His Royal Highness, Igwe Ihediwa
Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival 2017-The Story of Success
We paused on presentation of Part four story in light of the killings of young Igbos in South East as a respect for the innocent kids between ages of 16 and 25. We ask that before continuing with the reading of this story that you pause for one minute for all the innocent Igbo kids who bore no arms but were demonstrating peacefully in support of their freedom and constitutional rights.
Here is another installment of the Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival 2017-Part 4-Gala Night and Banquet
Chief Ononaku beat the Ikolo a traditional Ceremony in many parts of Igboland signaling the start of this important event
It was a proud day for Ndigbo in the Diaspora, a one small step but a giant leap for new efforts to keep our language and culture alive for posterity. Let it be known that we the inheritors of the great Igbo World Civilization will not seat around and allow our language to become extinct as predicted by UNESCO. We have therefore embarked on a noble journey, each year we have resolved to hold an Annual Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival. Part of our goal is to find ways and means to keep our beloved Igbo language alive and to celebrate our great Igbo cultural heritage passed on to us by our great Igbo ancestors. This year in 2017 we had the first Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival and we are glad to report that it was highly a successful event. More than 600 estimated Igbos and their friends from around the world gathered at the Banquet Hall of the Best Western Hotel in Lanham Maryland September 2nd 2017 for the single purpose of celebrating Igbo language and cultural Heritage. The attendees came from over 25 states in the USA, Nigeria, Igboland, Europe, and Canada Section one of the Event HallSection Two of the Event Hall
This is the first time that an event of this magnitude was put together for the single purpose of not only to celebrate Igbo Culture, but also to discuss and find ways and means of keeping Igbo Language and Culture alive for coming generations. The next section of this presentation Part 5 discusses the Communique which deals with this question.
Section Three Photos of the Event Hall
Igbo Cultural artifacts and relics provided by Chief Okey Ononaku from his Maryland area art gallery. Soon the guests began taking their seats all dressed in their rich Igbo Cultural outfits and ornaments. Members of the high table were introduced by the MC of the event Dr. Stanley Onye and escorted to the High table by the Nwannedinamba USA women. Among those called up and escorted to the high table includes the Eze Ndi Abia in South Africa HRH Igwe Ihediwa , along with the Executive President of Abia Indigenes of SA, , Chief Chima Onyeagbau Umealo
the Chairman of Nwannedinamba USA, Ichie Dr. Larry and Lolo Udorji, Event Grand Patron Prince M.O and Mrs Agurd, Nze na Ozo USA President Nze Okey Okigweh,the Event Director of Technology, Event Chairman from Canada Sir and Mrs Pius Illogu, and many others.
Dr. Stanley Onye, MC of the Event
Following opening prayers, the first lady of Nwannedinamba USA Lolo Tina Udorji and other Nwannedinamba ladies brought the colanuts to the high table. The traditional breaking of colanut was perfomed. Igbo tradition is often employed in deciding who is to perform the breaking of the colanut ceremony. In this case there were many qualified persons to break the colanut. His Royal Highness Eze Ihediwa was handed over the colanuts, special recognition was extended to Nze na Ozo USA President Nze Okey Okigweh and their members members, Ichies and Igbo elders who are equally qualified to perform the traditional breaking of colanuts so in the end His Royal Highness, Eze Abia in South Africa handled the ceremony and handed the colanuts to Prince M.O Agurd Jr to break. Prince Agurd the young Igbo millionaire from Atlanta understands like nobody else the application of Igbo idioms and proverbs in breaking of colanut ceremony. Indeed he was very impressive with his role, and finally the colanut was broken and shared and the audience had their share of the colanut as well.
