By Izuchukwu Orji
Recently, the indigenes of one of the biggest clans in Abia State gathered in their numbers in the industrial city of Nnewi to mark the 2019 Iri Ji Cultural Festival in grand style. Iri Ji Ohuhu is an event which is held on the first Saturday of October each year, during which the clan members living around Nnewi and its environs draw together with their friends and loved ones to thank God and make merry for a bumper harvest in their various fields of endeavour, during the course of the year.
This year’s event didn’t go unnoticed as various illustrious sons and daughters of the clan started trooping into the venue of the event very early before time, happily and proudly donning their colourful and rich Ohuhu traditional outfits as well as displaying their different signature odumodu dance steps. Indeed, it was a beauty to behold.
During his remark, the Nnewi Branch Chairman of the Ohuhu clan, High Chief Dr.NdubuisiOgwuegbu was full of praises for the Elder ChinonyeremUlukwu led Planning Committee for putting together such a wonderful event.
He was particularly grateful to those that graced the occasion for their relentless effort in making sure that Ohuhu culture and heritage remains intact. He, however, described Iri Ji as a sacred event which every proud Igbo man should strive to uphold.
Speaking to our reporter, High Chief Ogwuegbu underlined the aim for the event as to thank God for his goodness and mercies in the lives of the members and in the lives of their loved ones and also to give thanks for the safety and successes recorded in their various endeavours over the past year.
Continuing he said, “The event also accorded us the opportunity of uniting with our brothers and sisters within the city in order to promote oneness, peace and love, as well as to identify and to bring to the consciousness of our younger generations here in the city about what our culture and identity is all about.”
The renowned ophthalmologist and religious leader maintained that the event was a huge success and used the opportunity to call on the Igbos to always be proud of their culture and heritage in order to prevent them from going into extinction, quoting the famous speech of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu which he rephrased as “so long as we the Ohuhu people and Igbos in general preserve our culture and identity, we are forever.”
He described the Ohuhu clan as very advanced, intelligent, hardworking and peace-loving people who have made and have kept making huge impacts in various aspects of human endeavour they find themselves, prominent of them is the first Premier of the Eastern Region, Dr. Michael IheonukaraOkpara of blessed memory.
Contributing on his own part, the Planning Committee Chairman, Elder ChinonyeremUlukwu (NzeAhunwaechetanniya) explains further that the reason for the ceremony is to offer the younger generations of the clan who have not been privileged enough to witness the Iri Ji ceremony back there in the village, either due to work or educational engagements, the opportunity to experience how it is done.
“You saw for yourself how happy everyone was at the event both our members and our invited guests, even our children and wives used the opportunity to socialize and know themselves the more. I must tell you, I haven’t been more fulfilled with myself of late than I felt, seeing everyone happy that day,” NzeUlukwu admitted.
The Religious leader, however, revealed that the clan members meet every last Sunday of the month beside Nnewi Youth League Hall, Nnewi Roundabout. He, therefore, used the opportunity to call on all Ohuhu indigenes living within Nnewi and it’s neighbouring communities to come and identify with them as they will be happy to welcome them.
High points of the event include ushering in of Okeishinwe-ekpe and the blessing and cutting of the new yam by all communities that make up the Ohuhu clan present at the event.