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Obi of Onitsha celebrates 22nd Ofala festival amidst fanfare

The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, on Saturday marked his 22nd coronation anniversary with a display of the rich cultural heritage of Onitsha, the commercial capital of Anambra.

Achebe is the chairman, Southeast Traditional Rulers Council, and the leader of Joint Body of Southeast Council of Traditional Rulers and Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops on Peace and Reconciliation (Joint Body).

Achebe led a colourful Royal Dance in company of his Obi-in-Council to declare the Ofala festival open at the Ime-Obi palace, the seat of the traditional stool of Onitsha.

The Odu titled women group, elegantly dressed in all white headgear, wrapper and footwear, also took the centre stage to welcome the mammoth guests.

In his address at the colourful event, Igwe Achebe raised concerns about the security situation in the Southeast geo-political zone with its attendant negative socio-economic impact on the people.

He said the Sit-At-Home protest had brought incalculable losses to Igbo people, adding that the entire five states in the zone all have tales of woes since the ill conceived policy by non state actors.

“Following eight years of the previous administration, the early economic measures by the new administration, the unilateral removal of the fuel subsidy without a back-up strategy are seriously deepening the hardship in the country, particularly at the lower rungs of the society.

“In effect, the country is at a dangerous crossroads politically, economically, socially, and security-wise.

“In the Southeast, we have the aftermath of the last general elections; the complex and protracted security situation involving kidnappers, political thugs, state and non-state actors, masquerading as unknown gunmen,” he said.

Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra and some other notable traditional rulers from across the state and other dignitaries were at the festival, sponsored by the Nigerian telecommunications giant, Globacom, and Hero Beer.

In his goodwill message, Gov. Soludo congratulated Igwe Achebe on his 22nd anniversary and the contributions of Onitsha people in the development of the state.

He reiterated his commitment to the development of greater Onitsha city which comprised Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Idemili North, Ogbaru and Oyi Local Government Areas.

He called on the people of the area to help his government to rid the state and Onitsha in particular of the menace of touts.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that various chiefs-in-council at the event danced to pay obeisance to the Obi.

Other dignitaries at the event include Former Gov. Peter Obi, a representative of Gov. Peter Mba of Enugu and officials of Glo Nigeria Ltd., among others. (NAN)

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Written by Tom Chiahemen

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