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Ofala Festival: We're Keen On Making Onitsha Great, Flushing Out Touts, Says Soludo


Gov. Soludo (second left), his wife (right) and Obi of Onitsha (second right)

By Chuka Nnabuife 

THE 2023 edition of Ofala Festival of the Obi of Onitsha offered ample opportunity for the governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo to address the menace of thugs in the state's major commercial city, Onitsha.

Speaking during the very spectacular showcase of Onitsha indigenous culture, Gov. Soludo promised to route out touts and thugs in the city and across Anambra State.

A public release by the governor's press secretary, Christian Aburime informed that "Anambra State Governor, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR, has vowed to eradicate the tout menace that has been haunting Onitsha and the state at large."

Congratulating the Onitsha monarch, Obi Onitsha, His Majesty Igwe Nnaemka Achebe (Agbogidi) for celebrating his 22nd Ofala, the governor who attended the festival in the company of his wife, Nonye and family also commended the people of Onitsha for tenaciously upholding their culture.

He noted the crucial role Onitsha area plays in the larger Igbo society, adding that the entire Igbo look up to the city. 

His words: "The greater Onitsha which is Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Ogbaru, Idemili North and Idemili South is Obi ndi Igbo and if Onitsha doesn't move forward, the Igbo race will also, not move forward."

Hence, Anambra State government is keen on the area's development.

Gov. Soludo acknowledging the reception of Onitsha people

"Our emphasis on government is majorly on Onitsha... We have undertaken massive road infrastructural development in Onitsha," the governor disclosed.

He therefore commended the people for ensuring their continued projection of their heritage and treasure such as the yearly Ofala festivity.

He also commended the people for their efforts in developing their land and all they have done that improve their land during the last twelve months, "some independently, some in partnership with the government and the private sector," and added that, under his stewardship in the state, he will always support the people and make the city safe, healthy and prosperous.

"We have reiterated that touts must leave Onitsha. 

We can't continue to condone the frequent harassment of touts at Upper Iweka. We arrest them in hundreds and they keep flooding into the State but we won't relent on the fight against touts until they all leave permanently," he emphasised.

The Obi of Onitsha, while receiving the governor, commended his plans for the city as well as his remarkable record in transforming Anambra.

 The royal father who is the chairman of Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council equally communicated the support of the state's entire royal leadership for Soludo and urged him to continue the good work.

The festival, marked by a large audience of dignitaries comprising the former president-general of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr.

 John Nnia Nwodo, was also attended by leading members the Anambra State Executive Council, comprising the Chief of Staff, Ernest Ezeajughi,  ndi nze na ozo Onitsha (titled men and high chiefs) of the land, corporate firms, celebrities and entertainers among others. 

The festival held at the Palace of Obi Onitsha marked a conspicuous highpoint in Onitsha kingdom's calendar. 

Yearly, the Ofala, a platform for feasting, paying of homage to the monarch and rallying of cultural performances, recounting of events of a calendar year and discourse on the way forward of Onitsha people is hosted by the Obi of Onitsha. 

The event sets the city agog in celebration. This year's feast lived up to the billing with an art exhibition opened in the monarch's very rich art gallery.

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