By Chimaobi Nwaiwu

It was excitement and display of culture and tradition as Ufuma people of Orumba North Local Government Area,    Anambra State celebrated 2017 New Yam Festival, known as Otute Nkpaku, with the traditional ruler of the community, His Royal Highness Igwe Chika Uchime, Diji III of Ufuma leading the pack.

Joined by other recognized traditional rulers from various towns that make up Enugwu –Uno clan in Orumba area and others from different parts of the state to perform the traditional “Iri ji ofuu” Igwe Uchime called on Igbo people to ensure that all the traditions and cultures the Igbo people are known for are not allowed to go into extinction.

Igwe Uchime, however, during the ceremony disclosed that one of his subjects and an expelled member of Igew- in –Council, Mr. Ikechukwu Ogukwe has been making various claims in the news media and advised the public not to be fooled.

Speaking on the ongoing debate of whether Nigeria should embark on restructuring, Igwe Uchime said, “restructuring will make the country work because Nigeria as a country is currently too centralized, and in centralization you ignore the fringes, and in that process most of the people are left out and the resultant effect is agitations by the affected people.

“And restructuring is the only alternative to Biafra, if the young people see a restructured Nigeria working, I do not think anybody is saying that there must be Biafra, the Biafra is the   alternative to restructuring.

“The last National Conference is a part of restructuring started by the former government of then President Goodluck Jonathan, like I said, if you throw away restructuring, the only alternative is the agitation for breaking up the country, so any person who loves Nigeria should go for restructuring in the country.

“Incidentally the people that love Nigeria more than any other tribe are the Igbos, the evidence is there, they have investments everywhere in the country, they are everywhere, they are the people saying do something before it is too late. and I believe the people at the helm of affairs in the country are not drafts, they should know the time is now.”

Also speaking on the quit notice given Ndigbo, living in the north, by the Northern youths he said “it is another way of calling for restructuring, they are saying that the structure of the country is not good and so the youths in the South East and some parts of South- South are saying that the alternative is to have Biafra, while the Northern youths are saying the alternative is to restructure otherwise let the Southerners go.

“So it is their own way of calling for restructuring in Nigeria, their elders who are constituting a stumbling block to restructuring should read the hand writing on the wall, I do not think that the call by both the South East, South-South and Northern youths should be ignored by anybody.”

The traditional ruler said the quit notice is also a food for thought for Igbos because we invest also in Europe and other parts of the world that are very far outside Igbo land, but noted that “for an Igbo man once bitten twice shy, you have been bitten more than five times, not only once and if you are not shy by now, I then wonder what you are, so it is a good lesson for Igbo men to invest in his place first and make it work and then  invest in other places after that, not making investments in other places and when they start agitating for you to leave their land, you will start thinking of your investment there, it is something everybody should reflect on.

“I do not see why the Igbos should not map out an area that may be about 30 kilometers square and plan it as our new Igbo center and invest there, it will be a show case to the world, the Igbos have might and financial capacity to do that, it is just that the leaders that are thinking about the Igbos are few.”

Also speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of Orumba North Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe M.C Okechukwu of Awgbu praised Diji    III of Ufuma for preserving the customs and traditions of Ufuma, just as the Chairman of Orumba South Traditional rulers Council, Igwe P.N Ezeamama of Enugwu Umuonyia, advised Ufuma people and Igbo people in general to keep maintaining cultural festivals they are known for.

Second Vice President General of of Ufuma Development Union, Hon. Okezie Umeaba stated that there was no time the town union, made Mr. Ogukwe nor anybody a Traditional Prime Minister or Onowu osf Ufuma as claimed by Mr. Ogukwe.

“There is only one traditional ruler of Ufuma, in the person of Igwe Chika Uchime, Diji III of Ufuma, recognized by Anambra State Government and a town union has no constitutional mandate or jurisdiction to make anybody a Traditional Prime Minister or Onowu.

“It is only the Igwe- in- Council that has the power to select a Traditional Prime Minister, subject to the approval of the traditional ruler in accordance with the Anambra state Traditional Rulers Law, and warned Ufuma people not to take the name of the town union for granted.”

 

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