HRH, Igwe Nzeama Chijioke, Ochigbo1 of Asokoro seated in between his Lolos
HRH, Igwe Nzeama Chijioke, Ochigbo1 of Asokoro( Akueluteibe) made his first outing at the 2018 Ofala Festival
“Today is the day I marked out for my Ofala outing and for the launching of Igbo Community Abuja Almanac. We as custodian of Igbo tradition have to make sure we keep the fire on for the next generations.
Asked for his message to his subjects and Igbo living in FCT in general.
He says, ” They should not forget who they are, to live in peace and at coming election, Igbo should make sure they voted for one who have their best intention in mind”.
He concluded by stating that if igbos are able to come out with one and,one voice, surely Igbo man will soon become the leader in FCT.
Though Ofala Festival is not new to the Igbo people living at Asokoro in Amac local council of Abuja and its neighbouring communities, the maiden edition of the cultural fiesta that held on December 16, 2018, remains talk of the town; it was class personified.
From a rigorous months planning period that resulted in an alluring celebration, with eye-catching decorations that got the entire primary school field of the location of the event glittering, Igbo cultural dance’ displays, colourful exhibition of culture and tradition of Igbo people in diaspora, this Igwe Akueluteibe’s first edition festival will definitely go down as one of the memorable.
Generally in Igboland, Ofala Festival occupies a unique place in the annual calendar. Aside from being a day of celebration and merrymaking, it is also a day when sons, daughters and friends of the community would gather to thank God for keeping them alive.
Derived from two Igbo words ofo (authority) and ala (land), the ceremony also serves as rites of renewal of the Igwe, a time for the royal father to give account of his stewardship in the outgoing year in preparation for the New Year.
On the other hand, it is also a day when deserving members of the community and their friends, who have contributed to the development of the community, are specially rewarded with awards and chieftaincy titles.
Though Asokoro belongs to the geographical location of the Amac council which made it susceptible to influence other cultures. What they saw that will make a lasting impact on the host community.
According to Igbo tradition, Ofala celebration is the sole responsibility of the traditional ruler as the custodian of custom, culture and tradition of the people. It epitomises the conceptualisation of generational values, lifestyle history and anthropological origin. The ceremony brings people together and re-unites His Majesty with his subjects and well-wishers, and the peace, love and harmony that radiate during the festival rejuvenates the willingness for development, progress and unity.
But unlike usual ofala editions, the 2018 Igwe Ezeama’s Ofala Festival was special in the sense it doubled with launching of the Igbo Community in Abuja Almanac.
Many prominent Igbo came to support community financially, Personalities like President Ohanaeze 1, Abuja chapter, High Chief Uche Victor Okei, Chief Anayo Arinze, Onowu Ndi-gbo, Lugbe- Chief Anayo Arinze, Chairman Yoruba Council of Oba’s Abuja- Oba Ramon Atanda,
HRH Ezeh Igwe Innocent-Ochigbo1 of Kpeyegi Amac, Abuja, Chief Onyechimereze( Ekwueme Onowu 1 of Kpeyegi, Abuja, HRH Eze Okechukwu Nwokolo (Ochigbo 1 of Kurumi- Ikejimba 1 of Abuja, Chief of Lugbe Kingdom-Suleiman Raziq, Double Chief Haji Camp, Chaiman Okata Dev. Union who respectively donated generously. it was an impressive gathering of guests.
Active financial members of the cabinet were given certificates of recognition.
In other words, it was a double and epic celebration for Asokoro Kingdom, being located at the FCT highbrow zone longest, a bumper package was expected. Indeed, it was a gathering of who is who in Igboland
Chief Ojiunoemeogo speaks after receiving the Igbo Community in Abuja certificate. He expressed his gratitude for being honoured today. Onowu 1 of Asokoro community is a notable philanthropist who have provided shelters for widows from where the name Ojiunoemeogo was derived meaning in igbo language – one who uses built houses as charity endeavour.
In a press interview, High Chief Uche Victor Okei says, ” We are here to celebrate with ICA to close the year, as President of Ohanaeze Abuja branch, am here to support what they are doing and siezing this opportunity to urge igbos wherever they are to keep watch ( Tinye anya na miri, mara ihe na eme ha) Asked for the side of Ohanaeze group stands in choice of political leaning , he replied that as time goes on, it will be made.
In collaboration with that, Chief Anayo Arinze, Onowu Ndi-gbo, Lugbe urged Igbos to make sure wherever they are that they keep igbo culture going and to make sure their children are imparted so, both on igbo tradition and language.
“Our culture will not die. Our language must not die and we have to practice them wherever we are. We have to make sure our children are taught that by teaching them how to speak Igbo language. We need to sustain our culture and tradition for the next generations coming after us”, Onowu said.
Meanwhile, the head of Northern Monarchs, Eze Igbo 1, Chief Dr. Eze Ibe Nwosu , who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event and who coronated IHRH, Igwe Nzeama Chijioke, Ochigbo1 of Asokoro to the throne was there to add honour to the event.
As early as 2pm, all roads led to the event close to the palace, with guests trickling into the Ofala ground in their beautiful outfits and uniforms, while traditional dance troupes and live band entertained guests.
However, the arena came alive when Igwe, Akueluteibe dressed in his full ceremonial regalia, rolled into the arena in company of his two wives, with the traditional Igba Eze providing beats. Also on the procession were members of the igwe’s inner cabinet and traditional chiefs dressed in colourful regalia.
CLUTCHING the Ofo (the sacred symbol of truth, justice, law and authority) in his left hand, chanting of ‘Igweeeeeeee’ rented the air, as the flamboyant king and hotel mogul made his way into the arena for his first outing. In fact, the security men had their hands full, as they battled to control the obviously excited crowd that struggled to catch a glimpse of the philanthropist, who has played a vital role in the growth and development of the community.
As soon as the procession got to the venue stand, His Majesty spent a few minutes dancing to the music as tradition demands, before seating back to the made shift throne.
He waved his traditonal fan as he acknowledged cheers from his subjects and visitors.
After the breaking of kola nuts, traditional music rented the air, as different prominent guests took to the arena to pay homage to the king.
“I can’t really explain it,” Igwe Akueluteibe said excitedly.
“It’s something I never expected to happen eventually the way it’s happening today. I think I’m very happy with it; I’m very proud about it.”
Pamela Ogwata National Enquirer reporter was there.