Anambra State Government Website


By Regina Igwebuike :

The Amawbia Community in Awka South Local Government Area, Anambra State, has celebrated its annual Eziokpaligwe Festival and prayed for bountiful harvest this farming season.

The three days event, which kick-started on March 21 and climaxed on March 23 was well attended by indigenes, friends and well-wishers from all walks of life, within the country and in The Diaspora.

Declaring the event open, the Osojeze Amawbia, Ozo Arc. Nnaemeka Maduka said that the festival is traditional and symbolic, as farm inputs were blessed and shared to the six villages that make up of the community, explaining that without the ceremony, nobody would farm. 

The Osojeze, represented by Ozo Felix Nzeamalu, while welcoming all to the great event, called on the gods of their land for bountiful harvest this year.

The President General (PG) of Amawbia Community, Engr. Godwin Aronu, said that Eziokpaligwe is the foremost festival of the community, the tradition of their forefathers which they inherited.

Engr. Aronu said that the significance of the celebration was to allow people to cultivate new crops for without it, nobody would get into the farmland.  

The PG was optimistic that this year’s harvest will be bountiful and that by ‘Onwa Asato’, they will converge again to thank God for the bounty and bumper harvest.

The Anambra State Commissioner for Culture, Entertainment and Tourism, Mr. Don Onyenji thanked Ndi Amawbia for organizing the festival which they were known for, noting that Mr Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo do not joke with Igbo culture and traditions.

He observed little children playing, explaining that the festival will not go extinct even as he acknowledged that the age grade system is very functional as they are well represented, urging the community to keep it up.

The commissioner was represented by Mrs Chioma Ifediora, Acting Director of the Ministry.

The Chairman of the occasion, Engr. Arinze Anyadiegwu, expressed happiness being called to chair the occasion, noting that when he was small, he used to attend the festival with his peers.

He thanked the community for holding forth with the tradition, praying that 2024 will bring progres in Amawbia, restore unity and love as the Ugbo-ogiliga of old when all drank from one pot with one cup.

The former Director of Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), Dr. Ikem Odumodu, in an interview, said that he is a lover of tradition that is why he always wants to participate especially at the grassroots.

“As usual, I’m excited and I’m part of it. I have invested through my age grade, my village and central Amawbia level. One of the things I take away is the essence of the tradition and traditional institutions in promoting our own Culture because that is what makes us who we are as a people.

“So, I’m excited and expectant that we are going to get better and better in promoting our tradition. However, I also want to distinguish between tradition and paganism because some people take tradition as part of paganism, which I don’t promote.

“Even though our forefathers were traditionalists, worshipping several gods but Christianity has come and we are christians. So, we must focus on our own salvation in the long term and not practicing neo-paganism.”

On Okpaligwe stool, he said that it was a very contentious issue. Some people do not want Okpaligwe but they will fail. We are going to have him because he is the head of Amawbia.

“If we don’t have Okpaligwe this year, we shall have next year but one thing I know is that we shall have Okpaligwe that will rule over us like other kingdoms. We must promote our Culture and Okpaligwe must come.”

Nze Uche Okonkwo, one of the Okpaligwe contestants, also in an interview, said that Eziokpaligwe is a long time festival that usher in farming season, foster love, peace and unity as they gather together, noting that this year’s celebration was successful.

Speaking on Okpaligwe stool, he said that he is one of the contestants, noting that it is God who makes kings even as he is optimistic that he will be the next Okpaligwe Amawbia.

While praying for progres, unity, love and peace in Amawbia, Nze Okonkwo commended Gov. Chukwuma Soludo’s giant stride across all sectors simultaneously under two years in office.

He noted that the roads flagged off in Amawbia were 70 per cent done, remaining 30 per cent which he believed will be completed and commissioned in the near future.

Also in an interview, Mr Nzube Menuba, Public Relation Officer (PRO), Amawbia Town Union, expressed joy at the success of the festival, noting that villages, age grades and friends came out en-masse for the ceremony not minding the economic situation in the country.

According to him, this shows that they understand the essence of the festival, urging them to keep the ball rolling.

The PRO while praying for journey mercies also prayed for a stable and better economy so that the community will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Earlier, Rev. Peter Nwabufo Okoro, from St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Amawbia, prayed over the seedlings comprising of yam, maize, pumpkin, okro, cassava stems, egusi and water melon that were shared to the six villages.

Rev. Okoro also prayed for good weather and rainfall to enable the crops to grow and yield abundantly.

Umueze village won the Ist position as the village that raised the highest amount of money while Adabebe village won the Ist position as the best dancer of the year.

Presentation of trophies to the two villages and masquerades added glamour to the event.

*Regina is of the Ministry of Information, Anambra State

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