Abolition of the Osu caste system will take center stage at the 1019th Ilommuo Ndigbo 2018, at the Palace of the Eze-Nri in Anambra State. Addressing the public on behalf of the Kingdom, Special Assistant to the Eze-Nri on Traditional Matters, Prince Ifeanyi Onyesoh said; “Today, new yam festival has permeated into every Igbo community as an annual event; most of these communities that have copied it do not necessarily know the meaning, significance or origin. Anthropologists, both colonial and nascent once confirmed in their published works that Eze-Nri introduced yams, coco yams, and other food crops in Igbo land.”
“In keeping up with the customs and tradition of total obedience to God (Chukwu), Eze-Nri in his capacity as the high priest of God, sacrificed his son and yam sprouted from his grave and matured. Eze-Nri was then directed to feed ndigbo with it as the entire Igbo population was then threatened with starvation. This act was ritualised as ‘Ifejioku’, (God of yam) or referred to as ‘Nri myth of origin’.”
“On this year’s occasion, 1019th Ilommuo Ndigbo 2018AD, the kingdom of Nri in alliance with Njikota Umunri worldwide, will hold a colloquium on Osu Caste System. Eze-Nri, regarded as the holder and keeper of the oldest ancestral sceptre (ofo) of the entire Igbo nation had in time past abolished Osu Caste system which unknown to many, is still being recognized and observed and practiced in many communities in the old Eastern Region. As the holder of the ancient scepter of authority, Eze-Nri’s position on Osu Caste system is regarded as sacrosanct and the kingdom is intent on educating all and sundry on the history, origin and consequent abolition of the obnoxious practice by Eze Nri, hence the colloquium.”
Through the event which is billed for September the 21st, the kingdom hopes to bring the general public to the knowledge of the actual origin of the Osu Caste System which incidentally began from the kingdom of Nri and has been cited on various historic manuals and portals including Wikipedia. They also intend to provide viable undeniable logics of its abolition and the need for this distasteful practice to be comprehensively disregarded, discountenanced & discontinued in Eastern Nigeria.
Popular Nollywood actor, Joseph Okechukwu who has been at the forefront of a more pragmatic approach to the abolition of Osu, Ohu & UME in Eastern Nigeria has expressed his gratitude to the kingdom of Nri and the elders and titled men who have sacrificed and continued to make sacrifices to see that this highly divisive tradition is completely abolished and total love and unity restored in Eastern Nigeria. Actor Joseph Okechukwu’s Celibacy International is co-sponsoring th event.
Both Celibacy International and the Kingdom of Nri wishes to invite all and sundry to the epochal event to be witnesses to history. The Ilommuo festival is expected to be a prelude to the much bigger event in December of 2018, where the ancient abolition ceremony(nsube ife) will be re-enacted and cleansing carried out all over the Eastern Region. “There will also be an intercessory/atonement session for the evils of the transatlantic slave trades and a rare reunification ceremony that will see blacks of America, Europe and the Islands who identify as Easterners, officially and culturally reintegrated into their ancestral homes”, Joseph Okechukwu said.
According to Princè Ikenna Onyesoh of the Research and Documentary Department, Njikota Umunri Worldwide, Eze Nri palace said, “as custodians of the Igbo culture and tradition, Nri will continue to play her role as the religious head of the Igbo nation, to relentlessly point our people in the direction of love, justice and equity”