An organisation, under the auspices of Progressives Leaders Association (PILA), which opened and inaugurated an Igbo Language School in the United States of America (US), has opened similar school in South Africa.
PILA is an organization sponsoring an Igbo Language School in the U.S., but has decided to extend its scope to South Africa in its bid to preserve the Igbo language, which was predicted by UNESCO to be one of the languages that would go into extinction.
The Coordinator, PILA, South Africa, Chima Umealo, said at a dinner in Johannesburg that 16 children had started lesson in the school.
He said the group’s aim was to secure the Igbo language and ensure it would not be extinct.
“Pila’s aim is to secure the Igbo language because UNESCO had predicted that the language was among those that will go out of fashion in no distant time. We decided to come out with a programme to secure our language because a people without a language are no people,” he said.
According to Umealo, who also is the President, Abia Union, South Africa, one way of sustaining Igbo culture was to secure the language.
“We therefore, resolved to establish an Igbo school in South Africa to affiliate with the one in the U.S to promote our culture and language,” he said.
The coordinator explained that the essence of the school was to enable Igbo children born in South Africa, who are not opportune to communicate with others when they go home, would be taught the language while in South Africa.
The time-table for the school would be run during weekends and vacations, adding that arrangements had been concluded to teach them at weekends during school session.
According to the Coordinator, in no distant time, the school would be offering and teaching the students mathematics and science in Igbo to make them put to practice what they do daily in school and at home.
The traditional head, Abia indigenes in South Africa, Eze Sidney Ihediwa, said the establishment of the school was a step in the right direction adding that it was important because Igbos should ensure that their heritage and culture does not go into extinction.
According to the traditional ruler, some Igbo children born abroad were losing touch with their language, stressing that such schools would assist them to preserve their culture.
However, Chairman, Ikwuano and Umuahia Communities, South Africa, Ikechi Otuonye, said the school would make children to speak their native language while abroad.
“Even when they travel to other countries, they can communicate in the language with other brethren there,” he said.
The Director, Korean Cultural Centre (KCC), Han Sungrae, has called on the Nigerian film industry to partner the Korean movie industry to further boost bilateral relations between Nigeria and Korea to improve the qualities of productions.
Sungrae made the call at the Asian Film Festivals held in Abuja.
He stressed that Korea has an advanced technology that movie makers in Nigeria can benefit from.
“If there is partnership between both, it will improve the qualities of productions and volume of sales of both Nigerian and Korean films sales in both countries. They will also boost the cultural and tourism potential of Nigeria and Korea as they will be showcasing the various tourism sites in the two countries in their movies,|” Sungrae said.
The recent screening of the Korean movie ‘Calona’ in Abuja, according to him, showcased the famous Korean tourism site: Jeju Island.
“Calona means a place with yellow flowers. The KCC likes showing this film to introduce the Island to the world to encourage people to visit it. Nollywood can also portray some Nigerian tourism sites in their movies. ‘Calona’ is a 116 minutes’ film released in 2016,” he said.
It is the story of Gye-choon (Youn Yuh-Jung), a female diver on Jeju Island, who is living a simple and community-based life. Unfortunately, her little grand-daughter, Hye-ji (Kim Go-Eun), goes missing from the community. Hye-Ji, who was living on petty crimes on the streets of Seoul in Korea grows up a troubled-teen.
Gye-choon is, however, reunited with her after 12 years of separation.
The movie showed how the warmth displayed by Gye-choon’s unswerving devotion gradually drew Hye-Ji back to some semblance of the sweet creature she once was. They lived a lively normal life in the Island until another tragedy struck.
Both Federal Government and Lagos State Government have disclosed plan to assist over 15 million Nigerians in diaspora to trace their roots back home through the Badagry Diaspora Festival scheduled to hold in August.
The plan, according to the governments, aimed at helping the diasporans to know their roots as well as enriching them with their roots’ cultural heritage.
They also said the festival, which would be a replica of the 1977 Festival of Arts and Culture otherwise known as FESTAC 77, was designed to assist Africans in diaspora to reunite with their ancestral roots.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said that the initiative of the government was also to promote tourism.
