All roads, on New Year Day 2017 led to the combined primary school, Ekeoha Onicha, Ezinihitte Mbaise L.G.A, where the community finally took their turn in hosting the popular Oji Ezinihtte cultural festival, which rotates among the 14 communities of the local government. The other 13 communities are Oboama na Umunama, Ife na Owutu, Ihitte, Akpodim, Amumara, Eziudo, Itu, Okpofe, Ezeagbogu, Udo, Obizi, and Okwuato (Umuhu/Ibeku/Lagwa). The success story was the outcome of the combined efforts of the entire Onicha Amairi indigenes including those in Diaspora, Ezinihitte Traditional rulers and Ezinihitte Development Association (EDA). The entire project was co-ordinated by Senator Bright Nwanne, an illustrious son of the community.
The epoch-making event was preceded by a three day medical outreach put together by USA-led mission while the Oji Ezinihitte colloquium took place at st Dominic’s school Umueleagwa Onicha on December 31, 2016.
The climax of the festival was the arrival of the royal fathers, presentation of oba Oji with 13 canon shots, filing out by the communities as they are called out one after another to carry their okwa oji . Each of these events was heralded by several canon shots.
A welcome Address by the Ezinihitte Development Association and the Ezinihitte Council of Traditional Rulers signed by HRM, Eze Desmond Ogugua, co-ordinator Ezinihitte Traditional Rulers and Nze Ahaneku, President General EDA, disclosed that the festival was handed down to them by their fore fathers. It stated the festival is a time to re-appraise our belief in our ancestral origin and togetherness, taking stock of our achievements and strategizing for better results. It is a time our sons and daughters reassess their contribution to their various families and communities and pursue reconciliation, reunion and reintegration for future success.
The Address applauded the efforts of EDA and Ezinihitte traditional rulers in keeping the flag flying, inculcating the spirit of oneness and peaceful coexistence and thanked some Mbaise sons and daughters who have attracted infrastructural developments to Ezinihitte and appealed to Governor Rochas Okorocha to rehabilitate the Okpala-Aboh-Ezinihitte-Ahiazu-Ehime Mbano Road before the next rainy season.
EDA called on their indigenes to come home and develop Ezinihitte by locating their business concerns at home. The Association called on the stakeholders to henceforth use the Oji festival as a forum for economic planning rather than mere cultural Jamboree. They stated that the building of a cultural house at the Ancestral Ovu of Ishi- Orie Ukwu Oboama Na Umunama was overdue.
In a welcome Address he presented on behalf of Onicha Amairi, Senator Bight Nwanne, Coordinator of Onicha Oji Ezinihitte 2017, recalled that the community hosted the festival last in 1989.
He thanked Onicha indigenes for their various roles in working for the success of the project and for helping the community secure the hosting right Senator Nwanne described Onicha as proud and courageous community with abundance of human and material resources in all spheres of human endeavor. He assured that no stone will be left unturned to ensure that it regains its status as the most populous and powerful community in Ezinihtte that had always spoken with one voice.
Onicha Amairi, he said, is happy to join her kits and kin in the celebration of Oji Ezinihitte, stressing that the community has people with eternal longing in them, who will continue to speak in favour of a united Onicha Amairi no matter the situation. This he assured, will douse the virus of polarization militating against her unity.
The royal fathers of Onicha Amairi are: their Royal Highness L.U. Okeahialam, Ifeanyi Uwahemu, Tony U. Nwanguma & J.M. Alozie (Eze-elect).
Dignitaries who graced the occasion included: Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha Hon Engr Bruno Ukoha, Hon. Chioma Tycoon Onwumere, High Chief Ignatius Okeahialam, Surveyor Basil Ogwunga and Rtd AIG,, Oliver Osuchukwu.