Bende community was agog recently as one of the biggest communities that make Bende Town, Umuisiobu Autonomous Community, celebrates the second edition of Umuisiobu day.
The event which was done to foster peace and unity among the people of adjoining Bende communities, as well as the four villages that make up Umuisiobu; Okputong, Ndiekeugo, Ndikokorieuwu and Ukpom respectively, was approved at a general meeting of 11th April, 2003, by the Umuisiobu council of chief and elders.
The celebration is equally used to create awareness, oneness and upholding the rich cultural heritage of Umuisiobu, as well as lift the banner of hope in God and peace of the people.
In an interview with journalists, the traditional ruler of Umuisiobu Autonomous Community, Eze Engr. Patrick Ude, said the Umuisiobu day celebration is part of the community’s yearly ritual to start a new year.
Eze Ude disclosed that the whole essence of the event was to reawaken the spirit of festivity in Umuisiobu, as well as unite the people of Umuisiobu together.
The monarch noted that the event started in 2004 and after the first edition, it was stopped because they didn’t want people to take it for granted, adding that from henceforth, it would be a yearly ritual, since it fosters peace and as well make the community to record beehive of activities during the yuletide.
The event which featured various cultural displays, including masquerade and age grade displays, had some sons of Bende recognized with awards, while others conferred with chieftaincy titles.
Interacting with some of the awardees as well as those conferred with titles, a former Information officer at the Ministry of Information and Strategy and an indigene of Nasarawa State, Chief Dogo Akasco, who was conferred a Chief in 2004, was elevated to a High Chief by the Eze cabinet of Umuisiobu, having contributed to the development of Umuisiobu community, since his NYSC days.
High Chief Ambassador Ndubuisi Okoroafor, the CEO of Kenville Hotels Umuahia, who was among the awardees, said the Umuisiobu celebration calls for joy, as the brothers that make up the community decided to come together to celebrate.
He said the celebration which was stopped for many years, started again to reunite the people, foster peace and progress.
According to him, the event would afford them the opportunity to raise funds that would be channeled towards the building of their palace Secretariat, while commending the efforts of their traditional ruler which has put the community on a fast lane of development.
In their separate speeches, Chief Stephen Thomas, Chief Ifeanyi Iheonu, Chief Chijioke Ndubuisi, who were conferred with the titles of “Eziokwu bu Ndu of Umuisiobu Community”, “Ome Udo” and “Akajiofor 1 of Umuisiobu” respectively, expressed joy over the honour done them, promising to do more for the development of Umuisiobu, appreciated the Umuisiobu monarch for honouring those who have been working selflessly for the community.
High Chief Emenike Okereke, Kanu Gerald who represented Barr Chijioke Chukwu, thanked the community for the recognition, pledging not to relent in contributing to the growth of the community.
Others sons of Bende who were equally recognized were the Chairman of Bende Local Government Area, Emmanuel Onwuchekwa.
Responding shortly after the award, he commended the Umuisiobu community for putting up an exciting occasion, reaffirming that it would be the first of its kind in Bende, stating that he would ensure such celebrations spread through the other communities in Bende.
Onwuchekwa, however, encouraged the people of Bende not to cease their support for the Governor of the state, Okezie Ikpeazu but continue to partner with the government to attract more dividend of democracy.
The President General Bende Town Development Union, Peter Ndukwe, described the event as a unique one, that has the ability of showcasing Bende to the world.
According to him, during festive seasons, Bende communities are usually quiet and low in activities, stating that the Umuisiobu celebration has succeeded in helping Bende to break even.
He added that the whole Bende communities are happy and basking in the Euphoria of the Umuisiobu day, an event that has not been done for a long time.
The President General disclosed that having seen the positive outcome of the Umuisiobu day, efforts would be made to relay it to other parts of Bende communities.
Ndukwe, however, lauded the representation of the member representing Bende Federal Constituency, Hon Benjamin Kalu, who he said has attracted laudable projects to Bende constituency.
He further revealed that the Bende Development union have commenced scholarship programmes to deserving students as well as fostering the cause of peace and unity among Bende communities.
Also, Prof Isuagwu Ejikeme, a one time PG of Bende Town Union, said the Umuisiobu celebration would help to imbibe culture on the younger generation, while Ejiofor Augustine, a public servant, promised to liaise with his organization, so that they can partner with the Umuisiobu community to make 2022 celebration bigger.
Earlier, the President of Umuisiobu Progressive Union (UPU), Nze Chukwuemeka Kalu stated that the UPU was basically set up to foster unity, ensure progress and development of the component villages and also to preserve, protect and project their culture, traditions and customs.
He said the Umuisiobu celebration was reignited, looking at the way things are going, where some of our cultural heritage and values are fast drifting towards extinction due to neglect and emulation of foreign ideas, a situation that calls for a sobber reflection.
The UPU president further disclosed that the Umuisiobu day is aimed at reviving some of those cultural aspects that are retrievable such as Ekpete, Eru ikpa, Iru mgbede, Gbatagbata, among others that are fast fading away.
In addition, he stated that the Umuisiobu day aims at letting the world know what the community could offer in terms of socialization as well as serve as a unifying factor that keeps the component villages intact.