By Steve Nwamodo
The Ine Issele-Uku which comes up on the 16th of September, promises to be Grand and more fascinating than it used to be. It is the first official new yam festival outing for HRM Obi Agbogidi Nduka (MNSE), the Obi of Issele-Uku; and so adequate preparations are being put in place to showcase the festival as a tourist attraction and something that could go for historical documentation
Briefing newsmen recently after their recent meeting on the Ine Festival organisation, the Oligbo Consultative Forum (OCF), a body of Issele-Uku elite and professionals through their Alternate Chairman, Engr. Frank Mordi outlined a number of festive activities in the 2017 traditional celebrations timetable which had commenced since August 12. He however, posited that emphasis was more on the Ine Festival which would attract visitors, guests and tourists to the community on the 16th of September to savour the rich cultural heritage of the Issele-Oligbo people.
He called on Issele-Uku sons and daughters at home and in the diaspora to key into the programme to make the Ine Festival, the first after Obi Nduka’s coronation a huge success.
Also speaking was the Chairman of Committee on Culture and Traditional Affairs, a former NNPC Management Staff, Mr. Isikwe Adigwe who said that the Ine Festival had been christened “Ine Onyimi”, meaning Festival of Joy. He said: “We are celebrating and so should not skid away from the track of showcasing the culture and tradition of Issele-Oligbo in a joyous atmosphere.”
The highly cerebral culture icon insisted that every aspect of Issele-Uku culture would be followed in detail, except a slight moderation where an aspect poses some form of violence to indigenes, visitors and spectators. “We will ensure that everything done is strictly cultural in line with joyful celebration and not to be viewed in different light. Culture is the way of life of a people. Our people are known to be hospitable, lovable and peaceful. This is what we are going to portray to the world, and not something that will be viewed as barbaric. That is the modernization of culture we are talking about, without undermining its essence”, he explained.
Meanwhile, the Security Committee headed by Mr. D.O. Mordi had been mandated to come up with strategy to curtail criminal and sinister activities during and after the Ine Festival. He was asked to activate the involvement of all security agencies within the local government to ensure peace and order while the festival lasts.
Equally, words were sent to relevant chiefs in charge of some palace societies to begin to prepare and put their groups in proper perspectives ahead of the D-Day. However, proper emphasis was made on the “Egwu Issoh, Egwu Opi, Ndi Asia and others, while the Osodi and Akamu chiefs are to prepare the Anasi Obi and other Royal wives for their performance on that day.
On the issue of instilling peaceful atmosphere and order when the Obi enters his solitude mood (Iba Nzu) the week preceding the Ine Festival, a group known as the “Ndi Isekwute” has been asked to organize themselves for this task ahead of the Ine. Usually, this group of royal boys goes around town killing fowls wherever they perceived noise during this period. However, they had been cautioned not to be overzealous, but to caution people by giving them orientation ahead of time on the need to avoid noise during the “Iba Nzu” of the Obi, and to play the role of monitoring and ensuring there is no noise in the town within this period, rather than punitive killing of fowls outrightly as deterrence. This is to avoid violence or heating up the atmosphere that they seek to make peaceful.
–Nwamodoh is the Personal Secretary to His Royal Majesty, Obi Agbogidi Nduka