In a week time from today, the entire Elu Kingdom will be garbed in a festive mood! This dream has ,finally, come true after some days of darkness threatened it. It is a period that every patriotic “ELU KINGDOMITE ” has prayed for. Whether you are an adherent or not, everyone plays according to the rules of engagement during THIS WEEK OF PEACE. NO MORE WARS, NO MORE FIGHTS, NO MORE QUARRELS, NO FARMING ACTIVITIES, NO GRINDING OF GARRI! It’s a time of merriment, jollification and reconciliation. The adherents converge at their ” ubi” ( family town halls) where they play host to their visitors all through the four days of festivity.
It is HEAJOKU OMERELU, christened ‘ URIRI ELU KINGDOM’. The ” Ovutu Owhor” ritual signals the beginning of this four day programme of festivity. In Elu Kingdom, every family has an “Owhor” ( symbol of Justice) which is usually under the custody of the eldest member of a family. During the time under review, the “Owhor” which is ,usually, kept in a sacred place ( hung up) at ” ubi” would be brought down after some ritualistic performance . This happens simultaneously across the families and the firing of some canon shots announce its completion and the beginning of merriment. In this time, adherents or partakers in the rituals would begin to bring out their items of entertainment ranging from kolanut, meat sauce,palm wine,akamere and the highly reverred ” otara ji” ( pounded yam) and native soup.
As all these happen, the elders and co- adherents embark on a journey to the farm where another round of rituals take place at forks and any other perceived abode of ancestral spirits. Here, they invoke ancestral spirits for guidance and protection. However , they lavish encomiums on ” Ajokubi” for bumper harvests and many more demands that may be laid before our forebears. The moment this is satisfactorily accomplished, the entire town will be thrown into a festive mood and celebration.
It’s CLIMAX is the SACRED NKWA HEAJOKU which is solely performed by the Omuagwor clan of Elu Kingdom. Before the real dance, different families come out to display being accompanied by their “Erinshi” ( war song troupe) to the IHU NKWA. At this sacred place of the NKWA rituals, different sizes of yams are displayed to shower praises on the ancestors for a bumper harvest. Astonishingly, yams with eyes, breasts, legs, hands, heads are also displayed. In fact, this is the major mystery or secrecy which shrouded the celebration for over two centuries now. It is important to note, that it is a family at Omuagwor that has the sole right to present these yams at IHU NKWA during HEAJOKU years.
At IHU NKWA, there are some restrictions, as not every alien is permitted to witness the NKWA DANCE. You can join us at the family houses to celebrate but not at the SACRED PLACE OF NKWA DANCE! It is more than a Christmas celebration for its adherents. Defaulters of our traditional laws during this period are severely punished according to laid down traditional rules and regulations.
Therefore, as Elu Kingdom gets set for this celebration of peace , I enjoin all and sundry to remain calm, peaceful and loving. LET’S BUILD ON AND SUSTAIN OUR PEACE!!!!!
LONG LIVE ELU KINGDOM!
LONG LIVE IWHURUOHNA NATION!!
LONG LIVE ALA RIVERS STATE!!!
LONG LIVE ALA NIGERIA.