It gives me great pride to announce the winners of the VCO Mbem & Oja Voice Melody Competition, a contest I created to add fuel to the excellence already burning in Igbo cultural community.
For my team at Chineto Ozigbo Foundation and I, it has been a splendid journey into the world of rich Igbo folklore and storytelling. We have been introduced to a group of extraordinarily gifted traditional rappers and poets. I appreciate all the artistes who took part in this contest. You are all gifted and blessed.
For those who may not know, Mbem is a special part of the oral history of the Igbos. This artistic expression holds the stories of love, of war, of conquest, of commerce, of living, of learning, of every bit of the evolution of the Igbo society.
I firmly believe the indigenous cultures like the Igbo culture, hold the appropriate wisdom for the development of life and I created the #VCOMbemContest to preserve and protect the treasures of the Igbo society.
It is particularly heartwarming to have seen the number of youths who have adopted this ancient tradition, carrying on the torch passed to them by our ancestors. I am assured, now, more than ever, that the rich Igbo tradition will be preserved for more generations to come. I must mention Nwada Somtochukwu, a beautiful young girl who took part in the contest. She is only 10 years old and she’s has already awakened her creative genius.
With that being said, it is my pleasure to announce that the 1st Place Winners of the VCO Mbem Contest are Chinwendu Okafor Nzekwe (female) and Igwe Credo (male). Each of them takes home N50,000 cash prizes and the title of Official Mbem Partner of Chineto Ozigbo Foundation.
The 2nd Place Winners who take home N30,000 cash prizes each are Mbem Nne Akalabo (female) and Desmond Okonkwo (male). The 3rd Place Winners are Mbem Nwada Ngalakwesiri (female) and Mbem Ugoezugo Okwodu (male) and each takes home N20,000 cash prizes. Also commendable is Mrs. Ifeoma Udeagbala, the flutist who accompanied the performance of the 3rd Place female winner.
The 4th to 10th placed winners in both categories take home N10,000 each. We had one tie in the 10th place in the female category and two ties in 7th and 8th places in the male category.
We had 54 eligible entries. That means 31 contestants go home with the consolation prize of N5,000 each.
This brings our total cash prizes to N525,000.
My sincere gratitude goes out to our panel of judges, Professor Kenneth Kalu, Dr. Odyke Nzewi, and Mr. Izu Oraelosi who took on the trilling but tasking role of carefully reviewing all the entries.
The dedicated team at Chineto Ozigbo Foundation who does important work on the ground to make everything we see happen deserve accolade too.
Congratulations to all the winners. God bless everyone.