By Ononye VC
In what appears a collaborative effort to add more value to the age-long annual Ofala festival of Onitsha-Ado ancient kingdom,preparation for this year’s festival is loaded with new initiatives as the Catholic Church is playing an important role towards heralding the festival scheduled for October 14th and 15th this year.
While briefing journalists on the arrangements being made to make the Ofala successful during the week,the Chairman of the Marketing and Communications Sub-committee and also a member of the Ofala Steering Committee,Mr Nnaemeka Maduegbuna,disclosed that the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti diocese,most Rev Felix Ajakaye,will deliver a maiden lecture titled,”Traditional Institutions,Public Relations and Good Governance in contemporary Nigeria”.
The lecture among other attractions, which is scheduled to hold at the Education Trust Fund Hall (ETF)Hall,Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Igbariam campus on Thursday,October 12, 2023,will attract dignitaries from far and wide.
Giving further insights into the preparations for Ofala 2023,Mr Maduegbuna said the Ofala is not only the high point of the Onitsha ceremonial cycle but that the Obi of Onitsha,His Majesty,Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, is the celebrant of the spectacle which is rooted in deep spirituality.
He stated further that the Ofala festival is an ocassion for the monarch to fulfill certain obligations to himself and his subjects and of the monarch’s annual emergence from seclusion,having successfully negotiated the future of the kingdom.
According to him,the festival is also a re-enactment of the joy,which the monarch shared with his subjects at the discovery that Yam is a non-toxic and a valuable source of food.
Maduegbuna pointed out that the annual Ofala has grown steadily over the years in terms of it’s scope,social glamour,and intrinsic meaning for Onitsha indigenes such that an international art exhibition,a youth carnival,a marathon and a post Ofala banquet have enhanced the content and attractiveness of the festival.
Representatives of the official sponsors of the Ofala festival notably Globacom Limited and International Breweries PLC,Mr Augustus Nduafor(Globacom)and Oliseh Rufus(International Breweries)who came with their team, expressed the preparedness of their organisations to make this year’s Ofala festival successful through their support which expectedly, will create jobs for the youths within Onitsha community.
A thanksgiving mass which is scheduled to hold at St Jude Catholic Church,Fegge,Onitsha on Sunday,October,2023 will round off the Ofala festival after 11am mass.