The advent of Christianity in Africa some centuries ago, dealt a huge blow on the customs and traditions of the black race. Evidences of this abound everywhere in Igbo land in contemporary times. Early missionaries in this part of the World, did everything humanly possible to denigrate the culture of the people, by portraying it in bad light. Through the policy of cultural imperialism, those things that bound the people together and made them proud, were simply given derogatory tags in order to convince the indigenous people to jettison them.

That was how such cultural festivals in Igbo land such as Iwa ji (New Yam Festival) Mmonwu (Masquerades) festival, Otuezenwanyi, Nze na Ozo title etc were blackmailed into near extinction through a propaganda, branding them as fetish. But some Igbo communities have refused, up till date, to throw away their water with the bathtub. One such community where the people still hold firmly to their cultural and traditional heritage is the Obosi Kingdom in Anambra State.

In this community, the popular Ofala or Iwaji (New Yam Festival) are still celebrated with a very high level of fun fare. Whenever the festival comes up, Obosi indigenes, friends and well wishers, troop to Obosi, irrespective of their status in the society. That was exactly what happened yesterday, Saturday 7th October, when His Majesty, Igwe Chidubem Iweka III who became Eze Obosi Kingdom in 2011, celebrated his sixth Ofala Festival.

At the venue of the festival was a mammoth crowd made up of both young and old, rich and poor, royalty and commoners, all to show love and support to the amiable Igwe and his Lolo, as well as the Ndi Ichie, and celebrate their cultural and traditional heritage. There were varieties of activities and highlights of the event that thrilled everyone.

One of such highlights was the walk and entrance of Chief Osita Chidoka where he distinguished himself as he has always done in the past, as a man who is very much at home with the culture and tradition of his people. Clad in a resplendent sparkling white robe, with a huge majestic crown of feathers on his head, a goatskin bag slung over his shoulder, and with his staff of office, he walked through the street of Obosi, deftly dancing to the rhythmic drum beats that trailed behind him.

The show looked like the scene out of Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”, for it had all the pomp and glory of Okonkwo when he threw Amalinze in a wrestling contest. And just like the Umuofia people cheered Okonkwo on, the resounding cheers of the crowd who followed behind Osita Chidoka, chanting “Ike Obosi, Dozie Anambra! Ike Obosi, Dozie Anambra!! reverberated around.

It was a glorious sight! When he entered the venue of the event, to a stranger, it would seem as though he was the Igwe himself. The crowd yielded in admiration for him, cheering his name in their loudest voices. When he stepped out to do the traditional dance, he exuded so much grace and elegance, it was a spectacle to behold. Looking at him, one was convinced that this was a young man in full grips of the cultural values of Igbo land. Observers of Osita Chidoka’s popularity at event were once more reminded of the love Ndi Anambra have for him. In all that excitement, one could see that this outpouring of love transcended Obosi.

It transcended Idemili. This love came from all corners of Anambra State; from good people who believe in the virtues and values Osita Chidoka represents; from people who believe in his abilities to set things right; from people who believe he got the midas touch to transform Anambra State into the model state it should be.

Like Okonkwo acknowledged the excitement of the Umuofia people, so did Osita Chidoka acknowledge the love and support of Ndi Anambra. He understands the huge responsibility that has been placed on him, and he has promised to never let them down.

The Ofala excitement yesterday was only a prelude to the excitement that would come after November 18. Until then, let us give it up for A Man of the People, the next Governor of Anambra State, Chief Osita Chidoka! Ike Obosi!

Long live Nigeria! Long live Ala Igbo!

Long live Anambra State! Long live Obosi!

Long live UPP! Long live Ike Obosi!