By Harry Nwana
IKEJI Arondizuogu had always been, for its people, a very invigorating annual festival. So thrilling was it that neighbouring towns and villages had looked forward to it as the occasion for mending fences and sharing fun with their Arondizuogu friends and associates. The mere mention of Ikeji conjured a spirit of oneness and unity in a very special way.
Every year, Ikejiâ€™s addicts in the diaspora made it a point to make the journey home at great costs only to be part of the inimitable domestic version of the festival. Those unable to make the journey, pacify themselves by staging Ikeji in their different foreign locations; hence, one heard of Ikeji Lagos, Ikeji Canada, Ikeji London, Ikeji New York, to name just a few. As much as local regulations allow, they give Ikeji flexible interpretations that take little away from the original rendition and fulfillments.
It was against this background that the confusion that marred the 2009 Ikeji was seen as a tragedy. So tragic were the bizarre events of that year that, as expected, Ikeji was denied its usual glamour and excitement, and
diminished in standard and worthiness.
It soon became glaring that if something was not done promptly to remove the virus that found its way into the affairs of Ikeji, it may result in its being consigned to oblivion and history.
Gladly, community elders foreseeing the terrible possibility of a demised Ikeji if the stalemate persisted, undertook the assignment of reconciling differences, healing wounds and relieving pains inflicted. It is with great joy, therefore, to note that Ikeji 2010 will be celebrated without hitches, and will return to its usual glamour and popularity.
There are many individuals and groups who deserve thanks for this miracle of a total reconciliation. The elders’ peace initiative addressed to all aggrieved groups received favourable responses and follow-up. Royal fathers cooperated fully and gladly. To all of these patriots, particularly the traditional rulers, Ndizuogu salutes them.
Prominent among the elders are Chief Ifeanyi Okoro, Chief Obii C. N. Obioha, Prof. O. C. Nwana, Chief Osita Oruche, Chief Ngozi Mbadiwe, Chief Mike Obioha, Chief C. Moore Obioha and a few others. The above named patriots individually and collectively are on record to have given their time, money and wise counsel to ensure that the mistakes of 2009 are not repeated.
Finally, mention must be made of the heroic role of the Arondizuogu Patriotic Union (APU), led by its President General Mazi Uche Ohia. To deny that body participation in the events that led to the events of Ikeji 2009, will be naive just as it will be dishonest to ignore the great role it played in returning Ikeji on track. The APU leadership was courageous and relentless in the series of peace talks that preceded a return of Ikeji to normalcy.
May the joy of Ikeji and everlasting peace dwell with all its citizens as they celebrate Ikeji 2010 from the 15lh to the 18th of April.
Mr.Â Nwana, a social commentator, writes from Lagos.