Council, Senate, Management, Staff, and Students of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria have felicitated with the Chancellor of the institution, His Majesty Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe, CFR, mni, Obi of Onitsha, on this year’s Ofala Festival, an annual Igbo traditional ceremony signifying devotion of the King to the safety of his subjects.
The felicitation was conveyed to the Chancellor by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kabiru Bala, FNIOB, FSAN, through the Registrar of the institution, Malam Rabiu Samaila, who led a five-member delegation to the festival that was held at His Majesty’s Palace in Onitsha on Saturday, 14th October, 2023.
Also, the National President of Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association, Malam Adamu Mamman Kontagora, attended the festival along side other executive members of the Association.
The representative of His Highness, Malam Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, CFR, the Emir of Zazzau, was equally present at the event. The Emir was represented by Alhaji Aminu Yakubu Wambai, the Wakilin Raya Kasar Zazzau.
The Vice-Chancellor congratulated the Chancellor and his subjects on the successful hosting of the yearly traditional activity, and prayed that God Almighty would continue to strengthen His Majesty in good health and wisdom.
In his 21 years as Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty has made giant strides that find expressions in a number of areas, which include a modernised and revitalised monarchy, and a leadership aura which radiate in Nigeria and beyond.
The theme of this year’s Ofala Festival, ‘Better. Stronger. Together.’, was chosen to consolidate on the breakthroughs that have been made from the onset, and to address the challenges ahead.
In his message to his subjects on the occasion, His Majesty explained that the Ofala had grown steadily over the years in terms of its scope, social glamour, and intrinsic meaning for Ndi Onicha.
He said that an international visual arts exhibition, a youths’ carnival, an internationally accredited marathon, a post-Ofala banquet, and a Church thanksgiving service had enhanced the content and attractiveness of the Ofala over the years.
The royal father also noted that with the strides that it had made, the Ofala continued to receive both national and international recognition.
For example, he further said, the Ofala was endorsed by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) as a major Nigerian festival, in addition to receiving a certificate of recognition for excellence and corporate contribution to the development of culture from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
His Majesty went on to stress that the Southeast Council of Traditional Rulers reaffirmed its decision recently that the monarchy of Onitsha should henceforth be regarded as the highest traditional stool in Ani Igbo in the same manner as the traditional stools of Sokoto in the North and Ile-Ife in the Southwest.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, according to him, recently appointed him as the Chairman of its committee on Culture and Tradition with the mandate of nurturing, projecting, and embedding the genuine cultures of Ndi Igbo at home and beyond.
The royal father thanked the principal partners of the Ofala Festival and many other supporters, including individuals, corporate bodies, educational institutions, and media for their faith in monarchy of Onitsha to host the annual traditional activity.
Members of the delegation from Ahmadu Bello University to the festival led by the Registrar, Malam Rabiu Samaila were Director of Directorate of University Advancement and International Education, Prof. Sani Abba Aliyu; former Head, Department of Fine Arts, Prof. Ken Okoli; Director, Public Affairs Directorate, Malam Auwalu Umar; and Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor, Malam Auwal Yusuf Mohammed.
Public Affairs Directorate,
Office of the Vice-Chancellor,
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
Monday, 16th October, 2023