IN A bid to promote tourism and culture and encourage the indigenes of Anambra in diasporas to always visit home and invest, Anambra State Government, last week celebrated her first homecoming festival.
The event took place in the Hollywood Event Center, where a temporal art gallery was opened. The event featured traditional dances, songs recitation of poems and dramas, as well as palm wine tasting and cooking competitions.
The event was graced by the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano , represented by the Sectary to the State Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu , Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artwork, Culture and Tourism,
Dr Sally Mbanefo, the chairman of the event, Obi Nnaemeka A Achebe of Onitsha, former leader of Oodua Peoples Congress and the Are Ona Kakanfo Of Yoruba Land, Otunba Gani Adams, representative of the Alaafin Of Oyo, Wale Ojo Lanre, the representative of Deji Of Akure, Ondo State, Ayo Omotosho, and Anambra State Head of Service,
Harry Uduh, Mr Tony Ezenwaka, Permanent Secretary ,Diasporas Affairs, Indigenous Artwork,Culture and Tourism, M.D of Ananmbra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, Awka, Sir Chuka Nnabuife and veteran artist, Chidi Okoye, among others
Governor Obiano, represented by Harry Uduh, said, that they had so much strength in the Diaspora Affairs Ministry. “We have a lot of our brothers and sisters outside the shores of this state and we want to encourage them to come home and invest in the key area of the state. The governor has done well to create an office to that effect. It is for the fact that tourism has been ignored and the governor is doing everything possible to improve on that”.
He however, said that the governor was like a prophet who saw tomorrow.”His Excellency, Chief Dr Willie Obaino laid the foundation today of the building of the state’s first International Conference Center. If we have guests from different places in Nigeria today, imagine how people will come next year”.
Dr Sally Mbanefo , while addressing the audience, stated that art works, such as paintings, sculptures, poetry and drama, exposes the culture and tradition of one’s society for both people that are home and abroad. She stressed on the need for preservation of culture as it is the best way to learn about people and advocated for adoption of the good aspects of other cultures.
She also stated that through arts, tourism can be boosted, and through tourism, the economy can be boosted as well.
She appreciated the Ooni Of Ife and the former OPC leader Gaani Adams, who opened her eyes to beauty of tourism and culture.
She also charged the Igbo in Diaspora to always come home to impact their people positively. She also assured that the Ogbunike Cave will be launched in April, next year, even as she appreciated the efforts of Sir Chuka Nnabuife and veteran artist, Chidi Okoye
Chairman of the event, Obi Nnaemeka Achebe , was happy at the effort of the state government to preserve the culture and tradition of the people of Igbo land and at the same time, encouraged the indigenes in diaspora to always remember home, promising to offer his assistance in all ramifications.
Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C.Don Adinuba, gave a brief orientation on how art and culture boosts the economy of the western world and expressed hope that in no distance timem, Anambra will be like that as well.
Managing Director, ANPC, Sir Chukka Nnabuife who was one of the artists whose works were displayed at the event took his time to guide the guests and audience through all the art works and explained that the theme of the event, ‘Ka Anyi Luo Uno’, which means let us go home, is an initiative to celebrate homecoming which projects one’s culture and tradition. He thanked the governor, commissioners, and other artists who made the event a success.
International recognized painter, sculptor and poet, Chidi Okoye, who was at a time, a Diaspora artist, expressed his excitement towards the new development.
During the palm wine tasting competition, while addressing the press, the former OPC leader, Otunba Ganni Adams ,stated that Anambra State is one of the states with enough wealthy individuals, but the tourism aspect is yet to be projected in the eyes of the world.
He appreciated the efforts of the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, for the vision of starting the Anambra Homecoming Festival.