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THE MENACE OF MASQUERADES (MMANWU) IN IGBO LAND

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Many people interweave or interchange culture and Tradition of the people.

Nnewi_yam_masquerade_466The truth is that Culture and Tradition are distinctively different in meaning and characterization. While culture is what a people are known for, Tradition is an evolution of what happened to a people overtime out of circumstance or happenstance.

Example of tradition of the people abound. The Israelites started celebrating Passover as a result of what happened to them as they were leaving Egypt for the promised land. The  Muslims are celebrating Id- el-fitr to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting Ide-Malaud to remember birth of prophet Mohammed. Christians celebrate 25th December every year to remember the birth of Jesus, Easter to mark His resurrection, Good Friday to mark His Crucifixion, Ascension for His departure.

Owere Nchise people celebrate Oru Owere to remember when their forefather left Uratta, came to Ugwu Ekwema and settled there. Umuobom people in Ideato  south local Government Area of Imo state celebrate New Yam festival to thank God for protecting them through the farming year to witness the new yam.

Nigeria is today celebrating Independence day as a day it came out of colonial rule like some other countries of the world. Churches celebrate their Inauguration dates annually, leaders celebrate their birth days as well as individuals. The list is inexhaustible and these are all traditions and of event that happened overtime. Example of culture which differs from tradition also abound. Outside acculturation i.e. borrowed culture; no two cultures are same or alike. The way a people dress, eat, prepare their food, speak, respond to situations, etc. go a long way to make them distinct from other people. Wherever they are, they can be identified.

The Hausa/ Fulani man is known for wearing flowing gowns, their women are always adorned with beads; the Igbo man for wrapper, the Efik/Ibibio/Calabari for white apparels and white handkerchiefs. The British man is known for his coat and tie. The Nigeria who wears suit today borrowed that culture from the British, even the flowing gown, from the Hausa/ Fulani. This is culture and it is so all over the human race.

At some period during the year many communities in Igbo land celebrate one tradition or the other including New Yam Festivals. Some celebrate first crop planting like “Ikeji” of Arondizuogu, others celebrate New Yam Festival like people of Umuobom in Ideato south Local Government Area, of Imo state.

Masquerading has an entertainment dimension. Not to be outright seen as fetish. There may be fetish elements.

What happens during masquerading explains to a great extent what we are truly discussing Miscreants, Cultist, ruffians and Mischievous elements captivate and take advantage of masquerading to commit crimes, maim, kill, harass, insult and abuse innocent citizens. They engage in taking of hard drugs, Indian hemp, cocaine and excessive alcohol which make them fight at the slightest provocation. They disturb traffic on our high ways and chase women and children away from a festival they should be part of. At the end we hear stories of woes and regrets and injuries caused to families and persons by these masquerades.

What shall we do? Because most members of these masquerades are members of very high level cults, the traditional rulers are incapacitated to caution them or overrule them. Our Churches do a lot to preach against the use of masquerades during our traditional celebrations but they are also powerless outside the gates of the churches over their members. So what we must do before it gets out of  hand, now that the devil is mobilizing and attacking the human race from all ramifications, because his end is near, is for the Government at all levels through their legislative houses, enact a law against masquerading all over Igbo land.

It is tradition that came and we can let  go. There are many other pleasing and good things we can do to add glamour to our celebrations. In addition, we must need a social will to support the government by first seeing what is bad in masquerading and as a follow up campaign against it. We can do without masquerades in our traditional celebrations; believe it; support it.

 

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USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas

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USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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