Eziora Village in Ozubulu yesterday 17th July 2021 celebrated their annual cultural festival “IKU IZU”, The four communities that make up Ozubulu town have their distinct annual cultural festivals through which they exhibit their rich cultural heritage. Amakwa & Egbema communities are known for Asala, Nza community is known for Ima Oku, while Eziora is known for Iku Izu.
Iku Izu, also known as Izu Eziora is the apex annual cultural festival that unites men & women of all walks of life across the two major traditional clans; Ukunu & Umuana, and comprising a total of the 18 kindreds in all.
From the words of Chief Ndubuisi Okonkwo (Eze-Ahanonu), the eldest man in Ozubulu, “In the olden days, it was a period of relaxation after the year’s planting season, and in preparation for harvest time – New Yam Festival (Iri Ji). It was usually a period when people were done with cultivation of yams & all other cash crops for the year, and hoping for a bountiful harvest in few weeks to come. It was a time for merriment & visits to friends in the neighboring kindreds.”
From all indications and information gathered, it is obvious that Iku Izu has no correlation with idol worship or fetishism. The event is a normal way of annual get-together for our people instituted by our fore-fathers. It had always booked its space & set aside in Ozubulu annual cultural calendar.
The rich cultural event takes approximately four market days, with the initial two days scheduled for, or rather, tagged “Oku Izu”; when friends & allies from Ukunu clan would visit friends at Umuana and would be duly entertained with foods, drinks & assorted gifts items. The next two days would see friends from Umuana returning the kindness to friends at Ukunnu. There could also be courtesy visits outside the community, and to Ikwu Nne (maternal homes) and Ndi Ogo (In-laws).
The grand finale would see the community paying loyalty to the Obi Eze-Odenigbo (the traditional ruler of Eziora) by escorting him round the community, and finally at the Obialigbo market square; where his arrival alone would be announced with nothing less than 21-gun salute. Thereafter, the merriment & entertainment continues with masquerades & cultural dances display; to entertain thousands of invited guests from within Ozubulu town and beyond.
This year’s celebration under the distinguished chairmanship of Chief Sir Jude Emecheta ( Nwachinemelu Ozubulu) Managing Director Anambra State Signage and Advertisement Agency had a government feel as it had in attendance The Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Uche Okafor, Lady Ndidi Mezue the Commissioner for Women Affairs who is also an Ozubulu indigene, Hon. Kenneth Anierobi the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Chidi Obidiegwu Managing Director Anambra State Drainage Agency.
The Speaker who was the special guest at the event in his remarks stated that this event is a step in the right direction to help in promoting of our cultural heritage as ndi Igbo, he also applauded the organizers of this event for a job well done while stating that the chairman of the event Sir Jude Emecheta played a very huge role in making sure that he attends this event, he finally concluded by saying that this event is an eye opener for communities will similar cultural festival and should work on celebrating in, he also said that the ministry of culture and tourism should encourage more events of this nature.