OJIJI IZZI - NEWS COMMENTARY ON OJIJI IZZI CULTURE IN IGBO LAND



The Grand Finale of Ojiji Izzi 2012 culture has been variously described as the totality of people’s way of life such as type of food, cloth or dress, talk, agricultural partum conduct etc. Some view culture as a framework of behavioural patterns, values, assumptions and experiences shared by a social group.
In Igboland and among the Igbo of Nigeria , the month of August every year is always momention as it is associated with festivities especially that of new yam festival. In Izzi clan of Ebonyi State, South East of Nigeria, the month of August is a month which every Izzi man, woman, old and young earnestly and fervently prays for. This is because the month of August is gladdened with the celebration of new yam festival variously called Iriji Ohuru, Iwa ji, Ikeji, oke aku etc but popularly called Ojiji Izzi or “Eri ji ophu”.

It is pertinent to note that the species of people called Izzi clan occupy three harge and thickly populated local government areas of the present Ebonyi State and other neighbouring states like Cross River and Benue States. The Ojiji Izzi is the most popular and widely celebrated social cultural activity known to Izzi clan both at home and Diaspora.
In Izzi land, as apparently in other areas of Igboland, yam is considered the king of all crops and a divine gift from God. This accounts for why an Izzi man treats yam with great measure of sanctity and sacrosanct. In Izzi land, anybody or group of persons who desecrates the yam is customarily required to appease the yam and placated the land so as not to incur the wrath of the yam and God whose consequences are usually gravious and catastrophic. This also accounts for the reason an average Izzi man dedicate a special place in his compound for the establishment of a barn “Objai” for the preservation and storage of yams. The Barn which is commonly known as Obaji is usually positioned strategically to attract and arrest the interest and admiration of both the owner and visitors alike. It is also for this singular reason that a typical Izzi man erects a small hut inside the barn called “Eru Oba” or obi where the man stays and keeps surveillance of his barn and the entire compound. There is also a provision for a sit out in front of the barn with a local shade or canopy called “mkpu” constructed with palm fronds, Indian bamboo and sticks with tie-tie. The place is called “Okpoku” convergence point for the family. It is also under that shade that a great farmer takes his title ranging from Akwa lepfi and Jioke tille respectively. A great farmer in Izzi land who has accomplished tremendous farm adventures and escapades would he leveraged to take such tittles like Oko JiI, Onyibe Ji, Ojelegu I, Ovu Ji acho ali, Oko ngele azulabo among others. The barn is also significant and symbolic are in labour would rush to the barn for delivery and the child would he named Nwoba or Obaji or Nwulegu as the case may be.
Essentially, this year’s new yam festival Ojiji Izzi 2012 which is an annual event is used to mark the end of a yam farming cycle and the beginning of another farming season which is usually characterized by thanksgiving, almsgiving, prayers, pouring of libation, compound cleaning, visitation to In-laws and relatives, communal road construction, circumcision, age grade initiation, peace and reconciliation, clearing of pathways to the local streams/rivers and ultimately showcasing of the cosmological values of Izzi clan.
The Ojiji Izzi festival presents and offers both indigenes and strangers alike the ample opportunities of relishing and savouring our local delicacies and relies like pounded yam “Nri ji” with “Esusa” soup banished, Ukpo, dried Okro, Akpurata Oku.
Ji ahuhu roasted yam with local sauce Agbo of curry family among other things.
As the Izzi clan rolls out her drums and all roads lead to Anmegu the ancestral home of Izzi Nnodo Ekumenyi for the grand finale of 2012 Ojiji on Tuesday Ophoke the 28th August, 2012, the traditional prime minister of Izzi clan Ishiuke Ogbo Edege Nkwuda on behalf of Ishiuke Anmegu, traditional rulers, national Assembly members, speaker, Ebonyi State House of Assembly, honourable members of the house, state executive council members, SSG, local government chairmen and development centre coordinators, all elected and political appointees of Izzi extraction warmly welcomes our inlaws, friends, well wishers and all lover of good things to the grand ceremony of 2012 annual Ojiji festival with the theme. Our culture, our heritage and our pride.
We wish you journey mercies, great re-union and fraternal relationship with the peace loving, hospitable and good people of Izzi clan Unu Tokwehuo! Dejeo!! Oshi aduo!
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