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Mbaise Agog for Iriji as Anambra state government dreams unified festival

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A scene from an Iriji Festival in Igboland


All is set for the 2019 Iriji Mbaise Festival scheduled for Thursday August 15, 2019 at Mbaise Secondary School Playground.The Special Guest of Honour is His Excellency Rt. Hon. Chukwuemeka Ihedioha, Executive Governor of Imo State who is a culture ambassador. Iriji Mbaise Cultural Festival is a way the people express and promote their culture, translate the work in their hands in which all parts of the Social System work together for the benefit of mankind.

The cultural fiesta has enormous potentials to attract infrastructural development, huge socio-economic benefits, promoting tourism and local contents inform of crafts cultural and artistic talents as well as opening trade and commerce while building bridges with other emerging societies.

Speaking to journalists, the Chairman Central Working Committee 2019 Iriji Mbaise, Chief Austin Onwubiko, stated that the yearly festival celebrates the culture, unity and developmental strides of the three local governments that make up the Mbaise Nation. “It is a way of expressing our custom, culture, tradition and values to the outside world,” Onwubiko stated. “This year’s focus is to ensure that we propagate and develop the rich cultural uniqueness of Mbaise people, which could be exported.”

According to Onwubiko, many side attractions have been developed to give glamour and intellectual spice to the festival. As a prelude to the event, Mbaise People’s Congress will hold a colloquium on Wednesday August 14 with a theme ‘Financing the Mbaise University Project’ while a rally to create awareness on the benefits of a drug and cultism free society is already in the roadmap.Other cultural effects are traditional dances (Nkwa ji), locking and unlocking of the Yam ban (Ile Obaji), Mbaise Cuisine where different dishes will be showcased.

Meanwhile, the Anambra government has taken steps to unify the celebrations in the state.The Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Lady Vera Queen Okonkwo, stated this in Awka recently. She observed that the current practice is such that each royal father organises his own new yam festival, a situation, she noted, that makes it a monthly affair especially from July to December every year.

Okonkwo stated that the traditional rulers would look at the proposal and make inputs towards having a joint new yam festival at the state level and even beyond, to be followed by each individual royal father’s in his community.

She said: “The ball is the court of the royal fathers. The traditional rulers will look into the matter and make inputs. Once they have decided, a bill will be submitted to the State House of Assembly to enact a law on joint new yam festival in the state.

“I think it is better to have a uniformed, joint festival. With the unification, all the traditional rulers from the 179 communities in the state are expected to attend the joint festival after which, each royal father is free to pick a date to organise his own event in his domain. There is also move to involve the Southeast as well as South-South zones in the universal new yam festival.”


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