YOUTHS have been advised to emulate creative people, cherish, pursue and imbibe creativity as one of the greatest virtues in life.
The call was made by the Chairman of the Awka Literary Society and Chief Press Secretary to the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Mr. James Ezeh as all lovers of arts – poets, writers artists, lovers of nature and beauty, and other creative minds across the country gathered to mark the second edition of “Return To Idoto”, an annual poetic event celebrated in memory of a foremost Nigerian Poet, Late. Chief Christopher Okigbo, who died as a sacrificial lamb while fighting for the freedom of his People, the Igbo in 1967 during the infamous Nigerian/Biafran Civil War.
Peregrinating a little backward to Okigbo’s life and personality, he described Late Chief Okigbo as a pen master whose poetic prowess was second to none, owing to the great impacts he made with ink and the leviathan vestiges he left in the field of pen, and argued that all these indeed are worthy of celebration and emulation, being the reason for initiating the program, which is usually held on Okigbo’s birthday.
The event, which started with Burn Fire Night featured poetry recitation/performances, palm wine tasting and libations, an adventurous tour to Okigbo’s grave, Okwu Ụkpaka Ojoto (the well-engendered shrine of the historic Idoto Spirit),
Okwu Idoto (The Temple of Idoto, the female goddess), Ụkpaka tree under (where Late Okigbo used to repose and sometimes compose his poems), and finally to the historic Idoto River, being some of the strategic places which were all topical and significant to Okigbo’s life and writing/books. And some slams of dulcet epopees were poured at each of these places.
For the sake of symbolism, the tour was proudly led, amidst libations, by three red-dressed women, one dangling a bell, one screaming the libation, and the other popularly known as Ọgbanje leading the way with an arcane ornamental staff, registering the glory behind the event.
The event which ended in conviviality attracted great poets, writers and creative minds from every part of the country who gathered to witness, participate and cheer up.
Among these highly revered poets and writers were the Commissioner for Indigenous Artworks, Diaspora, Culture and Tourism, Sally Mbanefo, the National President of Association of Nigerian Authors, Mr. Denja Abdullahi the winner of the Nigerian Prize For Literature 2017,
Mr. Ikeogu Oke, an Igbo poet and CEO of ‘Nwaadadịọramma’, and ỌJA, the author of ‘Pregnancy of the gods’ and two-time winner of ANA Prize For Literature, Odịlị Ujubụọñụ, a poet, journalist, an actor, and the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of Anambra Newspapers & Printing Corporation (ANPC), Publisher of National Light Newspapers, Ka O Di Taa, and Sports Xtra, Sir Chuka Nnabuife,
the dean Faculty of Art, Chukwuemeka Ọdụmegwu Ojukwu University, Ịgbarịam, and Secretary General of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Anambra Chapter, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh ,Mr. Maxim Ụzọatụ , a Poet and Author, among others.
In his address, Nnabuife stressed the need for all writers, artists, enthusiasts of nature and beauty especially the young ones to emulate the literary icon, Chris Okigbo. While commending the organisers and participants of the event, he enjoined the youths not to let the fire of creativity, which the day’s event has ignited into them to die, rather they should go back to their various homes, villages and states, and make their own legacies.
Even as he stressed the need to convert the venue and place of the event to a tourist center, In an interview with National Light, the National President of Association of Nigerian Authors(ANA), Denja Abdulahi, frowned at the poor state of the roads leading to the place of the event.
“The parts leading to the famous river was inaccessible. The cleared path for the final reading of poems was muddy and slippery. As a result, not everyone made it to the watery presence of Idoto.”
He said. “There is dire need to turn the place to a tourist zone”.