Igbos in Diaspora Celebrate Igbo Language and Culture- See over 80 Photos

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Igwe Ihediwa 1

                 His Royal Highness, Igwe Ihediwa

Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival 2017-The Story of Success

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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
Okey Ononaku Of ICOTTH USA performing the Ikolo Beating 21 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 CanadaEvent Hall Full to Capacity Section one of the Event HallEvent Hall Full to Capacity 2Section 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.

Guests Arriving and taking their seats 66Section Three Photos of the Event Hall

The hall was lavishly decorated and adorned with High Table with Igbo artifacts from Ononaky Arts Galery 13Section 4 of the Event Hall-The High Table Igbo Diaspora Festival Photos 33Event Hall Section 6

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.High Table with Igbo artifacts from Ononaky Arts Galery 13 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, Igbo Diaspora Photos-Chief Chima Onyeagbau Umelo President Abia Indegenes of South Africa, Chief Chima Onyeagbau Umealo

the Chairman of Nwannedinamba USA, Ichie Dr. Larry and Lolo UdorjiIchie Dr. Larry and Lolo Udorji being ushered to the High Table, Prince M O Agurd and wife being excorted to the High TableEvent 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.

Igbo Summit Dr Stanley OnyeDr. Stanley Onye, MC of the Event
Following opening prayers, First Lady Lolo Udorji bringing in Colanuta 15the 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 Igbo Summit Nze Okey Okigwe Nze Na Ozo USAIgbo Diaspora Photos-Nze Na Ozo USA President Okigwe with Nze Na Ozo leaders 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 Okey Agurd Atlanta Best Known Colanut Breaker takes over 20Prince 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 UdorgiIgbo Summit photos Ichie Dr. Larry Udorji. The Chairman called on Chair of the Planning Committee Prof Oranika welcomes Guests 22Prof. 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 Event Chairman and wife being ushered to the High Table 4from 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 Attorney Okey Mbonu being Ushered to the High Table 12Maryland 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 attendeesMiss Igbo USA 2017 29 . The audience gave her extended round of applause Jessica’s proud parents were also in attendanceMiss Igbo USA 2017 with her proud Parents 28 spectacular Igbo dance byIgbo Summit PILA Igbo School Dance 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 youthsNwannedinamba YouthsNwannedinamba Youth Dace escording the Masquerade 36 Both groups  appeared on the dance stage with their masquerade and thrilled the audience.Masquerade in an impressive dance 40Masquerade shokk the floor as some women guests moved out of the way 39The Masquerade 37 Nwannedinamba Youth Dace escording the Masquerade 36The masquerade thrilled the spectators with its sudden moves from one side of the hall to the other. Music singer, Ngozi Igwe DancersNgozi 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. Dr. Stanley Onye with his Award 45Stanley Onye of Nwannedinamba USA and Igbo Council of Traditional Title Holders of America (ICOTTH USA), Chief Okey Ononaku of ICOTTH USA, Dr. Ujunne Akpuaka with her Award 46Dr. Ujunne Akpuaka of Maryland, Dr. Uche Umeh with her Award 49Dr. Anthonia Uche Umeh of ASA Women Association of Maryland, igbo Summit Photos Okey MbonuAttorney Okey Mbonu of Maryland, Chair of the Planning Committee Prof Oranika with his award 53Prof. Okechukwu P. Oranika of Atlanta Chairman Event Planning Committee,Oranika Receiving his Award 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.Ichie Udorji with First Lady of Nwannedinamba USA 11

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 Nze Na Ozo USA 3through 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 Event Chairman and wife being ushered to the High Table 4Sir 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 NtukoguIgbo Diaspora Photos-HRM Igwe Ihedikwa with Model Anayo NtukoguAnayo posing with Igwe Ihediwa,igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Photos Day 1 Model Kanayo in action with the PILA girlsModel Kanayo in action with the PILA girlsand 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 incrediIgbo Summit Photos Ngozi Igwe ble performers. Ada Odibeze and Nwannedinamba USA women ushering Guests to the High Table 5We specially thank Ada Nkiru Onyema for all the coordination work for this festival

Elegant Odibeze Nkiru Onyema photo 61Ada Odibeze

Ada Iffy DavisAda 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 Chiha with friends 56 Chief Toby at Registration DeskChief 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.

Much thanks to all the members of the National Planning Committee, we thank you for being a part of this great historical eventExtraordinary Igbo Cultural display 27

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

Email: [email protected]

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

Igbo Summit Photos-Nze Na Ozo USA PresidentMore Award winners 51More Award winners 43Elegant Odibeze Nkiru Onyema photo 61Ujunne with others photo 60Igbo Summit Photos Ngozi IgweIgbo Summit Photo Rev Fr Nnorom and DC Mayor UkpabiIgbo Diaspora Photos High TableIgbo Summit Photos Oranika with the Agurd FamilyNwannedinamba Youths Dance 36Ada Iffy DavisUjunne with others photo 60More Award winners 43More Award winners 51Igbo Diaspora Festival Photos Day 1igbo Summit Photos-Mayor of Washington DC being recognizedAward winners 44Miss Igbo USA with Anayo and Oranika 14Model Kanayo in action with the PILA girlsChief Ukpabi with his Award 50Event Chairman and wife being ushered to the High Table 4Extraordinary Fashion statement 25Extraordinary food served Buffet style by Nwannedinamba USA women 26HRH Igwe Ihediwa Congratulates Oranika for his Award 55Igbo Diaspora Festival High Table 2Igbo Diaspora Festival Photos 41Igbo Diaspora Festival Photos 40Igbo Diaspora Festival Photos 39Igbo Diaspora Festival Photos 37Igbo Diaspora Festival Photos 33Igbo Diaspora Festival Photos 30

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