Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The council headquarters of Oyi local government area of Anambra state recently witnessed the maiden edition of Oyi Cultural Day Celebration as Ogbunike, Nteje, Umunya, Awkuzu and Nkwele converged on the council secretariat to witness the revival and renewal of its cultural day celebration that was hitherto forlorned and jettisoned for many long years. It was the relentless efforts of the incumbent council chairman Engr Dr. Nnamdi Nwadiogbu that saw the cultural festival to fruition such that the playground at the secretariat complex Nteje could not contain the multitude that came to feast their eyes on various masquerade performances. The traditional institution in Oyi local government area was equally not left out as monarchs of the five communities of Oyi viz Nteje, Nkwele, Awkuzu, Umunya and Ogbunike were all present at the august occasion where the Governor of Anambra state Chief Willie Obiano; the state commissioner for transport Hon. Charles Uche Okafor; Hon. Ekene Enefe, APGA candidate for Oyi/Ayamelum federal constituency as well as a host of other very distinguished personalities of Oyi origin and beyond were conferred with deserving awards of excellent service to humanity in general.
It was a day of pomp and pageantry as various cultural groups from the five component communities showcased esoteric dance steps and traditional folk songs rendered by women clad in traditional make-up attire as well as displayed real essence of the Oyi custom and tradition reminiscent of the true virgin Igbo social milieu. Be that as it may, masqueraders also took turns to entertain the crowd reminding all and sundry of the beauty of the countryside. The maiden edition of the Oyi Cultural Day Celebration was indeed a moment to savour as one would wish the cultural fiesta never ended. Governor Willie Obiano who was found worthy of an award by the people of Oyi local government area was represented on the occasion by the state commissioner for transport who also hails from Oyi, Hon Charles Uche Okafor. The governor who brought felicitations to the good people of Oyi, thanked the people for the honour bestowed on him. The governor also stated that the people of Oyi had been very supportive of his government especially the unflinching loyalty and solidarity they showed him during his re-election bid. He assured them that they would continue to enjoy more dividends of his administration while using the platform of the cultural event to also canvass support for all APGA candidates from Anambra-North zone especially those of Oyi local government area. He noted that they should replicate the support they gave him in 2017 in the forthcoming general elections.
Speaking further, the commissioner for transport, Hon. Charles Uche Okafor expressed deep appreciation for the honour and recognition given to him by the elders of Oyi local government area stressing that the recoginition would increase the tempo of his service to humanity and the people of Oyi in particular. Okafor described his local government of origin as peace-loving and hospitable emphasising that Oyi local government area is a great beneficiary of the Obiano administration.
Meanwhile, a native of Umunya in Oyi local government area who also functions as the State Treasurer of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Hon Tony Chukwuemeka Nwakile described Oyi as being at the centre of the state and most probably the fastest growing local government area in Anambra state. Nwakile noted that farming is the primary occupation of the people of Oyi council area which according to him is the remote reason the area has huge landmass. He also said that the cultural festival was just a replay of the cultural length and background for which Oyi local government area is known for, pointing out that Oyi people have not allowed the whiteman’s culture to supercede and overshadow their own culture in terms of masquerades, dances, language, attire adding that Oyi people are very conscious of their culture and ancestral heritage.
In the realm of infrastructural development, he said that Oyi is growing in the sense that more roads are being constructed; link bridges are being built also. He said that every community in Oyi local government area is electrified. Although he stressed that Oyi was not in the rear in terms of road infrastructure, he however expressed deep concern over the deplorable condition of the portion between Awkuzu and Umunya on the Onitsha-Enugu federal highway saying that it is the worst hit but equally appealed to the powers that be to embark on remedial works on the road as Anambra is the gateway into the southeast and other geo-political zones in the country. For the President-General Ndi-Ichie Ogbunike Ichie Nwanonobi-Nnia , Igbo culture will not become extinct if events like the Oyi Cultural Carnival is sustained. Nwanonobi-Nnia made reference to the fact that the Yoruba, Hausa and some other ethnic groups in the country do not trivialize their custom and tradition but observed that the reverse seemed to be the case with Igbo nation. He therefore posited that concerted effort must be made to protect Igbo culture and heritage from untimely death. The 2018 Oyi Cultural Day Celebration which is the brainchild of the incumbent council chairman Dr. Nnamdi Nwadiogbu served as a reunion as well as veritable means to open a new chapter of cultural renaissance and development in the area.
To this end, Nwadiogbu in his message to the people of Oyi further lent credence to the fact that Oyi people are known for their industry and proficiency in agriculture. Apart from being great farmers, the council chairman also maintained that they don’t relegate their culture and peculiarities to the background; instead they bring them to limelight. The council boss also informed that Oyi local government has enjoyed government presence especially as roads were being constructed while other social amenities were also being instituted by the state government.