UTE-OGBEJE MONARCH CELEBRATES NEW YAM FESTIVAL

It was a wonderful celebration, on Sunday October 15, 2017, when His Royal Majesty Obi Gabriel C. Jikeme 1 Agbogidi (JP), the Obi of Ute-Ogbeje Kingdom, in Ika North East LGA of Delta State, celebrated his new yam festival.DSCN5732 UTE-OGBEJE MONARCH CELEBRATES NEW YAM FESTIVAL
The event which was the grand finale of the New Yam celebration in the kingdom, with the Chiefs and members of the community having celebrated theirs on the 4th of October 2017, is an annual celebration to thank God for a successful farming season and to signal the commencement of the eating of yam by the people of the kingdom.
In a brief speech while performing the formal eating of the new yam, the revered monarch of Ute-ogbeje kingdom, stated that the event is celebrated to thank God for a bumper harvest. Continuing, he prayed God to continually grant members of the community good health, success in their endeavours, peace of God on Ute-Ogbeje kingdom and bountiful harvest during the next planting season. He encouraged his subjects to be hardworking and always remain prayerful in order for them to achieve their set goals.
The colourful ceremony had in attendance members of Ute-Ogbeje community who came out in their large numbers to felicitate with their royal father on the memorable occasion. Queen Gladys Jikeme (JP), the Queen mother of Ute-Ogbeje kingdom, was at her best welcoming very important personalities which included traditional rulers, community leaders, business moguls and top government functionaries who came to felicitate with the royal family; into the magnificent palace reception hall, where they were accorded royal treats that would remain ever green to dignitaries that graced the occasion.
In their separate remarks, Chief Phillip Isiuwe, the Ihaza of Ute-Ogbeje kingdom and Chief Moses Osiadi, the Osokoeze of Ute-Ogbeje kingdom, disclosed that the New Yam Festival is an annual event, a way through which they thank God for the success achieved during their farming season. Saying, “The idea is to let people know that the time of harvest has come, the yams we planted early this year are now mature. for us to start eating, explaining that HRM is usually the last person to celebrate his New Yam Festival, the Chief and others having done theirs a fortnight ago. Continuing, they stated that once His Royal Majesty finishes marking his new yam festival, everybody in the kingdom is now free to eat the new yam and this has always been the tradition of the people, emphasizing that the ceremony is mainly for eating and drinking.
In a chat with Ika Weekly Newspaper reporter, Chief Andrew Sonwu, the Eleme of Ute-Ogbeje kingdom, stated that the New Yam Festival is celebrated to thank God for raising up what we put on the ground, saying, that this year’s harvest was more than expected. Despite the fact that Ute-Ogbeje indigenes do not use fertilizer, the ground is still yielding bountifully. Speaking on the encroachment of western culture into our culture and tradition, he noted that most youths especially children of the elites that have never been at home do not really understand the culture of their people because of so much acculturization of the western cultures into our traditional society.
Speaking further, he stated that because of the above observations, he has taken it upon himself to document most of the cultural celebration of his people, among which are the documentation of Igweh festival, the traditional marriage of Ute-Ogbeje kingdom and the Ogbanigbe festival, which is the climax of the New Yam Festival.
Notable personalities at the event include; HRM Obi Alioma Ogorgigwe 1, the Obi of Otolokpo Kingdom, HRM Obi and Queen Kikachukwu of Ubulu-Unor kingdom, Queen Sandra Nzemeke of Ejemunor kingdom, Chief Jude Ogbekile, Chief & Mrs. Nkenchor Okwuokenye, Chief A. O. Sonwu, Chief P. Isiuwe, Chief M. Osiadi, Chief Thadus Isiuwe, Engr. D. C. Nwafijokwu (The Esama of Ute-Ogbeje), Mr. Henry Udoka, Mr. Osakwe Justice, Mr. I.K. Oseji. Members of Ute-Ogbeje community and members of Omekokwu cultural dance group, amongst many others.

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