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query_builder May 15, 2018 14:12:38

By Francis Igboemeka

Awka, May 15, 2018 (MOI) Awka the capital city of Anambra state way agog on Sunday May 13, as indigenes trooped out en-masse to celebrate the annual Egwu Imoka cultural festival.

Egwu Imoka as it is called by the citizenry is celebrated annually to thank the Imoka god, for her favours and to solicit for better years ahead.

It is celebrated by the people with their masquerades carrying canes proceeding to the shrine, where they observe various displays.

Earlier, the Awka people would troope to Umuokpu Village, four days before the festivity, to inform their kith and kin about the festival as the tradition demands.

The Traditional Prime Minister of Awka, Mr Benjamin Okoye, an Engineer, who spoke on behalf of Eze-uzu, Awka said that the festival would afford the citizenry the opportunity to look inwards and pray for peace and prosperity of the town.

Okoye described Egwu Imoka as an ancient annual celebration of Awka people to thank Imoka god for protecting them from their external invasion.

``In times past, myth has it that Imoka used monkeys to save Awka people from their enemies.

``So, those who worship the god saw the need to thank their god for protecting them in the past, hence the festival,’’ he said.

Okoye admonished the youths to shun cultism, drug-abuse in order to make this year’s Imoka festive crime-free.’’

The traditional prime minister urged the youths to engage in activities that would portray Awka in the lime light.

The immediate past chairman, Association of Awka Native Customs and Tradition, Mr Ifeanyi Ibegbune used the opportunity to pray for peace to reign in Awka.

He prayed the citizenry to use the opportunity of the celebration offered to work toward the wellbeing of the community.

Mr Ejiofor Odogwu Udekwe, a member of the Egwu Imoka organising committee said that this year’s celebration was so unique to previous years.

``Nobody was killed or injured. There was no fight. So, this year’s festival is crime-free, and there was neat security arrangement,’’ Udekwe said.

Udekwe observed that many masquerades that never featured in previous Imoka, did this year and they all added glamour to the festivity.

He enjoined Awka people to use the festival as a uniting factor and drop all rancor and acrimonies for peace to reign.

Egwu Imoka is celebrated annually on the month of April and sometimes on the month of May, depending on the Awka Lunar calendar.

This year’s Imoka festival witnessed masquerade displays at the Imoka shrine and the ‘OPU EKE’ dance at the shrine. (MOI)