By Babatunde Kaka
Eko Hot Blog reports that Hon Segun Agbaje, a Chieftain of the All-Progressive Congress, was on Saturday 17th September 2022, honoured with an award of excellence by the Igbo community in the Epe Division.
The event which took place at Noforija Community Hall in a culturally edifying atmosphere was witnessed by several traditional heads, elders, families and members of the Igbo business community from across the Epe Division.
In his acceptance speech, Eko Hot Blog reports that Hon Segun Agbaje applauded the business acumen of the Igbos with investments worth millions of Naira scattered across several communities which has over the years translated to the enormous socio-economic growth of the Division.
He thereafter emphasized the need to coexist peacefully in the country irrespective of tribal differences for the continued prosperity of the people.
“There’s no way we will write the history about the economic growth of this community called Epe without your contribution, your business acumen, your integrity and your dynamic nature of bringing about development to everybody. I am proud of Igbos in Epe Division”
“You have contributed your quota to the development of this community and I am glad to support you. There should be nothing like Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo in this country, what we need now is economic growth and development that will allow you and I deep hands into our pockets and bring out money rather than tribal or racial sentiments. The cordial relationship we strive to maintain is for the growth of every one of us, our communities and families,” he said.
Hon Agbaje recalled that during his glorious reign as Epe Local Government Chairman, he ensured a level playing ground for the Igbo traders which he described as first-of-its-kind, where an Igbo trader emerged as the Executive secretary of the trade association.
The detribalised former National Treasurer of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, further appreciated the Eze of the Igbo-Speaking community in Eredo LCDA and others for their immense contributions to the growth of trade in the locality.
He said further that his endearing love and respect for the culture of the Igbo people coupled with the fact that he’s also an honorary chief (Mayegun & Olu-Omo of Epe Land)in Epe encouraged him to participate in the festival.
Hon Agbaje who was also the Chairman of the occasion dedicated the award to the good people of the Epe Division while also applauding the organisers of the event for enlightening the gathering about the significance of commemorating the New Yam Festival.
This, he said, was significant in dissociating the festival from fetish idolatry practices and as a result, had changed the notion of non-Igbos.
Earlier in his address, the Eze Ndigbo of Eredo LCDA, HRH Ferdinand Aguneke, Ezesinachi I, averred that the Igbos celebrate the New Yam Festival as part of their rich cultural heritage due to the premium placed on the farming occupation.
He noted that the festival provides ample opportunity for Igbos who can’t make it to Igbo land to celebrate.
The yam, he said, means a lot, especially in the harvest season which symbolizes long life, thanksgiving in that the magic behind planting and harvesting is a natural phenomenon worthy of celebration.
He concluded by admonishing the gathering to embrace acts that would engender national unity, cohesion, peace and stability for the growth and development of the country.
“This marriage amongst us, whether it was by mistake or not, we will join hands together in unity to take this country to the Nigeria of our dreams”
“I must admit that in this Division, it is very rare to get such unprecedented support from the hosts as that of Hon Segun Agbaje. The Igbos are particularly appreciative of whoever stands by them in times of adversity and this is why the Igbo community in Eredo, Agbowa, and Epe are all here to celebrate and honour him not only as Chairman of the occasion but with an award of excellence,” he said.
He added that the Igbo community in the Division chose to celebrate the highly symbolic New Yam Festival to begin to eat yam which has to be conducted by himself.
Eko Hot Blog reports that while he performed the cutting and eating of the new yam, the Eze-Ndigbo honoured the Chairman of the occasion to also do the yam cutting and other invited traditional rulers followed suit.
In attendance at the event were notable elders such as Chief Sunday Udeh, President Igbo Speaking Community, Lagos, Eze Francis Igu, Ibeju LGA, Eze Dr Bar Enyioha Ozurumba, Iwerekun Ibeju-Lekki, Eze Christopher Udeoha, Agbowa-Ikosi Ejinrin LCDA and Igwe Ewudo, Eze Igbo Awoyaya Ibeju-Lekki.
Others are DPO, Odo-Noforija Police Station, CSP Gregory Ikpekhia, Barr. Smart Ufomba, Chief Nwali Michael, Chief John Igweamabi Orowu, Chief Ifeanyi Nwaeze, Chief Dike Nataogu and Chief Olalekan Olatunde.
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