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Orao Orakwusi: Rhapsodies Of Memorial And Empowerment

Orao Orakwusi: Rhapsodies Of Memorial And Empowerment

L-R: Nigerian Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, the Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi and the former Managing Director, defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, during the commemoration of the second memorial anniversary of the late Orao Orakwusi, the son of Barr. (Mrs.) Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi, Chairman, Nigerian Shipowners Forum.

By Kingsley Anaroke

“Jehova Jireh my provider, Chimamanda

Jehova Nisi my healer, Chimamanda (omanda)

Ocean divider my redeemer, Chimamandanata (onyeoma)

Ebube dike my comforter, Chimamandanata (ebube Jesus)

Onye nwelu Chukwu nwelu nchekube

Chi gi amandanata (omanda)

Itukwasi obi na Chineke, Chi gi ama nda (omanda)

Chi gi amanda (omanda)

Chimamandanata (omanda mega gwa ha)

Chi anyi amanda (omanda)

Chimamanda aaa (omanda, Jesus)

Eeh omanda, eeh omanda, eeh omanda

Chimamanda, omanda”

With this inspiring song-track (Chimamanda) of reassurance of God’s providence by Flavour Nabania, among other artists’ songs performed by a life band, guests were ushered into the premium hall of the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Sunday, December 29, 2019

Even as they were seated, the solemnity of the gospel, R&B and hip-pop tunes in old and new school versions effusively held them captive in their numbers .

The old and young shuffled their feet across gender appeal, to embrace the riveting rhythms of the different musical genre and melody in top excitement.

It was a moment that captured generational inclusion in its finest character. Everyone was a boy and a girl at heart and on feet.

Indeed, the ambiance was sublime and reinvigorating but the essence of the gathering was not lost on the guests cutting across many sectors of the economy, from maritime, aviation, finance, energy, political to arts. They were all represented.

It was the commemoration of the second memorial anniversary of the late Orao Orakwusi, the son of Barr. Mrs. Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi, Chairman, Nigerian Shipowners Forum. Orao died on December 29, 2017 in Toronto, Canada at the age of 24.

Orao was a multi-talented child, who as a medical student was a saxophonist, artist and poet.

He obviously was a gift to humanity, as such his families and friends thought it wise to institute a foundation to preserve his values and memory for the empowerment of mankind.

The event featured promotion of artistic talents from raw, budding to professionals. Among those that put up performances were comedians, poets, singers and organists. The ace comedian, Alibaba held the mic as the Compere.

There was also an exhibition of artistic paintings and a launch of Orao Foundation to support and recognize budding saxophonists. To achieve the essence of the foundation, Orao Sax Appeal Competition was unveiled with an endowment of N2.3million annual prizes for winners in three categories.

The first prize attracts N1million; second Prize, N800,000 and third prize, N500,000. It is a national competition.

The mood of the day was set earlier that Sunday, a memorial mass held for Orao at the Church of Assumption, Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos.

While the mood was slightly toned down later however, with the elaborate showcase of talents in remembrance, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, former Managing Director of the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, established a synthesis of moods, when she said, “We are here to celebrate Orao to landmark his achievements on earth.” Like a stream, speakers afterwards, swam in this ecstasy.

An elated Barr. Mrs Orakwusi, in her emotion-laden speech said, “Orao brought nothing but happiness, honour, pride, respect and distinction to the family. My journey with Orao started in a very pleasant manner. He lived centuries before he was born because unlike children who would watch cartoon characters, Orao would watch National Geographic and History channels. Then he started writing and drawing and became everybody’s darling and I said to myself, we have something special in our hands.

“He wrote a lot of poems. He was an expert in story telling and winning a lot of awards and he loved humanity. So for us the Onyema and Orakwusi family, and especially for me, I count my blessings and I think God blessed me with a saint and he decided to take him when he did.”

The foundation is chaired by the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe as other members include, the Director-General of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema; member of the House of Representatives representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency of Anambra State, Chukwuka Onyema; top musician, Onyeka Onwenu; and Uju Ifejika of Brittania-U.

The occasion was witnessed by the Minister of Transportation, Rt.Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Talin, Chairman of Peace Airline Limited, Allen Onyema and several other dignitaries including former Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Adebayo Sarumi; former President, Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Engr. Greg Ogbeifun; pioneer President, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Chief Isaac Jolapamo; and the Chairman of Nigerian Ports Consultative Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin, President of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), Mrs Mary Hamman; African president of African Women in Maritime (WIMAfrica), Barr. Mrs. Jean Chiazor Anishere.

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