By Chuks Eke
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected in Onitsha, Anambra state this weekend to attend the 20th Ofala cultural festival of the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe (Agbogidi).
Also expected at the elaborate event which coincided with Obi Achebe’s 81th birthda y and 20 years on the throne are some state Governors and candidates of various political parties.
The two-day events marking the Ofala festival scheduled to hold on Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23, are being jointly sponsored by
Globacom and International Breweries Plc.
Chairman of the Ofala Steering Commitee, Chief Okey Mike Areh, who disclosed this to newsmen yesterday at Ime Obi Palace, Onitsha, explained that
Igwe Achebe would use the occasion to celebrate a blissful thanksgiving ceremony for the 20th anniversary of his ascendancy to the throne as the reigning monarch, having ascended the throne of
Ezechima 20 years ago precisely on May 14, 2002, which coincidentally was his 61st birthday.
Areh who has the Onitsha chieftaincy title of Onya Ozoma of Onitsha, further explained that the ceremonies which would span for two days – Iru Ofala for October 22 and the Azu Ofala for October 23, would be the high point of the Onitsha ceremonial cycle with Obi of Onitsha as the celebrant of this spectacle which he said is rooted in deep spirituality.
Areh who further disclosed that the Onicha Ado N’Idu kingdom would use the opportunity of this year’s Ofala event to upgrade the annual event from mere Onitsha affair to the status of a major event in the Nigerian, and by extension in the West African cultural/tourism calendar, commended Globacom and International Breweries for
partnering with the Onitsha Traditional Council since
He noted that the monarch would also confer chieftaincy titles on some eminent personalities from all works of life, as part of the highlights of the Ofala festival which he said would kick of on Friday, October 21 with Ofala Youths Carnival to be organized by the Onitsha Youths Council and end on Tuesday, October 25 with an Exposition involving all the living and practicing artists in the Southeast geopolitical zone.
In his own speech, Globacom’s Southeast Regional Manager, Michael Ehumadu disclosed that apart from Globacom signing a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU with the Onitsha traditional council to sponsor the Ofala on annual basis, the Ofala festival has been endorsed by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, the apex tourism Regulatory Agency in the country as a major Nigerian Festival.
According to Ehumadu, aside from hosting the royal banquet, we will be empowering the people of Onitsha with gifts that will impact their lives. Lucky subscribers will have an opportunity to win two
“Keke” tricycles, five sewing machines and five grinding mills in our special Ofala
“The Oreze Arts Series, a group art exhibition promoted by His Majesty’s Chimedie
Museum Trust Foundation returns after a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The eighth Edison of the series will also open on Friday, October 21 and run till
Tuesday, October 25″.
“The series is designed to provide exposure to budding
artists living and practising in the South East of Nigeria. It is also an avenue for
multi-talented and well-established artists from various parts of the world to
exhibit their works. At least 120 artists will be exhibiting their works at Oreze VIII”.
“They include Alex Nwokolo, Kainebi Osahenye, Edison Ekwueme, Dr Bolaji
Ogunwo, Tola Wewe, and Ayeva Nourridine. The special guest will be Professor
John Ogene, Professor of Art History and Graphics Department of Fine and
Applied Arts, University of Benin, UNIBEN”.