The Onya Ozoma of Onitsha, Chief Dr. Okechukwu Mike Areh together with the Chairman of Ofala steering committee held a meeting on Thursday at Ime obi Onitsha.
The Press conference was geared toward the preparation for the 2022 Ofala of His Majesty, Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, mni, CFR, Agbogidi, Obi of Onitsha. The celebration would be held at Ime Obi Onitsha for the period of two days, Iru Ofala On October 22 and the Azu Ofala on October 23. The Ofala would also be a thanksgiving ceremony in commemoration of His Majesty’s twentieth anniversary as monarch.
In the statement made available to InlandTown Onya Ozoma emphasized the importance of the celebration in the Onitsha ceremonial cycle. He said; “The Obi of Onitsha is the celebrant of this spectacle which is rooted in deep spirituality. The Ofala is an occasion for the monarch to fulfill certain obligations.
It is primarily a celebration by the monarch and his subjects, of the monarch’s annual emergence from seclusion, during which period the monarch has successfully negotiated the fortunes of the kingdom. It is also a re-enactment of the joy, which the monarch shared with his subjects, at the discovery that yam is non-toxic, and a valuable source of food.”
The Ofala celebration which has been compromised by the covid -19 pandemic would be celebrated in its usual fanfare this year as Onicha Ado N’idu community looks forward to the 2022 Ofala celebration.
“The Onicha Ado N’Idu community is looking forward to celebrating the 2022 Ofala in the normal way after two years, during which the Covid-19 pandemic had caused the ceremonies to be held devoid of the usual fanfare.
Some of you may recall that in 2019, we announced a plan for placing the Ofala on a higher pedestal. The plan had three broad objectives. The first is for the Ofala to attract considerable national, West African, and international attention.
The second is for the Ofala to attain the status of a major event in the Nigerian, by extension in the West African cultural/tourism calendar.
The third is for the Ofala to become a viable commercial venture, making reasonable contributions to the Ime Obi treasury. We took off well in 2019.
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That year, the Ofala was endorsed by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, the apex tourism regulatory agency in the country, as a major Nigerian festival. NTDC has also issued a specific mandate in its support.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic led to a situation in which we could not go ahead with implementing our plans. Now that the pandemic is reasonably behind us, we can now focus attention on our purpose for the Ofala, which in the words of His Majesty is to bring the world to Onitsha.” the Onya Ozoma added.
He also appreciated the official sponsors of the festival Globacom and International Breweries Plc, noting their impact on the growth and development of the Ofala. In support of the event, Globalcom signed an MOU with the Ofala committee.
The Ofala is set to commence on the 21st of October with the Ofala Youth Carnival which is organized by the Onitsha Ado Youth Council (OYC) which is probably the biggest cultural street fanfare in the South East region of Nigeria.
An art exhibition promoted by His Majesty’s Chimedie Museum Trust Foundation will open on Friday, October 21 till Tuesday, October 25, staring art masters such as Alex Nwokolo, Kainebi Osahenye, Edison Ekwueme, Dr. Bolaji Ogunwo, Tola Wewe, and Ayeva Nourridine Medjeva. The special guest will be Professor John Ogene, Professor of Art History and Graphics, Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Benin.
In addition to the stream of activities, A Royal Banquet organized by Globacom in honour of the Obi of Onitsha comes up Wednesday, October 26. The banquet will be held at the Dolly Hills Hotel, Onitsha.
Onya Ozoma stated that the activities will be rounded off with the Ofala thanksgiving service which would hold on the 30th of October at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, St. Stephen Road, Inland Town, Onitsha.