Abia Monarch Prays For Peace As Ossah Communities Celebrate Ekpe Festival

 

The Traditional Ruler of Eziama/Mgbaja Autonomous Community,Ossah-Ibeku in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, His Royal Majesty, Eze Chiabuto Emenike, has prayed for the peace of Ossah Communities and the state at large, as Ossah celebrates their 2024 Ekpe festival.

Ekpe festival which is an annual event, is celebrated across Umuahia communities to usher in the new year.

In an interview with National Ambassador Newspaper, the monarch who disclosed that the Ekpe festival was adopted from the Efik tradition, said it started in Umuahia between the 16th and 17th century.

He stated that the festival is celebrated in January of every year, for the purpose of entertainment and merriment, stating that today was the turn of the three communities that make up the Ossah clan, Eziama/Mgbaja Autonomous Community, Uhabiri Umuchime na Amanso and Uzzi na Akpa-izu.

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Eze Emenike Chiabotu

The Traditional ruler added that the festival apart from its fun fair, it’s done to showcase the cultural heritage of the people of Umuahia and as well, promote cultural recreation and entertain observers.

Eze Emenike also disabused the minds of people, who perceive the culture as being fetish, stressing that the Ekpe festival has no fetish inclination or blood letting, maintaining that the festival is done basically for entertainment, where masquerades perform to entertain the audience.

“During the festival, the three Communities in Ossah-Ibeku, gather together at our ancestral ground and watch the masquerades display. You watch their displays until you are tired. Then you go home. Nothing is fetish in their performances”.

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He stated that in the cause of the celebration, no form of violence, hooliganism or misbehaviors are condoned, adding that for the purpose of observing a hinge free celebration, youths of the various communities have been warned against the carrying of harmful objects like matchets, bottles and guns during the festival.

 

“We have gone on air to vehemently warn against the use of harmful objects during the festival and also urged the youth who engage in cultism, illicit drugs and other forms of illegality to desist from it. We have involved drug law agency and security personnel to make patrols in our communities during the event,so as to forestall any form of violence. The Police and the Army are also on ground to work in synergy with the local vigilante,” he said.

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The Traditional ruler further appealed to the people of Ossah to remain peaceful while the festival lasted.

 

By Charles Ogbonnaya, Kate Okereke