Speaking at a news conference held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa on yesterday, Dabiri said apart from putting issues of Africans in diaspora on the front burner, the festival, would also provide platform to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Lagos State and Nigeria to the world and also promote tourism potentials of the country.
The presidential aide, who commended Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for throwing his weight behind the festival, said the event would host the largest gathering of Africans in the world, and that it was a thing of joy that many Africans in diaspora had already indicated interest in tracing their roots back home.
“For the first time, we have been having a festival in Badagry that brings people in the diaspora together, but when we attended this festival few years ago, we sat together and said this would be the biggest cultural event to come out of Africa and so after years of planning, we have been able to come out with this programme this year coming up on August 23 to 25,” she said.
She recalled that the United Nations had declared ten years as decade for Africa, and so within the said decade, Nigeria in particular, and Lagos would be putting up one of the biggest gatherings of diaspora all over the world that would gather in Badagry later this year.
“One of the unique events of the festival is the ‘Door of Return’. A lot of people and things were taken out of Africa and Badagry in particular, and so our people in diaspora would be coming back through that door that we are calling the Door of Return, which is the opposite of ‘Point of no Return. Beyond that, we will be showcasing the beauty and culture of Lagos State in particular and Nigeria in general through the festival,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
Reacting to questions on number of people in the diaspora expected to grace the festival, Dabiri-Erewa said many Nigerians in the diaspora had already indicated interest to be part of it, adding that they didn’t have an accurate database but they were working on 15 million Nigerians in the diaspora and a lot of them were already coming.”
In the same vein, the Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Oversees Affairs and Investment, Professor Ademola Abass, said the State Government was delighted to partner with the Federal Government and other promoters of the festival, as the event was in sync with the cardinal objective of the present administration in the State to use tourism, hospitality, entertainment and sport to promote excellence.
He said apart from the fact that the festival was coming at a time the State was celebrating the 50 years of its existence, the festival would be utilized to showcase the giant strides of Governor Ambode’s administration in transforming Badagry to the next tourism hub in Africa.
“This festival is going to be utilized to promote the huge efforts that the present administration in Lagos State has been putting into turning Badagry around in terms of infrastructure, in terms of tourism and so many other things and so this forthcoming celebration falls squarely within our government agenda to promote tourism and also to promote investment.
“As you know, we are developing a Sea Port in Badagry among so many other things and so the festival will be a win-win for everybody especially for us in Lagos State,” Abass said.
On his part,President of African Renaissance Foundation, Babatunde Mese-Waku, one of the promoters of the festival, said a Brazilian, Baye De Santos, whose root has been traced to Ketu in Benin Republic, would be honoured at the festival for his contribution towards promoting issues relating to Africans in diaspora.
Also, Managing Director of Agile Communications, Rufai Ladipo,the marketing firm for the festival, said series of activities have been lined up for the festival including carnival procession, boat regatta, fishing competition, dark era procession, diaspora dinner, beauty pageant, cultural displays, heritage site visits, heritage night, festival market, international music concert and international symposium, among others.
In the past, there was a belief that women should only be seen, not heard, but a stage play, The Prowess of Erelu Kuti (The Mother Queen), held on Sunday, May 21, 2017, debunked the mirth.
Organised as part of the activities for the celebration of Lagos State 50th anniversary, the play which took place at MUSON Centre, Lagos, was adopted in fulfillment of 6th edition of Royal Star Entertainment Production (ROSEP) Nigerian Women of Excellence and Achievement Award.
The event was made possible ROSEP in conjunction with Ramont Entertainment Production and supported by the Lagos State Government.
Interestingly, the stage play and the awards focused on the celebration of womenfolk in the appraisal of the role of mothers and wives.
‘The Prowess of Erelu Kuti’ is a total theatre presentation involving music, dance, songs and acting.
It is pertinent to note that Erelu Kuti is an important royal title in Lagos, which has been held by strong women of substance. The first Erelu of Lagos was Erelu Kuti, a Princess of Lagos and the only daughter of King Ado, the first king of Lagos.
