Up to 200 cultural masquerades are expected to grace this year’s edition of the Iwa Ji Ndi Igbo, the annual New Yam festival scheduled for Igbo Ukwu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The traditional monarch of the community, the Idu II of Igbo Ukwu, Igwe Dr. Martin Ezeh who made this revelation alongside some members of his royalty when he visited the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) office in Abuja, Thursday, further solicited the support of and promotion by the agency towards successful preparations as well as the hosting of the event.
.Remarking, the monarch noted that a special talent hunt was also planned to feature as part of several activities lined up to celebrate this year’s National New Yam Festival, which is expected to climax on August 25..
“We are here to seek your support for a successful New Yam celebration which has become a hallmark event in Igboland and especially for us in Igbo Ukwu. We are also here to felicitate with one of our own and father who made the tourism industry what it is and what it should be in the country. Success begets friendship while failure is an orphan they say.”
Commending the NTDC initiative of bequeathing to the Igbo Ukwu community with a National Yam House, Igwe Martin Ezeh said, “The only National Yam House in the country has been fully built and operational for more than 3 years running, all to your vision and credit who made it happen. Your projects and projections in the tourism industry are eye marked and not only read on the pages of news papers and on television, it is always a reality.”
On his part, Director General of the NTDC, Otunba Segun Runsewe assured his corporation’s continued support for the event noting that it had attained an international status while maintaining that the Idu, ‘has declared a revolution by making provision to parade 200 masquerades in the forthcoming National New Yam Festival.’
According to Runsewe, to further consolidate on the gains of the Yam House as a veritable tourism destination, NTDC is also considering the establishment of a museum in the site as demanded for by Nigerians especially those resident in the East.
“The clamour is apt as the establishment of a museum should be done with the input of the National Council for Museum and Monuments, a body charged with this responsibility,” he said.
Highlight of the courtesy visit was the presentation of NTDC-branded souvenirs to all members of the Igwe’s delegation by Runsewe as the Igwe in turn presented a cross and a key to his host stressing that the NTDC director general should use the key to symbolically open the remaining tourism sites in Nigeria.