Home FEATURES Obi Alfred Achebe Kicks Off ‘Ite Umatu Eze Onicha In Grand Style(pictures)

Obi Alfred Achebe Kicks Off ‘Ite Umatu Eze Onicha In Grand Style(pictures)

by Austin Areh
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By Victor C. Ifeajuna

Obi Achebe on the throne of Ezechima

Obi Achebe on the throne of Ezechima

The ancient city of Onitsha on the 11th of August 2015 wore a very colourful look  for the Umatu,the advent of Ofala festival. Umatu EZE ONICHA runs first for four market days and is seconded by Umatu Eze Idi for another  four market days. This is closely followed by Ikpalla of two various quarters respectively for four market days each, amounting to sixteen days of celebration.

Obi in council

Ndi iche with their ‘Ogbanchi’ (Royal Spear) Historically, Onitsha warriors used the Ogbanchi as a weapon

Ite Umatu by the Obi is the first step towards the celebration of the Ofala festival. It started with the arrival of men ,women,young and old , titled men and women (Agbalanze and Otu Odu), Ndi Iche (Red cap Chiefs) arrived one after the other and went into the hallowed chamber of the IME OBI (palace).

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Obi Achebe heads to the arena

By 2pm, the Obi-in-council lined up according to seniority and in readiness to usher the Obi into the arena to commence with the process of Ite Umatu festival. The Obi’s first appearance saw him march through the center of his cabinet as they all chanted Obi Echi O Ewooo Ewooo, moving into landscaped lawn.Obi Achebe acknowledged the ovation of his subjects, friends and well wishers as he proceeded with a majestic dance to the beat of royal drum (egwu ota).

Obi Achebe dancing to the royal drum (egwu ota)

Obi Achebe dancing to the royal drum (egwu ota)

Obi Achebe retired to the throne of Ezechima, Obi in council (Ndi Iche) came out according to their heirachy knelt down and bow before the Obi as an expression of loyalty. The Agbalanze followed suit, then came Otu odu, ogbo na achi ani, youth , men and women of different status.

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A member of Ndi iche-ume dances to egwu ota (royal drum)

Obi Achebe prayed for everyone present and those not present, he prayed for the land and asked OLISEBULUWA(God Almighty) for long life peace, harmony and prospering the land and on earth. Obi Achebe made three appearances to the arena dancing to the beat of the royal drum, retired to the throne and prayed again,with kola nut in his hands, he later poured libation with mmanya ocha(palm wine) and finally with mmanya oku(hot drink).

One of the Ndi Iche dancing to the beat of egwu ota

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Agbogidi’s family standing to welcome Obi Achebe

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Umatu delicacies …nni oka(corn meal) and ogbono (draw soup)

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placed in front trays are traditional snacks , aku na ukwa, and okpodudu…

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company of (egwu ota ) drummers waiting to start what they know how how to do best.

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Agbogidi dancing majestically to the egwu-ota as he greets his subjects

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Dancing continues , Ndi Iche giving Agbogidi Royal support

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Agbogidi retires to his chambers after the Umatu outing at the palace arena

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Obi Achebe retiring from the palace to another chamber

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An Agbalanze bows to Agbogidi to reaffirm his allegiance

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Ndi iche ume inspect the umatu delicacy

The major highlight of the ceremony was the process at which the Obi presided over the traditional way of eating the corn flour(nni oka) draw soup(ogbono). He now played the role of humble servant as he cuts lump of nni oka, a piece of meat and called for his subjects to come and receive communion, starting from Obi in council down to untitled men. Finally aku na ukwa, okpodudu snacks were shared according to tradition of Onitsha kingdom, while entertainment on food and drint went on at different points in the palace, Obi poured the final libation by 6pm to bring the occasion to an end.

Agbogidi playing the role of a humble servant by sharing food hand by hand

Agbogidi playing the role of a humble servant by sharing food hand by hand

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Cross section of Agbalanze

 

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President Agbalanze United State (Washington D.C.) And Children came down to Onitsha because of Umatu Obi of Onicha 2015.

InlandTown! 2015.

 

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