OKPONAKUMA CELEBRATES 2015 NEW YAM FESTIVAL

The traditional ruler of Okponakuma community in Njaba local government of Imo state, HRH Eze V.C Duru, has celebrated this year's new yam festival, with a difference by using the first palm fruits, of the plant a palm programme of Imo state government, to celebrate the festival. The event which was grand by all standards, started with a thanksgiving mass at St Joseph's Catholic Church Okponakuma.
In his homily, the officiating priest commended HRH Eze V.C Duru, for his steadfastness at ensuring that the tradition of his community, which is associated with the norms of the society, is maintained. He urged the people of Okponakuma,to work hard to improve on their harvest, stating that the law of nature is hinged on moving forward and not backwards.
HRH Eze V.C Duru, at the palace with other traditional rulers from Njaba and his people, performed the ceremony of cutting the yam, which signified that the pregnant land has delivered, and by implication means that the people of Okponakuma who planted yams in their lands can now start harvesting.
While interacting with Nigerian Notch, HRH Eze V.C Duru expressed happiness at this year's new yam festival, which he described as phenomenal, in the sense, that the state government policy on plant a palm project, has yielded a positive result, as the palm oil used for eating of the new yam, was harvested from the first palm planted by Okponakuma community two year's back. He commended the state government for the palm, as he noted that the palm trees are of good breed.
 He stressed that cutting of the new yam signifies a call for Okponakuma people to start harvesting as the land has given birth. He further emphasized that yam as the chief food crop of the Igbo's, signals harvest, and it's a time that the people will start to harvest what ever they have planted.
Eze V.C Duru, however debunked the insinuations made in some quarters that, celebrating the new yam is fetish, with reference to, His Lordship Augustine Ukwuoma, Orlu Catholic Diocese, who celebrated his new yam festival recently, while admonishing the general public that new yam festival is not a fetish celebration. . He however called on the Bishop Ukwuoma to celebrate the new yam festival next time at the palace of Igwe of Orlu, or at his home town at Amucha, as traditional rulers are the custodians of culture and tradition.
He maintained that the new yam festival is a cultural festival that draws its strength from, the survival instincts of the Igbo man in relation to hard work and industry, as yam has become a symbol of attachment to the Igbo's, both at home and in the diaspora. He therefore used Okponakuma new yam festival,  to declare,  as the chairman, council of Ndi-Eze in Njaba that the land has given birth, which now means that the people of Njaba can now go into harvest.      

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