This extraordinary event moved to the next stage with Opening remarks by the Chairman of Nwannedinamba USA Ichie Dr. Larry Udorgi. The Chairman called on Prof. Okechukwu Oranika the Planning Committee Chairman for the event to make his remarks. Prof. Oranika while welcoming everyone to this special occasion also reminded all of the purpose of this gathering–to strategize and find ways and means to save Igbo language and culture from extinction. Dr. Udorji in his speech also ceased the opportunity to welcome everyone from all parts of the world to Maryland. He noted that the journey has just begun and assured everyone that Nwannedinamba USA will be a willing partner in this noble effort to preserve our great language and culture.He noted that more Igbo language programs would be embarked upon by Nwannedinamba USA in the coming months and years to make sure that Igbo language is preserved for future generations of Ndigbo born and unborn.
The Chairman of the occasion Sir Pius Illogu from Canada also remarked that it is critically important that Ndigbo must do whatever is necessary to preserve Igbo Language and cultural heritage. Other speakers including Maryland Attorney Okey Mbonu and others also made their presentations pointing to the significance and need to preserve Igbo Language and culture.Dinner was served by the great women of Nwannedinamba USA The food was great and everyone was fully served. The bar was open and assorted drinks were also served by professional Bar Tenders.
The reigning Miss Igbo USA 2017 Jessica Alozie walked the stage to welcome all the attendees . The audience gave her extended round of applause Jessica’s proud parents were also in attendance spectacular Igbo dance by the PILA Igbo School girls of Baltimore entertained the audience. Great credit goes to the Director and founder of PILA Model Kanayo Ntukogu. The PILA dancers were great in their Igbo dance and the audience showed their appreciation by spraying the girls with lots of money as is traditionally done.
Next was the dance by Nwannedinamba women. They were very impressive in their dance and the audience again was very generous with their money spraying at the women dancers. There were performances by Nwannedinamba men along with Nwannedinamba youths Both groups appeared on the dance stage with their masquerade and thrilled the audience. The masquerade thrilled the spectators with its sudden moves from one side of the hall to the other. Music singer, Ngozi Igwe and her dancers well dressed in Igbo traditional costume had incredible performance.
Nwannedinamba USA Igbo Diaspora Service Awards 2017
Nwannedinamba USA ceased the occasion to recognize some members of the Igbo Diasporan who have served Ndigbo and made some contributions to the Igbo cause one way or the other through their selfless efforts over the years. Among the recipients of the Igbo Diaspora Service Awards 2017 includes, Reverend Father Nnorom from Richmond Virginia, Dr. Stanley Onye of Nwannedinamba USA and Igbo Council of Traditional Title Holders of America (ICOTTH USA), Chief Okey Ononaku of ICOTTH USA, Dr. Ujunne Akpuaka of Maryland, Dr. Anthonia Uche Umeh of ASA Women Association of Maryland, Attorney Okey Mbonu of Maryland, Prof. Okechukwu P. Oranika of Atlanta Chairman Event Planning Committee, surrounded by well wishers receeived his Award, The 2017 Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival would go down in the annals of Igbo History as the first time that an event of this magnitude was embarked upon for the purpose of saving Igbo Language and Culture. The event has helped to raise the awareness of the demise of Igbo Language and culture. Igbo Language was largely used as the communication medium at this festival but some people also spoke in English because of their difficulty in speaking Igbo language thereby underscoring the need and purpose of this yearly festival.
Appreciation and Vote of Thanks
This Event was made possible through the efforts of so many people. It is impossible to mention the name of everyone who has helped us in one way or the other to make this event happen First let me start with the 2 Igbo men and 2 Igbo women who originated the idea of this festival, including Prof Okechukwu Oranika, Ada Nkiru Onyema, Ada Anayo Ntukogu, and Ichie Dr Larry Udorji. A great opportunity to thank Dr. Larry Udorji without his untiring effort and devotion to this idea the Maryland event may not have happened.
But an idea is just an idea which needed some action to pragmatize it.We are very greatful to Nwannedinamba USA, through their leaders, Ichie Dr. Larry Udorji and Vice Chair Engineer Udenkwo and all their hard working members who left no stone unturned to make sure that a first class international event was achieved.
