By Dipo Olowookere
The perennial native Anioma outfit of Delta State known as Akwa Ocha can be a reliable revenue base for the Delta State government beyond oil if its opportunities can be fully explored, a declared Heritage Bank Plc.
This is why the financial institution is partnering with the state government to provide support to the Akwa Ocha fabric industry through the creative sector, Heritage Bank Managing Director Mr. Ifie Sekibo has revealed.
During the Delta Music, Comedy and Fashion Expo held at the Dome Event Center, Asaba, the banker noted that the industry will be supported to also stimulate sustainable growth of the national economy.
Mr. Sekibo, who was represented by Acting Head of South-South 2/ECM Group, Mr. Charles Ojakovo, further said that the music and entertainment industry had done so much for Nigeria in terms of employment and foreign exchange earnings and that if more resources could be put into it, the country would be better off.
“The Akwa Ocha cloth industry, the entertainment and creative industry that Delta State is known for, can be the revenue base of the state government beyond oil.
“Heritage Bank is always available and ready to partner with state and industry players to realize Delta Beyond Oil.
“This industry over the years has had a huge impact on our GDP and has employed a very large number of our young people, thus reducing the level of unemployment.
“Akwa Ocha is an Anioma heritage and our heritage, and there is a need to take it to the next level and to international standards, as a hub to orchestrate economic growth,” he noted.
He further explained that Heritage Bank’s various entrepreneurial programs for businesses have always focused on reliable job-creating sectors, such as the agricultural value chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), crafts, mining and solid minerals, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts) and information and communication technologies (ICT).
In his remarks, Omu Anioma and Nneoha, Obi Martha Dunkwu commended Heritage Bank for partnering with the event organizers for implementing a concept that introduces Akwa Ocha fabric into fashion shows.
She emphasized how impressed she was with the beautiful appearance of all the models who were beautifully dressed in the attire of such a dignified and holy display.
Omu Dunkwu said she could not have been more excited to have been chosen to unveil the Akwa Ocha which she had dedicated more than a decade to promoting in accordance with spreading the identity and unique values of the Anioma people of Delta. State.
Dunkwu claimed that there is no cloth like the Akwa Ocha anywhere in the world, which is why different people around the world come to identify with the source of the captivating outfit – the land of Anioma .
The cerebral queen mother of the Anioma nation advised that conscious efforts should be made to market the brand by the younger generation who want to get into the fashion business, saying Akwa Ocha fabric could be a profitable business if it is well packaged due to its unique and attractive features.
Meanwhile, in a competition for the best dancers dressed in Akwa-Ocha, organized by 2Things Promotion and cash prizes guaranteed by Heritage Bank Ynspyre Account, the 1st prize winner, Friday Nkechi received N250,000, while that Opene-Terry Joseph and Usanga Joseph as the 2nd and 3rd winners took home N150,000 and N100,000 respectively.