Anioma Cutural Festival 2014: Seal of culture and togetherness

With a seal of culture and togetherness as guests and tourists from diverse culture thronged Asaba, Delta State to witness the yearly festival of unity, the 11th edition of Anioma Cultural Festival ended in grand style.In fact, the massive turnout at this year’s festival was unprecedented, with over 6,000 participants, visitors and culture enthusiasts enjoying live cultural music, dancing, traditional wrestling and much more, was celebrated on Easter Monday, April 21, 2014 amidst pomp and pageantry with a host of exciting activities that inspired and awed participants and festival attendees.Its organisers states, “The festival which is a symphony of dance, music, fashion and creative arts of historical values of Anioma people from the nine local government areas of Delta North Senatorial Districts have continued to grow into a melting pot of diverse cultural arts and musical genres that come in a contemporary cultural arena. Today it’s Delta’s most vibrant and finest cultural event, now becoming the envy of corporate organizations who see the cultural platform as an avenue to augment their brands power positioning among the people, tourist and visitors and also as a form of giving back to society. “The festival commenced with an opening prayers to God in heaven, thereafter the dance troupes hit the ground in carnival like manner, accompanied by performances from primary and secondary schools. It was a cynosure with colourful display of costumes in unique Anioma traditional attires by the dance groups and guests alike.“Now in its eleventh year, the annual event organized by the Organisation For the Advancement of Anioma Culture [OFAAC], the culture umbrella body of Anioma people brings to light the rich culture of Anioma people and Delta State in general.  Over the years, the festival has continued to serve as a rallying point for cultural renaissance and the unification of Delta’s diverse population.The royal monarchs and culture enthusiasts praised OFAAC for its “staying power” in the preservation and promotion of Anioma arts and culture and the empowerment of people at the grassroots through its micro-credit scheme which remains unrivaled.“The convening theme for this year’s festival TheValues that Unite us”, was to bring to forethe traditional values that unite us as a people, explained Arc. Kester Ifeadi, President OFAAC.  “Anioma is noted for its peaceful disposition with good value systems and as such people need to co-exist in love for the common good of all. Just as in the words of Mohandas Gandhi “a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people”. The time for character reorientation of Nigerians is now; we must go back to the roots and reengage our people to believe in the project one people, one nation, Ifeadi enthused.   
“Over 174 Cultural troupes along with other performing arts and exhibitors from the various communities in Anioma and outside Anioma were on hand to showcase the best of the best of Anioma and Nigeria’s cultural heritage. Unfolding newer features each year, the trend of the festival has not only bonded the people together in an atmosphere of unity and peaceful coexistence but also help boost the economy of rural communities and the Delta State.“The Governor of Delta State, His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Festus Okubor, who commended OFAAC for a job well done in the promotion of the rich cultural heritage of Anioma and Delta State in general.Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, commended OFAAC for bringing the people together in past eleven years for the appreciation of Anioma cultural values. He said the festival has helped to rekindle interest in traditional wrestling and arts and crafts among the people.Chief Benjamin Elue, former Deputy Governor of Delta State on his part commended OFAAC for the great job it’s doing for Anioma. He said the event has continued to expand because of the genuine intent and commitment to preserve and promote Anioma cultural heritage.Speaking at the event, the President-General of Izu Anioma Brig.-Gen. Godwin Alabi-Isama (RTD.) said that Anioma Cultural Festival as organized by OFAAC was the best he has seen since the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC ’77). “It took me by surprise what I saw here today and I am more fulfilled as I thoroughly enjoyed the festival. OFAAC should be encouraged with the needed support from both the private and public sectors so as to sustain this beautiful cultural festival.”Apart from the usual razzmatazz that characterized the yearly festival, the just-concluded Anioma festival will continue to linger in the memories of the people of Anioma and visitors who joined in the celebration at the Acarde Ground in the city of Asaba.  This year’s event witnessed a large turnout of cultural troupes and people from other ethnic groups in Nigeria in solidarity with Anioma. HRM. Obi (Prof.) Chike Edozien, the Asagba of Asaba led the crème de la crème of over thirty seven royal monarchs who were in attendance and the people intermittently pay obeisance to the paramount rulers as they approached to VIP stand with great fulfilment.
