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CULTURE AND TRADITION

Ilo Mmụọ Ndigbo: Regent of Nri Kingdom Sends Out Important Message To Ndị Igbo (Read Full Speech)

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AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY: PRINCE IKENNA ONYESOH (IDEVUTE AKU NA NRI) REGENT NRI KINGDOM.

On behalf of His Majesty Eze Obidegwu Onyesoh, MFR, JP Nrienwelana II, the Custodian of Igbo Culture and Tradition, the keeper of Ofor Ndigbo in Igbo ancestral homeland Nri, I welcome you all to your ancestral homeland Nri.

This event is memorable in the life of Ndi igbo as we celebrate sacrifice of thanksgiving to Chukwu Okike for granting us bumper harvest in 2022. If you are very observant with Nri mystical life and myths, you could recall that during 2022 Iguaro Ndi Igbo held here in February, Eze Nri through the Regent of Nri kingdom, Prince Ikenna Onyesoh, proclaimed that four days after Iguaro, there will be rain fall which will usher in farming season. Exactly four days after that, the rain came down, fulfilling the proclamations of Eze Nri.

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September is the ninth month in the Roman calendar, while it’s the eight month in the Igbo lunar calendar. On this day Eze Nri as the custodian of Igbo culture and tradition, calls all Igbo communities to his palace for Ilo-mmuo Festival (Onwasato) or New yam festival. Nri, an ancient kingdom and capital of a religious hegemony in Igbo nation dating back to 900AD, kept faith with tradition and culture as bequeted to them by the creator of universe.

Prince Ikenna Onyesoh (IDEVUTE AKU NA NRI) Regent Nri Kingdom Addressing The Gathering

Anthropologists, reputed scholars and writers both colonial and Indigenous affirmed in their publish works that Eze Nri Ifikwuanim in 1046AD introduced yam (king of crops), cocoyam and other food crops in Igbo land in keeping with custom and tradition of total obedience to God.

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(Chukwuabiama), Eze Nri in his capacity as the high priest, sacrificed his son and a mysterious crop sprouted from the grave. This crop was guided to maturity and with divine inspiration the name of this crop was revealed to Eze Nri as “Ji” (yam). Eze Nri was then directed by God (Chukwu Okike abiama) to feed Ndigbo with it.

This act was ritualized as Ifejioku (god of yam) or referred to as “Nri Myth of Origin” In Igbo Lunar calendar made up of 13 Luna months, New Yam festival falls within the 8th moon that is September in the Roman calendar. Its culturally referred to as Onwa Ilommuo which means giving back to God. During annual Iguaro, Eze Nri distributes yam seedlings to Ndigbo which they take back home to plant. After the eight month, the first harvest of the yam seedling will be brought back to Eze Nri palace for first fruit harvest of thanksgiving to God. As contained in Odinani Nri (Nri native laws), it runs within one native month with line up of activities.

First week of September is Ifiegbo ceremony. This is an act of pleading to God to grant all Nri descendants and Ndigbo peaceful New Yam Festival (Ilo-mmuo). Ifiegbo comes in two phases – internal and external egbos wrapped up with the slaughtering of a cock signifying binding of evil forces of all sorts against Ilommuo festival. Next is slaughtering of a He goat for Nri Menri (for all the past Eze Nri). The Ozo titled men around during the ceremony share the meat. After Ifiegbo, Onuebo Ritual (feast of Atonement) is observed. During this period intercessory prayers are made by Eze Nri, to ask God to take over Ilommuo festival and protect his children during and after the ceremony. Shortly after the feast of atonement come showers of blessings indicating successful intercession.

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After Onuebo feast is Nri Umuada/Ibuchi day. On this day all married Nri daughters with their husbands and children pay homage to their paternal homes with assorted gifts like yam, goats, foods, smoked fish, palm wine etc. The head of each family unit receives and pour blessings on them especially the grandchildren, followed with heavy refreshment of pounded yam and thick egusi soup and fresh palm wine.

To study Nri culture and tradition will be to study typical Igbo setting. As enshrined in the Omenani and Odinani Nri, the act of Ilo- mmuo rituals was performed on Friday 16th of September 2022.

Today Saturday Afo, 24th day of September 2022, we all have gathered here in the palace of Eze Nri, for celebration of Ilo-mmuo or Onwasato (New yam festival).
As the name connotes it is never idol worshiping but a path of channeling sacrifice of thanksgiving to God for a bountiful harvest. It also feature rich cultures and traditions of Ndigbo.

2022 Ilo-mmuo in Nri kingdom can’t come at a better time than today. Nri is once again on the path of peace. I thank God who made it possible and also those whom God used to achieve that purpose. I stretch out my hands of fellowship with olive branch to all Nri citizens to join us in this project of returning Nri back to it’s enviable position in the committee of Nation.

It is what Vatican is to the Romans that Nri is to the Igbo nation.

To Ndi Anambra. I urge you all to join hands and support our hard working Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo as he rebuilds Anambra State for a better tomorrow.

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As you witness Nri culture today as it was in the old, Nri will continue to play her role as the religious head of Igbo nation. Nri is shaped by history, not in history. He who desires to understand the Igbo past must start by recognizing the role Nri played in making of the Igbo nation.

Thank you for coming. Journey mercies back home.

Robinson Ibekwe
Principal Consultant
Odinani Nri Heritage Commission
08052050602
Facebook: Odinaninri Cultural Heritage Email: paramountonyenri@gmaill.com

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