PHOTOS: Ooni, monarchs in show of culture, unity at Gbaramatu’s Amasiekumor festival

* Cultural festivals, traditions are unifiers — Ooni

By Nudoiba Ojen

It was funfair at the grand finale of the Amasiekumor Festival in Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta State, on Wednesday where culture and unity among ethic groups were on high display.

Traditional rulers from various Niger Delta communities joined the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, His Majesty Oboro Gbaraun II, (Aketekpe-Agadagba) for the cultural event.

The Arole Oduduwa and Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, who is the Co-chairman, National Council of Traditional Rulers, led frontline monarchs from the Southwest to grace the yearly Amasiekumor Festival.

The Southwest obas in the Ooni’s entourage included the Oore of Otun Ekiti, Oba Adekunle Adeagbo; and the Alara of Ilara-Epe Lagos, Oba Dr Olufolarin Kayode Ogunsanwo.

Former militant leader in the Niger Delta, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), a notable traditionalist and the chief priest of the Egbesu deity, which is the god of war, in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, was the cynosure of all eyes.

Tompolo led various masquerades, with their cultural dance steps into the venue as they paid royal homage to the Pere of Gbaramatu kingdom, His Majesty Oboro Gbaraun II, flanked by other monarchs across the Niger Delta region.

Oba Ogunwusi, who was received with enthusiasm by the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom and other Niger Delta monarchs, described festival celebrations as “unifying factors that accentuate the fact that we are one people which can make us stronger”

The Ooni said, “Clearly, festivals of diverse cultures and traditions like this are the only unifier of who we are, the unifier of our people, it is the essence of different diverse cultures and traditions across the entire country.

“It is things like this that the government and our political leaders should always focus on. It is clear, this is the only thing that can unite us.

“It is this annual festival that I came all the way from Ife Kingdom, in South West to attend in Gbaramatu Kingdom. This is clearly a unifying factor, and so far so good, I have been enjoying myself and I have been comparing cultures all the way from Yoruba land to that of people of Ijaw Kingdom.

“We are one people, we are one and the same ancestral root, we should continue to support heritage, culture and tradition like this for our children to continue to know that our diversity is our strength, and the bond between all of us as a nation,” the Arole Oduduwa said.

In a brief chat, the Oore of Moba, Oba Adeagbo, while reflecting on happenings at the festival, said, “The Ijaw kings appreciated the quality leadership of the Ooni and thanked the Yoruba obas for their historic visit.

“The monarchs, in their submission, agreed that the traditional institutions are the custodians of culture and history and once you put religion and ethnicity away in governance, Nigeria will be the best country on planet earth,” the Oore said.

The Fiyewei (spokesperson) of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, while appreciating dignitaries, delegates, and spectators that thronged Oporoza to witness the display of one of Africa’s rich cultural heritage, urged all to “imbibe the culture of love, peace, and unity which Gbaramatu kingdom is known for.”

Gbenekama remarked that “this year’s Amaseikumor Festival is a restoration of the acceptable rich Africa cultural heritage.”

The organizers said that the agelong Amaseikumor ceremony, is one of the widely celebrated festivals among Ijaws in the whole of West Africa, which annually draws together notable Ijaw traditional rulers, top government functionaries, chief executives of multinational corporations and expatriates doing business in the Ijaw nation.

The occasion was graced by dignitaries including the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo SAN; Minister of State, Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri; Senator Joel Onowakpor; House of Representatives member, Hon. Julius Pondi; the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Emomotimi Dennis Guwor; and the administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Office, Dr Dennis Otuaro.

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