Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has urged communities in the state to preserve and promote their cultural identities and heritage for the benefit of the future and unborn generations.
The Governor said this at the secon edition of the Great Achallaukwu Festival by Affa Community of Udi Local Government Area.
The great Achallaukwu Dynasty comprises some communities in Igbo-Etiti, Uzo-Uwani and Udi Local Government Areas of Enugu State.
Ugwuanyi, represented by Dr Kingsley Udeh, Commissioner for Rural Development, also represented by, Mrs Ifeoma Ogbu, PRO of the ministry, said there was need for communities to promote and sustain their culture.
“The Government of Enugu State is calling on all the communities and their leaders to resuscitate, preserve and promote their cultural heritage for the benefit of the future and unborn generations,” he said.
Udeh said the manner youths acted and dressed in this era was not befitting of their culture, adding that there was the need for stakeholders to sensitise the younger ones to uphold their cultural values.
“Today, this community is celebrating their ancestral father called Achallaukwu and it is an occasion that all members of the community should embrace.
“I am advising them to take the celebration seriously by exploring the opportunity to reach out to all the strata of the community which include women, youths, children and the elderly.
“There is need for everyone to cooperate and bring their culture to enviable heights,” Udeh advised.
The festival, which commenced with a Holy Mass celebrated by the Spiritual Director of Great Achallaukwu Dynasty, Rev. Fr. Joe Ezechi, had in attendance, many sons and daughters of Affa including Affa traditional ruler, HRH Marius Ahamu.
During the homily, Fr Ezechi said the celebration signified brotherhood and togetherness of all the sons and daughters of Achallukwu ancient kingdom.
He regretted that people often neglected the culture of their ancestors, stressing that, there was the need to revive it.
The clergyman, who said he had studied Igbo culture and religion, explained that culture was what defined people and showed their true identity.
“I feel pain how people keep throwing away their culture in the name of paganism.
“We cannot throw them away but remind ourselves whom we are.
“We only need to remove the harmful part of it to suit modern life,” he said.
An elder, Mr Emmanuel Eketaonwu, said the event was used to remember their days, adding that, they had done it in a traditional way before some people advocated for the inclusion of modern practices to accommodate Christianity.
“We accepted and we do not have problem celebrating it together as brothers and sisters,” he added.
The President General of Affa Autonomous Community, Mr Victor Uchedienyi, said the event was to celebrate their paternity and ancestral bond and cultural values.
According to him, the celebration will help to integrate their strength, overcome their weaknesses, make them one indivisible people and promote love and relationship.
Uchedienyi, who is the convener of the event, said their forefathers, Achallaugwu, had children dispersed and developed into numerous communities, retaining some of his cultural values.
“We shall no longer tolerate any dividing element in our paternity relationship.
“Great Achalaukwu Dynasty will continue to transform their culture to suit modern day society.
“We are called upon to co-exist and concentrate on the things that can bind us together, transform ancient practices that are obsolete and analyse our values and market our rich cultural values,” he said.