It was a grand occasion that celebrated the rich cultural heritage of the Igbo race as the ancient Kingdom of Awka held its 2021 Biennial Egwu-Uzu festival.
The cultural festival of Egwu Uzu otherwise known in some other Igbo climes as Ofala, was performed at the Awka Civic centre, by the traditional ruler of the town, Obi Gibson Nwosu.
The ceremony tagged “Ifve ejj malu Awka” which marks the 11th Biennial Egwu-Uzu celebrated by Obi Nwosu, also marks his 23rd year on the throne as king of Awka Kingdom.
The event featured conferment of Chieftaincy titles on some deserving individuals including the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who received the title of Onyili Ngugba and a Media practitioner, Mr Abuchi Nwozor, who was recognized with a meritorious community service Award for his selfless service to
Others who were honoured at the event included the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA, Dr Victor Oye, member representing Anambra Central in the National Assembly, Senator Uche Ekwunife, former Anambra Police Commissioner, AIG Garuba Umar, former Imo State Governor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, a commissioner with the Federal character Commission, Mrs Ginika Tor, Member representing Njikoka Two-State Constituency, Dr Pete Ibida, among others.
It also attracted dignitaries from within and outside Anambra and side attractions such as cultural and masquerade displays and performances by Awka Blacksmiths.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Traditional Ruler of Awka Community, Obi Nwosu called for the establishment of a blacksmithing village in the southeastern region, explaining that the call has become necessary to ensure that blacksmithing which the people of Awka Community are known for, does not go into oblivion.
Obi Nwosu who narrated how blacksmithing had taken the people of Awka Community to various parts of the world, disclosed that the gate at the Buckingham palace of Queen Elizabeth in England was constructed by Chief John Uzoka from Umuogbu village Awka
“The establishment of the Blacksmithing village in Awka, South-East Nigeria will ensure the sustenance of Blacksmithing culture in the Igbo Nation,” he said.
The Awka paramount ruler used the opportunity to commend the Anambra State Government for its developmental efforts in Awka especially the Awka city stadium, Anambra International Convention centre in Awka among others which he noted has changed the face of the community.
He also used the forum to call on the Federal Government to map out more policies that will improve the living standards of the people.
Speaking during the event, the Archbishop Ecclesiastical province of the Niger and Anglican Bishop of Awka Diocese, the Most Reverend Alexander Ibezim who said that culture is the people’s way of life, called on traditional rulers to abolish all culture that negates human existence.
Most Reverend Ibezim who during the event prayed for the permanent return of peace in Awka Community, charged the people of Awka to continue with their support to Obi Gibson Nwosu for more robust development in the Area.
The Chairman of the 2021 Egwu Uzu festival and Director, Emeka Anyaoku Institute of International Studies and Diplomacy, Professor Austin Nkemdilm Nnonyelu who described Awka as a blessed community, called on the people to come and invest in the community which have a conducive environment for investment.
He made it clear that Awka remains one united family under the leadership of Obi Nwosu, noting that any other person parading himself as the King of the town is an impostor.
“This impunity must stop.
“There is no vacancy in the leadership seat of our town as Obi Nwosu, the Eze-Uzu the second is still very much alive and on the throne.
“The massive success of the Egwu-Uzu of this year, bears eloquent testimony to the fact that Awka people are in total sync with Eze-Uzu the second,” he said.
In their responses, Labour and Employment Minister, Senator Ngige and the Member representing Njikoka
Two Constituencies in the State House of Assembly, Sir Pete Ibida thanked the Awka Monarch for the honour bestowed on them and promised to continue to work for the betterment of humanity.
They commended the rich cultural heritage of Awka kingdom, urging Ndigbo to always be very proud of their identity.