Traditional ruler of Igboukwu, Igwe Martin Eze, middle, cuts the yam to herald the celebration of the new yam
All roads led to National Yam House Igboukwu, in Aguata LGA of Anambra State, August 26, as the community marked this year's New Yam Festival. It was also an occasion that saw the unveiling of the statue of foremost industrialist, Sir Innocent Chukwuma, of INNOSON fame.
The annual event which was organised by Inter Agency Committee on Culture and Tourism Development of Southeast Zone, also witnessed award presentations to deserving people in the state.
Speaking in his address of welcome, the executive secretary of the organising body, Mazi Ugochukwu Okaforuzu, said their aim was to bring the status of New Yam celebration to that of Argungu Fishing Festival in the North and the Osogbo Groove Festival in Osun State.
He called on well-meaning Igbo people to help in the erection of a permanent National Igbo Palace at the festival ground to assist the aged who participated in the festival.
This is even as he conferred on Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the title of ''Agboma Igbo'', just as he unveiled Chukwuma's statue, explaining that the award to INNOSON was because of his past contributions
Okaforuzu regretted the state government's lukewarm support to the centre, but hoped that their fortunes would improve in no distant time.
He however appealed for more financial assistance in the form of a vehicle to help in moving tourists round the Southeast. He also urged the state government to fulfil its promise of tarring the road leading to the Yam House, as well as building a royal palace for the monarchs.
He expressed gratitude to Chief Eric Umeofia for for his support in organizing this year's event.
Okaforuzu also commended the gubernatorial candidate of United Progressive Party, UPP, Mr Osita Chidoka, for gracing the occasion, noting that he was specially invited because they had decided to support him towards realising his ambition.
Speaking earlier, Chidoka acknowledged the significance of yam in Igbo history, even as he stressed the need for the propagation of Igbo Language and Culture.
He said he was in the gubernatorial to represent the generation born after the war, noting that they represented the future.
He urged for support from the people, promising to run a prudent and accountable government. He also promised to build a world class museum in Igboukwu if elected and that his government would take over the handling of the festival.
The occasion was graced by the traditional ruler of Igboukwu, Igwe Martin Eze; the Eze Ndigbo in Suleija, as well as his counterpart in Ahoada, among others.
Highlights of the event included presentation and cutting of the new yam; wrestling; traditional dances and dances by masquerades.