Igbo Community Japan New Yam Festival Aug. 14 2022 - Chairman`s Welcome Address
His Excellency, Nigeria Ambassador to Japan, Husaini Abubakar Moriki, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Distinguished Chairman of this occasion Chief Valentine Okoli, President Nigeria Union Japan, Chief Kennedy Fintan Nnaji , The Father of the Day, Chief Tony IKeotuonye, Traditional Chiefs and Title holders, State Union Representatives, Ethnic Group Representatives, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I sincerely and deeply from my hearth welcome you all to this great and wonderful occasion of the 3rd annual New Yam festival which is been hosted by IGBOEZUE the Igbo Association of Japan. I have to thank God Almighty who out of his infinite mercy made it possible for all of us to assemble here today to witness this great event, and I pray and hope you will all surely enjoy spending your evening with us.
I would also like to thank those whose efforts and various forms of support have made it possible for us to be gathered here. In this respect, I wish to acknowledge the various institutions and individuals who supported us with cash and other donations.
Before I proceed further, I would like you all to know about this great people or nation called Igbo, over 60 million strong man power found mostly in the Eastern part of Nigeria, they engaged in many occupations like farming, fishing and commerce. A land blessed with waterways including the River Niger, Omambala River, Imo River, and many natural tourist attractions like the famous Oguta Lake, Agulu Lake, Nike Lake, and Ogbunike Cave to mention but few.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as we celebrate today, it is important that we remember why our forefathers celebrated the yam festival and its importance.
They celebrated for entertainment, as a way of giving thanks to God, and for reflection and stock taking, seizing the opportunity to set new development and other agendas.
The development objective needs particular emphasis today because that is what our youths are craving for. They want development that brings jobs, high income, and enhancement of living standards.
Development, particularly equitable development, is also important for promoting peace and unity, because most conflicts are simply fights over limited resources. Incidentally, without peace and unity, we cannot have development. So development, peace, and unity are important bedfellows.
On today`s event proper, I must not fail to commend my executive members in particular and the whole members of Igboezue in general who out of their steadfastness, love and zeal in sustaining this association even during COVID 19 era which devastated the world and brought the world economy tumbling, yet we were able to sustain the association. When it became impossible for us to come together to hold our regular meetings due to COVID 19 restrictions, we introduced and started holding our meetings through Zoom and also we organized Family Get-together events once every 3 months for our members and their families to come together and interact and bond. Without much sacrifices from our members, we couldn`t have achieved all this, therefore I hail all our members for their sagacity, love, and zeal towards the success of the association.
Since the association was formed, it has dedicated itself on the worthy objectives of improving the outlook and conditions of life of her members in particular and Igbos living in Japan in general and also propagating the gospel of Igbo in Japan and the world over, it is an onerous and noble ideal which must be encouraged and supported by all sons and daughters of Ndi-Igbo residing in Japan. I, therefore, call on all of us to join hands in spreading our culture and norms.
Umunnem, may I use this opportunity to say once again that this association was not formed to undermine the States union, rather we compliment their efforts in propagating the gospel of Igbo culture and for us the Igbos to always speak in one voice on issues affecting us as a people here in Japan and in Nigeria. So I once more appeal for your co-operations and encouragement on the task ahead of showcasing Igbo culture to this great nation Japan.
In conclusion, we will do our best to promote and showcase the traditions and cultures of our great ancestors and to use the same to develop our base as a distinct race in the world.
Thank you, and may God bless you all. Ndewonu!
Obinna Nathaniel Okeke
Chairman, Igbo Association of Japan