On Thursday, December 29, 2016, Okija town in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State affirmed its historical importance as the hub of Igbo tradition, as winners emerged in the 2016 ‘Face of Okija’ Pageant held in the sleepy community, comprising thirty villages.
The event, which saw Chinasa Ezeamaka and Chukwudi Enukoha emerge as the new Queen and King of Face of Okija respectively, was witnessed by foremost traditional rulers, notable names, accomplished individuals and observers from different parts of the country.
Those present at the event included Anambra State Governor, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano, his deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke, Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze, Secretary to the Government of Anambra State, Professor Rich Umeh, Chief Pete Edochie, one of Africa’s most talented actors, Anayo Modestus Onyekwere (Kanayo O. Kanayo) and Okechukwu Anthony Onyegbule (Okey Bakassi).
Hosted by the Obijackon Foundation, the CSR arm of the Obijackson Group, one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest growing conglomerates with vast investments in major sectors of the Nigerian economy, Face of Okija Pageant is a music and cultural festival aimed at rejuvenating the Igbo culture that has been badly eroded by all manner of external influences.
According to the Founder of the Obijackson Group, Dr. Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, who presented the winners with keys to brand new Corolla cars and cheques for the sum One Million Naira each, the “Face of Okija Pageant is a Special Purpose Programme (SPP) activated to insulate the Igbo culture, beliefs and tradition from continuous attrition. The initiative is a preservative agenda for sustaining our ‘Igboness’ and promoting our essence as a people”.
With their emergence as winners in the 2016 ‘Face of Okija’ Pageant, Chinasa Ezeamaka and Chukwudi Enukoha, in addition to other prizes, have become Ambassadors of the Obijackson Foundation and are placed on fixed salary of One Million and Four Hundred Thousand Naira for the duration of their reign. In their new role, they are expected to leverage their status to impact lives in Okija, Igbo land and the Nigerian nation through active involvement in a mix of social welfare programmes and initiatives will undertake in the days ahead.
Aside from excellent performance by Ebuka Obi-Uchendu (Ebuka) and Bovi Ugboma (Bovi), who were the event comperes, scintillating performance by Ifechukwu Eze (Ifex G), winner of the star prize of Five Hundred Thousand Naira in the Okija Rising segment of the event created to discover and help youths nurture their musical talent, held the audience spellbound just as Phyno (Azubike Chibuzo Nelson) glided to the stage to take the audience to another level of excitement, with his energetic and thrilling performance.
Though Face of Okija 2016 may have ended as a festival where guests had so much to drink and eat, the real success of initiative is its growing appeal and impact on Igbo youths. Clearly, from the number of entries and quality of performances at this year’s festival, it would not be out of place to conclude that Igbo youths are gradually embracing the cultural heritage of the Igbo nation and becoming the custodians of the Igbo culture and tradition.
Obijackson Foundation is the CSR arm of the Obijackson Group, one of the fastest growing conglomerates in sub-Saharan Africa, comprising Energy Works Technology (EWT) Ltd, B&Q Dredging Ltd, Neconde Energy Ltd, NestHak Ltd, Nesto Aviation Ltd, Century Power Generation Ltd, Shipside Drydock Ltd, Impac Engineering Ltd, Hammakopp Consortium Ltd, Scorpio Drilling International Ltd, Gobowen Exploration and Production Ltd, and Nestoil Limited has its flagship company.
As a business conglomerate with interests in diverse sectors of the economy, such as Oil and Gas exploration, Pipeline construction, Pressure Vessel Fabrication, Power Generation, Dredging and Marine Logistics, Aviation, Dry-docking, Horizontal Directional Drilling, civil and Infrastructural Construction, Telecommunications and Real Estate, the Obijackson Group is aware of its role in social transformation and economic development in Africa.
This is the motivation for establishing Obijackson Foundation, a non-profit organisation and vehicle for executing the social intervention, community investment, economic empowerment, infrastructural development, educational support and scholar scheme, medical support, social intervention and Values-building initiatives of the Obijackson Group.