Erelu Kuti was one of the predominant originators of Lagos hospitality and laid the legacy of honour for peaceful resolution of conflict, and yet little attention is paid to the woman who gave them the opportunity to embrace Obaship in Lagos.
In the play, the story of Erelu Kuti was re-enacted.
“We all were not born when the story happened in the 17th century. Whatever the historical sources of this prominent character called Erelu Kuti that was presented was our own accomplished research which we put together for today’s special performance,” says the Creative Director of ROSEP, Femi Tade.
“Erelu Kuti is an enigma, her character and attributes are not just pleasant but also a proud and amiable woman whose charisma cannot be challenged.
She was also an enterprising woman, wealthy in her own modest way, very humble and sincere person with other outstanding qualities that cannot be faulted,” the actor said.
“Erelu Kuti in her capacity is the head of the womenfolk. She was dutiful, powerful and highly courageous. Her influence on the traditional and social political development of Lagos is worthy of note. She was very influential mostly during the reign of Oba Akinsemoyin, when she played a commendable and prominent role,” he explained.
“She strengthened our cultural influence with her inspiration and vision, pragmatism and restlessness in the introduction of women whose sons became kings in Lagos and it has since continued till this day.”
Over the years, it was rare for women lineages to become kings but Erelu Kuti created a legacy in the Obaship of Lagos. Other lands have since followed suit and it has gone beyond Yoruba land as other lands across the world adopted it to this present time.
Erelu Kuti’s genuine commitments and enthusiasm in the upliftment of Lagos is a manifestation of the remarkable success recorded within a short period.
In a bid to pursue cultural heritage and the recognition of women in our society, the distinctive effort has been highly embraced in Nigeria in particular and the African nation in general.
This has silenced the idea that women should be seen and not heard; but now women are not only seen but are loudly heard.
The Purpose of this theatre performance, Tade stressed, is to communicate the physical, emotional and psychological suffering of women.
“We desire to build Nigerian free from violence against women wish which includes threat to life, rape, wife battery, sexual harassment, forced prostitution and maltreatment of widows
ROSEP uses this artistic approach to showcase the dilemma of the Nigerian women.
According to the convener, ROSEP is a multi-dimensional arts company engaged in the business of drama and film production, adding that they believe strongly in the sustenance of the stage medium and boast of being one of the few organizations that have kept the performing theatre alive in spite of all odds.
“In the last ten years, ROSEP has embarked on a campaign on women which talks about the Protection and their important roles in our Society,” the playwright said.
He noted that Nigeria is a country blessed with vast rich cultural endowments and one of the foremost countries of the world where arts and culture constitute major attractions, but unfortunately, these potentials have been grossly under-utilized.
He reiterated the need for research and documentation cannot be over-emphasized, noting that if nothing was learnt from the past histories, nothing of benefit could be learnt from the present; and that makes a nation ill-equipped to face the future.
“To guard against this occurrence ROSEP now plans to document some of the history of Lagos between 17th and 18th century through this play,” he enthused.
Tade stressed further that ROSEP is committed to the betterment of Nigeria, especially this generation and the incoming ones.
“We also belong to the creative circle and our interest is to build the society through art, we could act as a catalyst for positive change in our community.
Our pet project, Nigerian Women of Excellence and Achievement Award is devised and hosted by ROSEP with the sole purpose of celebrating women for their monumental contributions to the development in various spheres of life. It is a special moment when attention is paid to women,” he added.
Wife of Lagos State Governor, Bolanle Ambode, was presented with an award of Distinguished Culture Personality at the event. Other personalities that graced the event among others included: Erelu Abiola Dosunmu and Acting Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Adebimpe Akinshola.
Tade said he planned to use the award as a special project that focuses on the celebration of the womenfolk, in the appraisal of the roles of mothers and wives, women in politics, women in leadership and most importantly women of legendary stature and accomplishment who deserve their commendation and emulation.
He maintained that the noble initiative aimed to promote Nigerian culture and tradition as well as celebrating the importance of women in national development.
