By Peter Okolie
The Federal Government has promised to take appropriate measures to make the ‘Ito Ogbo’ festival of Obosi people in Anambra a national and international event.
The festival is a triennial event that offers the community an opportunity to celebrate its natives that attained 80 years and above.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this year’s event will come up on Saturday at the Obosi Village Square, near Onitsha.
Speaking on Friday during a courtesy visit to the Traditional Ruler of Obosi, Igwe Chidubem Iweka, the minister described the festival as “worthwhile”.
Mohammed, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, assured Iweka that government would help to promote the festival to an international status.
“We are here today to witness the festival ourselves because of the importance we attach to it.
“Our visit is a step towards pushing it further. We are not only pushing it to a national celebration but an international one.
“It will become a festival that both the local and foreigners will hear about.
“We are going to be here on Saturday, when we will conduct interviews with various stakeholders and document the event for future references,” he said.
Earlier, the traditional ruler of the town, called for the festival to be made a national event because of its tourism potential.
He said that such a measure would go a long way to underscore the joy of longevity and also help to address the myriad of challenges facing the elderly.
He regretted that society no longer recognised the elderly, saying they were being neglected.
He said: “We are elated to have the federal government’s presence in this year’s celebration.
“This is the very first time we are having federal representative to observe the event.
“We want this celebration to spread, not only in this town, but across Nigeria and the world because we are not selfish.
“We recognise what our ancestors did for us by instituting the festival.
“So, we will want the festival to become a national celebration, which should be emulated and replicated in other parts of Nigeria and beyond,” Iweka said.
According to him, this will help to make the nation’s youths to appreciate the elderly rather than abuse or neglect them. (NAN)