The residents of Evuazu community displayed their cultural heritage at the last year’s edition of the Ugwudoro Cultural Festival, which attracted arts and culture custodians and tourism stakeholders seeking adventure. The guests at the event were excited by the diversity of the people’s cultural displays that range from the masquerade dance to musical performances among other competitions.
This year’s edition of the annual cultural fiesta was better organized. The festival planning committee laid down certain rules to ensure that the event held smoothly and without hitches. It is on record that anyone who goes contrary to the stipulated rules should be punished.
Every participant and guest at the festival is expected to be treated with respect due to the inherent dignity and value as human beings.
The festival, which had attracted personalities from every facet of life, is targeting to become the people’s money-making machine, if well harnessed.
However, the annual festival brought together government officials and stakeholders in the private sector.
Although the festival faced some challenges, especially in the planning stage, it nevertheless lived up to expectations. Some stakeholders have been able to invest in the festival, as they were adorned with expensive clothes and ornaments to elevate the masquerades status.
To ensure that the activities kept visitors enthralled between January 5 and 8, 2023, the President-General of Evuazu Community in Obeleagu Umama, Mr. Sunday Ekwo, with support from the executive members, provided the community with infrastructural facilities. The facilities included electricity and potable water, among others.
Under the leadership of Mr. Ekwo, the people organised a mini-festival known as Evuazu Day, a move aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence among the people. Ekwo noted that when he took over office, the community was in a state of disorderliness as the whole system was not functional.
Speaking with journalists on the last day of the festival, he assured them of the readiness and determination of members of the community to raise the standard of the festival by 2024.
Earlier, The National President of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mr. Godwin Abumisi, stated that the Umunwanke people had more and bigger masquerades performing this year than the previous years, assuring that he would be presenting big masquerades to his village. “I have fulfilled that and they all performed during this festival. If you come to Umunwanke, we have about seven big masquerades that performed today,” he said.
Ekwo noted that despite the unfortunate experiences encountered by the community in the past, the 2023 celebration was the best festival ever celebrated since the beginning of the annual cultural festival. He promised that the 2024 edition of the event would be better organized.
“I know the festival is older than me. It is our inheritance,” he said.
On security, he said the fact that nobody was injured, there was no kidnapping on that day and no vehicle was stolen meant the community is safe.
Appealing to the state government to support the community with infrastructure, the president-general noted that residents of the community had for long depended on their own self-help efforts without assistance from the government.
“We have not got any support from the government in terms of infrastructure.
One of the honourable members that graced the occasion has already promised the organisers that by 2024 he will make sure that the Nigeria Television Authority is invited to cover the event,” he added.