4th November 2017, The Petchey Academy London, Edo Festival Awards (EFA) 6th Anniversary was the place to be. The name only “Edo Festival Awards” guaranteed tickets would be selling fast due to the huge cultural heritage of the Edos, especially the Binis, and their huge community following in London. Further anticipation was added to this event with the announcement that Godwin Obaseki The Edo state Governor and his officials would be attending. Edo Connect was there to receive our glorified dignitaries and prominent members of the Edo Diaspora who have travelled from all over the world to grace the 6th Edo Festivals Awards.
Red carpet coverage, guests in colourful Benin royal costumes, an original Benin Masquerade, live music from Edo Heartbeat cultural band, Mamaput and Edo dignitaries all ensured the true spirit of Benin was recreated on the night. The crowd was a perfect blend of young and old. The award night was hosted by Edo Nollywood Star Babarex and The glamourous London socialite Anne TS.
Due to a last minute schedule change the governor and his entourage could not make the event nevertheless Dr Philip Orunwense delivered a key note speech praising Governor Obaseki for his efforts in Edo state’s continuous revival. Dr Orunwense reminded the crowd of the rich Benin history and the tourism potentials we are blessed with. He urged Governor Obaseki to deal in the Edo diaspora, tap into our know-how and offer the Edo Diaspora some of the incentives being offered to foreign investors in order to make Edo great again. Ambassador Dion Osagie also flew in from Benin-City to receive an award for the good work of his God Sent Foundation. There was a broadcasted goodwill message from the commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism & Diaspora Affairs Hon. Osaze Osemwegie-Ero. The night was topped off with a special award honour for Mr Jeffrey Ekhator from Holland, a man who has truly assisted the Edo community in Holland. Edo connect will publish an interview on Edo life in Holland with Mr Ekhator this week.
Well, there is never an Edo gathering without some drama. This came in the form of noise from the crowd when Dr Orunwense was speaking and Dr. Loretta Ogboro-Okor (President of the Uniben Alumni United Kingdom) took the microphone and asked the crowd to keep the noise down for such an important message. Anger greeted her suggestion with the noise volumes going through the roof and Edo people requesting an apology for her audacity. Loretta refused! Pastor Monday Ibude (President Benin Voice) was on hand to sing great Benin songs that re-united the crowd in what turned out to be a great night.
Other dignitaries present were Mr Okeaya Inneh (Benin Union President), Mr Henry Aimiuwu (Benin Union Secretary) Unseen Language Founder Nosa Iyohebhe and Drew Uyi Media and Afemai Association UK President Mr Bankola Aigbodeon.
Kudos to JJ Barry conglomerate and company as we look forward to the 7th Edo festival awards.