A Pan-Nigerian Christmas Fiesta in Anambra

Chido Obidiegwu

Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

It was a merry day that transmuted into a garlanded night. The Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) Christmas Fiesta 2023 that took place at Oma Event Centre, by Ekwueme Square, Awka on Friday, December 15 was a grand panoply of cultural carols and glittering awards.

The feisty Managing Director of ABS, Sir Chido Obidiegwu, KSP, was on hand from 2pm welcoming guests and delivering on the promise of Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, to make Anambra State a destination of choice instead of a point of departure.

Obidiegwu had ready lieutenants in the Master of Ceremonies, ace broadcaster Roy Ekwunife, and the multivalent erstwhile MD/CEO of Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, Sir Chuka Nnabuife.

Royalty was in fine fettle all over as His Royal Majesty Igwe MacAnthony Chinedu Elibe Okonkwo, Ezedioranma III of Alor (Alor Zulukwe) undertook the traditional duty of breaking of kola-nuts.

Soul-lifting Oja sound lofted through the hall from the rendition of the maestro, Gerald Eze, the Ogbu-Oja Global, who had just returned from a performance in New York, USA.

The Chairman of the day, the personable Chief Maja Umeh, former Information Commissioner of Anambra State, welcomed all to a showpiece that truly advertised the state as the light of the nation.

The present incumbent Commissioner for Information, Sir Paul Nwosu, in his sprightly red Christmas colours and hat played his hosting role with panache.

The truly Pan-Nigerian Christmas Fiesta of Nine Lessons intervolved the English language, Pidgin, Yoruba, Hausa, Efik, Urhobo, and Igbo.

The remarkable aspect of the performances was that the lessons were read in the languages by diverse Nigerians of high repute working as Permanent Secretaries and Directors in the Anambra public service.

Personages of repute from the different ethnic nationalities of Nigeria running high net-worth businesses in Anambra State stood out as seamless performers in the groove.

The delightful carols were rendered in turns that held the audience spellbound while the day and night lasted.

The ABS Choir, St Mary’s Choir, and Grace Choir put up performances that thrilled the soul and shook bodies.

Gerald Eze and the trailblazing Ichoku Academy thrilled the audience with mellifluous delivery of riveting folksongs.

The effervescent MC Shedrack took to the stage, cracking jokes and singing a new gospel reggae song he had just composed, and he was rewarded with the spraying of fresh banknotes by appreciative admirers.

The winners of the coveted ABS awards included HRM Igwe Dr Joel Maduachie Egwuonwu (Ezeudo II Umuawulu), High Chief Dr Azubuike Austin Ekweozor RFF (Ide Umuawulu, Nwanayoeze), Ozo Dr Amobi Nwokafor (Agbako Agbako II, Ozo Awka IV), Ambassador Amaechi Ayalogu (Odogwu Ji Property Eme-ogo), Hon Mrs Amaka Obi (Iyom Idemili) etc.

In his closing remarks, ABS MD Sir Chido Obidiegwu was full of thanks for a fiesta that ran smoothly like clockwork from start to finish.

The operating vision for Obidiegwu was the drive of doing things differently as he stressed that never before had carols been done like this.

For him, it was a special joy that the Pan-Nigerian showpiece ended in grace especially as literally all the Nigerian divides living in Anambra State participated so effusively.

Obidiegwu maintained that all the people are now keying in to Governor Soludo’s vision of turning Anambra into a choice destination with the construction of well over 450 kilometres of roads, free education for students, free antenatal care and delivery for pregnant women etc.

Choice delicacies such as ukwa, rice, yam, garri with well-studded soups were served the guests.

Assorted wines, spirits, beers and sundry drinks made the rounds to the delight of the Christmas gathering that rocked with the Nigerian bond of lasting camaraderie.