The Ihiala Community in Ihiala local government of Anambra State has instituted a special Award for Excellence for first class graduates in the area.
It has also introduced scholarship for exceptionally brilliant indigent students from the area .
The traditional ruler, Igwe Thomas Obidiegwu, announced this during the annual New Yam Festival of the community, saying he would soon announce a Committee to develop a blueprint for the implementation of the programmes.
He frowned at the worrisome level of cultism as well as drugs and substance abuse in the community, pledging his preparedness to curtail it.
He said, “This year’s celebration is unique as it will mark the beginning of some innovative programs aimed at behavioral change in the attitudes of youths and the young ones. We are launching today a serious campaign against drugs and substance abuse as well as cultism.
‘We believe that unless a decisive step is taken to curtail this dangerous trend, we will lose our young ones to drugs and substance abuse. Also worrisome is cultism and its ugly consequences.”
The Deputy Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Mr Paschal Agbodike in his speech, called on the people of South East to embrace agriculture, regretting that over dependency in crude oil had turned the country a monolithic economy.
He urged other towns to borrow a leaf from the Ihiala Community in exemplary celebration of Iri ji festivals, just as he urged them to access soft loans from Agricultural banks to improve food production in the country.
Chairman of the Planning Committee,
Chief Ody Chukwube enjoined people of the area to join hands with the Oluoha in eradicating drugs and substance abuse as well as cultism.
He announced the community’s plans to construct a permanent Central Palace for the Oluoha, revealing that the palace would among other things, have museum for the protection of relics in the monarchy which has lasted over 700 years.
Those present at the occasion include the gubernatorial candidate of Zenith Labour Party ( ZLP), Chief Obiora Okonkwo, Candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC) Chief Akachukwu Nwankpo and the running mate of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr Onyekachi Ibezim.