…Lauds Ifeadi, OFAAC For Sustaining Anioma Cultural Heritage
By Patrick Ochei
The Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has tasked Anioma Traditional Rulers on the need to declare Easter Monday as “Anioma Day” to serve the interest of Culture for the people of Anioma Nation.
He made the call while making his speech at the 18th Anioma Cultural Festival with the theme “Preserving Our Cultural Heritage”, which held on Easter Monday, 10th April, 2023, at the Oshimili South Local Government Arcade in Asaba.
Okowa also lauded the President of the Organisation For the Advancement of Anioma Culture (OFAAC), Arc. Kester Ifeadi and his management team of OFAAC for sustaining Anioma cultural heritage in the past 18 years, describing their patriotism as something worth emulating by all.
The man popularly known as ‘Ekwueme’, enthusiastic about the Anioma Culture and how it has been rebranded and packaged all these years by OFAAC, thanked God that he was able to witness yet another edition of it before exiting office as Governor in May.
He therefore, had a self consolation to the fact that the festival has reached the stage that it cannot be abandoned but nurtured for greater impacts.
Meanwhile, he urged Arc. Ifeadi and the OFAAC team to continue to do their best towards sustaining the cultural festival of the people of Anioma, which he acknowledged has become yardstick for social, economic and cultural growth of the people.
According to the Governor, “18 years is quite a long time to have successfully driven a project such as this. It’s not an easy task; not just about the funding but the organisation of it.
“I most sincerely thank Kester Ifeadi and his team for a job well done. He has continued to enrich our cultural heritage via the Anioma Cultural Festival, endorsed by the Anioma Royal Fathers and Mothers who have consistently made it colourful and glamorous to the appeal of others.
“Once there is a pronouncement by the Anioma Traditional Rulers for this festival to be celebrated every Easter Monday, definitely that day becomes Anioma Day. I urge them to be the ones to make that pronouncement for Anioma Day.
“I thank God that we are keeping our culture alive; in the past 18 years, it’s been getting better and better. I urge you to continue, because there is no limit to what you can achieve in bringing our people together. Our peace and unity can not be quantified. This festival provides that platform.
“In the last eight years, I have been your Governor. Being the Governor of the State had opened me to a lot of decisions and choices. At times we defer, but we are one people in Delta State. Our unity is one thing we must all strive to give strength to. Once we can bond together, we are sure of one united Delta. I have tried to offer my best, not looking at the gain but looking at our people to keep our State together in peace. As I exit, somebody will continue but I am still around to continue to offer my services to our people.
“It’s my hope that OFAAC keeps this dream already birthed alive. God bless Anioma and God bless Delta State”, Okowa said.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the founder and president of OFAAC, Arc. Kester Ifeadi appreciated every individual and group, especially the Governor and the sponsors for making the 18th edition of Anioma Cultural Festival tagged “Preserving Our Cultural Heritage” a huge success.
While informing his audience that the Anioma Cultural Festival was initiated to inculcate sound cultural background and the speaking of Anioma language in our children, he appealed to the Governor to assist in declaring Easter Monday an Anioma Day.
With every sense of fulfillment, Ifeadi commended the management team, Board of Trustees and Patrons of OFAAC for standing solidly behind him in the past two decades, giving him the needed strength and motivation to have consistently hosted several editions of the Anioma Cultural Festival and still counting.
He therefore, encouraged the younger generation to key into the project to run with the ideas and concepts for the benefit of future generations.
It was indeed a wonderful outing with over 170 groups participating in the 18th edition of the festival.
The overall winner of the competition as announced by the judges is the Seat of Wisdom Dance Group with 83 percent score, followed by the 1st runner-up, Egwuoma Igbuzo Dance Group with 79 percent score and then the 2nd runner-up, Contemporary Dance Group of Ubulu-Okiti with 70 percent score.
Other winners in wrestling category are Lucky Ophia from Ika North East coming 1st position, Albert Matthew from Owa coming 2nd position and then Dominic Nnalue from Aniocha South coming 3rd position.
In the flute (Akpele) category, Ossai from Onicha Ukwuani and Eyaneka Kashie from Isheagu won among the lots.
The award presentation and prizes were done by the OFAAC president, Arc. Kester Ifeadi, the Obi of Onicha-Ugbo, HRM Obi Victor Chukwumalieze, the Omu Anioma, HRM Obi Martha Dunkwu and the Desert Warrior, Chief Newton Jibunoh.
This year’s edition of the Anioma Cultural Festival witnessed an array of Anioma Traditional Rulers and Omus in attendance, including members of the State Executive Council led by the Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, with the SSG, Chief Patrick Ukah, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Engr. Lawrence Ejiofor, Commissioner for Housing, Chief Festus Ochonogor, DG Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, Hon. Joan Onyemaechi, Member-Elect for Oshimili South Constituency, Hon. Bridget Anyafulu, Executive Chairman of Oshimili South Local Government, Hon. Obi Kelvin Ezenyili, PDP Delta North Chairman, Chief Moses Iduh, the Enyi Ahaba Group led by Chief Theodora Giwa-Amu, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, Senior Journalist and Head of Defence and Security Affairs of the Guardian Newspapers, Mr. Odita Sunday, Secretary of Delta State Council of NUJ, Comrade Patrick Ochei, Publisher of the Karifest Magazine, Barr. Onyekah and others too numerous to mention.
The festival was proudly sponsored by Seaman’s Aromatic Schnapps, Champion Breweries, Contemporary Group Ltd and others.