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The King’s rites of Renewal: Ofala Festival

Today is the 20th coronation anniversary of His Majesty Nnaemeka Achebe, Obi of Onitsha (Agbogidi). The king is an avid art collector and promoter of Igbo artists. His palace is full of artworks from all over Africa. He also owns the biggest collection of my paintings. He is presently building a museum to house his huge collection of artworks. It has always been an honor to sell works to Igwe Achebe. I am particularly delighted by the opportunity of being shown in his museum. My paintings will be on view quite close to home. Onitsha is only an hour away from Oguta, my village. There are similarities in the kingship, the language, cultures, traditions, festivals and even the names of clans! You see, both the Onitsha and Oguta people share an ancestry to the Bini Kingdom. We are a faction of people who migrated out of ancient Bini to dwell on the banks of the river Niger, from Igalaland downwards to the Delta regions in Nigeria.

The Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty Nnaemeka Achebe sits on the throne welcoming dignitaries at the Ofala Celebrations, October 2015

His Majesty Nnaemeka Achebe, Obi of Onitsha dances at the beginning of Ofala celebration, October 2016

The Ofala festival began today at Ime-Obi Onitsha and will end tomorrow. The King dances and shows off all his splendor, receiving adulation from his people. Other kings also come around to celebrate with him during this period. Titled members of Onitsha come out to fete the king on the first day. Igwe Achebe also opens a group art exhibition in one of the rooms of his palace on the same day. On the second day at Azu Ofala, the members of the various age grades in Onitsha come out to greet Igwe Achebe. A carnival happens in the fields behind the king’s palace. There are live performances by renowned musical artists and food stands selling various Igbo meals.

Members of the prestigious Odu society, at the Ofala festival in Onitsha, 2016

Members of my age grade in Onitsha at the Ofala celebration, 2015

Join me in wishing the King great health and wealth. May his reign bring more blessings to the Onitsha people. Igwe Achebe is the Igbo king par excellence. His is my king- a dear father and friend! Click on the link to watch the YouTube Channel for the events around the Ofala 2022.

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