Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari, is billed to attend this year’s 20th-anniversary celebration, Ofala, of the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe (Agbogidi).
The event is co-sponsored by Globacom and International Breweries Plc.
Also expected at the prestigious traditional event are state governors and candidates of various political parties in the 2023 general election.
The two-day events marking the Ofala festival scheduled will hold on Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23.
The Chairman of the Ofala Steering Commitee, Chief Okey Mike Areh, disclosed this to newsmen on at the Ime Obi Palace, Onitsha, explained that Igwe Achebe would use the occasion to celebrate a blissful thanksgiving ceremony for the 20th anniversary of his ascendancy to the throne as the reigning monarch.
Igwe Achebe ascended the throne of Ezechima 20 years ago precisely on May 14, 2002, which coincidentally was his 61st birthday.
Areh who has the Onitsha chieftaincy title of Onya Ozoma of Onitsha, further explained that the ceremonies which would span for two days – Iru Ofala for October 22 and the Azu Ofala for October 23, would be the high point of the Onitsha ceremonial cycle with Obi of Onitsha as the celebrant of this spectacle which he said is rooted in deep spirituality
Areh further disclosed that the Onicha Ado N’Idu kingdom would use the opportunity of this year’s Ofala event to upgrade the annual event from mere Onitsha affair to the status of a major event in the Nigerian, and by extension in the West African cultural/tourism calendar.
Areh commended Globacom and International Breweries for partnering with the Onitsha Traditional Council since 2011 in marking the historic event.
He added that the monarch would also confer chieftaincy titles on some eminent personalities from all works of life, as part of the highlights of the Ofala festival.
He disclosed that the festival would begin on Friday, October 21 with Ofala Youths Carnival organized by the Onitsha Youths Council and end on Tuesday, October 25 with an Exposition involving all the living and practicing artists in the South-East geopolitical zone.
Furthermore, Globacom’s Southeast Regional Manager, Michael Ehumadu said, apart from Globacom signing a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU with the Onitsha Traditional Council to sponsor the Ofala on annual basis, the Ofala festival has been endorsed by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, and the apex tourism Regulatory Agency in the country as a major Nigerian Festival.
Ehumadu added that, aside from hosting the royal banquet, the Council will be empowering the people of Onitsha with gifts that will impact their lives. Lucky subscribers will have an opportunity to win two “Keke” tricycles, five sewing machines and five grinding mills in this year’s special ‘Ofala Promo.’
The Oreze Arts Series, a group art exhibition promoted by His Majesty’s Chimedie Museum Trust Foundation will return after a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year’s edition of the series, the 8th, will also open on Friday, October 21 and run till Tuesday, October 25.
“The series is designed to provide exposure to budding artists living and practising in the South East of Nigeria. It is also an avenue for multi-talented and well-established artists from various parts of the world to exhibit their works. At least 120 artists will be exhibiting their works at Oreze VIII.
“They include Alex Nwokolo, Kainebi Osahenye, Edison Ekwueme, Dr Bolaji Ogunwo, Tola Wewe, and Ayeva Nourridine. The special guest will be Professor John Ogene, Professor of Art History and Graphics Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Benin, UNIBEN,” Ehumadu stated.