From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
This year’s Afia-Olu, the Nnewi, Anambra State version of the new yam festival would remain indelible in the minds of the people of the frontline industrial town, particularly the family of the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, as a novelty football match was played for the first time during the celebration in memory of the late Biafra warlord and illustrious son of the town.
The football tournament, according to the President General of Nzuko Ora Nnewi (Nnewi Town Union), Chief Ugochukwu Udemezue, was facilitated by the former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain and widow of Dim Ojukwu, Iyom Bianca Ojukwu.
He disclosed that the four quarters of Nnewi community – Otolo, Umudim, Uruagu and Nnewi-Ichi – participated in the tournament, which was won by Nnewhi-Ichi after defeating Otolo by 1-0.
“As the first Nnewi Afia-Olu festival being organised by my administration following my victory in the Nnewi town hall election last April, we made it as a point of duty to appreciate a man that laboured relentlessly with his resources at the same time to bring so much joy and pride to Ndigbo. In Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, we had an exemplary leader who will forever linger in our memories,” the Nzuko Ora leader said.
He lauded the noble struggle and heroic sacrifices made by Dim Ojukwu for the emancipation of Ndigbo, and urged the Nnewi community, Anambra State, and Ndigbo in general to strive always to remember exemplary leaders who laboured relentlessly in their service.
Sir Udemezue also noted that Governor Willie Obiano had equally toed the path of the APGA’s supreme leader (Dim Ojukwu) by carrying out populist programmes aimed towards the welfare and betterment of humanity.
He said Anambra people were happy that Governor Obiano had exhibited administrative prowess with the introduction of well-planned welfare scheme and water-tight security network that had attracted foreign investors to the state.
He noted that Anambra was ranked as number one in the delivery of democracy dividends, saying that Nnewi people felt elated to be identified with a pragmatic administration that laid a solid foundation that was already providing elastic opportunities in virtually all facets of human existence despite daunting challenges.
Also speaking, Mrs Bianca Ojukwu, who presented the trophy to Nnewi-Ichi Football Club with a N200,000 cash prize, thanked the organisers of the tournament aimed at honouring her late husband.
She described their action as a show of love and respect for the late Ikemba in recognition of his role in the survival of the Igbo nation.
She enjoined the various agitating groups in Nigeria to shun violent means of exerting pressure on government in an effort to press home their demands.
She noted that while the reasons for the agitations were well known, it was necessary for the good of all Nigerians that the agitating groups not to apply violence, but rather explore legitimate means to put across their needs to the government.
The former Miss Nigeria urged government to look into the reasons that gave rise to the agitations, as well as listen to the agitators with a view to addressing the observed issues.
On the forthcoming Anambra State governorship election, she said it would be rational to rally support for Obiano to complete his second tenure to pave the way for Anambra South Senatorial zone, which is Ikemba’s zone.
The colourful event was attended by dignitaries, including the former governor of Anambra State, Dame Virgy Etiaba while the Nnewi School Football field, venue of the event was filled with excited youths, as well as various cultural groups who came to witness the occasion.