– By Patrick Ochei
Sitting down in his royal mien, handsome looking and beaming with smiles, the Issele-Uku Monarch, HRM Agbogidi Obi Nduka (MNSE), flanked by his wife (Anasi-Obi), children and other royal family members, keenly watched the Mgba Ututu Festival with excitement, and it was obvious that this year’s Mgba Ututu indeed caught his fancy.
Mgba Ututu Festival is historically known to be a platform of entertainment where men prove their manhood by accepting wrestling challenges from their fellow men.
Peradventure a fellow man had previously insulted or humiliated you and you couldn’t fight him because there were consequences should such action get to the elders; the Mgba Ututu then provided the opportunity and platform to settle the matter in a wrestling fight without any consequence.
It is known as Mgba Ututu (Morning Wrestling), because it is usually done in the morning at a central place within the Idumuzu Quarters of Idumuinei Village in Issele-Uku, headquarters of Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State.
At the end of the wrestling bout at Idumuinei which most times enters noon, the winners and spectators alike would then match to the Royal Palace to further entertain the Royal Father who uses the moment to relax and feel good about the intricacies of such local wrestling entertainment.
From the joy derived from the wrestling entertainment, the King would then declare Ine Uchichi (Festival of the Night) through the Isekute of Issele-Uku, indicating that everybody should go on and make merry, sing, dance and have fun throughout the night. This is to allow the community enjoy the fun of freedom before entering into the week of solitude and quietness (Iba Nzu); days the community will witness no form of loud noise in preparation for the Ine Aho Festival, which is the ultimate and climax of all the festivals of the season.
Agbogidi Nduka was delighted that the young ones are sustaining the legacies of Mgba Ututu based on their dexterity and show of love for the culture of Mgba Ututu.
He however, challenged the older youths to engage in this known communal traditional way of entertaining the people and earning respect for themselves through the proof of their manhood in strength and courage.
Obi Nduka also warned against any forms of violence while celebrating the Ine Uchichi immediately after the Mgba Ututu, reminding them that there are laws that stipulate punishment against such behaviours.
The amiable King in a nutshell, appreciated the winners of the Mgba Ututu and participants alike, while also commending the sponsors of the prizes that were presented to those adjudged to have done exploits.
The overall winner of the 2022 Mgba Ututu in Senior Boys category was Master Yadili Ogogo who was presented a 50kg bag of rice and three litres gallon of groundnut oil by Obi Nduka himself, while his wife, Anasi-Obi Chukwudumebi Rosemary Nduka did the same to the winner of the Senior Girls category of the Mgba Ututu.
The 1st runner up in that Senior Boys category, Master Destiny Gabriel went home with a 25kg bag of rice, a carton of indomie noodles and two litres gallon of groundnut oil while the 2nd runner up went home with a 25kg bag of rice and one litre gallon of groundnut oil respectively.
Prizes were also given to the first, second and third positions in the Intermediate and Junior Categories for both male and females in the same order of bags of rice, cartons of indomie noodles and of course gallons of groundnut oil respectively.
While the presentation of gifts were being made, special appreciation was offered to the Issele-Uku Progressive Youth Association (IPYA), Abuja Chapter for their continued effort at making the Mgba Ututu a fun and motivation over the years.
The Palace warmly commended the youth body ably led by Mr. Nkadi Kamene who was unavoidably absent but was represented by his Vice President and Treasurer, Messrs Michael Chukwunwike Osadebe and Felix Okolie respectively.
Nevertheless, the following persons were recognised for sponsoring the 2022 Mgba Ututu Festival through the IPYA Abuja Chapter: Chief P.C. Nwaoduah, former DG of SSS for sponsoring the procurement of all the gifts both to the winners of the Mgba Ututu and all the village heads, Mr. Henry Chukwuedo, a renowned Abuja based Chartered Accountant for sponsoring the IPYA logistics and, of course, the amiable Issele-Uku amazon and an American based medical practitioner and ICT guru, Dr. Veronica Ufoegbune for also sponsoring the IPYA logistics.
The 2022 Mgba Ututu Festival was equally made colourful by the retinue of chiefs who accompanied the astounding traditional ruler to watch and be entertained by the wrestlers.
The chiefs were led by the Traditional Prime Minister (Iyase) of Issele-Uku and an American based Engineer, Chief Innocent Etenmua Ashiedu, the Agujiegbe of Issele-Uku, Chief Sunday Gabriel Ebite, the Ezinne of Issele-Uku, Chief (Barr) Mrs. Josephine Ada Kachikwu, the Oloto of Issele-Uku, Chief Ignatius memeh, the Osigie of Issele-Uku and an American based Financial Expert, Chief Michael Brian Odiakosa, the Inwengwe of Issele-Uku and former PDP LGA Chairman, Chief Victor Egbune, the Ashi-Obi of Issele-Uku, Chief Uche Ngbanwa, a US based Issele-Uku historical author, Prince Chris Akeh and others.
The following persons were also commended for playing important roles towards the success and peaceful conduct of the Mgba Ututu:
The Delta State Honourable Commissioner for Youth Development, Comrade Ifeanyi Egwunyenga was recognised for sponsoring the mobilisation and lavish entertainment of participants and spectators at the 2022 Mgba Ututu Festival at the Idumuinei stage.
The referees, Mr. Azomani and Mr. Ifeanyi Ashibuogwu and, of course the judges, Chief Victor Egbune and Prince Austin Maha, including the MCs, Mr. Onyema Ashibuogwu and Mr. Eweniwe Nwalia were all commended for job well done.