Ika Village Square (IVS) in collaboration with Onu Ika Nigeria convened Ika Sons and Daughters to Ika National Hall to witness Ika cultural heritage. The maiden fiesta tagged: Ika Cultural festival was held on Saturday, March 31, 2018.
The event featured the display of different cultural dance groups from the eleven kingdoms in Ika nation performing in a competitive dance display. They include: Abavo, Agbor, Akumazi, Idumesah, Igbanke, Igbodo, Mbiri, Otolokpo, Ottah, and Ute Okpu.
The winners of the competition got #200,000, #150,000, #100,000 and #50,000 each while every cultural group which participated was mobilized with #50,000
The reason behind the event according to the organizers is to revamp Ika dying culture. This was carefully explained by the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Jude Ugbekile, who is also the Chairman, Ika Village Square, in his address. He said, the essence of this event is to ensure the cultural revival, unity and peaceful co-existence of our people. Today, we are gathered to witness and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of our people through cultural competition among the eleven kingdoms in Ika land, including Igbanke.” He also hinted that the translation of Primary and Secondary School curriculum into Ika Language is on. This he said is geared towards promoting the teaching of Ika language in schools in Ika land.
It could be recalled that an event of this similitude was some years ago organized by the then Ika Local Government. But, unfortunately it collapsed in the 80s for some reasons. J. P. Clark who witnessed one of such, and returned home to compose the famous poem: “AGBOR DANCER”.
Chief Ugbekile in an interview granted an Ika Weekly Newspaper reporters bemoaned the gradual fading away of Ika Culture and tradition. He said, “Ika People are coming back to their culture and their tradition. We were beginning to lose it before now. Most of the Kingdoms are not practicing Ika Culture. Some are practicing Igbo culture. But I can say 70% are coming back to normal Ika Culture”
Also speaking to journalists after the event, Head, Collective Leadership of Onu Ika Nigeria, Mr. Daniel Usifoh, expressed joy over the success of the event even as he commended all the cultural dance groups that participated in the event. He assured that the rich cultural heritage of Ika will continue to get priority attention from Onu Ika. He thanked all persons who contributed towards making the event a grand one.
In the same vein, a US retired Professor; Professor John O. Alizor saw the event as crucial for the youths. “It is very important for the young people to experience it,” he posited. He could not curtail his joy about the whole experience, but overwhelmingly remarked, “Awesome!! Beautiful!”
Borrowing the professor’s words, the event was indeed. “awesome” and “beautiful”. The different groups beautifully displayed various Ika dances: Agbara/egu orurue, ekpiri, abada, egu ugbo, and others.
The groups were judged by language, hairstyle, instruments, dance steps, facial expression, uniform, and style.
At the end of the competition, Agbor grabbed the first position. Otolokpo emerged 2nd. The third position went to Owa, and Abavo doggedly fought for a place in the winning list by clinching the fourth position.
The winners were to retire home to prepare for another competition coming up on April 14, 2018, at the same venue. In this second competition, only one group will be selected as announced.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Steve Ekiri-Mekiriuwa Ashien, the Publisher, Ika Weekly Newspaper, urged the conveners to keep up the good work. He told them never to allow the biting words of those with low understanding to discourage them. “Some of us have been championing this course many years now. If you do communal work, a selfless one, and you are not accused wrongly, then you have not started working. The only thing we are saying is how the land will be good for us.” Then, he proverbially said, “We si ni ihian donme ali a, we no kpo a Alidinma”.The proverb means; it is because someone made his land to be well and okay that made people call the land Alidinma (Good land).
Other dignitaries also present at the Ika Village Square (IVS) and Onu Ika Nigeria cultural fiesta include; Hon. Victor Nwokolo, member representing Ika constituency in the Federal House, Abuja, Hon. Festus Chuks Okoh (Chuky Dandy) member representing Ika South constituency in state House of Assembly, Barr. Eugene Uzum, the convener of Ika Village Square, Hon. Moses Iduh, Delta North PDP Chairman, Chief Okwuokenye Chuks Nkenchor, the Inneh of Owa kingdom, and Proprietor of Calvary Polytechnic, Owa, Oyibu, Chief Mrs. Lizzy Ogbetua, the Proprietress of Monye Memorial Academy, Chief Mrs. Pat. Ejeteh, Tony Elekeokwuri, member representing Ika North East Constituency at the Delta State House of Assembly, Asaba, Barr Alexander O. Ewere, Mrs Ifeoma Agbomah, Barr Reuben Mgbodi, and many others.