Economic Utility of IGUE: African Festival in Benin

By Uwagboe Ogieva

Amongst festivals celebrated over the globe today, Igue festival is up-to- date with significant monument of the past historical facts of the Benin Empire before the coming of the Europeans (missionaries) into Benin. It is coined in the memory of what led to the 1897 war of the Benin massacre that cannot be forgotten or left to be buried in order to knowing it’s importance among other activities, as a reference point to tracing and in remembrance of how the artifacts looted by the British undertakers are where they are today in Britain.

I am aware that igue festival is approximately a month celebration or more, so the need to plan and project activities for a one month extravaganza in Benin City, then capital of Midwest, Bendel and present Edo state (the heart beat) of Nigeria.

For sake of brevity will recommend “Igue Festival” by Prof. Ademola Iyi-Eweka, PhD for those who have limited knowledge about this great African festival. . The Benin monarch cultural influence holds a fatherly position to many other ethnic groups in southern Nigeria. Any group or ethnic group that shares the same historical antecedence has every right to participate in elevating and celebrating the Benin/Edo cultural heritage anywhere in the world.

Every ethnics group within the Benin monarch linage of Edo state and beyond, Esan, Afemai/Etsako, Ora, Owan, Akoko Edo, Urhobo etc, need be aware that igue festival is their cultural heritage to celebrate. For instance, the art of the “Igbabo ne ehinmwin” of the Ishan, traditional dance and display of the Afemai, Ora, Owan, Urhobo, etc should show case their various cultural heritage, side attractions, sails of cultural artifacts to both tourist and indigenes, presentations of creative arts and symbols during the festival.

In other words, to embrace their memorable art, every other Edoid culture should set up a modality on how their festival will also be connected and fused with Igue festivals for a multicultural activity, fighting a course towards unity and maximizing the economic wealth in such a carnival.

On the foregoing, villages and towns, companies, banks, market women unions, cooperative societies, public and private enterprises including federal and state government should be encouraged to participate by getting involved through sponsorship of any kind. If need be, there should be a public holiday.

For assumption of the area of celebration (the palace), the National Museum could be open and equip with great Benin bronze and other historical artworks to tourists and visitors all over the world

Monuments, statures and architectural constructions should be open for sponsorship by both government and private investors. I will personally demand that that of great Oba Ovoramen and Queen Iden, who was a source of unity to all Edos through Ikoka saga be gigantic cenotaph.

Community leaders, village heads (Odionwere) and technical service men to co-ordinate and lead their village elders, men and women including village masquerades to same events. Hotels and Hostels in Benin and beyond should be getting involve and preparing to receive visitors from all over the world attending the festival at the heart of Benin City. Edo state, Nigeria, West Africa.

Edo citizens at home and abroad (in Diaspora) most take chance of this great opportunity to participate, promote and protect from abuse by any means necessary. They must find a way to unite, focus more on the beauty of each other rather than seeing witch and demons. Love self, community and nation before any things else. View positive, speak positive and act positive. The greatness or failure of Igue: African Festival in Nigeria lies more on the celebrant (Edo people and the Benin Monarch). “Vbe nu tu rre ih tu lelué” meaning it is the way you sing your song others will respond accordingly. Every machinery must be jarred towards a re-education, re-orientation, and re-mobilization of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, communities and nations on importance and benefits of Igue: African Festival.

Edo Christians must be actively involved too in coordinating their congregations for massive participation. Edos must all join hands together to give the great Benin/African festival a befitting and colorable presentation. African Americans, African British (Black British), African Germans, and all other African descendants living in Diaspora willing to reconnect with their ancestral link should be re-awoken by the spite of this festival.

Now, with global recession, economic crises, unemployment, high bankruptcy and low standard of living, igue: African festival will create more happiness and livelihood for many if embraced overwhelmingly. If Spain, England, America can invent worldwide celebrated festivals like Christmas, Santa clux, Brazilian festival, etc, then Africa being the mother of all civilizations, artworks, spirituality and traditions can do better if cultured with all sincerity.

Igue is Edo/Nigeria and African festival and should be embrace and enjoyed by all

Uwagboe Ogieva ©

4 June, 2010

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Uniting Igodomigodo descendants worldwide for cultural and economic growth and development

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