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24.10.2008 Regional News

Leklebi-Lavie Institutionalize Agbonuto Festival

By gna

The Chiefs and people of Leklebi and their kinsmen from Lavie in the Republic of Togo have re-invented their ancestral common bond by institutionalizing the bi-annual Agbonutoza festival to become the wheel around which development would churn.

Speaking at a press conference in Leklebi, Mr Morris A. Fie, Chairman of the Joint Festival Planning Committee, said the essence of their gesture was development-oriented, aimed at re-strengthening and re-integrating their past ties for good.

Mr Fie recounting a historical antecedent said the people of Leklebi and Lavie, formerly known as Tsamenyiawo, formed part of the Ewes, who migrated from Abyssinia in Ethiopia through Ile-Ife in Oyo, Nigeria to ancient Ketu and other places before settling at Notsie (Glime) in the 15th century.

He said both kinsmen moved together from Notsie as a result of the cruelty of the then King Agorkoli and finally settled at Lakledzi, where Lavie is currently situated.

Mr Fie re-affirmed that the Leklebis decided to move westward but the Lavie's declined and opted to stay for a while, hence the "Miawo Mia Lala Vie" becoming the adopted name, which literally meant "We shall wait".

He said the separation of the two sides for over 500 years and the visit of the Chiefs and people of Leklebi to pay homage to their kinsmen at Lavie in 1929, by a strong delegation of 305, was the driving force for the reciprocity in instituting the Agbonuto festival.

Mr Fie additionally said the dawn of renewal and re-integration of affiliation of people of one descent or stock was being harnessed for socio-cultural and economic development as was experienced by the Gbis and Pekis, Gas renewing their ancestral ties with Notsie, Abutia and Fodome as well as Gbledi and Battor in Ghana and Kpele in Togo.

"It is imperative that Leklebis and Lavies tap into their ancestral common bond and heritage by institutionalizing the Agbonuto festival slated for November 6, this year, with a grand durbar of Chiefs and people of the two sides climaxing the events.

Mr Fie used the occasion to invite government officials, citizens and friends of the two communities to assist them to mark the maiden festival in a grand style.

Togbega Agboka VI, Paramount Chief of Leklebi Traditional Area, said both sides were separated for 500 years by an imaginary boundary but their spirit and soul were bound together by a common ancestry.

He said he was optimistic that their rebirth would re-ignite the ancestral cultural and religious ties, to be harnessed for development.

Togbega Agboka said as part of the integration process, the teaching and learning of Ewe, English and French would be institutionalized.

Togbega Agbeli Gbaga VIII, Paramount Chief of Lavie, said he was worried that the Ewe language, being spoken in Ghana, Togo, Benin and parts of Nigeria and even taught in some of German Universities was not being encouraged.