Foremost corporate supporter of arts and culture in Nigeria, Globacom, has signed a fresh Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with the palace of the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe to bankroll the Ofala Festival for three more years.At the MOU signing ceremony on Wednesday at the Ime Obi Onitsha, the company said it had derived benefits from the partnership with the Palace and the people of Anambra State in general through its sponsorship of the festival since 2011.
The recent signing of the MOU which is the third of such on Ofala Festival coincided with the celebration of the Umatu Festival, which is the beginning of the main Ofala Festival. During the Umatu ceremony, the Obi carried out traditional rites to signal the end of the planting and starvation season and the kick off of a period of plenitude occasioned by harvest of new crops.
Traditionally, the monarch will formally inform his subjects that the harvest season has commenced by serving fresh cornmeal known locally as Nni Oka. This is subsequently replicated by his chiefs in their respective homestead. The Obi is compelled to proceed into seclusion after this pre-ofala ceremony.
The Ogene Onira of Onitsha, Chief (Prof) Ngozi E. Okafor and Mr. Mike Ehumadu, Globacom’s National Sales Coordinator, South East, signed the memorandum on behalf of Onitsha kingdom and Globacom respectively while palace chiefs and other dignitaries witnessed the ceremony.
Prof. Okafor on behalf of the Obi paid tribute to Globacom for its commitment to the advancement of the festival and eulogised the Chairman of Globacom, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr. for his efforts at promoting the cultural values and beliefs of Nigerians.
As a way to pay back for Globacom’s gesture towards the people of Onitsha, and Anambra in general, he appealed to Onitsha sons and daughters and the entire people of Anambra State to subscribe to the network’s voice and data offerings.Globacom said it renewed the sponsorship of the Festival to demonstrate the company’s abiding faith in the promotion of the culture, customs and traditions of the Nigerian people.”This is the third in the series of MOUs we are signing with the Onitsha people. Today’s event is very unique, not only because it coincides with the flag off of Umatu Festival, but in the sense that over the last six years, our revered monarch, the Obi of Onitsha, has given us uncommon support and we are eternally indebted to him and the good people of Onitsha, and Anambra for this’, the company reiterated.
Ehumadu who represented the company said Globacom would accord international impetus to the festival, as it had done over the years, and make Onitsha Ofala one of the very best among other festivals in the Black African race.
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