It was fun, glitz, glamour, merriment and celebration of Onicha culture in grand style when Malunwanne Age Grade of Onitsha celebrated their golden jubilee at police College Play Ground, Ikeja on Saturday, October 24, 2015.
Apart from the golden jubilee, the ceremony was organised to be the inauguration of Lagos branch of the age grade and the investiture of patron and patroness.
Very early in the afternoon dignitaries, friends, associates, relatives and well-wishers started trooping into the venue of the event purposely to honour the Great Malunwanne Age Grade who among other things have course to celebrate, for the unrestrained privilege to attain half a century status in life.
The event lavishly featured the celebration of the culture of Onicha people as there was full display of cultural performances; age grade dance, masquerade outing agbagho mmuo and entertainment, music and lots of glamour to guests admiration and appreciation. It was an opportunity granted by malunwanne for Onitsha people who reside in Lagos to gather once more.
Frank Ifeatu Akanya, the president of Lagos branch of the age grade in his welcome speech went into history to tell how the age grade started. According to him, the group which has several members in Diaspora was officially issued certificate of existence on September 14, 1992 by the president of the then ruling age grade in Onitsha, Late Ojinnaka Osita Akanya after close observation of the group’s activities and how maturely they have conducted themselves.
In his statement, the idea for the Lagos Branch of the age grade was created during a condolence visit he and another member, Chiedu Elosiebo made to Akaedo Elleh (Nee Ochei) for the demise of her son in 2013.
“A general discussion was held to reorganise and start the Lagos branch of Great Malunwanne Age Grade to bridge the gap between Lagos and Onitsha,” he said.
He added that after much consultation with the pioneer members of the group who are living in Lagos State, it was agreed that the age grade should be re-organised and Maria Suite & Hotels at 25 Fatai Irawo Street, Ajao Estate was chosen due to its central location to be their meeting venue.
The first meeting of the group was therefore held on July 13, 2013, giving room for extensive membership drive and awareness.“This led to the increase in the number of our members, even as so many are still indicating interest to join the age grade,” he added.
Continuing, Akanya expressed categorically that the aim of the age grade is to promote healthy relationship among members regardless of whether they reside in Nigeria or abroad. Therefore in making unity, peace, love and progress their watchword, the group has succeeded in supporting member during good and trying times.
He concluded by making a clarion call to prospective members to join them in achieving their aims.
However, as articulated by Hon. Dave Okagbue, the age grade seeks to create a channel of support to members and the less privileged members of the society especially indigent people from Onitsha their homeland, for this cause they solicited for support through funding and otherwise from people in other to achieve this aim.
Chuka Agbu (SAN) who was a special guest of honour used his speech to make glowing remarks about the culture and tradition of Onitsha people which he explained to have tremendously inspired the works of legendary artist, Ben Enweonwu who incidentally made great painting of aspects of the culture that sold world-wide during his lifetime.
Taking a cue from the age group’s aim of supporting the less privileged of the society, Agbu express satisfaction that the course of age group is gradually metamorphosing into contributing to the development of the society as against the initial idea of fun-seeking and merriment that used to be state of such groups.
But he called for attention to be focused on how to contribute specially to the development of the local community of Onitsha so that efforts could be channelled at improving the lots of the underprivileged there especially the youths who constitute the growing population of the community.
Efforts of respective age groups in Onitsha at contributing their quota to the dire need of human development will help to achieve growth and a balanced society where all could be safe and properties secured.
Also, the occasion featured the investiture of Ozonma Dr. Val Ibekwe and Enyi Adaezebuona Nneka Okeke (Nee Osakwe) as patron and patroness of the age group respectively.
It was explained during the occasion that by so doing, the age group has come of age and is now well established in Lagos.
Present at the event; Akukalia Ugonabo Onyechi, Ezennia Onyechi, Nwachi Melifonwu, Ayaedo Age Grade, Pastor Tony Ajufo, Prof. O.C Agbu, Mr & Mrs Agusiobo, Ekwutosi Emordi(Omenwa), Agadagba Victor Enwezor, Akosa Ikwueme and lots of guests.
Reported by Okey Obiozor