Imo State government has declared support for the staging of this year’s edition of Ikeja Festival, this is according to the Commissioner for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Dr. Mazi Uche Ohia. Ohia disclosed this during a recent meeting with a delegation of Arondizuogu Patriotic Union (APU) and the Local Organising Committee of the festival led by the Secretary of the Local Organising Committee, Mazi Chinedu Okpareke, who is also the secretary general of APU in his office.
Ikeji Festival, a communal and cultural tourism festival, which among others incorporates the celebration of the mask culture, is held annually by Arondizuogu communities located in Ideato North, Ideato South and Okigwe local government areas of Imo State. He gave assurance of the government’s willingness to partner with the people in ensuring that the festival holds and lives to its billing this year. The commissioner described Ikeji Arondizuogu Festival as a major cultural event gazetted by the defunct Federal Ministry of Information, Culture, and National Orientation.
He noted that Ikeji Festival which attracts thousands of visitors to the state annually is probably the largest carnival of masks and masquerades in Africa. He commended the community for keeping their heritage alive and stated that the state government would find areas of assistance to help harness the full cultural and tourism potentials of the festival.
He said: “we are looking to send a team to your community so that we get technical details on what we can do as a Ministry and what we can request other MDAs to assist you to do. “We encourage communities that organise festivals that attract tourists to Imo State because our state thrives on tourism and hospitality and the governor is determined to revolutionalise the environment for tourism to thrive. The four days of Ikeji Arondizuogu Festival 2022 will help boost tourism. Our target is to increase visitor traffic to our state by at least 50% in the next one year”. Ohia also informed them that all cultural groups, tourism facilities and services in the state were being recertified by the Ministry through the State Tourism Board to fast track digital marketing of tourism and to open the tourism space to visitors and investors.