Home ARTS & CULTURE Onitsha Ofala 2023

Onitsha Ofala 2023

by InlandTown Editor
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In twenty one years as Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty, Nnaemeka Alfred mni, CFR Agbogidi, has made great strides. These find expressions in a number of areas. They feature a revamped monarchy with influence reaching beyond Onitsha to Anambra state, the southeast region, Nigeria, and beyond. Moreover, His Majesty envisions transforming communities through a new value system, aiming to elevate the less fortunate from dependence to self-reliance. The Onitsha Advancement Foundation (OnAF) (www.onaf.org) animates this vision in its work.

The Ofala has expanded in scope, glamour, and significance for Ndi Onicha, featuring an international visual arts exhibition, youth carnival, accredited marathon, post-Ofala banquet, and church thanksgiving service. This year, the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University jointly introduced the Obi Nnaemaka Achebe Annual Lecture on Public Relations to enhance the festival. We extend gratitude to Bishop Felix Femi Ajakaye of the Catholic Diocese of Ekiti for delivering the inaugural lecture on October 5, 2023.

OnAF delivers its mandate through various operating entities and special project teams. Operating entities: OLEC for entrepreneurship, ABIC for tech skills, and OnAF Microfinance for financial services. Special project teams: WEPC for women empowerment, HWB for health, OnAF Cooperatives, and Values Reorientation Initiative Team.

In the past two years, some of our own have brought pride to our homeland with professional achievements and recognition. Notable individuals include Dame Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu, Late Chief Professor Ngozi Okafor, Mr Nebolisa Arah, Sir Francis Okey Anyakwo, Reverend Uchechukwu Nnaemeka Nzegwu, Reverend Fathers Henry Osakwe and Peter Areh, and Alex Okosi.

The Ofala 2023 events were as follows;

Thursday, october 5, 2023 12 noon; Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations/ Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Obi Nnaemeka Achebe Annual Lecture. Topic; Traditional Institutions, Public Relations, and Good Governance in comtemporary Nigeria. Lecturer; The Right Reverend Felix Femi Ajakaye, Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese. Venue; Education Trust Fund (ETF) Hall, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam Campus.

Saturday, october 7, 2023; 6:00pm; Inye Ukwu Na Nlo Eze Onicha

Tuesday, October 10, 2023; 7:00am; Ogbalido

Wednesday, October 11, 2023; 6:00pm; Inyepu Ukwu na Nlo Eze Onicha

Thursday, October 12, 2023; 3:00pm; Oreze IX Art Exhibition Opening Ceremony. Venue; Ime Obi Multipurpose Hall

Friday, October 13, 2023; 7am-7:00pm; Ofala Carnival

Saturday, October, 14, 2023; 11:00am; Iru Ofala

Sunday, October 15, 2023; 12:00pm; Azu Ofala

Monday, October 16, 2023; 3:00pm; Oreze IX Art Exhibition Closing Ceremony

Tuesday, October 17,2023; 1:00pm; Ofala Banquet( by invitation only)

Sunday, October 22, 2023; 11:00am; Thanksgiving Service. Venue: St. Jude Catholic Church, Upper Iweka, Fegge.

Indigeneous to Onitsha, the Ofala which usually falls due early to mid-october, is the highpoint of the Onitsha ceremonial cycle. The Obi of Onitsha, the celebrant of this spiritually rooted spectacle, uses the occasion to fulfill certain obligations. This is a display of royal dances, tributes, parades and music which runs over two days. The first day Iru Ofala is primarily for the monarch. The second day, Azu Ofala is an elaborate display by his subjects usually made up of age grade societies in their colourful uniforms.

The clear hierarchy and demarcation of responsibilities among traditional administrative cadres strengthen the culture and customs of Onitsha. The Obi, at the apex, leverages the able support and collaborations of distinct institutions led by Ndichie.

The group exhibition, Orakwue (The Voice of the People), held in honor of His Majesty Nnaemeka Achebe, Obi of Onitsha, recognized his support for Nigerian and African artists. This event, which took place at Alexis Galleries in Victoria Island, Lagos, on April 6, 2023, featured paintings, sculptures, and ceramics by 17 artists. In September of the same year, His Majesty invited the artists to reproduce the show on a larger scale at the Ofala. So Orakwue became Oreze.

Oreze, Ora Eze in full, refers to the collective will of the people under the leadership of the king. The Oreze Art Exhibition has been conceptualized and promoted under the auspices of Chimedie Museum Trust Foundation. Oreze 1 opened on monday, October 7, 2013, which was the eve of that year’s Ofala. 70 Artist from Nigeria and the west coast of Africa participated in the maiden edition. Master artists Bruce Onobrakpeya and Demas Nwoko, along with art academics like Ola Oloide, Chike Aniako, Jerry Buhari, and Peju Layiwola, have been distinguished guests at multiple Oreze editions.

The Ofala Youth Carnival has evolved to become the biggest cultural street funfair in the southeast region of Nigeria. The Carnival owes its origin to the parade Igba Ilo Ofala organised by the National Association of Onicha Ado students as a herald to the Ofala. The Carnival which is organised by the Onitsha Ado Youth Council showcases the rich cultural heritage of Onitsha indigenes.

Globacom, a major sponsor of the Ofala, organized the banquet in honor of His Majesty, Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, mni, CFR, Agbogidi, Obi of Onitsha. The event also provided an opportunity for His Majesty to interact with various individuals involved in organizing the Ofala.

A thanksgiving service usually rounds up the Ofala. The service is rotated amongst the churches in the Onitsha metropolis.




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