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A Message from Gov.Obaseki, Edo UK Youths Displaying Pride For Their Rich Culture-The Special 2017 L

Iselogbe from the MC of the day, Kenneth Edosomwan, Ogbe Ise, the response from the crowd and a wonderful evening of Igue celebrations commenced in London on 30th December 2017. Led by the Odionwere in Council and captained by the Odionwere in Pa (Eng) Bernard Woghiren. The 2017 Igue London celebrations was very good but before I serve the fine details of the night, may I commend our Odionwere in Council for their community leadership and accurate time keeping to all Edo events. Throughout 2017, at all the events Edo Connect covered, the Odionwere in Council were the most punctual to the time advertised while the organisers and guests are always playing catch up. This is something the Edo community must change in 2018. Either we put the real starting times of events or we arrive early because the Odionwere in Council left waiting for us must be a thing that ended in 2017.

Back to the great Igue night in London. Pastor Monday Ibude (Chairman of the Igue organising committee) opened the celebration with an apology for the late start. This was followed by the opening prayers from the Odionwere of UK and Ireland Pa (Eng) Bernard Woghiren. There were 3 rounds of applause before the prayers and another one after the prayers. Pa Woghiren prayed for unity- Akugbe-Oretin- in the Edo community. He prayed for our Oba, our state, our Governor and for every Edo person worldwide, emphasizing that Unity and Love in our community will see Edos rise to the heights we were destined for. He recited the prayers in English Language for our non-Benin guests and the children present. After the prayers the crowd sang Iselobe songs and dance and the night just kept getting better.

The lively MC, Kenneth Edosomwan, assisted by DJ Choplife, kept things flowing with wonderful Edo tales and great Benin music. The crowd was alive and the food,drinks and snacks flowing. The Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Diaspora Affairs Osaze Osemwegie Ero, was also in attendance alongside his UK ambassador, Mr Joe Ehigiamusoe. The Commissioner greeted the Odionwere in Council with the ultimate respect in Benin tradition, expressed his love for the great atmosphere he is witnessing and then proceeded to address the crowd and deliver a goodwill message from the Edo State's Governor Godwin Obaseki. He said the Governor sends his good wishes to all Edos in Diaspora at this festive time and stated the Governor's appeal to the Edo diaspora to help in the development of our rich Edo culture. Cultural Ambassador,Joe Ehigiamusoe, echoed the same words in his speech saying neither the Governor, the commissioner nor himself can achieve the objective without the help of the diaspora. He further appealed to everyone to teach Benin Language to their children to which the crowd gave their resounding approval. The Commissioner was given a space at the high table and the "Inota Session" began.

After Inota came the main traditional Igue prayers and festivities led by the Odionwere in Council and assisted by Pastor Monday Ibude and Mr Joe Azaka. The kolanut was used in prayers and divided and the white chalk was put on our foreheads to symbolise love, peace and the best wishes for the first month of the New Year. The Edo Children present were all impressed at their culture and were filming every bit of it. I am sure next year we will include Ewere Ewere song which is not so easy to organise when you are abroad.

Mrs Obaseki who won an "Inota session" was in the kitchen serving pounded yam. She showed us her well done nails and Gele hair tie, telling us this is not a pounded yam serving outfit , "if I knew I was coming to serve pounded yam I would have dressed differently". We later saw Mrs Obaseki in all smiles and looking fresh in front of the high table receiving a big prize for winning Inota.

A special thank you to Mrs Obaseki, A special thanks to the Odionwere-in-council, the organising commitee and attendees.

Mr Friday Aghedo stood up and pledge that he is taking on next year's Igue celebration. That's how good the 2017 celebration was

Oba Ghator Kpere, Ise.

The Editot

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