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Okonko Cultural Festival Tears Imo Community Apart As Traditional Ruler Seeks Change Of Date

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Confusion has taken over the Owerre-ebeiri community in Orlu local government area of Imo state, over whether or not should their cultural festival (Okonko) hold starting from 6 March Saturday, 2021.

Investigation on Friday in the effected community uncovered that the traditional ruler, Eze George Uzoma, and his cabinet members had agreed that the cultural festival would not hold for now, citing insecurity situation in Orlu area.

But some of the youths have said that they would go ahead with the celebration that they would not accept any change in the culture of their people describing it as intimidation.

Speaking to Vanguard on the reason for their action, the traditional ruler of Owerre-ebeiri, Eze George Uzoma, said: “We first of all had a meeting with all the cabinet members and stakeholders from the various villages. After which, we wrote to the villages and all of us agreed that the cultural festival, Okonko be differed until a later date.

“We took the situation because of the insecurity challenges in Orlu, usually in this festival we have our young able men carrying knife in the course of the celebration and a lot of things. If you compare it with the insecurity in Orlu, and the presence of security operatives my brother, there is need to shift it to avoid clash between these boys and security operatives.”

It was his view that, “This is not the first time we are shifting it during the governorship election in this state we shifted it and nothing happened. Please let us protect lives.”

He also denied that, “‘I have not arrested anybody. Except you want to make trouble that is the only way you can be arrested by the security men and not me.”

Vanguard also gathered from the youths many of whom pleaded not to mention their names said: “They asked us not to do our culture they said its because of insecurity it is not true they want suppress us from expressing our view. The traditional ruler is intimidating us by telling us not do our culture and some of have been arrested because we insisted that the culture must hold.”

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