By Edward Egbelo
As the Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State prepares for her first ever cultural festival that unites the zone through a single colourful event, it is important to look at the essentials and importance of such a laudable get-together.
Unlike other zones in Cross River State, Northern Cross River State is unique in its special attribute of Cultural Harmony. History teaches us of the oneness that embraced the zone before the unfolding that produced five Local Government Areas. The five local government areas in the Northern Cross River all share same paternal bloodline. Of course we all know of the name that strikes that command of a unified zone “Agba”.
As a lad years ago, my late grandfather will assemble his grand children, in what looked like a historical lecture, to tell us of how a man named Agba settled down in a forest and gradually transformed these lands of green reserves to vibrant trade zones. He also told us of how the children of Agba established what we have today as Ogoja, Yala, Bekwarra, Obudu and Obanliku and made them international markets that hosted people from neighbouring Cameroon and traders from other parts of Nigeria.
Today, our younger generation is no longer privileged to listen to these inspiring and educating stories. As exciting as these historic stories might be, the need for an event that reminds us of the primordial brotherliness that forms the root of our existence cannot be over emphasized. If we must uphold that cultural identity, we should have a cultural festival that unites sons and daughters of Ogoja, Yala, Obudu, Bekwarra and Obanliku. It is this cultural heritage that makes New Yam Celebrations the most important cultural event in the Zone.
NORTHFEST is a cultural event that won’t just excite the people of the zone, it will exhilarate our ancestors. The festival is a dream come true. It is a festival that will bring people of the Northern Nation together, it is an event that will remind us of where we all come from, it is an event that will tell us how culture developed our ancestral empires, it is an event that will promote culture and tourism in Northern Cross River and Cross River State at large.
It is important to note that no society will develop without ethnic collaboration. As a people, we must take advantage of our cultural unity to develop the zone and our state at large.
The NORTHFEST features:
- A Cultural dance float in the five component local government areas in the zone
- A Novelty football match to strengthen the age-long bond that existed among eminent persons who were once class-mates, course mates or alumni.
- A NORTHFEST Pageantry to celebrate our traditional and natural beauty.
- A Cultural dance float that will be more of a cultural carnival in the host community of Ogoja, erection/inspection of Yam Barns, Arts and Crafts.
- Inspection and tasting of traditional cuisines.
- Grand entry of our royal fathers.
- Parade of Age Grades and Costume Maidens
- Traditional Wrestling.
- Pounded Yam Eating Competition.
- Palm wine Tapping competition to celebrate our legendary palm wine tappers.
- Thanksgiving service.
My warm appreciation goes to Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State for making this historic event possible.
God bless Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade.
God bless Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State.
God bless Cross River State.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.