Every year between the month of August and September, the Izhii people celebrate their new yam festival. Like every other igbo people, the festival heralds the harvest of new yam; the staple food and the king of crops among the Igbos. It is the time the people recognize that they are kins and share the new yam; goodwill to one another.
The bond that holds a people together and distinguishes them from others is culture. Festivals are the clearest demonstration of culture and allegorically demonstrate the beliefs and values the people hold sacred.
In Izhii land, the situation is not different. For eons, the people had held the new yam festival as the hallmark of unity and cultural identity. It is the time that the people do remember that they are one people who share every identity in common. But today, the situation seems to have changed. Politics tends to have torn the bond of brotherhood that binds us together.
I therefore wish to use this occasion of the 2020 new yam festival to enjoin all sons and daughters of Izhii land, especially the political class, to embrace harmony and selflessness.
There is no need for tension, and there is no need for acrimony. Those who are privileged should see it as a responsibility to care for the less privileged and above all uphold the virtues and values of Izhii people. It is by the grace of God that you occupy the position you are today.
And, the support and goodwill of the people keeps you respected. We should not destroy lives and property of fellow Izhii man under the guise of political violence just for selfish ends. It is God that gives power. Those who use violence and crooked means to get to power will certainly go the way they came.
My message is a message of peace; a message of hope; a message of oneness. We are great people, loved by people around us. Why won’t we love one another? We should realize that what lies ahead of us is far greater than what is behind us. Politics will come and go, we will remain Izhii people, either in unity or disunity. But unity is strength, and our strength will be measured by our weakest point.
As I share my goodwill to all sons and daughters of Izhii land, I enjoin the custodians of the culture of the people to brace up to the responsibilities their positions confer on them. They should be bold enough to speak truth to power. They should uphold fairness and justice in all their dealings no matter whose ox is gored.
I also wish to extend my goodwill to our neighbors who have either celebrated or about to celebrate their own new yam festivals. I wish to specifically show profound gratitude to the governor of Ebonyi State Engr. Dr. David Nweze Umahi, who by his love for Izhii land can be adjudged a true son of the soil. It is evident that in all his developmental projects, Izhii land has benefited the most.
I pray that the grace of God will always be sufficient in his life.
By Barr. Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi,
Chairman, PDP, Ebonyi State