By Patrick Ochei
The culture umbrella of Anioma Nation, otherwise known as the Organisation For the Advancement of Anioma Culture (OFAAC), has honoured the Delta State Government with an Award of Excellence, for her support towards the Anioma Cultural Festival.
The Organisation also honoured the Desert Warrior, Chief Newton Jibunoh, the Onu Ika of Nigeria and the Seaman’s Aromatic Schnapps for their numerous supports to the advancement of Anioma Cultural Festival over the years.
In his speech during the OFAAC Award Day, which held at the Orchid Hotel Asaba, on Wednesday 5th July, 2023, the Founder/President of OFAAC, Arc. Kester Ifeadi appreciated the awardees for being pillars of support to the Organisation over the years.
Ifeadi specifically thanked the immediate past Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa for adopting the Anioma Cultural Festival as his own project even before becoming a Senator, thereby doing much more as a Governor.
He also appraised the ingenuity of Chief Jibunoh towards OFAAC as the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Organisation since inception, adding that the octogenarian known as the Desert Warrior has continued to remain a beacon of hope to OFAAC.
For Onu Ika Socio-cultural Organisation, Ifeadi commended its President for sharing in the ideals behind the formation of OFAAC, maintaining that there are more milestones to cover with Onu Ika going forward in OFAAC’s quest towards building a virile legacy of trans-generational cultural identity for Anioma people.
On the aspect of sponsorship, the OFAAC visioneer profoundly appreciated the Grand Oak Company, makers of Seaman’s Aromatic Schnapps for their outstanding support to the Anioma Cultural Festival, especially the unique way it marketed the 18th edition of the Festival this year.
According to Ifeadi, “Today is a special day for all of us in OFAAC. It is very significant, because the journey of OFAAC is a journey of 19 years; which started like a joke. Over 19 years ago, we came together to put an end to Anioma identity crisis, and today, it has paid off through the instrumentality of Anioma Cultural Festival.
“We have had tremendous support over the years from various stakeholders. For this, OFAAC has become a culture umbrella of Anioma people by the support of our traditional rulers and other major stakeholders like Chief Newton Jibunoh as chairman of the Board of Trustees and other members like Late Pa Fortune Ebie, Prof. Pat Utomi, etc., including the immediate past Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
“Today, OFAAC can boast of over 1000 members, including volunteers. The government seeing what we are doing, has chosen OFAAC as a model for other ethnic groups to emulate. The last edition of Anioma Cultural Festival was a huge success and that is why today, we are honouring the winners who participated in the event.
“We are proud to say that OFAAC is a rallying centre for Anioma people. We have a micro credit facility for members, and gladly, they have remitted back over 90% of the fund. There is the health insurance scheme for members too, making it possible for our people to access medical treatments with less or no burdens”, said OFAAC President.
In their separate goodwill messages, Chief Newton Jibunoh, Chairman of Board of Trustees of OFAAC and Mr. Dan Osifo, President, Collective Leadership, Onu Ika commended Ifeadi for birthing a vision for Anioma Cultural Identity and sustaining it in the past two decades.
While Jibunoh narrated the story of how he promoted Anioma and made friends through flaunting of the Akwa Ocha in UK, Mr. Osifo craved for synergy between OFAAC and Onu Ika to grow and produce flute (Akpele), in order to use it to influence the younger generation into cultivating a cultural identity and unity for themselves.
Furthermore, certificates and cheques were presented to the winners of the various categories of prizes from the last edition of Anioma Cultural Festival on Easter Monday, which was the 18th edition.
The first runner up, Okiti Mixed Secondary School, Ubulu-Okiti got a cheque of #200,000, the second runner up, Egwuoma Dance Group of Ibusa, got #300,000, and the overall winner, Seat of Wisdom Secondary School, Kwale got #400,000.
Meanwhile, consolation prizes were also given to the following: Contemporary Dance Group of Ubulu-Okiti, Egwu-Oshushu, Umu Anioma Solidarity Group of Asaba, Anglican Girls Grammar School Asaba, Egwu Amala Dance Group of Isheagu, Aguba Royal Dance of Asaba, Ihuoma Dance Group of Agbor, including the Ogbu-Akpele.
The event which was colourfully organised, was graced by the following personalities, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, who received an award on behalf of Delta State Government, Mrs. Umukoro, the Desert Warrior, Chief Newton Jibunoh, the President of Onu Ika, Mr. Dan Osifo, Seaman’s Sales Rep, Mr. Efe, the Traditional Ruler of Ubulu-Uno, HRM Obi Henry Afamefune Kikachukwu, the Traditional Ruler of Ukala, HRM Obi Clement Ejiofor, the Traditional Ruler of Akumazi, HRM Obi Henry Jegbefume, OFAAC Vice President, Mr. Paddy Ugboh, Zonal chairmen of OFAAC and others too numerous to mention.