By Rotimi Agbana
Traditional Head of Nri, the ancestral home of the Igbo nation, His Royal Majesty Eze Nrienwelana II has urged Igbo to eschew violence and tow the path of peace during the forthcoming general elections.
Speaking on behalf of the monarch, Regent of the ancient kingdom, Prince Ikenna Onyesoh pleaded with Igbos across the spectrum to ensure they exercise their civic duties in a manner reflective of the tolerant and non-violent nature of the Igbos.
He maintained that election period is not a time for war but of expressions. He urged Igbos to make wise decisions at the polls and vehemently reject offers to be drawn into any form of violent acts during the elections.
Speaking during the annual event of Iguaro Ndi Igbo (the Igbo Lunar Calendar) at the palace of Nri, in Anaocha Local Government of Anambra State, the Regent went further to say that this year’s elections in Nigeria are of very significant importance to Igbos, given the poor representation of Igbos at the Federal level and the general lack of Federal presence in Eastern Nigeria. He said Igbos are now presented with a brilliant opportunity to change the status quo with their votes, not violence.
“I am hopeful as we pray, that Chukwu Okike will grant us peace in this land during elections and beyond. I am also praying that things will change for the better for our people. The last few years haven’t been easy for the Igbo man in Nigeria. It is not good to be in a place you call home and be treated like a stranger.
Anybody who claims not to know what Igbos have been through in this nation is being economical with the truth. All that has to change and we have the opportunity and power to express ourselves wisely and peacefully” he said.
According to Prince Onyesoh, the significance of Igu Aro Ndi Igbo (the Igbo Lunar Calendar) cannot be understated. During his public address, he explained that Igu Aro emanated from history. “Antiquity of Iguaro Ndigbo dates back to the biblical days of Eze Nri whose prerogative as directed by Chukwu Okike (God almighty) is to proclaim the Igbo lunar calendar for the Igbo nation. Igbos annually look forward to welcoming Iguaro with lots of celebration.
The cultural fiesta is normally celebrated every February at Nri, the ancestral homeland of the Igbo nation. Celebration of Iguaro Ndigbo is also a day set aside to remind the Igbos that their ancient culture originated from Nri. Igbo lunar calendar is based on 13 lunar months; each of which is made up of seven Igbo native weeks-which is derived from four market days- Eke, Orie, Afor and Nkwo.”
The monarch assured that Nri will continue to uphold the rich cultural heritage of the Igbo nation and will continue to do whatever it takes to acquaint Igbos with their own history and culture.
He said he was optimistic about the peaceful conduct of the 2019 general elections and insisted that the time has come for Igbos to take their right of place in the affairs of Nigeria.