HOW FAR THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS AFFECTED THE RICH CULTURAL HERITAGE OF NIKE LAND IN ENUGU STATE NIGERIA. NIKE TRADITIONAL RULERS FROWNS

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OMSNEWS.NET was at the event of the 2020 New Yam Festival of All Saints Community, Ibagwa Nike, Enugu Nigeria, where many gathered on strictly measure of covid-19 observance .In Ibagwa Nike the Igwe  of the community, HRH Igwe Dr. Emmanuel Oluchukwu Ugwu, Anyanwunawaluoha of Ibagwa Nike, performed the ceremony  as the custom demanded with some of  the cabinet members selected  to observe the COVID restrictions in the State. Among the dignitaries that graced the occasion were the Traditional Prime Minister of the kingdom Chief Sir Christain Oguejiofo Mbah, the Queen of the land Lolo Maryann Ugwu, President General Ibagwa Nike kingdom, Chief Sir Arthurwilliams Mbah, and the Secretary General of Ibagwa Chief Sir Jude Okwor Director OMSNEWS.NET, the chiefs of different  villages were also present in the ceremony.OMSNEWS gathered many facts from those dignitaries such as the onowu, Chief Christan Mbah  who explained that the reason why the ceremony was in very low key celebration is because of the pandemic that is ravaging the country and the world at large, he also told OMNEWS.NET that they are obeying the government protocol on COVID – 19 that they will not exceed thirty people in the palace and also they maintained social distance as ministry of health and NCDC has ordered.   Chief Sir Emeka Jim  Ngwu, the Chairman Board of Trustees Ibagwa Nike said that the pandemic really affected the ceremony , that last year’ s own was  better than this year but in all things thanks to God.

The highlight of the ceremony was the sharing of roasted yam among the villages of the community through their respective chiefs by the traditional ruler. This signifies traditionally the unification of the five sons of the proginator of the community that form the integral villages and the customary feeding of the sons by the ancestral father, Enenwudara represented by the traditional ruler. We couldn’t speak with the traditional ruler of the community because at times of calamities like this, the custom demands of him to stay indoor. Another dignitary that OMSNEWS talked with was Chief Timothy Okolo, the traditional Defense Minister of the kingdom. He  told us that it is a  very big festival that those at home and abroad normally come back home to celebrate and look forward to this  day as a fulfilled day , though the pandemic really affected it but it is a done deal that the kingdom cannot do without.We could speak with Chief Sir Robison Ugwu who regretted to tell us that this years’ new yam festival that suppose to be very groovy was a shamble because of the effect of the COVID pandemic. Dr. Stephen Nnaji, a senior Lecturer in Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, who returned for the ceremony highlighted that the New Yam Festival is very important in the life of the community, and so it has to be celebrated, and the traditional ruler performed the ceremony according to the rules of the NCDC to curtail the effect of the COVID pandemic. Chief Christopher Ugwu, the village Chief of the Ogavuene village spoke on behalf of the village chiefs. He said this annual festival is very important in the community because it is the time the community experiences the general return of the citizens both those within and outside Nigeria. He said that this year’s festival was to fulfill all righteousness because it cannot be compared with the past ones because of the COVID-19 ravaging the whole world.

 


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