Culture they say is a way of life of a people. What this means is that a people are known by their culture through their way of life and this way of life therefore becomes their identity. Identity here varies from the way they dress, the kind of food they eat, their traditions and practices etc.
Culture is sacrosanct and the sacrosanctity of culture will not, should not and cannot be overemphasized. This is why in 2013, readied with the passion not to only preserve but also package and showcase the rich and beautiful culture of Idoma to the world, in addition to exposing our land and people to investment opportunities and take them away from all indices of underdevelopment, we founded the Agila Social & Economic Carnival which has now hopscotched into Idoma International Carnival – where the rich cultural heritage of the people of the Idoma Nation is not only displayed but restored.
Since inception, it has been the melting pot of Idoma culture; music and dance, fashion, art and pageantry, food, you name it.
It is also a platform for social and economic developments. Over the years, the carnival has empowered hundreds of women and youths through its economic empowerment scheme, in addition to the businesses and economic opportunities it attracts to Idomaland every yuletide. Not to mention the scores of youths it has gainfully employed in the carnival team, or the millionaires and stars it has made through the Face of Idoma Beauty Pageant, Idoma Got Talent, and other competitions. We’ve also given scholarships to several indigenous students.
Because of the enormous tourism potentials of Idomaland, and how the carnival has grown into international repute, we want to make Idomaland Africa’s foremost tourist destination through the avenue of the carnival.
Idomaland because of its strategic location; gateway between Southeast and Northern Nigeria, can be easily accessed from any part of the country. The construction of the Loko-Oweto bridge over River Benue has even shorten the distance between the nation’s capital and international airport town, Abuja, and the carnival town, Otukpo, the metropolitan capital city of the Idoma Nation.
Carnival attendees and tourists have options of exploring other tourist sites in Idomaland before catching the carnival train in carnival village. Some of the tourist sites include; Oweto beach, Bridge side, Benue River front, boat riding and fishing villages in Agatu, beautiful tourist sites in Agila town, former slave market in Utonkon, Old colonial buildings in Okpoga, Enumabia warm spring Orokam, Coal site and other tourist sites in Owukpa, Otukpo golf and country club, to mention a few. Tourists can also visit the Och’Idoma Palace in Otukpo, and the spot where the living legend, Bongos Ikwue plays old school music and Idoma folklores in GRA.
Also, the carnival host town, Otukpo, fondly called “Texas” is fast becoming a real estate haven with modern infrastructures sprawling up in the town. With the take-off of the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, a tertiary medical facility, University Teaching Hospital, is being built in the town. This will no doubt greatly contributes to the health needs of tourists in addition to the several primary health facilities and standard hospitals already in the town.
Last year, because of our concern for the safety of attendees and being law abiding citizens, we decided to put the funfair on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and host a special charity edition for the underprivileged instead.
The special charity edition tagged “Ohigbu Acholalo” meaning for the sake of our people. Love is a service and so we honour the underprivileged in Idoma land with our substances.
Having noticed how the pandemic brought hunger to the land, the Idoma International Carnival Organization decided as against her yearly carnival to instead give out foodstuffs ranging from rice, yam, groundnut oil, palm oil, noodles and so on, to the underprivileged in Idoma land. Every underprivileged that came to the venue left with a satisfaction and a smile on their face and this smile is our reward because all we want to do is more!
When we started, some viewed it as a political movement; some felt maybe ‘he wants to contest for one political post or the other.’
As the years went by, they began to see that this is all about the Idoma culture, all about the economic empowerment of our people and the turnout of the last two years could actually show that yes, everybody back home had actually embraced the carnival and a lot of sensitization is still up and running to ensure that we have more persons and communities equally participate in it.
With the announcement of the 2021 edition, fans are already ecstatic and can’t wait to catch all the fun at the biggest street party North of the Niger!
This year, we want to try and reach out to all the Idoma sons regardless of their political affiliations.
We are trying to make it a bit richer. The elite club of Idoma people and the umbrella body of the Idoma people are fully on board this time around. They are partnering with us to ensure that it becomes a full Idoma entertainment, cultural and food fest.
The theme for this year would capture the heart of every one. Number one; it is all about hope and unity and when you unite what comes out of it is love, strength.
So we want to preach more about our unity and our love and when we come together as a people then we can achieve more, because I cannot tell you that the success story of Idoma Carnival depends on me alone, I cannot do it alone.
The theme for this year in Idoma is “Okpotuche K’acholala” meaning the Hope for Our People.
Idoma International Carnival is many events rolled into one; Idoma Got Talent, Ugbureke traditional wrestling competition, Burn fire night/comedy/music concert, road procession, Face of Idoma Beauty Pageant and lot more.
This year’s edition will not be different, it will be bigger and better!
This year, various bands and manned by notable and experienced entertainment devotees such a Emmanuel Adukwu (Jos), Emmanuel Akpakwu (Otukpo/Makurdi), Barr. Paul Edeh(Kaduna), Capt. Matthew Ijachi(Nassarawa), my humbler self will be overseeing the Port Harcourt Band and a host of others.
This is an event you don’t want to miss.
Come 23-26 December 2021, Idoma land will be playing host to one of the most fascinating carnivals in the world once again. Business owners will be smiling to the banks again and talented youths will have a platform to showcase their talents again!
See you in Otukpo.
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TEL: 0806 128 5943