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Ovala festival: Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu to receive chieftaincy title

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By Sandra Nnaemeka

The Igwe-in-Council, Ndi ichie and Elders of the ancient Aguleri Kingdom have commenced processes for the prestigious Ovala festival on Jan. 6 2018.

The Ovala festival is believed to have started in the beginning of last century. It was first celebrated by Eze Nwanne Idigo in 1901 to mark his kingship over Aguleri and surrounding vassal communities.

The origin however dates back to the life and times of Onyekomelu Idigo, the natural leader and ruler of Aguleri people and the founder of Idigo dynasty.

Idigo in his lifetime was an enigma. In his childhood, he was known for his outstanding intelligence and courage. In the middle of his life, he was known to be a very powerful and influential dibia and priest.

He later became ‘the priest of the great Aro a deity that drives off the old year and announces the beginning of the new year’ (Idigo, MCM. Aguleri: History and Culture, p. 48).

Well, one of the activities slated for this year’s festival is conferment of chieftaincy title on wife of the late Biafra warlord- Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.

Elated Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu, took to social media to announce the plans.

“The Igwe-in-Council, Ndi ichie and Elders of the ancient Aguleri Kingdom have communicated an intention to honour me with a chieftaincy title during its prestigious Ovala festival on Jan. 6 2018.

“I paid a courtesy call on the revered Eze Aguleri His Royal Highness, Eze Christopher Idigo (Ogalagidi IV)and his Ocheze with a delegation of respected Nnewi personalities It was a memorable visit and we were enriched with pearls of wisdom that were dropped by the highly cerebral Eze during the Kola breaking ceremony.

“The ancient palace is already looking resplendent in preparation for the festival!”

The Lady Bianca

Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu was married to the Ikemba until his death in 2011; the couple had three children together.

Bianca Odumegwu- Ojukwu holds many traditional titles in her native land as well as the highest chieftaincy title conferred on women in her region. Of her marriage, she admits that while she was happy to be married to him, she would not encourage her daughter to marry the same way

Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu (born Bianca Odinaka Olivia Onoh, 5 August 1968) is a Nigerian businesswoman, politician, diplomat, and lawyer and multiple pageant titleholder. A winner of the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria Pageant, She was also Miss Africa and is best known as the first African to win Miss Intercontinental. Formerly Nigeria’s Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Affairs and the country’s ambassador to Ghana and Spain, she is now Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

After graduating from Law School, Odumegwu-Ojukwu briefly practised the profession before quitting, and dividing her time between her home, her cosmetics business Bianca Blend and her interior decorating outfit Mirabella.

Although she had stated in interviews her disdain for modelling in the past, Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu has fronted an advertising campaign for Bianca Blend. She also established the non-government organisation Hope House Trust, centred towards rehabilitating juvenile offenders in Enugu.

In 2011, she was appointed Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs by president Goodluck Jonathan, and in 2012 she was named Nigeria’s ambassador to Spain. Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu was honored with the Certificate of Merit by El Mundo Diplomatico, Spain for her efforts towards providing effective platforms for constructive engagement between Nigeria and Spain, and was voted Africa’s Outstanding Ambassador by The Voice Magazine, Netherlands in 2014.

She was also honored with the “Ambassador of Excellence” Award by the Government of Anambra State, Nigeria at its Silver Jubilee commemoration in 2016.

She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, the Political Party that was founded by her late husband Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and which has maintained political power in Anambra State for over a decade.

GrassRoots.ng is on a critical mission; to objectively and honestly represent the voice of ‘grassrooters’ in International, Federal, State and Local Government fora; heralding the achievements of political and other leaders and investors alike, without discrimination. This daily, digital news publication platform serves as the leading source of up-to-date information on how people and events reflect on the global community. The pragmatic articles reflect on the life of the community people, covering news/current affairs, business, technology, culture and fashion, entertainment, sports, State, National and International issues that directly impact the locals.

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ADUN Lagos to Celebrate Rich Cultural Heritage, Tradition @ 12th biannual Awka Day 2024

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ADUN Lagos
Chief Francis Sequence Anagor, chairman of Awka Day 2024 Planning Committee

Awka Development Union, Nigeria, (ADUN,) Lagos State chapter, the umbrella body of indigenes of the community in Lagos has outlined series of events to celebrate the rich cultural heritage and traditions of Awka town at its 12th biannual Awka Day celebration.

The events lined for this year’s celebrations are weaved together with tradition, regality, and opulence.

Chief Francis Sequence Anagor, chairman of Awka Day 2024 Planning Committee, said that the weeklong event will feature youth day; couples’ night; and empowerment day for indigents of the community.

According to Anagor, the event will culminate on Sunday, November 23 with marchpast by all the villages as well as awards to some deserving members of the community.

“Importantly, there will be live display of our blacksmithing craft. Like you are aware, blacksmithing products of Awka of different shapes adorn homes, offices and museums across the world especially in British and American museums. All of these tell the story of the Awka man as the originator of blacksmithing trade across the world” Anagor added.

He said that “The event is very important to us because it brings together seven Igbo groups sharing common blood lineage divided into two sections. Ifite Section, the senior section, comprises four groups, Ayom-na-Okpala, Nkwelle, Amachalla, and Ifite-Oka followed by Ezinator section, which consists of three groups, Amikwo, Ezi-Oka and Agulu. Each of these groups has a number of villages. All together, Awka comprises 33 villages.” Anagor added.

