Home ARTS & CULTURE Obi Achebe Names Onitsha Art Meseum After Obi Chimedie

Obi Achebe Names Onitsha Art Meseum After Obi Chimedie

by Austin Areh
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The Palace of the Obi Of Onitsha , Obi Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe (Agbogidi) witnessed another historic moment of joy as the Obi of Onitsha’s love for an Art Gallery is now a dream come true as His Excellency Dr. Willie Obiano (Akpokuedike) commissions world class museum in the heartbeat of Onitsha Kingdom.

InlandTown Onitsha has grown into a tourist attraction. Putting into consideration the newly opened Shop rite, almost completed 5 Star Hotel, the renovated Obi’s palace , Justice Chuba Ikpeazu stadium, the Onitsha main market( acclaimed biggest market in West Africa), the Ogbunike Cave and presently the laying of the foundation stone of CHIMEDIE Museum on Saturday 14th May 2016, by His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano, Governor of Anambra state.

The Palace of the Obi of Onitsha was filled with sons and daughters of Onitsha Kingdom from far and near. Those present at the occasion include Umuada, Agbalanze , Ndi Otu Odu, Ndi Iche according to their rank and file. Also present to receive the governor are Obi Achebe’s wife and daughter, the APGA Party state executives, lovers of Arts, gentlemen of the press both print and electronic media.

On the arrival of His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano (Akpokuedike), all the Obi’s cabinet members stepped out gracefully  to welcome the governor on his arrival, while Obi sat majestically on his throne, in anticipation to welcome the governor to his palace.

The governor made it straight into the Obi’s palace amidst cheers and shouts of ‘Akpokuedike’ from the crowd, and him waving in acknowledgement. As tradition demands Kola nut was offered and was broken with prayers.

The site was directly behind the Justice Chuba Ikpeazu stadium, Inland Town Onitsha. In a speech rendered by Obi of Onitsha he declared  his reason for the gathering, explaining that his love for art works made him to donate 1,200 artworks from his personal collections. He also spoke about the 14th anniversary of his ascendance as it coincided with the date of the commissioning.  He also encouraged all lovers of art donate to the museum explaining that it would go a long way in telling the world about Onitsha’s strong history, culture, and tradition .

Agbogidi said it is one of the ways to preserve our cultural heritage and promote tourism and leisure in the state. The Obi of Onitsha was also grateful to His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano for providing him the land on which his dream was accomplished.

His Royal Majesty Obi of Onitsha made it categorically clear that it was not a money making venture. The designer of the structure, after guiding the audience through the architectural design  promised that the edifice would be ready in 18 months time.

He said, “It is our intent to build an edifice, which will become a reference centre for our history and culture, relating the past with the present for the benefit of the future. For instance, it is from the hundreds of museums around the world that we derive most of our knowledge about life in ancient Egypt, Greece, the Roman Empire, China, India, and Nigeria, among the world’s great civilisations.

“The big difference with Nigeria is that we have not cared to preserve our heritage, the best of which now reside in foreign museums, where we and our future generations will painfully visit if we must know about our past. Today’s event is the beginning of a private journey to reverse that trend for Onitsha Ado N’Idu, Anambra State and, to some extent, Nigeria. “The museum that we are about to launch today is named after Obi Chimedie, my direct royal ancestor. Chimedie was the son of Eze Aroli, who was the son of Obi Chimaevi, who was the son of Ezechima the founding father of Onitsha Ado N’Idu. My more immediate ancestor, Orezeobi, was the first son of Chimedie. Having taken so many generations and a few hundreds of years for the descendant of Orezeobi to mount the throne of Ezechima, we thought it appropriate to name the museum after Chimedie, the father of Orezeobi”.
“The museum will in due course be linked with one of our universities and become a Centre for Onitsha and Igbo Studies. Our daughter and distinguished academic, Professor Nkiru Nzegwu, of the State University of New York in Binghamton, New York, has painstakingly built up a bibliography of over 500 sources of published materials on Onitsha and related subjects. The museum will equally painstakingly acquire such materials over time to become a research centre,” he said. Meanwhile, the Chimedie Museum Trust Foundation is engaged in discussion with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, to endow a prize for an annual award for creative excellence to a graduating student of the Department of Fine Arts.
The museum, which was designed by Architect Theo Lawson, the creator of Freedom Park in Lagos, will start up with the monarch’s personal collection of modern African Art numbering over 1200 pieces at the present time, and amongst the finest collections of visual art in Nigeria; all his royal paraphernalia and those of his predecessors that may be available, including photographs, music and video recordings, apparels, jewelleries, ornaments, etc.; as well as historic documents and research materials, including the digital copies of the entire academic materials built up by Professor Richard and Dr. Mrs. Helen Henderson, who devoted their entire academic life to the socio-anthropological study of Onitsha.

After the speech, the Obi of Onitsha ushered the governor and all that came to witness the event to site for the commissioning and laying of the  foundation stone of CHIMEDIE MUSEUM.

At the site, the state governor thanked the Obi of Onitsha for making him part of this historic event. He reminded the audience that he was born in Onitsha, schooled and grew up in Onitsha, making him a son of the soil in Onitsha Kingdom. He also stressed that the land of Onitsha has blessed him so much. He pledged the support of his administration in making CHIMEDIE MUSEUM a  tourist attraction. Chief Willie Obiano also promised that the 5 star hotel under construction would soon be completed.

Story by: Chuboy Victor Ifeajuna

Image and content credit: City Voice

Featured Image: GoogleImages

For InlandTown! 2016.

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