The Organisation For the Advancement of Anioma Culture (OFAAC), the cultural umbrella body of the Anioma People (worldwide) lived up to its promise to deliver a fun-filled and exciting 2017 edition of Anioma Cultural Festival. The festival, which has become the biggest cultural event not just in Delta State but the entire South South geopolitical zone, attracted the young and the old, all gaily dressed in their best traditional attires depicting the culture of the people.
All for all those who made out time to attend the festival as part of their Easter holiday relaxation, it was a promise made and a promise kept as they never regretted every second spent at the Anglican Girls Grammar School (AGGS), Asaba, the venue of the festival which is in its 14th edition. There were lots and lots of traditional music, dance, wrestling to enjoy.
With over 30 traditional rulers, including the representative of the Asagba of Asaba, the newly crowned, very young Obi of Isele-Uku, in attendance, the monarchs in their royal splendour added colour and panache to the occasion. Fully regaliated in their royal robes of different colours and beads, they were a sight to behold.
The festival proper started with scintillating performances by primary school groups (pupils) which was followed by that of their secondary school counterparts all of whom drew loud applause from the huge crowd. Held at the open field of the grammar school it kicked off at exactly 10 am with the welcome speech of Architect Kester Ifeadi which was followed by that of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tam Brisibe.
Done with the primary/secondary schools categories, the professional dancing groups stepped on to the stage and thrilled the crowd to different types of cultural dance steps that are proudly indigenous to the people of Anioma in Delta State.
Perhaps, the most interesting aspect of the festival and which saw the people surging to the field were the traditional wrestling contest. The wrestling match which was in so many weight categories was so thrilling that every move and fall of the wrestlers were greeted with loud applause. At the end, Akpodo Felix, from Oshimili South Local Government Area emerged the wrestling champion of Anioma Cultural Festival, 2017 edition.
In the dance (primary school) category, Agbor Nta Primary came out second runner up, Odili Primary School, Kwale first runner up while Benekwu Primary School came out over all champion in that category. The secondary school category was won by Anglican Girls Grammar School, Asaba, which brushed aside a strong opposition from Ogbe Secondary School, Utagba –Ogbe to clinch the title.
The senior dance category was won for the second time running by Ayolo, Igbuzo with Out Chukwu Anyi Linma and Onu Anioma taking the second and third positions respectively.
Speaking earlier at the event which had Union Bank, Zenith Bank and other brands like Seaman’s Schnapps as sponsors, Ifeadi said that OFAAC as a body had been able to contribute its quota in the area of community development.
“The progress of OFAAC has not been stagnant. Through cooperation with Delta State government and our numerous benefactors, we have been able to make giant strides in community development. Only recently, we took delivery of two tractors which was given to us by the Delta State government to boost the agrarian efforts of our people,” he told the crowd that also included monarchs like the Obi of Adonte, Ubulu Unor, Omu of Okpanam, Obi of Ezzi, Obi of Ejeme Aniogor among other royal fathers.
Also present were Commissioners for Information, Culture and Tourism, Patrick Ukah and Chief Dan Okenyi. In all over 101 culture group participated in the festival.