In a bid to reward hard work, dedication, and perseverance to farmers in Eleme Kingdom, Rivers States, HRH King Appolus Chu, recently bestowed yam tiles on deserving chiefs in the communities.
The Eleme yam title festival known in the Eleme language as Okon Esaa, is rooted in motivation and awards for hard work, as a result, food is abundant in the community.
Since this tradition, abandoned many years back, was revived by HRH Chu five years ago, many have been adorned with varying titles of yam stages.
The HRH Chu who is the highest-ranking yam title holder in the Eleme kingdom and the only one who can officiate and confer the title on others was seen officiating and bestowing yam titles on deserving chiefs from the Alesa, Agbonchia and Eteo communities of the Eleme kingdom.
Chief Alesi Amasi attained the second step of the yam title at the Agbonchia community on January 30th, 2024, where King Chu carried out the title rites at the Yam barn before proceeding to grace the ceremony with his admirable dance moves.
Similarly, on January 31st, Chief Sunday Nwolu Nwigh of the Eteo community took on the Aachu title which is the first step of the Eleme yam title.
King Appolus Chu prayed and commended the efforts of the chiefs who were working hard to keep Eleme culture and tradition alive.
The Eleme yam title festival known in the Eleme language as Okon Esaa, was forgotten for nearly 50 years until it was revived in 2019 by King Appolus Chu.
As part of the recent wave of Okon Esaa celebrations in Eleme Kingdom, on January 26th, the Alesa clan witnessed a triple celebration of the yam title festival. The celebrants were Chief Aaron Ngei Efor, Chief Victor Osaroluka Jp, and Chief Emmanuel Ndowa Ochen.
At the ceremonies, King Chu commended the newly ranked high chiefs for their admirable display of effort, hard work, dedication, and perseverance.
He acknowledged their contributions to keeping their tradition for the next generation and emphasised the significance of the yam titles as a way of rewarding the hardworking men in Eleme.
King Chu also noted that by embracing farming, these chiefs were contributing to the promotion of food security in the community, which is in line with the Federal Government’s agenda for the country. He further noted that the yam title encourages and motivates others to engage in farming so that they can also be recognised as high chiefs in the community.
The Emere Esaa or yam title holder in Eleme is a very revered and respected member of the kingdom.
Through these activities, people can witness the rich cultural heritage of the Eleme Kingdom and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the importance of the yam titles.
The ceremony serves as a reminder of the significance placed on hard work, dedication, and perseverance within the community, and the recognition and respect given to those who embody these qualities.
According to tradition, King Chu collected walking sticks from chiefs who were present and danced around with the sticks on his shoulder as tradition demanded, he then threw a challenge by displaying the walking sticks on the floor, anyone who picked a stick agreed to go into farming in the next season.
Just like the celebrants picked walking sticks by this time last year and went into farming which earned them a recently concluded celebration.
From what was obtained during the last celebration, it is obvious that more people have taken up the challenge of going into farming to attain the yam titles.