The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed has said the federal government is working hard to popularize indigenous Nigerian culture to the globe.
The minister was at the Ito Ogbo ceremony in Obosi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, a triennial event meant to celebrate octogenarians in the community.
The minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr Ifeoma Anyanwutaku said pictures and interviews of the event will be taken to Abuja, while efforts will be made to ensure that the event is made a national event.
“We’re here today to witness the festival ourselves because of the importance we attach to the celebration. Our visit is a step towards pushing it further. We’re not only pushing it to a national celebration but an international one.
“It will become a festival that both the local and foreigners will be hearing about it. We’re going to be fully here tomorrow (Saturday) where we’ll conduct interviews with various stakeholders which we’ll document for future references.”
Earlier, the traditional ruler of the town, Igwe Chidubem Iweka, had called for the festival to be made a national celebration.
He said such moves would go a long way to establish the importance of longevity as well as addressing the myriad of challenges being faced by the elderly who according to him were often abused and neglected.
He said, “We’re elated to have the federal government presence in this year’s celebration. This is the very first time we’re having a federal representative to observe the event.
“We want this celebration to spread, not only in this town but in Nigeria and across the world because we’re not selfish. We recognise what our ancestors did for us by instituting this festival.
“We will want this festivity of Ite Ogbo to become a national celebration and to be emulated and replicated. It will go a long way to establish the importance of old age and make our youths appreciate the elderly and not abuse and neglect them.”