta Clan. ‘They call us Aguzie Afor (annual calendar) because we proclaim the annual calendar, we tell them the time for this and that concerning the new yam festival’, the natural ruler said.
He went on to say that it is a period they express gratitude to God for the benefit of harvesting new agricultural products especially yam adding that after the ceremony other surrounding towns will follow suit.
Eze Odu mentioned that a lot of activities mark the ceremony. Hear him again, ‘first of all we observe the Onunu, a four days restriction of movement to the farm lands. After labouring for several months cultivating there is need to rest, after which you go to the farm to harvest. After this, the Okukorongu will now follow to know the date for Odu.
‘During the celebration itself there is so much merriment, you can describe it as our Christmas, It is Christmas for Ihiagwa people. People from far and wide will come to pay us homage and celebrate with us, Nekede and indeed people from the Uratta clan. There is going to be dancing at the Nkwa square. Two people each will be selected from Iriamogu (my village), Ibuzo and Nkaramoche to dance.’’
The President of Ihiagwa Town Management Council (ITMC) Engr Emeka Udokporo elaborating on the festival stated that another side of its importance rests on the fact that it helps to instil good morals on the people. Said he, no evil man will be part of the celebration, if you have been involved in any crime or evil of any sort you cannot be part of the celebration because of the consequences.
The entrepreneur and philanthropist also insisted that you cannot touch the kola nut to bless it if you have been involved in activities like robbery, shading of blood, abortion or coveting of another man’s wife. He said that, ‘one must be completely decent and pure to be part of the event as the observances are not any different from the biblical injunctions handed down by God.’’ The moral content of the festival it was observed if sustained will put the community on the path of moral rectitude, the President insisted.