Like in other parts of Igbo, Ofala festival in Omor town of Ayamelum Local Government Area in the Anambra State of Nigeria is one of the ways of maintaining the heritage of the Igbo.
The festival is also celebrated as a sign of authority and legitimacy bestowed on the Igwe (traditional ruler) in the land to guide the people on the path of truth and wisdom, unity, peace, progress and development especially in the twenty-first Igbo society.
Features of Ofala Festival in Omor Town
The Ofala is organised to run for four market days, Izu (the traditional Igbo week) in Omor. Moreso, the first and second Ofala festival by the Igwe of Omor had also marked the anniversary of accession to the throne by the Igwe of Omor, HRH Igwe Chris Oranu Chidume, Eze Ana-Ukwu, Eze Igulube of Omor Kingdom.
Omor-in-focus is a press conference on critical reviews on the peace, progress, development, achievements and challenges of Omor Town and way forward for sustainability. The Igwe and the cabinet members entertain questions thereafter from the gentlemen of the press.
Conferment Ozo Omor and other Chieftency Title to illustrious sons and daughters of Omor and beyond by the Igwe (Traditional Ruler)
Ozo Omor and other chieftaincy title are conferred to one on merit, both in character, contributions and achievements to the development of the society – Omor. That is why it is not for everyone but to illustrious sons and daughter of Omor and beyond. The conferment of chieftaincy title continues on the Ofala Day, especially to the friends of the town who had contributed meaningfully to the development and progress of Omor town. It is a means of recognition, reward and encouragement to do more, and as well to propel other people to emulate the good character and embrace philanthropism.
Second Day – The Ofala
Ogbagidigidi Omor (Population Exhibition)
Omor is the largest town in Anambra state and the people of Omor recognises the strength in her population and it has been her heritage. This is exhibited on the Ofala Day. This runs concurrently with Iwa Ogbo
Iwa Ogbo (majestic outing of the Igwe and his royal cabinet members)
This is the majestic outing of the Igwe (traditional ruler) and his royal cabinet members. It usually coincides with the Ogbagidigidi, and the symbolism is that the warriors of the town and the youths have come to ask the Igwe if there is any problem in the land that may mar the Ofala and to be surmounted. Igwe addresses the Ogabgidigidi, and at the pronouncement that the land is safe, Igwe asks them to go and prepare and come back for the celebration. The celebration continues.
Address of Welcome by the Igwe (the traditional ruler) to the entire people of Omor, friends and well-wishers of the town who have come to celebrate the Ofala with the Igwe and the people of Omor
The second majestic outing by Igwe
This is another display of royal splendour garnished by dance steps of the Igwe as the custodian of culture and tradition. He is not alone, the royal cabinet members celebrate with him.
The procession of Omor Title Holders
Amidst these are the people of Omor in their groups processing in dance and celebration as a show of peace, unity and progress of the town.
Homages and felicitation by friends and well-wishers of Igwe and the people of Omor
Ikpo Igwe Iru by Ndi Ichie Akakwu and Ndi Nze Omor (Felicitation by the Most Elderly in Each Community)
Ndi Ichie Akakwu is the last in the age-wise ladder in Omor town. Among them are the oldest men in each of the quarters in Omor town, they are closely followed by Ndi Nze, the revered title of the elderly in truth and wisdom for the people of Omor. In this event, the Igwe in his magnanimity celebrates the Ofala to them with money and goodies as a support to their age and care. It ends in praises and prayers by the elderly to the Igwe and the people of Omor for peace, unity and progress.
- Homage by the people of Omor, friends and well-wishers
- Homage by masquerades and other cultural groups
- Thanksgiving in Church
The 2019 Ofala Festival in Omor
Igwe Omor: HRH Igwe Oranu Chris Chidume and the entire people of Omor celebrated the 2019 Ofala festival in grand style. Apart from the successful celebration, there are giant strides recorded in Omor. Below are the highlights
- The expansion of rice mills in Omor that resulted in an increase in rice value chain capacity.
- Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) by the federal government for the proposed irrigation project under the Value Chain Development Programme (VCP) which is supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The IFAD project will facilitate sustainable water supply to large scale farmland In Omor to enhance agricultural productivity, reduce production costs for small scale farmers and support socio-economic development in Omor.
- The ongoing Omor Water Project by the Igwe and members of the Royal Cabinet that awaits 25km distribution to circulate the entire town. This is one of the hopefuls for ndi Omor that is coming to fruition.
- The donation of a set of computer, generator and UPS by HRH Igwe Chris Oranu Chidume to all the primary schools in Omor to boost ICT education in the schools.
- The presentation of Omor Gross Domestic Product (OGDP) in Omor Rennaissance newspaper that yet reconfirmed the willingness of investors in Agric and the banks, notably, Zenith Bank has the approval to open a branch at Omor. It is another hopeful that is coming to fruition with IFAD as mentioned above.
- Omor Rennaissance newspaper (first edition )that remarkably described Omor as the Land of Plenty in People and Productivity that published other special features about Omor town.
- Chieftancy title on Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma(the CEO of Innoson Vehicle manufacturing) Sir Uche Charles Okafor (Hon. Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Wealth Creation and others
- The visits of notable Nigerian figures: Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria, represented by Chris Ngige; Hon. Barr Vincent Ofumelu, member representing Ayamelum/Oyi in the Federal House of Representatives: Rt Hon, Uchenna Okafor, the speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly; His Royal Majesty Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe (Agbogidi), the Obi Onitsha, captains of industries and others