New Yam festival: Educationist Underscores Need in Putting God first for Bountiful Harvest

By Sam Obinna Ibe

It was William Shakespeare, the legendary English playwright, Poet and Actor who said that” Some are born great, some achieve greatness while others have greatness entrusted into their care”

Interestingly enough, Chief Dr Smart O Nwokorie falls into the second category of people the English poet had in mind, that is,” those that achieved greatness through dint of hard work, determination to succeed against all odds.

No doubt, the Umuoparaocha Dim na Opara Ogbodiukwu born Educationist has not only weathered the storm but today is a success story no matter the parameter one uses to measure a successful man in life. Reasons are not far fetched.

A peep into his life chequered history will convince one that he has proved his mettle over time and at such, today, he is one of the illustrious sons of the community that his critics cannot help but accept the obvious fact that this is a man who did allow perhaps obvious limitations distract him from what he wanted to be in life but brace up the daunting challenges headlong. The indisputable conclusion is that this is a visionary young man who came,saw and conquered.

Thus, at a very young age, he has achieved indelible records for himself much more what those older than him could not achieve. This is not surprising that when the record of who is who in the entire Ogbodiukwu land is mentioned,the name,Chief Dr Smart Onyekachi Nwokorie ,is certainly among the list of eminent personalities in Ogbodiukwu that rings a bell.

It is based on the above premise that when On Saturday,27th November,2021, he extended invitations to his People of Ogbodiukwu, Royal Fathers and Chiefs, top flight politicians, Resource persons, friends and well wishers to grace the occasion of the maiden edition of his new yam festival,it attracted a mammoth crowd from all walks of life.

Speaking in an interview with Blueprint at his Dim na Opara Ogbodiukwu country home, the celebrant,Chief Dr Smart Nwokorie underscored the importance of putting God first in celebration of yam festival noting that He made it possible for a bountiful harvest adding that it was after recognising the role of the Supreme Being in ensuring a bumper harvest that one could go a head,eat and celebrate it.

The Proprietor of Standard International Secondary School, Umuahia noted that New yam festival is a celebration depicting the harvest of yam as the king of the crops.
“Today i am eating the first yam from the harvest of what i planted, I brought out reasonable quantity and quality and went to church for harvest and Thanksgiving,putting God first while recognising the prominence of yam in social- cultural life of Igbo man”

Chief Eziokwu bu ndu however pointed out that celebrating New yam festival marks the end of one agricultural planting season,a period set aside to thank God Almighty for blessing the soil given the fact that everything comes from God.

To this end,he explained that this is the reason why he first brought out reasonable quantity and quality of the yams and left for Church harvest and God’s blessing on Sunday,21st November,2021, a week before the cultural aspect of the festival.

Meanwhile, the New yam festival attracted personalities from diverse background such as: Royal Fathers and Chiefs, Intellectual Community from different fields in Agric who were sent by the ‘National Roots,Crops and Research Institute”,( NRCRI) Umudike,Dr Jude Obidiegwu who was represented by Dr Christian Nwadeli,the Coordinator of Yam Research Programme who deliver a talk on yam production in large quantity.

Another Guest Speaker, Dr Ugochukwu Onyegbule,the head of Station, National Horticultural Research Institute, Okigwe who is a soil scientist spoke on the need to adequately prepare the fertility of the soil for yam production.

Whereas another guest speaker,Dr Akachi G Frank who works with” Abia State Agricultural Development Programme( ADP) spoke on Pest and Disease Control.

Earlier in his brief remark, the celebrant, Chief Dr Smart Nwokorie who is a charterd Scientist of Food Science and Technology exposed the people on the health benefits and multiple production of yam for human consumption.

He revealed that because of the love his Ogbodiukwu people has for Agriculture made him to key in the community as a demonstration centre for propagation, cultivation and production of yam in commercial quantity.

Speaking at the occasion, HRH Eze Dr Sir Obioha Brown Uluocha,the Traditional Ruler of Umuchime na Ofeiyi Autonomous Community, Ogbodiukwu, Umuopara in Umuahia South LGA of Abia State commended the celebrant for making their people proud by bringing resource persons in Agriculture to educate them on modern use of Agriculture to enhance food production.

Eze Uluocha therefore called on Ogbodiukwu people to embrace Agriculture as a way of surviving the harsh economic realities of the day in the country.

The highpoint of the occasion was the cutting and eating of the roasted yam witnessed by dignitaries, Royal Fathers and Chiefs, Ogbodiukwu Council of Elders,the Political class,the academic Community,the business world, captains of industry including the clergy.

As invited guests and his people cut the yam to eat, there was fund raising ceremony in appreciation of the celebrant even as he lavished his visitors and people with assorted African dishes and wines in addition to presentation of gifts of which yam was predominant.

It was indeed a red letter day for the celebrant and his people as he brought in different dimensions, colourful one for that matter for the celebration of New yam festival as those who spoke to our Reporter lauded the ingenuity of the young man pointing out that this is the first of it’s kind in Ogbodiukwu land.

The festival was spiced with
different cultural display of old artefacts depicting yam festival costumes and symbols just as local musicians were on hand to entertain the guests.

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