Gloria Ikegbule and Maduabuchi Kalu
Once every four years, Lagos-based indigenes of Awo Idemili clan, an Imo community, usually stage a cultural extravaganza in Lagos. The people who come under the umbrella of Awo Idemili Clan Welfare Union, Lagos, gather simply to reinvent their culture and give their younger ones, guests and many living in the city something spectacular to watch and remember.
The recent edition of Awo Idemili Cultural Day/Carnival surpassed tradition. The event, which held on Sunday, November 17 in Egbe, Lagos, was a grand one. It was graced by hundreds of indigenes of Awo Idemili in Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State and their friends from all walks of life. They gathered to celebrate and showcase their rich cultural heritage.
It was an occasion that left many enthralled, featuring breath-taking performances of several cultural dance groups and countless exotic masquerades, including the revered ‘Oti Aba’ masquerade that ceaselessly mesmerised the crowd. It was one huge carnival whose type many have not seen in years
The crowd simply shut down the area, as residents of Egbe community joined in the celebration. Everyone wanted to give themselves a treat. And they got more than enough.
The activities of the day started with prayers and the breaking of kola nuts in line with the Igbo custom. In no time, the host arena, which serves as Awo Idemili Clan Welfare Union Town Hall, began overflowing with a large crowd which poured into the area resulting in a lockdown of adjoining streets.
The occasion also featured fund raising for the clan; it was used to accord recognition to some people who were adjudged to be deserving of various awards.
In his opening remarks, the President- General of the Awo Idemili Clan Welfare Union, Lagos, Chief Casmir N. Emenihe, gave a brief history of Awo Idemili community. He told the audience that there are many towns and communities in Igbo land that either have Awo as prefix or suffix to their names. He further stated that there are 13 towns that make up the clan. And indeed, each one of them was eminently present. They were all gathered under different canopies, their members – men, women and the youths – appearing in dazzling uniforms.
One of the sons of the clan who addressed the people on the occasion was Chief Ekene F. Nnodumele, the member representing Orsu State Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly. He also doubles as the Minority Leader of the State Assembly. He expressed gratitude to the people for the honour bestowed on him and expressed surprise at the crowd that graced the event.
He expressed happiness that Awo Idemili had such numbers in Lagos but was unhappy that they don’t visit home regularly. He, therefore, charged them to start thinking home, maintaining that with such numbers, he was sure that Awo Idemili could win any election in Orsu Local Government Area.
Nnodumele reminded his people about the vacant positions to be vied for beginning at the local government level and advised that they should start thinking home to enable the clan take its rightful place in the scheme of things in politics.
During the award ceremony segment, Nnodumele was recognised and bestowed with an award of excellence. Also recognised was Chief Emeka Okonkwo, who was conferred with a chieftaincy title of ‘Eziafa ka Ego I’ of Awo Idemili. Both men made some handsome donations to the clan.
The clan also rewarded excellence by rewarding Master Ekene Franklin Ezeunala, who scored the highest mark of 347 marks in this year’s university matriculation examination conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB.)
Other recipients of awards of excellence were Nze Patrick A. Onwuamaizu, Prof. Mrs., Pauline Ihuoma Asiabaka, Chief Mrs. Chinyere Tina, Ekwueme Adike, Prince Innocent Okoligwe, Chief Sunday Ozoemena (Soko-Soko), Prince Raymond Okoligwe, Chief Sunday Ezebuala (Ability Nwaeze), Chief Cyriacus Igbozurike and Chief Emma C. Uba.
In the merit award category for community service were Chief Sunday Ozoemena and Chief Hyginus Nwajuo, Others were Mr Obiora Ozodinobi, Evang. Mrs., Basilia Enweribe, Nze Sabastine Onyedikwa, Chief Ignatius Ekwomadu, late Simon Nlemeorisa, late Francis Okafor, Chief Mike Agbasiere, Awo-Idemili Football Association through Chief Martin Muoghara and Navy Lt. Obinna Okani.
As a part of the occasion, there was a raffle draw. The top prize of Bajaj Motorcycle was won by Mr. Chibueze Onyedum of Ubahaeze-Awo town while Isieke town women wing smiled home with the second prize – a refrigerator. The third prize – a power generating set was won by Emeka Nnaekezie of Obibi town. There were various consolation prizes that were won on the occasion.
In his speech at the event, Vice President of Awo Idemili Clan Welfare Union, Prince Ignatius C Ngordi (Anaetinyu Oku) expressed satisfaction with the success of the occasion.
He thanked the indigenes, invited guests and the host community for assisting the organisers to make the occasion a success.