By Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT AKPOR Kingdom in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, an Ikwerre clan, last week, celebrated its annual new yam festival, egwu-ji. Egwu-ji ushers in the freedom of citizens of Akpor to commence consumption of new yam, as the culture demands.
The ceremony, which holds every October commenced last Wednesday and ended on Saturday in the 11 communities that make up the kingdom.
Declaring the ceremony open, the traditional ruler, Eze Anele Oriebe, tasked the people of the clan on the need for hard work.
Oriebe stated that if the people work hard, there would always be bountiful harvest for celebration.
He also urged the youth to respect the tradition of the land, noting that culture shapes the moral consciousness of the people.
“During the festival, the villagers came together to celebrate new yam, It is after the festival, which is a symbol of love and unity that people start eating new yam, beginning from the paramount ruler.”
Tradition forbids kidnapping, killing
Meanwhile, Ogbogoro community leader, Chief Chikordi Dike, has said that the tradition of the Akpor people and Ikwerre in general, does not permit killings and kidnapping.
Dike, who is also a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, said: “I have observed that the issue of insecurity all over today is because people do not know the norm and values of their communities. When we were small, our fathers used to inform us about the importance of culture and tradition, which has guarded me and some other leaders today.
“Most people commit evil today because they do not have respect for their culture and tradition. Communities that respect their tradition will ever have peace, because respect for culture will make you love one another and not harm each other,” he said.
Meantime, as part of the events marking the celebration, over 50 less privileged women received N50, 000 each as seedling. Dike, who made the donation, tasked the beneficiaries to use the money to plant or do business so that they could be part of the celebration, next year.