I cherish using this auspicious moment to express my sincere delight over the preservation of the age-long OPOKUMA ONDE FIYA SIIKO UGE (Festival).
The Opokuma Onde Fiya Siiko festival is not only mythical, but has become an important aspect of the culture of Opokuma, thus, it indeed deserves annual commemoration.
This is even more so, as the mystical incident that led to the death of 400 persons from the ancient settlement, leaving just 20 persons, occurred more than four centuries ago.
It’s worthwhile, that the bizarre incident, is remarked, 23 years after. It’s celebration, eloquently attests to Opokuma people’s love for ancestral heritage and culture.
By estimation, this is one of the most remarkable cultural heritage in Izon Nation and the Niger Delta, especially, when considered from how the aforesaid number of lives were lost, yet, Opokuma Kingdom still smarted or sprouted to life like green plants in the rich humus.
I think, the glory should be ascribed to God Almighty who never allowed the Kingdom to be exterminated from human race.
My call is on the Kingdom to sustain the festival, to preserve it for future generations to also see and get the oral tradition.
I equally appeal that, the festival should serve as a bond of unity; a platform to tinker on the advancement of the people; an avenue for appraisal of human and physical capital development achieved so far; a moment to promote the values and mores of the Kingdom, and for stock-taking of the common good.
Kudos to the Council of Chiefs, elites, women and youths of Opokuma people, for continuing this important festival.
It is my desire that this historic event is packaged and branded for national and global reckoning in this era of internet, globalization, tourism and entertainment, not just as past time, but also for real tourism and revenue generation cum youth and women employment.
I implore the Council of Chiefs and the Kingdom to sustain the celebrations, as always.
Prof. Azaiki represents the good people of Yenagoa/Kolokuma-Opokuma Federal Constituency, Bayelsa in Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Abuja.