BY: Vitalis Ugoh, Calabar
The Paramount Ruler of Yakurr Local Government Area, His Royal Majesty and the Obol Lopon of Ugep, Ofem Eteng, has said that the Leboku New Yam International Festival has come to stay.
He made this known in a press briefing to usher in the forthcoming festival in the area on August 20.
The Leboku Festival is an annual three weeks New Yam Festival celebrated by the people of Yakurr in Cross River between August and September annually.
The celebration is to appease the goddess and ancestral spirits of the land while also praying for a bountiful harvest among the communities which include Ugep, Idomi, Ekori, Mkpani, Nko, Nyima, Agoi and Asia.
The traditional ruler who is also the Obol Lopon of Ugep said each year, “we invite God and the gods to come partner with us so as to have a peaceful and successful festival.”
“We are proud to say that Leboku which showcases our cultural heritage would be hosted properly this year as the people of Yakurr are ready to host the visitors who will be very secured as they come to relax, he said.”
He also used the opportunity to thank the state governor, Senator Ben Ayade for his support over the years in ensuring that the festival was always held.
Earlier, Mr Kenneth Aklah, Senior Special Adviser, (SSA) to the governor on “Event Management” said the fundamental objective of the festival which was to foster peace among the component communities of Yakurr has been achieved.
Aklah noted that it was on record that throughout the tenure of the present administration in the state, there has been relative peace among the the autonomous communities in the Yakurr nation.
He further said “the second objective which was to enhance agro tourism has also been achieved as Yakurr has maintained an enviable position as one of the food baskets of the state through its production of yam, melon, plantain and there crops”.
“This administration is therefore poised to partner with willing cooperative societies within and outside Yakurr in the areas of expanding farms or establishing agro-allied cottage industries for agriculture value chain”.
“I challenge the youths of Yakurr to channel their knowledge and energy to useful ventures like commercial farming so as to generate income and curb youth restiveness as farming can no longer be left in the hands of the elderly, he said”.
“MTN Nigeria, a major partner of the festival said it would make the event of 2022 memorable”.
Speaking during the briefing, Bassey Etuk, Adviser, State and LG Affairs, MTN Nigeria said “we have a plan to open a mobile account for all participants in the festival to enable them send cash to their loved ones in remote areas through our “Momo Agents”.
Etuk added that during the festival, they will be giving out “Point of Sale Machines” (POS) to many people who wish to start up the business free of charge to empower the people.
The 2022 Leboku International New Yam Festival slated for August 20 at the Yakurr Peace Stadium in Ugep would feature an array of activities such as Mr/Mrs Leboku billed for August 19.
Others include parade of maidens, parade of elders, Etangala Masquerade” display, inspection of yam bans, cultural dances and many more on August 20, 2022.