Item Okpi Ancient Kingdom in Bende Local Government Area came alive yesterday as the natives and guests converged on the Community Primary school Apuanu Item to witness the symbolic royal cutting and eating of the new yam.
Declaring open the new yam festival known as Eke Mbo Item which is celebrated simultaneously across the nine villages that make up the clan, the Okpi of Item, Eze Silas Okofia-Igwe said the event marks the commencement of the festivities for the new yam across Item.
Okpi Okofia-Igwe who described the event as a celebration of peace devoid of any form of harassment or violence however cautioned youths against drunkenness and prayed God to continue to bless their land and it’s people.
In their remarks, the onowu of Item, Prince Okenwa Ichie and the President General Item Development Association Chief Kingsley Ogba Nwokoro explained that the event which is purely for Thanksgiving, marks the beginning of a new calendar year in Item, while they also use the opportunity to re-assess the development of their ancestral home.
Also speaking Dr. Nnamdi Ibekwe described the event as a mark of cultural identity of the people which depicts both individual and collective Industry in agriculture while demanding the expansion in the value chain of yam and other crops as well as create jobs and resuscitate its economy.
In his goodwill message, the Director General of the BCA, Sir Anyaso Anyaso while congratulating the Okpi and the entire people on this years event, expressed hope that the festival will continue to remain an avenue for them to fraternize with kits and kin and exhibit hardwork and friendship.
Correspondent reports that the event featured conferment of chieftaincy titles to deserving Nigerians, cultural dance among others.