Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra state on Sunday in Ogidi called on Igbo people to sustain and promote their rich cultural heritage.
He spoke at the Ito Aro (retirement ceremony) Ogidi Cultural Festival, held at Ogidi Town Hall. The governor stressed the need for Igbo people to encourage and sustain culture that celebrate people while alive, rather than honour them when they die.
Obiano praised the organisers, especially the traditional ruler for the colourful and orderly nature of the event.
Igwe Alex Oyido, traditional ruler of Ogidi, said the Ito Aro is an age-long traditional observance in Ogidi which had been abandoned for quite long, adding that “Ito Aro is deeply rooted in the age grade system in Igboland.
“Age grade in Ogidi have been very influential and impacted positively on communal discipline, community development and engineered healthy competitive spirit among the youths.”
Chairman Dome Entertainment Centre, Abuja, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, one of the promoters of culture in Ogidi, said the Ito Aro would help foster unity among the people.
Obiora said that one of the inherent gains of the age grade was to checkmate anti social conducts among the youths, asserting that “these days, problem of youths indulging in drug addiction and other anti social life style are on the rise, with the age grade system, members can help correct negative conducts of their age grade”, he said.
Those honoured during the 2019 Ito Aro were 508 octogenarians, drawn from Uru, Ezinkwo, Ikenga and Akanano quarters, the four components parts that make up Ogidi.
Assassins came after me for election money- security aide
Security Adviser to Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River state, Mr. Ani Esin, says assassins that came to his house on March 12 were sent because of alleged election money.
He stated this on Sunday at a thanksgiving service to dedicate his survival in the hands of the assassins to God at the Presbyterian Church in Duke Town, Calabar.
“For today, I just had a thanksgiving service to celebrate God for sparing me and family from an assassination attempt by unknown men. It was a terrible day and that is why I am here to return all glory to God Almighty.
“The only statement I could get was that the assassins were sent to attack me because I took election money. But in truth, I never did in any way. There was no election money given to me, the money that was available was for the general election for Bakassi Local Government Area where I come from and the money was disbursed accordingly.
“While I was in the hospital, I was told that the assassins took my car away and on their way, they had an accident while the security agencies were trailing them,’’ he said.
He said security was everyone’s business, adding that the state government was doing its best to improve security in the state, adding that “with the conclusion of the elections, we hope that things will return to normal because some of the security challenges occurred during the election period .’’
He thanked the police in Calabar that came to his rescue during the ordeal, adding that the state government places premium on security of lives and property of residents, adding that more detailed security framework was being worked out to curb further challenges.
Earlier during the sermon, the officiating minister, Rev. Nseobong Ukpuho, admonished Christian to use the Easter celebration to reconcile their differences with God.
Ukpuho, who read from the book of Joshua: 1-9, advised Christians to imbibe the lessons of the Easter period by exhibiting unity, love and peace.
The service was attended by family and friends, including a former Deputy Governor of Cross River, Mr. Efiok Cobham, Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Austin Agbonlahor amongst others.