ASABA/Nigeria: The Delta State Government had stated that they are committed to partner with communities that their activities to enhance peace and development in the state.
The Governor of Delta State, Sen Ifeanyi Okowa the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, sir Lawrence Ejiofor disclosed this during 2019 Iwu Festival of the Ogbeowele people of Ibuza.
The commissioner saluted the courage of the elders and people of Ogbeowele for their ability in making the Iwu Festival all encompassing, stating that his decision to attend the event was as a result of the passion, commitment and zeal demonstrated when the elders paid him a courtesy visit and their being able to properly articulate their purpose and desire for the presence of the government.
He expressed delight at being able to witness the festival, stating that over time, the festival has become an avenue for communal reunion, exchange of gifts, a re-enactment of their history and remembrance of the bravery of their fore fathers, their honesty and culture of hard work.
Sir Ejiofor used the occasion to encourage the community to shun bitterness and violence but show love to one another, stressing that it takes love to experience communal orderliness and progress.
He wished the people of Ogbeowele peace and a happy celebration on the occasion of their Iwu Festival which he termed their traditional Christmas.
Also speaking, the member representing Delta North at the National House of Assembly, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who was present at the event, stated that the festival was to usher in a new year of prosperity in an atmosphere of Thanksgiving.
Senator Nwaboshi stated that there are plans for the posterity of the festival as he observed that several Illustrious sons were present including a retired three star general, the directors of MTN and International Breweries, a former Managing Director of Afrik Bank, among others, sitting in the arena as part of the attempt to bequeath the tradition to the young ones who were also allowed to participate in the event.
Earlier, the Owele of of Ibusa, Sebastian Nmaduaburochukwu Adigwe, said that Iwu Ibuza is an 18th Century Cultural festival bequeathed to the Ogbeowele community by their ancestors and by extension, the Ibuza kingdom in general.
Disclosing the significance of the Iwu festival, Chief Adigwe said that it is a festival of peace, thanksgiving and blessings, even as he stated that the peace element of the festival is exemplified by the four days of silence preceding the Iwu whereby quarrelling, fighting, and noise pollution are forbidden.
“These are periods of unconditional forgiveness and reconciliation, thanksgiving to God for safely ending the year and also giving bountiful harvests in the last farming season and a period to receive ancestral blessings for the coming year” Chief Adigwe stated.
The Owele of Ibuza went on to state that this year’s event is special because the community has elevated it from its primitive underlying structure to a higher level of national and international modernity without compromising its original cultural protocols, thus accounting for the renewed interest of the indigenes participation, improved branding, publicity coverage and general ambience.
He expressed the community’s gratitude to the State Government for endorsing the festival and the unalloyed support of the Ministry of culture and Tourism, as well as the corporate sponsors; International Breweries Plc and MTN.
The Owele also thanked Ditto for British Broadcasting Corporation, Delta Broadcasting Service and The Pointer for their publicity as he also acknowledged the contributions of all illustrious sons of the community.
His royal Eminence, the 12th Ikwele of Ibuza and spiritual power house of the community, Chief Celestine Okafor stated that as a result of the festival, the community would henceforth experience peace and progress as all evil has been warded off.
The Owele’s call the friends and guests present to reach out to the “Okwa oji” take a piece of Nzu (White chalk) or white powder to rub in their palms and on their forehead to receive bountiful blessings for the year 2020.
The high light of the ceremony was dance presentations by members of the Art Council and various sects of the indigenes of the community.
On behalf of the Diokpa of Ogbeowele, Onowu Paul Mordi, the Chairman of Ogbeowele Executive Committee, Chief Celestine Okobi, and the entire indigenes at home and in Diaspora, welcomed all present at the Iwu Ukwu Ogbeowele festival of 2019.
Present at the festival were, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, the Permanent Secretary Culture and Tourism, Mrs Angalaere Umukoro-Prest, the Chairman International Breweries (makers of Hero), Mr Michael Onochie Ajukwu, the Director Culture, Mr Friday Anaziah and several other dignitaries.