Annual Nwafor Ogidi festival, Idemili North local government area of Anambra State will start next week with the initiation of over 300 children and youths into the deity.
Chief priest of Iwelle-Ogidi, Chief Felix Obika hinted that the week-long festival would on Thursday next week commence with initiation of about 300 children that range from 10 years and above into manhood.
“It is a period of harvesting to thank God for the farm produce and also to prepare for the farming season”, he revealed.
Flanked by Legal Adviser, Pat Agbata and the Secretary, Chief Remington Obinna Anyorusi, the chief priest said, “It will be a period of eating, drinking and merry-making.
“Masquerades have been advised to be of good behaviour and those who want to drink should not drink to stupor as it sometimes results in fatal accident,” he added.
“It is a period of mass return and it commences in earnest by first week of next month, precisely Wednesday. In-laws, friends and well-wishers will storm the community and celebrate with us, there will be different types of masquerades and those initiated into manhood will on Friday join any masquerade of their choice to move around.”
This is coming as the police in the Area have warned that it will deal ruthlessly with any masquerades and persons that contravene the law during the week-long festivity.
The Ogidi Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Mr. Hassan Musa urged the masquerades and dance troupes to abide by the rules, adding that it is a period of sober reflection and interaction among friends, relations and well-wishers.
He described the people in the area as very hospitable, enlightened, urging parents to monitor their children during the festival as the law is no respecter of persons.
“It is expected that most of those in Diaspora will return and from what I learnt, it’s a period of mass return and as such the returnees should be accorded honour and protection”, he said.
Contributing, the legal adviser, Pat Agbata, said, “in a bid to monitor the activities of the masquerades, each will have tag (number) for easy identification”.
According to him, no Ogidi man will like to stay outside during the celebration.
He narrated how a convict in those days, Chief Okeke Anekwudo from Umuru village, because of the Nwafor festival disappeared from prison yard at Awka and returned to join in the celebration.
According to him, “after the celebration he came back and was discharged and acquitted for coming back after the celebration.”
The legal adviser expressed satisfaction that this year’s festival would be the best in the recent decade.

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