Edo Govt rolls out drums for Aba Festival
IT was four days of a spectacle of unadulterated culture for culture enthusiasts and tourists in Igarra, Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State as the people celebrated the Aba Festival.
The week-long event paraded the rhythmic dance steps of the Igarra people, their songs rich in symbolisms, the age-long drumming sessions and the colourful and very significant initiation rites, amid feasting and an accompaniment of side attractions.
This year’s outing lived up to the expectations of the organizers as the state government made true its promise to raise the profile of the 228-year-old festival to attract more foreign tourists in line with the resolve of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration to reset the tourism sector in the state for the optimal socio-economic benefit of the Edo people.
Obaseki’s holistic approach to the development of its culture and tourism sector, is weighing on the development of a master plan for the sector. This is in line with global best practices, to ensure that all culture and tourism events such as the Aba Festival, impact on the Edo economy through hotel receipts, patronage of food and drink vendors, collection of art works and memorabilia by art enthusiasts, boom in commercial and private transport activities and visits to cultural sites and destinations, among others.
Cultural sites and destinations
The state government’s endorsement of the Aba Festival paved the way for the placement of this colourful event on the country’s festival calendar by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC).
Speaking on the festival, the Chairman Central Organizing Committee, Obed Alli, said this year’s festival will remain an unforgetable one. He explained that the festival was rated by energy giant, Total E & P, in 2006, as the sixth most indigenous cultural festival in West Africa.
According to him, the festival started as “a celebration of victory by hunters over the initial settlers of the land now known as Etuno (Igarra). The Aba Festival is the most spectacular singular event in the celebration of the Irepa Festival. It is the highest crowd pulling of all Irepa Festival events. It marks the climax of activities as it indicates the end of a seven-year traditional administrative tenure and the beginning of the new one.”
The uniqueness and distinct appeal of Aba Festival have earned it a prestigious place on the country’s festival league table, as corporate bodies, governments and individuals jostle to be a part of it and this year’s is no different.
The drummers and dancers thrilled visitors and Edo people to the rich culture of Igarra people.
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