32 persons get Urhobo Arts and Cultural Advancement Awards
By Jon Egie
Over 32 persons were honoured with various awards during the 4th anniversary celebration and conferment of Urhobo Arts and Cultural Advancement Award (UACAA) organized by the Urhobowood and held at the Urhobo Cultural Center, Uvwiamuge-Agbarho; Friday, 16 Aug.
The awardees were grouped into four categories of Entertainment, Media, Special recognition in the Diaspora and Special recognition in Nigeria.
Under entertainment the following persons were honoured: Chief Joseph Okoro (Best Urhobo Movie Actor of the year 2013), Mrs Josephine Onajite Omorowa (Best Urhobo Actress of the year 2013), Mrs Doris Oghene Ochuko Adaighofua Eke-Esieke (Best Urhobo Movie Producer of the year 2013), Dr Thompson Ulolo (Best traditional musician of the year 2013), Evang Godwin Tom (Best Urhobo Gospel musician of the year 2013), Mr Aghogho Aghwro D’Cupid (Best Urhobo Movie set Designer of the year 2013), Evang Joseph Awhotu Ujeya (Best Urhobo Orator of the year 2013), Usiaphre Otovweaguonor Kelvin (Best Urhobo Comedian of the year 2013) and Ejiro Ekure (Best Urhobo DJ of the year 2013).
For the Media, Chief Godwin Orhoadehwe of DBS Warri, bagged the most inspiring Urhobo TV Personality of the year 2013, Mr Jonathan Kpeji still of DBS Warri bagged the best Urhobo on air Personality (Radio) of the year 2013 and again from DBS Warri, Chief Mrs Ochuko Orogun was honoured as the best Urhobo TV Presenter of the year 2013 while Mr Jon Egie of Spy News Online bagged the best Urhobo Internet Publisher of the year 2013.
Those from the Diaspora who were recognized and honoured include: Major Cletus Obahor (rtd), President of UPU-America (specially recognized as the Urhobo Arts and Culture Ambassador to USA in the year 2013), Chief Bethel Efekoro, member to Barack Obama kitchen cabinet in the US was specially recognized for his outstanding contributions towards Urhobos in the USA and in Nigeria. Mr Godwin Kator, President UPU-Greece was recognized as the Urhobo Arts and Culture Ambassador to Greece in the year 2013, High Chief Solomon Odenaero was specially recognized for his contribution towards the advancement of Urhobo Art and Cultural heritage both at home and in the Diaspora, Chief Emmanuel Igbudu, President of UPU in Ghana was specially recognized as the Urhobo Art and Culture Ambassador of Ghana in the year 2013 and Dr Benjamin Obukohwo Ofebe who was specially recognized for his contributions towards the Urhobo Arts and Cultural Advancement in Ghana and Nigeria.
For those accorded special recognition in Nigeria; Chief Emmanuel Igbudu, President of UPU in Ghana emerged as the Urhobo Art and Culture Ambassador to Ghana, Dr J.K.H Tagar, the Lord Mayor of Urhobo land was honoured as the Grand Patron of Urhobowood, Rev Dr Pius Onoephrojiren was honoured as the most outstanding relious leader of the year 2013, Dr Sunny Awhefada of DELSU was specially recognized for his contribution towards the Urhobo Art and Cultural Advancement in Africa.
Others were: Hilda Oghenevwoke Evwere who was honoured as the most outstanding Urhobo student in Urhobo Language competition in the year 2013, Mr Tony Akposheri was honoured as the Urhobo Atrs and Culture Ambassador in Nollywood, Rachael Oniga was recognised for her contributions towards the Urhobo Arts and Culture Advancement in Nigeria, Hon Friday Akpoyibo as the best local government chairman of the year 2013, Late Senator Pius Akpo Ewherido got a post humous award as the best Urhobo Senator who contributed towards the Urhobo Arts and Cultural heritage, Amb Dr Prince Nathaniel Oruma as the most innovative Urhobo traditional musician of the year 2013 and Evang Egbeku Kenairu as Urhobo music ambassador of the year 2013.
The Urhobowood, sponsor of the event, is an entertainment network organization that aims at bringing Urhobo entertainers on a single platform, provide career opportunities for Urhobo indigenes and create entertainment network with Urhobos in the Diaspora with a view to promoting Urhobo cultural heritage internationally.
In his welcome address before the awards giving ceremony, Ambassador Dr Joseph Udusan Orekereke who is the Mayor of Urhobowood identified Urhobowood as an integral part of Nollywood, which he lamented, has been hijacked by the Igbo actors and actresses for the promotion of the Arts and Culture of the Igbo people.
“Consequently, our township youths now address our kings as Igwe instead of Ivie, our women now say they are going for Omuguo when they have grandchildren and wine carrying is now being introduced in some of our traditional marriage ceremonies in Urhobo land.
These and others like the prevailing Ashebi dressing during Urhobo traditional ceremonies are strange happenings that are further driving the Urhobo culture and tradition into oblivion.
“Our mission in Urhobowood is to become the equivalent of Nollywood, Igbowood, Yorubawood, Hausawood and every other wood for the promotion and projection of the Urhobo people and our rich cultural heritage to the world for education, emulation and preservation.
He said for the past four years the Urhobowood has been engaged in offering an enabling environment for the production and marketing of highly successful Urhobo movies, music and oratories, organized Urhobo Language competitions across Urhoboland, organized Urhobo beauty pageant and currently into the production of the Wado Magazine, a pan-Urhobo magazine dedicated to showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Urhobo people in dressing, language, ceremonies and social relationships.
“Hence it is our honour to confer the Urhobo Arts and Cultural Advancement Awards (UACAA) to some of our kings and our distinguished sons and daughters of Urhobo land that have helped in no small way in the task of promoting the Urhobo ethnic nationality. Please accept my congratulations.”
Highlight of the occasion was a lecture titled: “The Role of Socio-cultural Institution in Promoting the Urhobo Art and Cultural Heritage” presented by Dr Sunny Awhefada of the English and Literary Studies Department, Delta State University, Abraka.
In the inciting lecture, Dr Awhefada traced the dynamics of the film industry from its first setting in the Unites States as Hollywood to Bombay now Mumbai in India as Bollywood and to Nigeria as Nollywood which the Urhobowood is part of.
He said although the Bollywood was next to the Hollywood in times past, but presently, the Nollywood has overtaken the Bollywood and Nigerian films sell next to the American films worldwide. But he quickly noted the significant role Urhobos and Isokos contribute to the development of Nollywood saying that apart from the Ibos, the presence of Urhobos and Isokos in Nollywood is indispensable.
Dr Awhefada stressed that the kernel of the film industry is entertainment which is a renowned cultural attribute of the average Urhobo man. He identified the Urhobo man as a natural Entertainer at work place as they sing along in the farm, at home during domestic chores, at leisure during moon light storytelling and folklore.
He pointed out that in some other climes the hospitality industry pays more than the oil industry and hence encouraged the Urhobowood to be committed to the venture but cautioned that for them to survive, they must produce films that are of world class standard, have convincing plot, show element of surprise and must enjoy patronage.
He called on illustrious sons and daughters of Urhobo to invest in the Urhobowood to serve as an agent of cultural preservation and charged the management of Urhobowood to be honest so as to encourage the investors because “a people without a culture is assumed as not existing as it is commonly said, tell me your culture and I will tell you your personality”. Awhefada concluded.