Awka elders have urged indigenes to comply with the recent order by the state government to suspend all cultural festivals across the State including the Egwu Imoka festival as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
Groups like Masquerades, Opu Eke women, Osonogba Umuokpu associated with Egwu Imoka cultural festival were also reminded to keep off the streets and highways in view of the government directives to fight against the spread of the virus.
A statement jointly signed by the Traditional Ruler of Awka, Obi Gibson Nwosu and the President-General of Awka Development Union Nigeria, Chief Tony Okechukwu said that though the suspension of this year’s Egwu Imoka festival by the government over COVID-19 pandemic is regrettable, the people of Awka are advised to abide by the government order which was done to save lives.
The great significance of the Egwu Imoka cultural festival is known for promoting the rich cultural heritage of Awka Community, Obi Nwosu and Chief Okechukwu in the joint statement acknowledged that the prevailing situation in the country call for sacrifice.
According to the release the people of Awka are adviced to abide by all the COVID-19 protocols while advising the Eze Imoka to carry out the essential spiritual aspects of the festival at the Imoka shrine alone following all the guidelines on COVID-19 as directed by the government and other relevant health bodies.
He also urged all celebrants of the Egwu Imoka cultural festival to make merry in their individual homes with the unique avbulu soup in commemoration of the culture and prayed for the long life of the people of Awka as they observe this year’s Egwu Imoka in accordance with the COVID-19 protocols thereby calling for a more symbolic and robust festival next year.
The statement commended the Anambra State and Federal Government, Nigeria Center for Disease Control as well as the World Health Organization for their collaborative effort to contain the pandemic calling for its sustenance.