Awka Youths Dare Obiano, Defy Govt’s Order

…Celebrate Egwu Imo Festival Despite COVID-19

Youths of Awka Town, Anambra State, have disobeyed the order of the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, and that of the Awka Development Union, (ADUN), to suspend this year’s Imo Awka Festival due to the coronavirus pandemic, report Mercy Hill, Alexander Johnson Adejoh and Precious Ukeje.

Egwu Imo Awka, an ancient annual festival to signify the outset of the farming season and to beseech the god of harvest for bountiful yields, was halted by the state government owing to COVID-19, with the town union of Awka also acquiescing.

The festival is a popular one that binds Awka indigenes, the world over, and sees many of them troop back home once every year to be part of the celebration.
Last week Fides reported on its cover story about the resolve of the Awka youths to defy government’s and town union’s orders for the suspension of the festival this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The number one citizen in the state had on 10th May through an announcement by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, ordered the suspension of the Egwu Imo Awka Festival, as a result of the effects of the coronavirus on the globe.

The Awka Development Union, (ADUN), also in a statement signed by Engr. Tony Okechukwu, President General, ADUN, and HRM Dr Obi Gibson Nwosu, Eze Uzu Awka II, supported the call for a suspension by the state government, with both calling on security agencies in the state to ensure implementation of the ban.

Youths of Awka Town, Anambra State, have disobeyed the order of the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, and that of the Awka Development Union, (ADUN), to suspend this year’s Imo Awka Festival due to the coronavirus pandemic, report Mercy Hill, Alexander Johnson Adejoh and Precious Ukeje.

Egwu Imo Awka, an ancient annual festival to signify the outset of the farming season and to beseech the god of harvest for bountiful yields, was halted by the state government owing to COVID-19, with the town union of Awka also acquiescing.

The festival is a popular one that binds Awka indigenes, the world over, and sees many of them troop back home once every year to be part of the celebration.

Last week Fides reported on its cover story about the resolve of the Awka youths to defy government’s and town union’s orders for the suspension of the festival this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The number one citizen in the state had on 10th May through an announcement by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, ordered the suspension of the Egwu Imo Awka Festival, as a result of the effects of the coronavirus on the globe.

The Awka Development Union, (ADUN), also in a statement signed by Engr. Tony Okechukwu, President General, ADUN, and HRM Dr Obi Gibson Nwosu, Eze Uzu Awka II, supported the call for a suspension by the state government, with both calling on security agencies in the state to ensure implementation of the ban.

However, on Monday, May 24, around 3:30PM, youths of Awka Community were seen defying the order as they held the first leg of the celebration which was a short journey to Umuokpu, a neighboring community, to invite them to join in the celebration.

At the popular Eke Awka Market, some of the youths obstructed traffic. Curiously, among the vehicles obstructed was that belonging to the famous OCHA Brigade, with members of the brigade inside the bus doing nothing.

Speaking to Fides, one of the youths who was interviewed around Eke-Awka axis, and who refused to disclose his name said, ‘Yes, we heard of the suspension as announced by the government, but we cannot afford to abandon a celebration we have held for years because of coronavirus.

‘We are ready for the worst; if Obiano likes, he should release the entire Nigerian Army. Imo Awka must still hold. We have obeyed our elders and that is why we are doing it on a low key. But to say we will not hold it at all, that is not possible,’ he noted.

Expressing what he called ‘biased governance’, the visibly angry youth queried why the state government allowed churches and other places of religious worship to resume services only to stop them from carrying out theirs.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the Anambra State Police Command as at press time proved abortive.

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