By Patrick Ochei
The highly revered wisdom endowed monarch of Issele-Uku Kingdom, Agbogidi Obi Nduka has revealed big plans to make the 2019 Ine Aho Festival, billed to hold on the 14th September, 2019, more interesting than ever.
The Obi who revealed the cultural intricacies to making our festival uniquely colourful, at a meeting of Oligbo Consultative Forum, he stated that Ine Aho Festival is that period of the year when we showcase our rich traditional and cultural heritage, our peace and unity and our love and hospitality.
He explained that Ine Aho, apart from celebrating God’s goodness with bounties of harvests (new yam), it is a time to celebrate our essence, the joy of the unique people of Issele-Uku (Ine Onyimi) which is celebrated annually, adding that “wadi agba aho ayali aho.”
Already as a prelude, the Ine Aho festival officially commenced on the 19th of August with Ilo-Ifede Unyagbie, followed by Izu Afiachi on the 23rd August, Ilo-Chi Eziogwa on the 26th August, Iwaji Umuaka on the 27th August and Ilo-Chi Ikpala on the 28th August.
Before the Ine Day, the following traditional activities will also take place: Ilo-Chi Ikolo on 1st September, Ite Umatu on 2nd September, Iwaji Ikolo on 3rd September, Igbu Awai on 4th September, Mgba Ututu on 6th September, Ibu Odu Ukwu on 7th September and Iba Nzu on 9th September.
The Ine Aho Festival itself will take place on the 14th of September; a day to showcase our rich culture with the Onotu chiefs displaying the stuff they are made of as they and their villages will dance to the Oligbo Royal Palace for a traditional handshake with Agbogidi Nduka.
After the Ine follows Iwaji Obi on 18th September, Ihu Onicha where the Idime chiefs (palace chiefs) will pay their own homage to the Obi while receiving the blessing of a handshake (Inaka) will take place on the 20th of September. The traditional year will officially end with the Eke Obor on 22nd September and Eke Mmo on 26th September.
But away from core traditional festive activities, Agbogidi Nduka had equally introduced some very unique cultural events as post Ine festival to inculcate a bit of modern glamour. This one will involve both Issele-Uku indigenes and non indigenes in dancing and singing competitions, including Beauty Pageant to produce Miss Issele-Uku (Ada Issele-Uku).
Issele-Uku has nine villages and so the dance competition will be segmented into three villages each per day. The emerging winners will now participate at the grand finale which will hold on the 19th September with Panel of Judges from the Organization For the Advancement of Anioma Culture (OFAAC).
During the cultural festival, the winner of the Ada Issele-Uku Beauty Pageant will be unveiled while non indigene communities will be given opportunities to pay homage to His Royal Majesty and also participate in the dance.
More so, as a way of empowering our people, there will be raffle draws where persons with winning tickets will go home with motorcycle and sewing machine.
Meanwhile, Agbogidi Nduka had warned against any form of civil disturbance or violence throughout the Ine Aho Festival, appealing to parents to advise their children against running foul of the security rule for the period under review.
He affirmed that Ine Aho means festival of joy (Ine Onyimi) which affords Issele-Uku people the platform to express their appreciation to God for a productive year and at the same time celebrating the joy and essence of culture.
He posited that security would be beefed up to forestall any form of lawlessness; however, he appealed for peace and friendly celebration while the festival lasts.