By Patrick Ochei
The stage is now set for the 16th edition of the Anioma Cultural Festival, organised yearly by the Organization For the Advancement of Anioma Culture (OFAAC), which is billed to hold on Easter Monday at the Oshimili South Arcade in Asaba, Delta State.
On April 22, 2019, Asaba, the central venue for the Festival will be agog again with cultural activities that showcase our essence and identity as the unique people of Anioma nation.
It is pertinent to state that the Kester Ifeadi led team of culture ambassadors, have over the past 16 years kept faith with this cultural project that has given the Anioma people a unique identity locally and internationally.
Ahead of the Festival, the Organisation had as usual consulted widely, every stakeholder in the Anioma project on how best to showcase our culture and celebrate our own. The traditional rulers, political leaders, culture promoters, Anioma Associations at home and in the diaspora, friends and groups across other senatorial districts have been galvanized to participate in this year’s event towards the tourism benefit of the State.
One unique thing about this year’s edition is that it affords the platform to celebrate our dear illustrious son and Governor of Delta State, who has made us proud by winning back his Governorship seat against all odds. The celebration of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, an Anioma born two-term Governor of Delta State will act as a boost to the cultural festival.
However, OFAAC as a body must do all within its core mandate to ensure it continues to engage the Anioma people to truly personify our identity, which is the essence of our existence. These must be seen in our attitudes and behaviours, our language, our unique attire (Akwa Ocha), our food and every other attribute that distinguishes a typical Anioma man or woman from other ethnic groups.
With a definite emphasis on this analogy, the Organisation For the Advancement of Anioma Culture (OFAAC), which I believe and know as the umbrella body of Anioma Culture, must do everything within its confines to inculcate these our attributive cultural norms in our people, to save our culture from drifting into extinction.
It is said that charity begins at home. The OFAAC as our umbrella cultural organization and her body of ambassadors must show example that others must follow. This is especially in the areas of our dressing, which is dressing in our “Akwa Ocha” as a typical Anioma man or woman.
Again, it is about our language. Though we note the slight variations in our local dialects with regards to Aniocha/Oshimili people, the Ika people and the Ndokwa people. However, we still understand ourselves and should do everything possible to harmonize our Anioma language when we gather as a people. As such, let our official language during the Festival and at any Anioma forum be in Anioma dialects.
Our youths are fast behaving like people from other sides. We must recall them to reality. Anioma means good land and it is about that. We are a peaceful people; loving, hospitable, accommodating and intellectually focused.
In a nutshell, we hope to see colour, glamour and unique cultural difference in the 16th Anioma Cultural Festival from others in the past. We urge our people to embrace this cultural uniqueness by coming out to identify with the Anioma Cultural Festival as a platform of bondness, reunion, learning and aspiring for way forward for Anioma.