“In Nigeria, women suffer many forms of violence; they experience inequalities in their social life, Political, economic and cultural life, violence against women takes place often privately, within the household as well as publicly. It cuts across all cultures and traditions; across class, ethnic and religious barriers and the struggle to completely eradicate these ugly acts against women is still on-going.”
Nigerian Women of Excellence and Achievement Award, according the culture activist, is deliberately designed to increase awareness on problems and proffering solutions in Nigeria.
The Lagos State Government has commenced remodeling of Late MKO Abiola and Chief Gani Fawehinmi sculptures at Ojo park, the development which was said to be part of measures toward retaining contributions and preserving memory of great duo to Lagos.
However, the remodeling being part of ongoing face-lift of the parks, it was gathered that the work entails the erection of bigger sculptures of the two prominent Nigerians.
The Acting Commissioner, Lagos Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Adebimpe Akinshola, said that the on going development was the state Govenor, Akinwumi Ambode, called and that he approved and recommended that the project should be more pleasing and more aesthetic.
Speaking on Tuesday in Lagos, Akinshola disclosed that a group of artistes were assigned for the remodeling of the entire park including erection of the new aesthetic sculptures, adding that, the government was set to complete the that of the MKO statue at of the Ojota Garden.
According to her, the remodeling that was meant for both statue and water fountain to enhance the aesthetic value of the park for better appreciation and commemoration of June 12 presidential election.
“The remodeling work on Chief MKO Abiola statue commenced late January 2017 and is currently about 70 per cent completed and the project also included additional facilities such as a water fountain and a designated mini park.
“That of Chief Gani Fawehinmi also at Ojota was about 60 per cent completed, while the park was being enhanced with another work of art called The Possibility.””
Akinsola reiterated Ambode’s administration commitment to change face of Lagos with ongoing erection of 29 artistic sculptures and monuments at strategic locations across the State.
The commissioner hinted that six of the projects were completed and officially unveiled, including the statues of the first settler in Lagos, Prince Olofin (erected at Ijora), the first King of Lagos, Prince Ado (erected at Moloney Junction, Lagos), and Ojuloge (erected opposite the National Theatre).
She explained that Ojuloge was designed to celebrate and convey sense of beauty, grace, style and passion for fashion of Lagos Women.
The other completed monuments were the drummer (erected at Ipakodo, Ikorodu), which depicts the Yoruba music culture; youth empowerment (erected at Sabo Yaba), which depicts situations and resources the youths deploy to improve quality of life; as well as the fisherman (erected at Badagry junction) which depicts one of the occupations and heritage of the people of Badagry.
The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has traced greatness of the State to its ability to be the melting pot for all cultures from all over the country.
Ambode made the observation at the Lagos History Lecture held at Eko Hotels and Suits with the theme: “Lagos: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” as part of activities marking Golden Jubilee anniversary of the State.
According to Governor Ambode, the people of the State over the years have distinguished themselves in making others feel at home away from home.
The Governor recalled that since inception, Lagos had effectively transited from an administrative entity to become the melting point of cultures and the socio-political and economic state of global significance, adding that the state was being rated today, as the fifth largest economy in Africa.
According to him, the lecture was an opportunity to have an introspection into the past, engage in an objective appraisal of the present and a realistic prognosis of the future of another 50 years.
It’s on this background, Ambode said that attracted the assemblage of knowledgeable royal fathers, elder statesmen, jurists of distinction and Lagos indigenes of repute to trace the history of the State and proffer insights as to the areas to concentrate on for the future.
“It is important for us at this epochal gathering to refresh our memory about the beginning; the journey of how the AWORI played an important role in the evolution of what we call Lagos today,” Ambode said.
“The same applies to the evolution of the EKO Royalty with the coming of the Bini from present day Edo State and even the momentous role played by the TAPPA in the making of our dear State.
“Our greatness is in our ability to be the melting pot for all cultures and as at today, there is no tribe in Nigeria that is not represented in Lagos. From the Hausa/Fulani to the Igbo to the Kanuri to the Ibibio, the Nupe, the Berom, the Igala and so on and so forth all have spaces to live and live well in our dear State.
