Sequel to the Public Service Announcement on the suspension of the 2020 Egwu Imo Awka Cultural Festival and other festivals In Anambra State, youths in Awka have vowed to violate the directive.
The announcement which was signed on Sunday, May 10, by Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, Secretary to Anambra State Government, stated that in cognisance of the prevailing Federal government curfew order, state government’s order on public gatherings, World Health Organisation’s (WHO), and Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines on preventing the spread of Covid-19, the State Government thereby suspended 2020 Egwu Imo Awka cultural festival.
“The public, Traditional rulers, Presidents General, custodians and organisers of such festivals are hereby put on notice that they will be held responsible should the festivals go ahead,” the announcement read in part.
Speaking to The DAILY VENDOR correspondent, a representative of Ifite Youth Forum, who preferred to be known as Okechukwu Umunyiora noted that irrespective of government’s directive, the festival would still hold.
Okechukwu who expressed dissatisfaction over what he termed as government’s inability to liaise with major traditional stakeholders noted that the Imo Awka is a festival of progress, love and unity and that no measure can stop it talking place.
He further acknowledged the fact that the Youth Forum were aware that the Police and other security agencies have been charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the festival does not take place.
He, however, assured the general public that the Imo Awka Festival would still hold and at most, the police would arrest as many youths as they could.
In another development, a resident of Awka, who pleaded anonymity, applauded the efforts of the state government for suspending the Imo Awka Festival, stressing that the festival was evil, as many lives were lost in the course of the celebration, some people extort money from residents while others were harassed.
“I know about three close friends that were killed by hoodlums in the previous Imo Awka Festival and it had always been a scary and bloody celebration.
“We are still faced with coronavirus, therefore it is important that everybody stays at home to observe all the necessary preventive measures outlined by medical practitioners,’ she noted.
Also Speaking, the Special adviser to the Anambra State Governor on Youth Mobilization, Hon. Ossy Onuko,who is an indigene of Awka, noted that the Egwu Imo Awka, was a Festival revered by the people of Awka, and has much significance in the live of the Awka man. But advised that the COVID 19 situation was just like war case and that indigenes should adhere to the WHO and government’s guidelines to suspend it for this year, so as to ensure that the spread of the virus was minimized in Anambra state.
Onuko also advised that youths and other worshippers should maintain peace and order as Egwu Imoka could be celebrated in subsequent times.