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– Former corps marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Osita Chidoka over the weekend fed 5,000 children in Obosi, Anambra state
– Chidoka fed the children using five tubers of roasted yam and two plates palm oil garnished with oil bean (ugba), dried fish and pepper
– He also called on all Igbo people around to world to continue to showcase the culture and heritage of Igboland
The former corps marshal of the Federal Road Safety Osita Chidoka over the weekend emulated Jesus Christ by feeding 5,000 people during the new yam festival in his hometown, Obosi in Anambra state, Vanguard reports.
While Christ fed the multitude with five loaves of bread and two fishes, Chidoka symbolically fed 5,000 children with five tubers of roasted yam and two plates of palm oil.
The palm oil which the yam was dipped into before feeding the children was garnished with pepper, oil bean (ugba), and dried fish among others.
Chidoka celebrating his annual Obiora Obosi as a member of the Obosi royal cabinet said the Igbo cultural heritage must not be allowed to go extinct.
He the culture of the Igbo man is his only identity.
Chidoka said: “If we allow our culture to die a natural death, then we shall be wallowing in the desert like sheep without shepherd.”
“I think that the whole idea of culture and tourism is something that we are taking for granted in South East.
“I think that Anambra state can actually restructure the new yam festival and synchronize it as something that happens simultaneously within the period of one month so that people who visit Anambra during this period will know that they will see masquerades and new yam festival at least for four weekends beginning from September all through October.
“State government should work towards establishing that event as a significant portion of our culture.
“So you know that if you are in Anambra this time, it will be a time to celebrate and visit various towns.
“Visiting home must not be during burials only or Christmas. When the new yam festival is synchronized, we will have a whole month of celebration in the state,” he said.
Chidoka further called on all Igbo across Nigeria to promote the Igbo culture and ensure development in Igboland.
“Tourism is a critical factor to every society and the society itself needs to improve to offer something valuable to the tourists,” Chidoka said.
“Yam is at the centre of Igbo economy. The Igbo economy was at one time defined by yam, so every man that is strong is known by the size of his barn. You know the story from Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things fall Apart’ and you know the story of how hunger rattled Unoka as the lazy man who did not go out to tend to his farm.”
“We remember Okonkwo starting off his life, and the first gift he got was seedlings from his uncle so that he could become a farmer,” he said.
He noted that when the seedlings were borrowed, there was a great famine in the town and he lost a lot of yam that year.
“Yam has always been a defining ingredient between the rich and the poor, the hard-working and the strong.
“Yam is so essential in the quality of Igbo life, it was what made Igbo people industrious very early, because to plant yam, you need to plant at the right time.
“You need to dig, and put a stick to manage the tendrils to grow well.
When it’s time for harvesting, you need to be patient. You have to harvest it gently in order to bring it out from the ground. Any attempt at being fast, lazy or doing it haphazardly will lead to breaking the yam.
“So the process of yam farming by its nature makes Igbo people have a natural instinct for industriousness, and that is why during the slave trade era, many Igbo were taken to those colonies where they planted tobacco.
Tobacco planting is almost like yam planting. It’s something you have to tend very gently.
“So you find that the Igbo slaves were very adept at the plantation system and if you go through Virginia, South Carolina, Igbo slaves abounded.
This was because they were found to be the people who had the temperament, the industry and the hard working ability to manage the tobacco crop. In the same way, yam has always been a defining crop for the Igbo. It is our estimation of wealth, and in today’s world, yam still symbolizes our hard work, our industry and our attitude to agriculture,” he concluded
There were also other activities at the event like dance sessions by dance troops – Igba Araba and Ajugwu – and masquerade performances such as the Ajo Ofia.