“Lagos is not just national in outlook. It is international. The Americans are here; the British are here; South Africans are in their thousands; the Chinese are not in short supply; and the Indians even have a community in Lagos”. According to the Governor, there was no other State like Lagos in Nigeria. He said that some other tribes may claim to ‘own’ Lagos because the state used to be a Federal Capital Territory.
“But I really do not think so. While that may have contributed to our greatness, we are also a unique people ready to make fellow human-beings from other lands feel home away from home,” the Governor said.
While acknowledging the progress which Lagos had witnessed politically, socially and economically, Ambode said he was certain that the ancestors of the State would be giggling in their graves with the tremendous progress in all spheres of governance that have elatedly become the lots of the State.
The Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Professor Hakeem Danmole while in his keynote lecture, traced the history of Lagos since the inception, adding that it was commendable that the legacy of achievement has been sustained in the state.
Danmole said the state must strictly adhere to rules and regulations, adding that for Lagos to reach greater heights, developmental plan must be followed.
While calling on the Federal Government to collaborate with the state government to fast-track development in Lagos, Danmole urged the state government to fully utilize its God’s given environment especially in area of water transportation.
Responding to a call by Governor Ambode for the notion of ‘Lagos being a no man’s land’, the first Town Clark of the Lagos City Council, Senator Habib Fasinro and former Minister of Works, Femi Okunnu (SAN), said those behind such claim were ignorant.
Both guests said such claims need to be readdressed and were not only misleading but confrontational, adding that such claims were an abuse to history of indigenous people of Lagos such as; the Aworis, Egbas, Binis, Ijeshas, Nupes, Brazilian returnees, among others.
Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, adding voice to such claims, corroborated Fasinro and Okunnu, and urged the National Assembly to reconsider the motion to grant special status to Lagos, saying doing so would be in best interest of Nigeria.
The Canadian Government has invited Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi as a special guest to grace the country’s 150th Independence Anniversary celebrations in July this year.
Canadian Member of Parliament (MP), Ramesh Sangha, conveyed the special invitation to the Ife monarch in his palace on Sunday.
According to the Canadian MP, the invitation was aimed at forging stronger ties between Canada and Nigeria.
Sangha, representing Brampton Central in the Canadian Parliament, said he would collaborate with Federal Government in the areas of economy, youth empowerment, health services, agriculture, science and technology while in Nigeria.The MP described the Ife monarch as a “reference point in Nigeria in view of the enviable position he has carved for himself since mounting the throne of his forebears.
“We Canadians are very happy with Your Highness for the great work you are doing. On behalf of Canadian Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Justin Pierre James Trudeau, we are inviting you to the 150th Independence Anniversary Celebration of Canada coming up in July,” said the Canadian MP.
Oba Ogunwusi while responding to the MP’s comment said he would continue to promote Yoruba tradition and cultural heritage as well as propagate peace and unity across the world.
The Ife monarch said he would grace the occasion in Canada and also promised to contribute his quota to the success of the programme.
The Canadian delegation included President, Nigerian-Canadian Association in Ottawa, John Adeyefa, , President, Nigerian-Canadian Association in Ontario ,Chidi Nwanyanwu and, Leader, Nigerian Young-Adult Association in Canada,Sola Agboola.
The Wedding Party and 76 two films from the shelves of Nollywood have jointly won the 2017 NollywoodWeek Public Choice Award in Paris, France, as this year’s NollywoodWeek Film Festival ends.
According to the organisers, eleven films were shown during the four days of the festival, including five films in competition.
NollywoodWeek Film Festival, Tuesday announced that ‘The Wedding Party and 76’ have jointly received the 2017 NollywoodWeek Public Choice Award.
The festival trophy was given to Izu Ojukwu, the Director of 76 and Moses Babatope who represented the film in the absence of the film Director, Kemi Adetiba in a closing ceremony that was followed by World Premiere screening of Ctach dot er; by the Director Walter Taylaur.
“I was not expecting this award. It’s an honour for me and for everybody who worked on the film”, said Izu Ojukwu.
Moses Babatope expressed his joy at winning this year’s award and declared that it was a good omen as the production of The Wedding Party 2 had just begun in Lagos and Dubai.
