The masquerades came in different shades; from weird to the most frightening, tall toshort. The Triangle arena became lively and the crowd surged forward as the biggest of them all, the, “Evil forest”, made its entrance to the arena. The foul smell from the smoke bellowing from its head was offensive enough to shock in the crowd. Every object on its body exhibited evil and the dreadful alligator hung as if ready to pounce. Where ever it went, the crowd gave way and its pilots listened intensely to make out what came out of its verbiages that is incomprehensive to the uninitiated.
It was yet another end of planting season for the people of Nnewi and from all walks of life, the indigenes of the trading town came home to celebrate the Afia Olu festival, one of the most flamboyant and oldest festivals in Ibo land. Afia Olu is an occasion for merry-making and stock-taking and it announces the end of the planting season with the farmers among the indigenes happy.
To make the 2011 edition of Afia Olu colourful and remarkable, Globacom was again in the forefront of a cultural rebirth. This communication company gave yet another international touch to the aged long Afia Olu festival in the commercial town of Nnewi, Anambra State.
From the football competition to the masquerade parade at the Triangle Arena, Globacom was there all through to add value to the celebration that ushered in the harvest season for the people of Nnewi.
The icing on the cake for the celebration was the staging of the ever popular Glo Rock N Rule concert at the open field of the Nnewi High school where the company paraded the best of entertainment and fun to the delight of the people who thronged the venue of the show in their thousands.
Artistes on hand at the concert which the indigenes described as the best ever in the community included, Okey Bakassi, who anchored the show, the popular Nollywood actor, Nonso Diobi, Felix Ndukwe, who added spiritual dimension to the show, Uncle O of the “Form a Circle Gyration”, the “Nigerian Jagaja” exponent, Eedris Abdukareem and the only Nigger that raps with Igbo, Nigga Raw.
The show was also a parade of local and budding artistes such as Destiny Boys, Jamaika, Hot Span, Tata Nation, Black Culture, the Saints Dancers and Hekeman Hip Hop.
Seven beautiful girls of Nnewi origin were also given the opportunity to compete for the Miss Afia Olu beauty crown and the winner, Miss Ogwuleka Chidalu, a 200 level student of Pharmacy at the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka went home with a cash prize of N100, 000 while the first runner up, Ngige Kosi Vivian got N75, 000.
The masquerade dance was a spectacle to behold as various masquerades in various shapes and sizes were on ground at the arena, with the evil forest itself, the biggest of the masquerades, closing the parade with the offensive odour that evil forest is associated with.
In the football tournament, Nnewichi football team held its opponent, Uruagwu to a goalless during the regular time. Nnewichi lifted the coveted trophy and a cash prize of N200, 000 after edging out it’s opponent in the penalty shoot-out that ended at 4-2.
The chairman of the 2011 Afia Olu Festival, Chief Charles Agu Onyeka, the Ike-Ora Nnewi, in his welcome address, paid glowing tributes to Globacom for its efforts at ensuring that the festival was given its place in the comity of festivals in Africa.
Chief Onyeaka noted that Globacom’s participation in the 2011 edition of the Afia Olu was “a further proof of its wider acceptance and acknowledgement as a world class cultural fiesta”.
Dignitaries who graced the occasion included the Deputy Governor, Financial Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu; Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon Princess Chinwe Clara Nwaebili and her deputy, Chukwudi Orizu. Others were: Hon Chris Azubogu, , Onyeabor Obi, Transition Chairman of Nnewi North Local Government Area, Chief Patrick Ubajaka and Chief Slyvester Ojukwu,the first son of the Ikemba of Nnewi, Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.