A renowned German tourist, Mr. Hans Michael Ehrenberg, has laudable the efforts of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), in driving the process of preserving the rich cultural endowments of the country, stating that there was need to support and sustain the lofty programmes of NICO in order to preserve the abundant tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the country.
Mr. Ehrenberg made the remark when the South-South Zonal Head of NICO, Mr. James Imohiosen, who led staff to the 2012 Annual Awankere Festival, in Okere community, Warri South Local Government of Delta State.
He acknowledged that, it is the unique and rich culture of the people that had made Nigeria his tourism destination, and eulogized the people of Okere community, for sustaining the annual festival for the past 515 years, stating that he was highly elated by the African religious practices displayed.
Speaking at the event, the NICO South-South Zonal head, Mr. James Imohiosen, thanked the Ogieboro of Okere land, High Chief E.S. Esisi, for sustaining the culture of the people through the Akwankere festival, which dates back to 1497, pledging the Institute’s to support the documentation and sustenance of the festival, and used the medium to invite stakeholders of the culture sector to attend the forthcoming workshop organized by the Institute on the theme, “Repositioning Nigerian Cultural Workers for improved productivity,” slated for October 2012.
Expressing his delight over the presence of NICO team at festival, the Ogieboro of Okere, High Chief Esisi, pleaded with NICO to facilitate the recognition of the festival internationally, saying that the festival exhibits the warm and hospitable nature of the people.
Also emphasizing the importance of the festival to the community, an Okere opinion leader, Dr. Godwin Uku, stated that the festival is a source of unity and love among the people of Okere community, as all sons and daughters, both at home and Diaspora, come home to partake in the festival.
Earlier, the PRO of Okere community, Hon. David Eyitemi Oki, led the Zonal Head and his team around the community to see cultural relics and trees planted by Ekpenede, the founder of Okere community.
On the zonal head’s entourage were Uku Oritsewyinmi, Obi James, Orusoso Opokuma, Preye Bripin, and Agoro Uzefa Solomon.