The high quality of the selected films for the 5th edition has been praised by journalists and film critics.
Eleven films in total were shown during the four days of the festival, including five films in competition: Dinner, Gidi Blues, Green White Green, The Wedding Party and 76.
“The festival has really cemented its place in the Parisian cultural calendar. Each year, we try to offer the very best of Nollywood to the Parisian public by bringing the newest developments in the industry”, he added.
“This year we screened a web-series from REDTV and for the first time, an animated short film from Anthill Studios called Play-Thing,”Director of Communication and co-founder of the festival, Nadira Shakur, said.
According to the organisers, the selection of the 2017 edition of NollywoodWeek was rich and eclectic. The Public Choice Award ultimately went to two very different films but both have left an indelible mark on the Nigerian cinema landscape over the past year.
There are some people in life who enjoy putting one in a box and try as much as they can to stifle those they have held in bondage so that they are unable to achieve anything in life. Sadly, some of those who have been held in captivity ironically live up to the dreams and wishes of their captors. Others on the other hand, find a niche for themselves within the box they’ve been held in captivity and remarkably strive to achieve success in life.
Their remarkable liberation has been brought on about for after all, the captors are not necessarily the captives’ creator and therefore cannot dictate how the captives’ life should be led. Our life after all, is like a pencil in God’s hand who has mapped out the path for our lives. Our life is like a book in the creator’s hand who unfolds every chapter when he sees fit. “He holds us in the palm of his hands and our ways is constantly before him”. It would therefore be a gross travesty of destiny for one to think he can successfully control and affect one’s life.
Ironically, when it seems to the captor that all odds are against their captives’ and that everything seems to turn topsy-turvy for them, the captives’ creator provide a path for them to follow to be liberated from their captivity and achieve what they have been destined for.
The late Jaja of Opobo was one of such rare individuals who was privileged to be used by his creator to affect humanity. His imperturbability and sense of focus despite his captivity and consequent confinement earned him the respect, dignity and favour even among those who held him captive.
King Jaja whose real name was Mbanaso Okwaraozurumba, the third son of Mr and Mrs Okwaraozurumba was born at Úmuduruõha Amaigbo in 1821.
The late Mbabaso Okwaraozurumba was sold as a slave at the tender age of twelve to a Bonny trader. He first named Jubo Jubogha by his first master and was later named Jaja by the British.
While to some people, slavery would have meant demise to their destiny, to Jaja, slavery heralded the beginning of better prospects. He learnt his master’s trade (a trade in palm oil) whilst a slave, and later acquired great business skill and acumen.
Jaja’s incredible, daring and scintillating aptitude in business ideologies and prowess were such that he was able to clear huge debts owed by his late master. He was also able to extend the business by involving other houses, increasing operations in the wastelands and enlarging the number of European contacts. Jaja remarkably, became a small fish in a large pond. He later became the head of the Anna Pebble House after the death of his king Illoli Anni the people of Bonny. He also became a very wealthy man.
Jaja was well versed in his business that he refused to be dictated by the rules of the British traders. He defied trading rules by shipping oil directly to Liverpool, and continued to regulate and levy duties on British traders. He ordered a cessation of trade until one British firm agreed to pay duties. The British traders took his actions as a slap in the face, after all threats made against Jaja to desist from defiling trading rule fell on deaf ears.
He was subsequently lured into a meeting where he was arrested and sent to Accra. Jaja was tried and found guilty of “treaty breaking” and “blocking the highways of trade”.
He was sent to St Vincent, West Indies to serve his prison sentence and four years later, died en route to Nigeria after he was allowed to return.
The late Jaja was indeed a man of astounding quality; he was a man who did not allow abduction and slavery to ruin his chances in life but however, used his captivity as a way of helping those around him. Jaja was indeed a man whose zeal and conquest knows no bound.
There is no doubt what the late Jaja could have done to change the course of humanity had human greed and selfish interest not stood in his way. He was a remarkable man indeed; son of Duruoha and a great son of Amaigbo who made great impact to humanity and society at large.