THE Ime Obi Onitsha was on Wednesday, August 14, a beehive of activities as the Traditional Ruler of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nn’emeka Achebe marked the `Ite Umatu’ festivity.
It is one of the two important festivities marked ahead of the Ofala
The event not lacking in pomp and pageantry as many high profile
personalities from many parts of Igboland and beyond thronged the
palace grounds to be part of the conviviality in celebration of the
annual Ite Umatu.
According to an Onitsha Chief, Ojiudo Enema of Onitsha, Chief
Obiora Erokwu Ite Umatu is the celebration of bumper harvest of
maize and important ingredient of one of the delicacies, Nni Oka
“It ushers in the season of harvests and abundance, erasing hunger and
scarcity in its trail. The festival becomes profound in the customary
observances of Onitsha Kingdom.’’
“It is a colourful ceremony for Igwe Achebe, who has been on the throne
for over past 17 years,’’ he said.
He began his reign on May 14, 2002, as the 21st Obi of Onitsha,
following a tradition that has been unbroken for more than 500 years.
In his speech during the ceremony, Igwe Achebe remarked that the
annual event was aimed at appreciating God for his protection over
his subjects, throughout the year and for bountiful harvests.
He, then, prayed for peace, unity and progress of Onitsha in particular
and the nation in general.
The Onowu of Onitsha, Chief Joseph Okey Ononye, explained that
Ite Umatu festival in Onitsha was no longer just a celebration of maize,
but held to promote peace and unity among members of the community.
“It is Thanks Giving to God for granting them good harvests,’’ he said.
He commended the Obi of Onitsha for all his developmental efforts and
urged him not to relent in his good works.
According to Ajie Ukadiugwu of Onitsha, Chief Benedict Peter Osita
Adibuah, a retired Commissioner of Police, the Obi of Onitsha is the
first to celebrate the harvest of corn in a year.
“He does that by inviting his subjects to his place as his guests to
celebrate with them.’’
Umatu is celebrated with special Onitsha delicacy — Nni-Oka
(corn meal) served with Ofe onino. “It is the main dish with which
Ndi Onitsha welcome their valued visitors’’.
Adibuah described Igwe Achebe as a man with heart of Gold, called
on Ndi Ichie to remain committed and supportive to the throne in the
interest of Ndi Onitsha.
Odu Osodi, the Nkataugwu of Onitsha, Chief Onyeachonam Okoloji,
also 3rd in hierarchy of Ndichie Onitsha, said: “We celebrate all the
food crops of our Igbo heritage, such as yam, maize and coco yam in
“I think it is only in Onitsha Kingdom that we celebrate the feast of
corn maybe other communities celebrated it too in the past.’’
Okoloji maintained that Ite Umatu festival was usually fixed in August,
either in the first week or second week of the month yearly.
The ceremony attracted traditional rulers from Enugwu Ukwu,
Igwe Raphael Ekpe, Okpalanakana and his cabinet.
The Onitsha North Local Government Transition Committee Chairman,
Mr. Patrick Agha Mba, Ndi Agbalanze, the Ndi Otu Odu and many
Onitsha indigenes attended the event.
The Onitsha royal music, Egwuota was played for Igwe Achebe as
well as for all Ndichies according to their hierarchy.
– Aug. 15, 2019 @ 18:58 GMT |