Nsirimo New Yam Festival: You can break protocols, become Eze, Chief but can’t buy Ezeji title- Agomuo
The former president General of Nsirimo Autonomous Community, in Umuahia South LGA of Abia State, Ezeji Calistus Alozie Agomuo says unlike the Ezeship position and Chieftaincy title, the revered Ezeji title is a title strictly conferred on only selected few individuals on merit.
The renowned EzeJi and a former President- General of Nsirimo-Amise Development Union, while speaking with newsmen shortly after a grand celebration of Iri-ji (New Yam) festival of his Community, hinted that his ascension of revered position as Eze-Ji was borne out of his remarkable commitment to a mass cultivation and harvesting of the ‘King Crop’ in the Igbo nation.
Agomuo, who has served in the Commission for 34-years and is currently the most senior Southeast staff of the ECOWAS Commission, pointed out that the said title was bestowed upon him far back in the year, 2014, while regretting that the center could no longer hold ever since his tenure elapsed as the president-general of his community.
“I was the president General of Nsirimo-Amise Development Union between 2007 and 2016. And since I left the position, a lot has changed in that organization. That’s the umbrella that unites the three Autonomous Communities in Nsirimo.
“I took up the title of Eze-ji on the December 29, 2014. I did for myself and my three sons. Which means, my three sons are all Ezeji’s. I did it at the same time for them.
- Outlining the criteria for the title, the
Head of Human Resources ECOWAS Commission, Abuja, explained that the title of Ezeji could only be conferred on sons of the soil who have distinguished themselves in Igboland with evidence of bountiful yam cultivation and harvesting.
“Ezeji title is a recognised title in Igboland, given to men who have distinguished themselves in the field of farming yam. It is one title you cannot buy with money.
“If you want a Chieftaincy title, you can approach one Eze, give him N50, 000 and he will take you to his palace and give you a Chieftaincy title. If you want Ezeship, you can arrange to assassinate your Eze and walk your way to become the next Eze”, he explained.
Continuing, he said: “But, as for Ezeji, you can never buy it with money; you must farm the yam, fellow Ezeji’s must know when you farmed the yam, they must inspect the land where you farmed the yam, and you must meet the requirements. And what are the requirements? There is a number of tubers of yam you must produce. You must stand on your ban and you must have at least one hundred yam stands in your ban to qualify for Ezejiship. And each stand contains not less than 30 tubers of yam.”
He went further to hint that, “the Ezeji society will come to inspect and and count it, and make sure there’s no number on anyone of them. You know yams from the market usually come with number. So, I did it for my sons which means I had four hundred yam stands to qualify for Ezeji, for me and my three sons.”
However, he used the medium to appeal to Christians to see the seasonal celebration of New yam as a traditional way of celebrating the king crop, insisting that there is nothing fetish about the festival.
He said: “I want to use this medium to correct the impression some people have about new yam festival. I want them to know that new yam festival is all about harvesting, happiness. It’s a period of thanksgiving to God that we have witnessed another yam season. There’s nothing fetish in it. I was the person who made the people of Nsirir-Imo to start celebrating New Yam Festival.”