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…as Umudioka Neni holds Dioka cultural festival

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NKA-DIOKA Art and Cultural Festival was recently hosted by Nwawelugo Age Grade in Umudioka village, Neni, Anaocha Local Government Area at the Village Stadium, also known as ‘Mmanka Stadium’.

The festival is often used to showcase the heritage of ‘Nwadioka’, the trade mark of ‘Nwadioka’ as someone from ‘Dioka”. Major activities during the event include ‘Itu Mbubu’, ‘Igbu-ichi’, ‘Iwa-eze’, masquerades, dance performances, among others.

The festival, which was sponsored by the Tonimas Insurance Brokers Ltd, FG Onyenwe Enterprises, Chelsea Agric; Mkpunando Aguleri, Anambra State, Paul-B Nig. PLC, and many others, also attracted distinguished personalities of the town such as  Igwe Damian Ezeani, the Industrialist and CEO, Tonimas Group of Companies, Chief Sir. Anthony Obiagbaoso Enukeme’, Chief Albert Ibeanu, Chief Raphael Udeze and so on.

The president, Umudioka Community Neni, Mr Albert Nwanekezi, in his welcome address said that it was an annual festival which portrays their annual art and cultural heritage, adding that it is an ancient annual festival of the community that heralds the returning of the ‘Nwadioka’ from their ‘Igbu ichi’ trip which they undertake as a way and means of living in the past.

“About 41years ago, Umudioka Community decided to reform the ceremony to suit the idea of our time. And since then, it has been an annual ceremony holding every 31st day of December. We showcase our rich art, culture and craft such as igbu ichi’, itu mbubu, iwa-eze, the music, masquerades and language of our people. Today, we still have ‘Nwadioka’ with the physical mark of ichi on his forehead, Chief Odidika Chidolue (Okeiwe Adimma), being the only surviving Nwa-Dioka with the real ichi mark on his face,” he said.

Nwanekezi further said that the community had established a cultural museum and is also setting up a culture library. He appealed to the government to equip the library to be a cultural research centre, install street lights on the road that leads to the cultural centre and set a transformer that will ensure a steady power supply in the area.

Also, the chairman, Nwawelugo Age Grade, Chief Sir. Nkene Enukeme, in his opening remarks, said that it was a great festival of creativity ‘nka’, which is an ingenuity of the people of the community giving by their God.

“The essence of this festival is to showcase our heritage, the trademark of ‘Nwadioka’ as someone from ‘Dioka’. So all the masquerades,igbu ichi, dance and so on shows the heritage of a typical ‘Nwadioka’. That is what we do. With this, our children will always know our heritage,” he said.

He further stated it as an annual festival celebrated on every last day of the year, to remind their children of where they come from, what they do and what their symbol means, adding that there are so many Umudioka in different places such as Umudioka in Ukpo, Umudioka in Dunukofia, Umudioka in Orlu, Umudioka in Abia State, e. t. c.

In his word, “if we leave this, by now it will be history. We migrate a lot and so many of us have actually forgotten this because civilization has  set in but we want to persist that we portray our heritage to our younger ones and children. Through this, our heritage will be kept alive”.

One of the planning committee members of the age-grade, Mr. Arinze Ufondu expressed gratitude to God for making the event a successful one and prayed for journey mercy to every participant at the festival.

One of the participants from the village, Mrs Obianuju Ekeh said that it was an exhibition where different types of cultures and masquerades from far and wide were being displayed.

Miss Nneka Nnakife said that it was an event that helped to bring together the entire people of Neni every year.

“It is a fun place to be and right now, I’m very happy to be one of the participants. I encourage everyone to partake in 2020 Nka-Dioka Cultural Festival,” she said.

Mrs Maureen Anaedu expressed her joy over the event, noting that the 2019 Nka-Dioka Cultural Festival hosted by Nwawelugo Age Grade was properly prepared as different masquerades and dance is being performed in the stadium.

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