Yala New Yam Festival: YPU wants solution to boundary disputes, focus on Agriculture

Yala New Yam Festival: YPU wants solution to boundary disputes, focus on Agriculture

By Kingsley Agim, Calabar

Yala Progressive Union (YPU), Calabar Chapter, has called on the State Government, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to continue with concerted effort to end boundary/communal disputes that have ravaged Yala Local Government Area, and also focus more on developing the area’s chiefly agrarian economy.

The body made the call during the celebration of Yala New Yam Festival, held recently at Water Board Tower, Hall 2 Road, Etta Agbor, Calabar.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Vincent Ogbeche recalled the Wanihem/Wanikade and Nfuma/Ntrigom Ward — South Ukelle (Cross River State)/Izzi (Ebonyi State) crises which have rocked the Area, while stressing on the pertinence of long lasting solutions to such skirmishes.

Dr. Ogbeche said the event which offers an opportunity to come together to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Yala Nation and transferring moral/cultural values to the younger generation, and entrench the principles of peaceful coexistence between one another.

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Also articulating his views, former Chairman of Yala Local Government Area, Hon. Fidel Ngoro said the new yam festival displays the chiefly agrarian economy of the Yala Nation, describing agriculture as “the number one employer of labour in Cross River State.”

“If the Governor wanted to intervene very directly in the lives of his people, he should do so through agriculture. Agriculture has the capacity to, not only engage a large segment of the youths, but also create wealth for the generality of the people. And Yala is specially endowed for such a project,” Hon. Ngoro remarked.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of YPU, Calabar Chapter, Comrade Ada Bartholomew, stated that the age-long annual celebration of yam as the ‘king of crops,’ marks an end to a period of hunger; and welcomes a season of abundance.

This year’s festival also added an academic component to its already rich programme of activities, with a thoroughly-researched discourse titled “The Role of Traditional Rulers in Curbing Youth Restiveness and Insecurity in Yala Nation, by Professor Onah Augustine Odey of Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Uyo, Uyo – Nigeria.

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Presented on behalf of the author, Prof. Onah Augustine Odey, by the Chairman of YPU, Comrade Bartholomew, the paper took the festive audience on an expository journey through the history of Yala Nation; Yala political structure; Advent of Colonial Rule in Yala; Root Causes of Youth Restiveness in Nigeria; and concluded with very profound recommendations, thus: “Communities, Local, State and Federal Governments should always be decisive on issues that bother on insecurity, corruption, misappropriation, dishonest and imposition of leaders, etc. That would bring us out of the woods. Traditional Rulers, individually and collectively, must educate all Yala people on the tenets of Yala culture for harmonious co-existence.”

The festival which showcased the glitz and glamour of celebrants in their traditional attires also enthralled guests with beautiful traditional music and local cuisines — depicting the rich cultural heritage of the Yala Nation.

August 30, annually, marks the new yam festival celebration of the Yala Nation.

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