Written by David Ugbabe
The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, has commenced the annual rites of the Inyedo Ukwu na Nlo Eze which requires him to go into seclusion. The solitude rite, which started on Friday, will end on October 5, the eve of Ofala Eze Onicha, the Ofala Festival.
It is during this period that the monarch goes into a trance in total seclusion “to commune with the ancestors in supplication to God for the forgiveness of communal wrongdoings” over the past year. It is also believed that the monarch uses this period to pray for a peaceful and bounteous year ahead for his community.
According to the Obi’s chief of staff, Chinyelugo Osita Anionwu, who spoke to The Cable on Friday, said the Onitsha monarch will also pray “for the end of the turmoil, violence, and hardship that has befallen” Nigeria in general and Igbo land.
“He will be praying for the return of peace, mutual love and respect, justice, fairness, and equity as the fundamental prerequisites for stemming the anger, frustration, and bitterness that have enveloped the country.”
Meanwhile, it was revealed that the Ofala Festival will be held on October 6 in adherence to the covid-19 to prevent an outbreak. Anionwu reiterated that it will be marked very modestly and devoid of the usual fanfare, colour, pomp, and pageantry that have become the global hallmark of the ancient festival. Also, there will be no Azu Ofala celebration.
It was gathered that the Owuwa-Ji (New Yam) Festival commenced on Friday, 24 September 2021 and will end on Thursday, 21 October with Ikelebe-Ji (the new yam celebration by the monarch) will similarly be observed very modestly. He said: “It is the hope of his majesty and the people of Onitsha that the challenges of this year will pass, and circumstances will enable these festivals to return to normal next year, which will be his 20th anniversary on the throne.”