The Anioma Cultural Festival has progressively become an upstage cultural event for the sons and daughters of the Anioma to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the Anioma people within the nine Local Government Areas of Delta State, Nigeria.
The yearly cultural festival organized by the Organisation For the Advancement of Anioma Culture [OFAAC], the cultural umbrella body of Anioma people has become a rallying point of Anioma cultural revival and a veritable platform for corporate bodies to showcase and communicate their brand promises to the people thus vouchsafing their great interest in community development.
The massive turnout at the 2012 edition held at the Arcade Ground Asaba on Easter Monday was a spectacle as evidenced by the massive turnout of royal monarchs; participating groups and dignitaries, an indication of a festival that remains focused to its true objectives. This trend has not only helped to promote the natural self identity of the Anioma people but also created a conducive atmosphere for unity, progress and peaceful coexistence.
Interestingly the Anioma Festival is getting bigger, entertaining and more encompassing with the infusion of new features yearly. The festival where dance performance of over 98 groups were simultaneously happening leaving the judges and visitors to make choice of their spectacles from the activities before the emergence of the best among the best for a cultural showdown.
The excitement and fun got to its pick when the traditional wrestlers took the center stage. And more excitement was when the different dance groups and associations, dressed in the best of Anioma attires with all the accoutrements of splendor and majesty in a carnival like manner sang and danced in salutation of Anioma heritage with homage paid to the custodians of Anioma traditional institution present at the event.
Today the event is Anioma’s biggest unifying cultural festival with hundreds of thousands of devoted participants drawn from traditional institutions, cultural groups, schools, decision-makers, corporate bodies and visitors enjoying live traditional dance and other performing arts that Anioma is noted for.
Arc. Kester Ifeadi, President of OFAAC in his welcome address said that ‘the 2012 festival theme, Anioma Unity and Sanctity with Nature could not have come at a better time. As the issue of unity and cohesion among Anioma people cannot be over emphasized. It has become more imperative for all to come together in our quest to a united Anioma’ he declared.Ifeadi, however thanked all and sundry that kept faith with Anioma, he also commended the corporate sponsors for their participation and brand loyalty, the royal monarchs among others. He said ‘your presence today more than anything else demonstrates your love and commitment towards the upliftment of Anioma. I personally wish to commend all the groups and associations that have worked tirelessly in line these objectives’.
Speaking at the event the Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Engr. Victor Ochei said that unity is the only way forward for Anioma and people generally. According to the honourable speaker ‘the yearly event has continued to expand because of the genuine efforts and commitment of members of OFAAC, led by Arc. Kester Ifeadi and the desire of Anioma people to preserve and promote their heritage through the cultural festival’. He however, pledged his support and commitment in line with the objective of the festival.
Notable dignitaries that graced the event include Chief B.S.C Elue, former deputy governor Delta State; Evangelist Hon. Joan O. Mrakpor, member of Delta State House of Assembly; Chief Theodora Giwa Amu and a host of other eminent personalities.
His Royal Majesty, Obi Chukwumalieze Victor, the Obi of Onicha- Ugbo in the opening prayers thanked God for members of OFAAC and the peaceful coexistence among the people. HRM Obi (Prof.) Chike Edozien, the Asagba of Asaba, who played host to over forty six revered monarchs and high chiefs at the event, applauded the great efforts of Arc. Kester Ifeadi and the activities of OFAAC in Anioma land.Apart from the normal glamour that characterized the yearly event, the just concluded Anioma festival will continue to linger in the memories of guests and participants both at home and abroad as the festival seems to have matured into a melting pot of diverse cultural arts and musical genres that come together in a contemporary cultural arena.Special note was an elite Agwuba Royal Dance group of venerated Asaba women led by Chief Mrs. Theodora Giwa Amu former Commissioner of Women Affairs, Delta State. It was a cynosure to behold as the women stepped out in garnished style to the delight of all and sundry. There was also a special performance from the Igbanke Dance Group from Edo State who came to identify with their kith and kin in Anioma land.Subsequently, MTN, the telecommunication giant that identify with the culture of Anioma people was true to its corporate social responsibility as participants were thrilled with lots of excitements. Grand Oaks Nigeria Limited one of the sponsors celebrated the people through what is dear to them as they presented gifts to royal monarchs in Anioma and guests. Brian Munro Ltd., with Campari and B&G brand hosted the royal monarchs and dignitaries to a banquet at the Orchid Hotels, Asaba.
The thrill of 2012 edition of the Anioma festival will remain evergreen in the memory of the people of Anioma, guests and residents of Asaba town, an emerging city seen as the bride of the Niger.
Royal monarchs present at the festival include, HRM Obi (Prof.) Chike Edozien the Asagba of Asaba, H.R.M. Chukwumalieze Victor Obi of Onicha- Ugbo, HRM, Obi (Dr.) David Azuka (JP) – Obi of Akwukwu Igbo, Her Royal Highness, (Dr.) Martha Dunkwu the Omu of Anioma, HRM. Vincent Nmor the Obi of Ugili Amai, HRM. Obi Kikachukwu (J.P) the Obi of Ubulu- Unor, HRM. Ezenwali Ahoma Collins- Obi of Otolokpo, HRM. Obi Gabriel Chukwuma Jikeme the Obi of Utegboje, the Onewu of Okwe, HRM. Emmanuel O. Offor, the Obi of Adonte, HRM. Obi Kenneth Ezegbunam JP Obi of Nsukwa, HRM. Obi Chukwudi Ikedi the Obi of Ukala-Okpuno, HRM. Obi Nwoko Albert, Obi of Idumuje Ugboko, HRM. Obi Gold Ubosiagwuia Obi of Umute, HRM. Obi Ofulukwu III JP, the Obi of Obior, HRM. Obi Godwin Onyenwuwa, the Obi of Ewulu, HRM. Obi Ayo Isinyemeze I, the Obi of Ugbodu, HRM. Obi Stephen C. Osagie, the Obi of Akumazi, HRM. Obi Samuel N. Oliegede III the Obi of Idumogo, HRM. Obi V.A. Nwaokobia IV, Obi of Okpanam, HRM. Obi Ifechukwude, the Obi of Olodu, Chief P. C Eziashi, the Iyase of Onicha –Olona, Chief Stephen Adagbuzia, the Onowu of Okwe, Chief Sunday Ofune, the regent of Ebu, HRM. Obi Francis RSJ, the Obi of Issele-Uku, Prince V. Efeizomor Rep. of HRM. Obi of Owa, Chief Enwenike, Rep. of Ezemu of Emu, HRM Obi Dr. Chukwuka JP, the Obi of Ute-Okpu, HRM Obi of Aba Unor, HRM, Obi Okolie Alfred 1, the Obi of Egbudu-Akah and longest reigning monarch in Africa was also represented by a high chief.
The Overall best performance went to Onu Anioma Owa Alero, followed by Uloko dance group of Ndemili, Aguba Royal Dance group of Ubulu-Unor came third. Meanwhile, Seat of Wisdom, Kwale came first in the primary school category, Ogbe Secondary School also of Kwale came first in the secondary school category. Chukwu ri ma dance group from Agbor was adjudged best in the Egwu-Oshushu category, Otu Ofu Obi of Onicha –Olona came top in War dance category, Agwuba Royal Dance of Ubulu-Unor got the first prize in Royal dance category, Onu Anioma Owa Alero won the first prize in Creative dance category and Ika ri ma of Agbor got the first prize in Masquerade dance category.
By: Godfrey C. OsakweHead Strategist/Public RelationsOrganisation For the Advancement of Anioma Culture [OFAAC]