Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The traditional ruler of Omor Community in Ayamelum local government area of Anambra State Igwe Dr. Oranu Chris Chidume has said that this year was characterized by many problems and troubles and definitely not a year of effusive celebrations but calls for sober reflection.
Igwe Chidume while speaking after monthly meeting of the Omor Royal Cabinet where a resolution was passed on the conduct of the 2020 Ofala festival to be held in low-keyed in December 11 &12, 2020 considering the current Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world, saying it would be to the best interest of the populace to adhere to the government’s guidelines on Covid-19.
While reflecting further on other events that shaped the year 2020, His Royal Highness pointed out that aside the Covid 19 Pandemic, the year has been fraught with many other challenges which significantly affected the community and the country at large.
“In May, 2020, the Anambra State government waded into the skirmishes between farmers of Omor and Umumbo extractions rising from claims to designated land clusters at Lower Anambra Irrigation Project at Omor. The clusters in contention were E71, E72, E8, E9 and E10. This crisis resulted to loss of lives and wanton destruction of properties. This affected the economic activities of the community.
“The flooding witnessed in different parts of the country affected Omor as an agrarian community with farmlands submerged by the flood.
“The EndSARS movement, which saw protests erupting in different parts of the country distorted economic activities of the country as the government enacted curfew to quell the unrest.
“These events, the monarch maintained, called for sober reflection. “The year definitely is not a year of effusive celebrations but calls for sober reflection” he stated.
“In view of the Covid-19 challenges, the Omor Royal Cabinet, and the Omor Supreme Elders’ Council have resolved that the 2020 Ofala Festival of Igwe Omor will be celebrated in a low-key at Igulube Royal Palace, Omor. This resolution is in response to the extant Anambra State Government’s Covid-19 protocols on hygiene and safety, which among other measures, stipulate a gathering of not more than 30 people”
Accident to the programme of the year’s Ofala Celebration as outlined in a document released by his press secretary Mr. Benedict Alechenu Michael after the meeting includes the basic ceremony of the Ofala, Omor-in-Focus, would be held on the 11th of December, 2020. Only Eze Ana-Ukwu and the members of the Omor Royal Cabinet and Omor Supreme Elders’ Council are expected to participate in the activity.
“12th December, 2020, will be the conferment and induction of qualified individuals into the prestigious Ozo Omor. The recipients of the title are not permitted to come with friends to avoid crowding the location.
“Ndi Ichie Nta, Ndi Ichie Ukwu, Ndi Ichie Aka-akwu, Ndi Nze Omor and other indigenes of Omor town will converge in their quarters; to observe the festival in strict compliance to the Covid-19 guidelines.
“In consideration of the above resolution, which is a departure from the pomp and elegance characteristic of the festival, His Royal Highness’ usual ofala largesse to his subjects will be delivered to them in their respective quarters and not in the palace as is customary during the festival.
“The Ogbagidigidi Omor; a symbolic representation of Igulube (locust) which signifies Omor’s numerical strength and a critical highpoint of the event will not feature in this year’s festival. Also, homages to the Igwe by his subjects, friends and well-wishers will not be observed.
“I therefore appeal to all Omor indigenes both at home and abroad and in various parts of the country and in diaspora as well as our friends and well-wishers, who had wished to be part of this year’s ceremony to bear with us. We hope that subsequent years, the festival will be conducted with all the pomp and pageantry characteristic of Omor Ana-Ukwu” Igwe Chidume stated.