He said that ADUN Lagos has been an agency through which innovations and development purposes are achieved for the community.

As agent of social change, ADUN Lagos has demonstrated that, through collective action, it can improve on their material conditions of existence, mobilise against the out-group, and defend a common cause.

Awka is the capital of Anambra State and the region in ancient times was the site of the Nri Civilization that produced the earliest documented bronze works in Sub-Saharan Africa around 800 AD.

Prior to the 20th century, Awka was famous for metal working. 

Its blacksmiths were prized throughout the region for making farming implements, weapons and tools.

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Samsung Nigeria Visits Nike Okundaye, Busan Goodwill Ambassador, on the 56th Anniversary of Nike Arts Gallery

…Continues drive towards 2030 BUSAN Expo, writes SANDRA ANI

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Samsung at Nike Art Gallery
L-r: Charlie Lee, Managing Director, Samsung Nigeria and Nike Okundaye, Busan Goodwill Ambassador, on the occasion of the 56th anniversary of the Nike Art Gallery.

Samsung is promoting the Korean city of Busan as the host for World Expo 2030 with every opportunity it gets, and one such opportunity is the recent courtesy call on the Busan Goodwill Ambassador, Nike Okundaye on the 56th anniversary of the Nike Art Gallery.

As part of the Korea Republic’s efforts at securing the hosting right for the 2030 Busan World Expo scheduled for May 1 to October 31, 2030, the country, through its embassy in Nigeria, on Wednesday, August 10, 2022, unveiled the renowned Nigerian artist and curator, Nike Okundaye, as its Goodwill Ambassador.

Samsung’s delegation who were at the glamorous Nike Art Gallery, Lekki, Lagos, further promoted South Korea’s candidacy bid with a view to making Busan World Expo 2023, a dream come true for the country.

World Expo is a fair that takes place only every five years, with its location changing every time. The next Expo is set to take place in 2025 in Japan, but the location for Expo 2030 has yet to be decided, which is why Samsung is doing its best to vote in the Korean city of Busan.

The Republic of Korea, in 2021, submitted a letter of candidature to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) to organize World Expo 2030 in the city of Busan with the theme: “Transforming our World, Navigating Toward a Better Future”. The voting for the 2030 World Expo site selection is scheduled for this November 2023.

Busan, a prominent port city, has an enviable history of holding mega global events such as the Asian Games and APEC Summit, which it hosted in 2002 and 2005 respectively.

Busan also serves as a notable transportation and logistics hub and a connecting passageway from the Eurasian continent to the Asia-Pacific via its airports, high-speed railways, top edged ports and other infrastructure. As the cultural nexus of the region, Busan is reputed to be a popular city of cultural festivals, arts and film.

It has successfully hosted many events such as the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), Busan Fireworks Festival, One Asia Festival and a global K-Culture Pop Music Festival.

The municipality has also played host to memorable conferences like the 2011 Busan World Development Institute General Assembly, 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, 2014 &2019 ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit, 2015 IDB Annual Meeting and the 2022 International Forwarders Associations (FIATA) World Congress.

Besides epitomising the proposed theme, the candidate city, with a population of about 3.5 million and average of 40 million tourists visiting annually, is strategically located on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula and boasts of well-equipped infrastructure.

Charlie Lee, Managing Director, Samsung Nigeria, who led the delegation thanked Nike Okundaye who is rallying the support of Nigeria in promoting the Republic of Korea and the candidacy of Busan in Nigeria and the entire West Africa.

Responding, Nike thanked the Samsung team for the visit. She applauded Samsung for the confidence the business has in Nigeria. She prayed that Busan would win the hosting rights.

[Source]

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The Ma’nene culture of Indonesia where they dig up the dead from their grave to celebrate them yearly

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Ok, It is true that letting go of a loved ones can be truly almost impossible especially when death takes them away physically. But what can you do when Death is a natural phenomenon?

However, this does not really apply to the small island of the Toraja people of indonesia who practice the ma’nene ritual, which is the digging up of their dead ones from their graves and celebrating them once in a year. There are fascinating photos of families and their dead one which shows the depth at which they keep their cultural practices.

Before their dead ones are buried at first, most times their bodies are kept for weeks, months, or even years depending on how rich the families are. So the richest of families keep the bodies of their dead ones for years, which they clean, feed and clothe them continually until they are buried, but only to be dug out again once in every year. Sounds weird right? So they are dug out to be cleaned, redressed, fed, and new coffins are made for them. They are actually kept at a place called the house of death, but that is during their death before the first burial which takes weeks, months, or years.

Although Indonesia is known to be a Muslim country, but the Toraja people are mostly Christians. Which does not stop them from practicing the ma’nene culture, even though the church has tried to stop them from engaging in such rituals.

Here are some pictures from the Ma’nene rituals of digging up the dead.

A family taking their dead out of the coffin
A family getting their dead one dressed
A man holding the dug out corpse of his little one
Assumably the mummy with the longest hair in Toraja, being presented by her relative.
A family member, perhaps a grandson, gently combs the hair of his departed ancestor.
Family standing with their already dressed deceased

So what do you think about this culture?

READ ALSO: I Won’t Allow Tribe, Reigion Ruin Our Beautiful Relationship – Woman

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