Ahead of the Ine Aho festival of Issele-Uku, Aniocha north local government area of Delta State, His Royal Majesty (HRM) Agbogidi Obi Nduka, the Obi of Issele-Uku kingdom, has said that the culture and traditional heritage of the people are their pride.
“It has been a known fact that the culture and traditions of Issele-Uku, so rich, that if properly funded, would see the town become a tourist destination and create numerous job opportunities for the teeming youths, besides, would yield so much return on investment for the investors”.
The traditional ruler gave the hint Tuesday at the Oligbo Royal Palace while briefing the press on the significance of the festival, “the glory of Issele-Uku lies in its unfettered adherence to its rich culture and traditions. One of the imperative cultures of Issele-Uku, is the Ine Aho festival, which is the most reverend festival in the ancient town of Issele-Uku”.
The Obi said the people are committed to preserving their cultural heritage despite influx of foreign culture which has eroded the culture of some communities, “we are willing to project these cultures to the world”, stressing that with modernization and globalization, there was need to create, add value and importance to the festival, “and we are striving towards achieving that goal, especially by targeting the youth with specialized programs that will be put in place in future as the festival is attended by people of all ages”.
The monarch lamented that though the festival period was loaded with minor and major traditional events, majority of these traditional activities of the festival are not popularized and publicized.
He listed the traditional activities to include Izu Afiachi, Ilo Chi Ikpala, Ilo Chi Ikolo, Mgba Ututu, Iba Nzu, Ihu Onicha, which he said are significant traditional activities and highlights of the Ine Aho festival, “these activities pull crowd from far and wide to experience the festival”.
While explaining that the Izu Afiachi, is performed by the Obi on Afor market day, the Ilo Chi Ikpala and Ilo Chi Ikolo are both celebrated on Nkwo market days by the Ikpala-red title holders and Ikolo youth respectively.
According to him, “Mgba Ututu wrestling competition is performed seven days before the Ine Aho festival. It is a day set aside for strong men presently women in the town to exhibit their skills in wrestling, to entertain the people of Issele-Uku and their visiting guests”.
He disclosed that prior to the Ine Aho festival is the declaration of “Iba Nzu” which is the most important ceremony to be performed as it marks a period of spiritual cleansing and purification of the town from all evil.
Meanwhile, the monarch appreciated the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, for his development strides in Issele-Uku in particular and the entire local government council, “I must say that I am lucky to have come at a time when such an ordained and passionate leader is on the saddle of leadership of the state”.
He also commended his subjects for their unalloyed support which has culminated into the successes he has recorded since he ascend the throne, “my people are wonderful, and I tell you that I am fortunate and proud to be the traditional ruler of this beautiful, hospitable and lovable kingdom”.