Special thanks to the great Nwannedinamba women led by their first lady Lolo Tina Udorji for their service and hospitality, they surely took care of all the guests that assembled from all parts of the world for this great festival
Special appreciation to Nze na Ozo USA through their President and our Event Communications Director, Nze Okey Okigweh and their members who assisted us in varying capacities to stage this event. We are grateful to their resourcefulness and willingness to help us in this great endeavor.
Huge appreciation to our Igbo brethren from South Africa who attended the event. Special thanks to Eze Ndi Abia in South Africa, HRH Igwe Ihediwa who led the South African team along with the Executive President of Abia Indigenes of South Africa, Chief Chima Onyeagbau Umelo and others. We also extend our thanks and greetings to other six Igbo Organizations in South Africa particularly to Chief Onyeka Chukwu Onyeka (Ebube Dike Ozubulu) President Anambra Association SA for all their efforts and support.
We thank our Chairman for the Event Sir Pius Illogu and his wife Mrs Illogu from Canada for being a part of this special event. Sincerely gratitude to our Chief Patron, Prince M. O. and Mrs Agurd who came in from Atlanta to grace the occasion. We extend our profound gratitude to all our donors too many to list here. We are very grateful for their kindness and support
We thank Chief Okey Ononaku of ICOTTH USA who loaned us special Igbo artifacts from his art gallery used in hall decorations.. We also thank all our presenters including Dr. Geaorge Okafor from Houston, Attorney Okey Mbonu from Maryland, Dr. Clifford Iroanya, IPOB Director in USA, and others.
Special thanks to Model Anayo NtukoguAnayo posing with Igwe Ihediwa, and her enthusiastic Igbo kids of PILA Igbo School in Baltimore, what a presentation and Igbo dance, incredible! Special thanks to Ada Nkiru Onyema who assisted in many capacities as the Event Coordinator. Special thanks to Dr. Stanley Onye for helping moderate the Summit and also handled the MC role during the banquet. We thank Ada Ngozi Igwe and her incredi ble performers. We specially thank Ada Nkiru Onyema for all the coordination work for this festival
Ada Iffy Davis was always there when we need her. Great many thanks to Ada Nkechi Osakwe, the Queen mother for all the help in various capacities including handling our finances.. Special thanks to all the Nwannedinamba men including Chief Obidike Ajuluchukwu Chief event recorder , Chief Toby Chiaha was very instrumental in making things happen.
Special Shout out to all the Abanna brothers and sisters including the Efobi family, Chief George Okafor and Mrs Okafor, and to our brethren from Umuoji, Attorney Okey Mbonu and Dr. Ujunne Akpuaka and others we salute you all, (Umuoji na Abatete bu nwanne)
Special appreciation to all our media partners, including Africa Business World of Atlanta, Chairman Chief Chike Nweke of Life and Times Magazine of Los Angeles, Nigerian News Agency (NAN) , Vanguard News and many other media partners.
Like the good old saying, everything with beginning has to have an end. The first Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival has come and gone, it is one for the Igbo History books. We invite everyone to the 2018 2nd Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival taking place in the New England great city of Boston Massachusetts. We will provide more information as soon as the Planning starts. Prepare ahead because you don’t want to be told the New England story. The Igbo Community in New England led by Dr. Ejike Eze is big and well organized. Their 2017 Igbo Day Festivities attracted more than 6,000 people. So you can only imagine how many people will be coming to Boston Massachusetts for the 2nd Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival. Finally I like to thank God Almighty that made this idea happen. Each year Igbo Brothers and Sisters from all Igbo communities around the world will gather to celebrate our rich Igbo language and Cultural Heritage
Biko Subakwo Igbo!
Story Written By
Prof Okechukwu P. Oranika,
Chairman Festival Planning Committee
Please note that the final segment Part 5, will by published soon, it is the Event Communique and a must read !
Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival Photo Gallery