Gov. Emeka Ihedioha of Imo says, cultural heritage of any nation is a key factor that unites the people and guarantees progress.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the Iri Ji was a yearly festival of the three LGAs which literarily meant that the people could begin to eat new yam of the year.
Ihedioha said Igbo culture remained one of the strongest means of uniting the people, which according to him should not be allowed to fissile out.
He regretted that civilisation and technology were fast killing most traditions of the people.
“Our tradition and culture is going down every day and the custodians of our culture are not doing much to save it.
“We must rise to the occasion and keep our tradition alive because, to me, it is the strongest way to unite the people,” he said.
He said the 2019 Iri Ji festival was very unique because he attended it as a governor.
“As the son of the soil I want to say that this year’s new yam festival is unique because your son is now the governor of Imo.
“I assure the people of Mbaise that the block vote they gave me during the governorship election will not be in vain because soon I will bring government presence down to Mbaise.
He, however, called on Imo people to remain steadfast in his “Rebuild Imo Agenda” adding that soon everybody in the state would smile.
Among the dignitaries that attended the occasion were Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, Gov. Aminu Tambual of Sokoto state and Mr Mike Ahamba (SAN) an illustrious son of Mbaise, among others.