NENI, the headquarter of Anaocha Local Government Area recently marked her 2020 Masquerade Carnival at the town’s secretariat.
The event attracted many prestigious people of the town such as Igwe Damian Onwuamaeze Ezeani, the House of Assembly Member Representing Anaocha II Constituency, Ejike Okechukwu, Chief Thomas Anakudo, Paul Enyidom (Paul-B), Chief Okenwa Mgbemena, Chief Ikenna Okafor, Queen Antonia Mbamalu and many others.
The cultural festival, observed yearly in the town begins with Igu Aro/Ogwe– performed by Okofia Village in the morning of every first day of January at the Oye Market Square to herald the New Year.
All the villages in Neni such as Umudioka, Umueze, Umunri, Umuabani, Umukabia, Ugwudun, Okofia, Etitinabo, Ezineni, and Eziaja were present with at least one masquerade to entertain the audience..
Igwe Damian Onwuamaeze of Neni thanked God for bringing everybody into the 2020 New Year, adding that it is a day mapped out to present masquerade carnival. “It is our culture. Every first day of January, Neni indigenes do what they have been doing in the ancient times which is called ‘Igu-aro’.
Today, it is transformed in an English way which is after ‘Igu-aro’ at the ‘Oye’ Market Square, we will sing and dance the song “ogbalu aro, kalu nka” and organise masquerade carnival to begin the New Year. That tells our people that after today, they can travel back to where they live.
It will equally stop masquerades gallivanting the town. I pray that it shall be well with everybody and their families as well as what they do to earn their living. I also pray that we shall be alive to witness the next year 2021 Masquerade Carnival and so on”.
Award presentations were made by Ejike Okechukwu to recognise the sponsors of the carnival in the town among whom are Ejike Mgbemena, Paul Enyidom and Chief Okenwa Mgbemena to encourage them for their efforts in organising the carnivals.
“Through this, we call on other well to do indigenous people of Neni to emulate them and promote our culture.”
“This is a distinguished award presenting to Engineer Paul Enyidom for promoting the carnival in 2019 thereby making us proud. Until our town Neni gets old, it will continue to progress. This is because when you encouraged someone for a work well done, he will continue to do more” he said.
Another awardee was Chief Okenwa Mgbemena who was noted to have organised and sponsored the 2020 masquerade carnival. Chief Thomas Anakudo presented the award and said that it is to call on other good people of Neni to join and support the carnival.
He also expressed his joy in an interview with a National Light staff over the event saying that the event it is an annual event and he is overwhelmed as it has ended successfully. “we are doing this to entertain ourselves and outsiders who love to be with us.
If you look around, you will see that everybody here is happy and well entrained. Today is the end of all the festival we have been doing throughout this December. That is to say that anybody can travel back to where he is living” he said.
He also prayed to God to lead everybody back safely to where they live and prosper their endeavours.
In the closing remark made by the Hon. Ejike, he prayed for long life and prosperity over every person at the carnival from far and near adding that Chief. Anthony Mmadubugo ‘Akuatuegwu’ will organise and sponsor the carnival for the year 2021.
“It is a thing of joy to watch every year. We watch the masquerades and their group of dancers to observe their performances from first January 2019 till date on which we will announce the winner. Today, Anuka Umueze is the overall winner, Ileagu Eziaja came second, Ikoro Eziaja came third and so many others. I’m glad because it shows that our culture will remain, just as the science, technology and religion is today” he said.
Chief Ikenna Okafor also known as Ide Akwaeze said that the event is a marvellous one adding that he always look forward to coming to Neni for the event to witness different kinds of masquerades. In his words, “I enjoy to see different cultural display of the town as well as to know some names of masquerades in Igbo land. People need to be here to see.
It’s very entertaining and for those that are present today, they are really impressed. Is nice to be here and I love to be here. I equally pray to be here again next year”.
The Queen of Neni, Queen Mrs. Antonia Mbamalu thanked God for keeping everyone alive and expressed her joy over the successful end of the carnival. She prayed for God’s protection and guidance, peace and happiness in every family.
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