THE Iwaji /Ine festival of Ogwashi-uku, Delta State, came to an end with a call by the traditional ruler, Obi Professor Chukwuka Okonjo for the people to foster peace and unity in order to attract more development to the ancient town.
For eight days, it was funfare, shooting of canons, performance of rites by the king, chiefs and people of the land who used the occasion to appease their gods.
Although the monarch bemoaned the electricity power outage for over seven years in the land, he admonished the people not to despair, but to keep hope alive that the town would expectedly witness more development strides which would come faster with the cooperation of all.
The father of the former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, said in 1890, some usurpers took over the stool which he said had been returned to the rightful family in 2007 through the process of court of competent jurisdiction.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the festival in his palace at the weekend, Obi Professor Okonjo, flanked by his wife, Professor Kamene Okonjo said the end marked the beginning of another calendar year for Ogwasi-uku people.
“It is not just a simple New Yam festival, it is the end of the year. By tomorrow (Sunday), a complete new year starts like the global calendar of December 31st.
During the celebration, the popular Afor market was relocated to its original place at the roundabout near the ancestral palace for one market day when the king visited.
According to the king, the market was relocated to its present site for the purpose of expansion and convenience for buyers and sellers.
Also speaking, the Ozoma of Ogwashi-uku, Chief Lawrence Okolobi, counselled those he described as dissidents who were trying to destabilise the town to have a change of heart and support the monarch.
The Ozoma called on the Delta State government to quickly intervene in the failed portions of Asaba Ogwashi-uku expressway especially at mobile police/prisons gates before it claimed more lives.
“Several lives have been lost along the 25km road as a result of its deplorable state”, he said.