…it’s our symbol of unity –Igwe Alphonsus
By Gabriel Ewepu
AS culture remains integral part of Nigerians, the indigenes of Ufuma in Anambra State, residing in Abuja, weekend, celebrated New Yam Festival in remembrance of their ancestors.
According to Igwe Alphonsus Ofuebe, who offered royal blessings at the occasion, said the remembrance of yam festival in Igbo land remains significant and symbol of unity among the people.
Ofuebe said: “You can see how this has brought us here in Abuja together, and that means even when we have gone to our original home, we cannot forget our tradition.
“New yam festival marks the renewal of kinship alliances, as well as the end of one agricultural season with a harvest to express gratitude and thanksgiving to the society, gods, friends and relations.”
According to the Chairman Ufuma Development Union, UDU, Ikenna Nwankwo, the New Yam festival remains a strong part of the Ufuma people wherever they are in the world and have not missed the festival which is to hold the continuity of their ancestral root to generations unborn.
Nwankwo further stated that essence of the festival is to express gratitude to the Almighty God, for life, protection, and bountiful yam harvest.
While giving historical background of the Ufuma people, he said they were the descendants of three surviving sons of Uvume, as well as Nkwere, both of whom were the two surviving sons of Egbe.
He said “Egbe had two surviving sons named Uvume and Nkwere and four daughters with Egbe being a great farmer who grew yam mostly as his favourite crop.
“The yam festival is done in remembrance of our ancestors, since they brought their families in this way and it has become a symbol of unity among us.
“The practice is that, the festival must be done first at home before any branch members of Ufuma can do so, and we celebrate culture and traditions that our fathers left for us.”
Also in another remarks, the Women Leader of UDU, Benedicta Onwuebu, pointed out that the New Yam festival affords their children the opportunity to understand the festival and culture of the Ufuma people despite it is being celebrated outside their traditional home.
“The celebration gives us opportunity to teach our children our cultural food, play and the unity of our people”, Onwuebu said.
Those present at the event were royal fathers, top politicians, youths and other Igbo communities residing in Abuja, and neighbouring States, which also had colourful cultural displays by various women and youth associations under the Ufuma community in Abuja, including exhibition of Igbo dishes, and among others.