Some of the senior citizens at the occasion
BY SUNNY A. DAVID
At least 128 octogenarians were during the occasion of Nkpor Etolue title Award ceremony held at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church field, Nkpor, placed on stipend of N5,000 monthly and exempted fromall manners of levies and Community duties in honour to have attained 80 years.
Expressing satisfaction with the ceremony, a philantropist, Chief Francis Okechukwu Okeke, who was a special guest of honour that made the donation of N5,000 each, said that each of the 128 octogenarians would be receiving N5,000 every month for the next six months fortheir upkeep.
He commended the President General, PG of the Community, Chief Innocent Mbagha, for his selfless service to the Community and urged him not to relent.
The Idemili North Local Government Area chairman, Hon. Ralph NnabuifeAsha, commended the PG for resuscitating both the Etolue and Enemma fesrivals hinting that, “we started this Enemma festival in 2009 andsince then it went into oblivion until now that the PG resuscitated it”.
He expressed optimism that subsequent events in future would be better. “We encourage events like that, what the PG has done so far has taken us to the next level and we need more of that. Let’s wait and see if we will have more people that will do what Chief Francis Okeke did to the octogenarians”
Earlier in his speech, the President General of the Community, Chief Mbagha, thanked God for keeping them alive to witness the even which he said brought sons and daughters of the Community from far and near.
“Etolue ceremony is organized as one of our cultural heritage designed to celebrate our octogenarians and they are exempted from all Community duties.” The 2020 Etolue title Award was conferred on 128 Octogenarians, made up of 47 men and 81 women that registered for the event”.
“From now each of the awardees would have his name prefixed with Etolue. Eg. Etolue (sir) Ngozi Anyakora.”
“Consequently, the Etolue title Award is replication of the culture of Ito ogbo (coming of age) from our neighbours, we chose to use them as benchmarks because it is good to celebrate longevity to enable us count our blessings to the abundance of the grace of God in our lives.
It also motivates children to take passionate care of their aged oneswith the expectation that they will take part in this rewarding celebration in due times. The occasion strengthens family ties as in-laws and well-wishers will use the opportunity to visit, interact, make merry and exchange gifts which the celebrants will enjoy in their life time.”
“May I solemnly commiserate with the families of some of the celebrants who were not able to see the overwhelming joy of today due to the call to eternal glory. May their souls rest in peace Amen. To those who were unableto be here with us due to various health challenges, we wish them quick recovery.”
Also on the Enemma festival which was cerebrated few days later, the PG added that it was aimed also at reviving the cultural heritage stating that, “the issue of value reorientation deserves seriousattention of ndi Nkpor in particular and Ndi Igbo in general because it’s an issue that defines us as a people.
The present generation appears to beunwittingly debasing our cultures and tradition for no reason other than ignorance induced by the effect of Western influence. The number one casualty among our culture and tradition is our languages which is gradually fading away”.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Felix Okeke, hintedthat Chief Ngozi Anyakora, one time PG of the Community, started the Etolue ceremony which is three years interval.”
He commended the PG saying that he is experienced because of his exposure. “The PG has restored peace in Nkpor and has done a lot for the Community including procuring land for Police station.”
Chairman, planning committee, Mr. Emeka Udoh, expressed satisfaction with the achievements recorded so far by the Chief Mbagha-led executive ofthe Community.