However the excitement got to its pick when the wrestlers took the centre stage in a wrestling bout. The flutist also added more vibes to the occasion as they try to outclass each other with different tones. The sponsors of this year’s festival were commended for living up to their corporate social responsibility, MTN, Grand Oaks Nigeria Ltd., makers of Seaman’s Schnapps, Contemporary Group, Orchids. Special thanks also go to Engr. Hycient Enuha, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Dr. Paul Warri and  Hon. Paul Osaji for their support. The Awards for best performance as adjudged by the judges went to Otu Onu Anioma of Owa Alero, the overall best, followed by Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi-Uku and Otu Chukwuanyi Rinma of Agbor-Obi  who clinched the second and third position respectively.For the winners in different categories, African Voice from Kwale won in Contemporary Dance, Asala Amaka from Agbor came top in the Royal Dance, Ndidikanma from Isheagu emerged the best in the Occupational Dance category, Ukele Dancers were victorious in the Warriors Dance category and Otu Osodi from Ubulu-ubu came first in the Egwu Oshushu category.In the Primary School Category, Odili Primary School, Agbor came first, followed by Seat of Wisdom, Kwale, and Ute Primary School, Ubulu-Otiti second and third position respectively. Climax Secondary School, Ogwashi-Uku emerged first in the Secondary School category followed by St. Peter’s Anglican Secondary School, Asaba and West End Secondary School, Asaba, second and third position.Royal monarchs, high chiefs and dignitaries who graced the occasion included, HRM Obi (Prof.) Chike Edozien the Asagba of Asaba, HRM. Obi of Unokaiwedi of Ubulu-ubu, HRM. Obi Samuel N. Otiegede III of Idumu-Ogo Kingdom, HRM. Obi Ifechukwude, the Obi of Olodu, HRM. Obi Kenneth Ezegbunam, JP Obi of Nsukwa,  Her Royal Highness, (Dr.) Martha Dunkwu the Omu of Anioma, HRH Theresa U. Mgbo the Omu of Onicha-Uku, H.R.M. Obi Vincent Nmor the Obi of Uguli Amai, HRM. Obi Daniel C. Ogbudo, the Obi of Atuma- Iga, H.R.M Obi Agbogidi E.O.Isichei II JP, the Obi Of Ubulu-OkitiHRM Obi Chukwuma Jikeme, the Obi of Ute-Ogbeje,  HRM. Obi Emmanuel Offor, the Obi of Adonte, HRM. Obi Kikachukwu (J.P) the Obi of Ubulu- Unor, HRM. Obi Godwin Onyenwuwa, the Obi of Ewulu, HRM. Obi Anthony Ogbolu, the Obi of Ejemani-Ogor,  HRM Obi Charles Chukwuwike Anyasi III, the Obi of Udumuje-Unor,  HRH E.E.N Ojoko the Okpala Uku of Akoku Obeti, HRM Obi Maduabunachukwu the Obi of Abah-unor, HRM. Obinwanyi Modupe Edozien, wife to HRM. Asagba of Asaba, Chief P.C. Eziashi, the Iyase of Onicha-Olona, Chief S.I. Elosia, the Isama of Owerre –Olobor, Chief F.I Bigwo, Chief Pius A.J. Nmakwe, Chief F.E.W Ojoko, Chief P.E. Enwelem, Chief P.C. Olodu,  Chief J. Ugbo, Chief O.P. Uyanasi Rep. of Ogwude of Owerre-Olubor,  Chief Richard Nmor, Chief S.A Okah Rep. Obi of Egbudu-Akah, Chief Benjamin Elue, former Deputy Governor of Delta State.  Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, member representing Delta North at the National Assembly, Chief Festus Okubor, Chief of Staff to the governor Delta State, Sir Dan Okenyi, Chief Clement T. Ofuani the Odua of Ubulu Okiti, Dr. Paul Warri  President Ijaw Cultural Union, Delta Chapter, Brig.-Gen. Godwin Alabi-Isama, (RTD.) President-General Izu Anioma, Hon. Victor Nwokolo, Rep. Ika Constituency, Hon. Paul Osaji, Mr. Okonji Sylvester N., Ogbueshi Felix Oduah, Deacon Renny Nwosa, Chief Tony Mordi the Ochiaya I of Akwukwu Igbo, Chief Lawrence Ofili, Pastor Anigbogu, Chief John Iloba, Barr. Eboka Francis, a host of other eminent personalities. 

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