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Thousands grace Igbere maiden culture carnival


Although former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, had told journalists that the maiden edition of Igbere, his community’s cultural carnival held over the weekend at his Camp Neya Carnival village would be a community affair, thousands of people from outside Igbere still graced it.

Some of those who came included the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, represented by Bennie Morning, Senator’s Chris Adighije, Nkechi Nwaogu, ex-Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu, Commander, Nigerian Army 14 Brigade, Ohafia, Brigadier-General A.K. Ibrahim, former Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Martins Azubuike, APC Chieftain, Chief Sam Nkire, Provost of Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu, Prof. Mgbada, among others.

Mohammed harped on the imperative of Nigerians harnessing their culture to earn revenue and commended Igbere community for inventing the culture carnival.

Kalu said the carnival, which was sponsored by Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation (OUKF), had the mission to “create a platform for the promotion and celebration of Igbere cultural heritage in a carnival atmosphere, as a way of enhancing the tourism potential of Igbere clan.”

Chairman of the carnival which had as theme ‘Celebrating our Heritage,’ Ezeogo Jones Udeogu, said in line with the objectives of OUKF, the carnival would serve as platform to educate the people on the values and relevance of culture and enhance their wellbeing through education, self-respect, loyalty to authority, family values, hard work and perseverance among others.

According to him, “Today, we are gathered here to re-invent the cultural heritage of Igbere, an amalgam of 13 villages/clans of a single ancestry. Each of these 13 communities has cultures that help them maintain law and order among them.”

The carnival featured 20 dancing groups in completion, drawn from the community and adorned in resplendent, traditional attires.

While declaring the carnival open, Kalu said it would henceforth be a yearly event that would, by next year, begin to earn the community some income and afford them the opportunity to enjoy and socialise. He added that the carnival was also Igbere’s response to President Muhammadu Buhari’s charge to communities and states to look inwards and use culture to diversify the economy and earn revenue. Kalu indicated that subsequent carnivals would be enlarged in scope to position the state and Igbere community to earn revenue.

To boost participation and make the carnival more attractive, the former governor also announced that he would sponsor two-time winners at the carnival to Brazil’s yearly carnival next year. He commended Igbere traditional rulers and leaders for allowing the carnival to hold without hitches.

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