Prominent among the fading cultures of the people is wrestling. In good olden days, almost all communities in Rivers State could boast of producing wrestling champions. But today, it is difficult to even hear of it.
Its revival has been a serious issue to some communities within the state while others are yet to decide whether to revive it or not.
The near-death of the wrestling culture is blamed on westernisation, just like other cultural activities such as the Owu Dance, etc.
Wrestling is also one of the local games that does not require much to organise because all the needed instruments as well as the human resources are available within the locality.
Moreover, the rebirth of the wrestling game has become a major issue in some communities in Rivers State, today. It was learnt that the wrestling game is among the main sources of receation and entertainment in the rural communities even in some cities where it is still practised.
The game (wrestling) as The Tide On Sunday gathered, does not involve much risk because it is a battle between two males of equal body size or within the same age bracket.
It is only in few cases where men of different age brackets or body-sizes are allowed to wrestle. At times, they do it to produce a champion who will represent the community in an external wrestling championship or even inter communal conflicts.
In some areas, champion wrestlers are used as body guards of their traditional rulers and chiefs who are viewed as the custodian of the people.
They (champion wrestlers) were used for almost all the risky jobs and errands in the community, because of the common notion that they prossess an extra-ordinary prowess.
In cases like marriage, every parent would prefer in their inner most mind that their would-be son-in-law be a champion wrestler, not even an ordinary one. The reason being that he will be of great importance to the family both in the areas of family work and defence.
The Tide On Sunday was told that in recent past, that some parents would give their daughters to any available champion wrestlers at almost no cost, because they want their family to be respected.
Today, Rumuogba community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, said that they have finalised plans to revive the wrestling culture.
The Paramount Ruler/Nye Nwe-Eli Rumogba, HRH Eze (Barr) Temple N. Ejekwu (JP), Eze Ogba Iji Nu Ede, reasoned that wrestling remains the main source of popularity in the communities.
Eze Ejekwu, noted that it also brings peace and unity in the communities where it is better practised.
The Monarch pointed that wrestling is one of the notable cultures of the Ikwerre people and should not be allowed to fade away with other cultures which he said are almost gone.
In his community (Rumuogba), he argued that plans are on top gear to bring the wrestling culture back to life.
According to him, both the drums and drummers are intact, saying that in the nearest future wrestling activity will begin to boom again in the community.
He also told the Culture and Tourism Sector that in his first anniversary which is underway, wrestling match will top other activities as part of the community’s effort to ensure that the younger generations do not forget it totally.
The Eze Ogba Nu Iji Nu Ede, hinted that the community is also planning to invite other communities for a wrestling championship in order to bring back the lost glory of the wrestling culture.
According to him, wrestling, is the easiest way by which the locals can know who is who, adding that it also brings out the best in the man.
The Rumuogba Paramount Ruler, maintained that wrestling promotes unity and friendship among communities, adding that its near-death has done some havoc to the rural communities.
In case champions emerge during the community’s wrestling championship, he said they would be projected to the state level, just as the Worji people have taken their cultural dance to the state level.
About its economic importance, he argued that since wrestling promotes peace and unity, the community will always experience a huge turn over in various aspects of its trade due to the friendly environment.
He also informed The Tide On Sunday that the wrestling culture has no fetish practice, wondering why the people are shying away from it.
The young monarch, regretted that the wrestling culture which serves as a huge tourist attraction for the people is fading away with a great speed.
He has also called on the organisers of the CARNIRIV to include wrestling as one of the cultural activities of the Rivers people.
That, he said, will do the much expected magic in the bid to revive the wrestling activity of the people.