Ebonyi State: Afikpo Town Agog As Traditional Age Grade Transition Holds Saturday

Apr 19, 2024 - 08:41
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Ebonyi State: Afikpo Town Agog As Traditional Age Grade Transition Holds Saturday

Judex OKORO

The ancient city of Afikpo in Afikpo local government area in Ebonyi state is agog with activities as prominent sons and daughters have returned home ahead of the traditional age grade transition scheduled for Saturday, April 20, 2024.

The age grade transition ( a.k.a change of guards) is a unique celebration in Ehugbo land (Afikpo) slated for a special eke market day. 

The socio-cultural event, which takes place once in every eight years, not only celebrates the age-long traditional institution in the land, but celebrates traditional change of guards of the various age grades across the five communities of Nkpogoro, Uguwegu, Ohaisu, Itim and Ozziza that make up the Ehugbo Town Traditional Council.

It is a festivity of the antique that attracts indigene of the ancient town of Afikpo at home and in Disapora. Friends and well-wishers from all walks of life come around to witness the colourful age grade transition ranging from Isi-Elia, Eto, Essay to Rikweri.

On that day, the new initiates are expected to dress in a colourful traditional regalia with loin clothes and long-tail traditional caps to match according to their age grades.

The age grades are expected to march from their various traditional village squares to the Essay Traditional Council House at Eke Market Square for inauguration and subsequent hand over to new traditional leadership for the next eight years.

As part of activities to make the event memorable, the Afikpo Town Welfare Association (ATWA), the leading socio-cultural group, in collaboration with Essa Traditional Council  and an indigenous organisation, Veterans Media, would hold a public lecture with the theme "Age  Grade System As Strategy for Rural Development in Igbo land:The Ehugbo Village Group in Focus,"  and a display of traditional dances and parade of different masquerades to usher in the new leadership of various age grades.

The lecture would be delivered by Dr. Ikenna Bismark Unya while the keynote address would be delivered by Dr. John Otu.

Speaking on the state of preparedness, the President- General of Afikpo Town Welfare Association (ATWA), Chief Ogbonna Okogwu (Sunny), said: "We are ready to host the world to this  historical event. The change of guards signals the beginning of new traditional leadership in Ehugbo land.

"It is our own way of celebrating our culture and heritage. It is a day to remember as it marks the era of new dawn in our traditional age grade system. It is our own democracy day in which new leaders to pilot the affairs of the Ehugbo community in the next eight years would be inaugurated.

"We decided to mark it to honour our traditional institution and those graduating to the various new age brackets of Ekpuke Eto,  Ekpuke Essa, Ichie, Onikara, Hori and Rikweri.

"The Akpokoru Elia Ehugbo inaugural public lecture would hold on Friday, April 19, 2024 at Ukpa Civic Center Afikpo by time 10: 00am with Special  Rt. Hon.Iduma E. Igariwey(Okpudo), representing Afikpo North/South federal constituency, as Special guest of honour."

THE BEAGLE NEWS gathered that the town has witnessed a beehive of activities and social gatherings in the last three days as various age groups, families and friends are organising sit-outs and some cultural displays to mark the historical event.

It was further gathered that the economy has witnessed a boom following the influx of people into Afikpo to celebrate their fathers, brothers and uncles who have made it to the next level of age. 

Even the women groups in various communities have been busy arranging traditional cuisines including "Egusi, Oha, Ohe Nsara with moulded melon, Ogbono, and vegetable soups with some swallow including "Fufu, pounded yam, garri and native rice and stew to serve their sons or husbands who have made it to the next age grades as thecase may be.

As at the time of filling report, hotels and guest houses have been fully booked by visitors who came in from Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Onitsha, Abakaliki, Calabar, Uyo and Ondo to be part of history.