All roads led to Ime Obi Awka road Inland Town Onitshain preparation for the 15th Ofala Festival between 8th to 9th October 2016. All the entry points through the gates were barricaded on top with folded mats that suspended live chickens shaking from time to time… called ODA, it is believed to have the potency to neutralise any evil that wants to come into the Ime Obi. There was also heavy presence of security personnel that included the local vigilante, DSS, Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Army.
People strolled in alone, in groups and in convoys, sirens were beeping and helicopter landings behind the Iba at Ime Obi. Personalities from every nook and cranny trooped in to pay homage to one of the first class Kings in Nigeria, Obi of Onitsha. Ndi Iche where coming in with their various village groups with Igba Ino, Abiaulor, egwu ogene and women chanting praise behind them. Ogbendoo ( canon) shots were been fired periodically.
Starting from Iwa Ji of some villages, ” inye ukwu na nlo Eze Onicha” and “Inyepu ukwu na nlo” the period of Obi of Onitsha goes in and out of dreaming. At this period, he remains incommunicado for 3 days before the Ofala festival…this affords him the opportunity to commune with the gods of the land…praying for mercy and for blessings for him and his subjects.
The youth carnival which took place on the 7th October 2016 was organised by the progressive Onitsha Youth Council. It was a full cultural display and can be compared with Notting Hill Carnival, with a lot of creativity and energy put in all geared towards promoting Onitsha culture and making it great again.
Ofala in Onitsha has been turned into a carnival in recent times, and it is advised that it should be adopted by Nigerian government as a top revenue earner for the nations tourism, the economic activities within this period are tremendous, the costumes and all the events ushering the festival are so colorful.