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Re: Ikenga Merit Awards: Awards for Fortune or for failure? (Our Statement-Our Mission)

By Chris Nwandu

The write up by one Mr.Odimegwu Onwumere as published in the Opinion pages of National Mirror of Wednesday 18 th March, Daily champion Newspaper of same day and Daily Independent Newspaper of Thursday 19 th March 2009,Pointblanknews.com on the above subject matter made good reading.

Ordinarily, we would have ignored the so called opinion but for the wrong impression it would have given to our well intentioned event and Igbos all over the World.


Though, well scripted with some distorted facts, the writer could have saved himself all the agony if he had taken time to visit our website www.ikengamerits.com to look at the objectives behind the award and why it was conceptualized, rather than just reacting to press releases.

The Igbos occupy the present five South East States of Nigeria and parts of the present South-South States of Rivers and Delta State . The Igbos speak a common language, but with different dialects. Most Igbos traditionally lives in scattered villages, which form the basic social units, cosmologically, they believe in the existence of the Supreme Being whom they call Chukwu or Chineke. There are other minor deities under him, Anyanwu (The Sun), Iwa (The Sky) Ala (The Earth). Ala or Ani, the most important minor deity, is connected with ancestors-Ndi ichee and Ajoku, the divinity associated with Yams. An Igbocan be described as somebody born of Igbo or married into Igbo.

Ikenga (Ikem Nga) as truly defined by the writer, symbolizes masculine strength and the ability to achieve through one's own efforts- the Igbo ideas of status and success.

Ikenga is usually personal objects owned by individuals; they may also be owned by entire communities.

Why We Have Conceptualized This Awards

Over the years,the Igbos have remained one of the dominant forces in the Nigerian Nationhood. Apart from being one of the three dominant ethnic groups, it has also produced some of the country’s shinning stars in all spheres of human endeavor.

Over the years, Igbo sons and daughters have contributed in no small measure in uplifting the ideals that has made our country a role model in the comity of Nations.

They have excelled in whatever capacity they found themselves and have continued to contribute their quota in Nation building, but their efforts have remained the least celebrated in Nigeria due to no fault of theirs.

It is therefore imperative to recognize the contribution of these true sons and daughters of Igbo land who have become role models.

Ikenga Merit Awards is a non-governmental, non-political, non-religious, non-cultural and a non-social organization. It has no direct affiliation with any existing Igbo organizations but derives strength from their efforts and activities.

Ikenga Merit Awards was set up to harness, recognize and duly appreciate excellence as exhibited by the Igbos of Nigeria in all field of human endeavor in any part of the world.

The objective of the award are, to recognize and reward excellence, to create role models for Igbo generations yet unborn. It will also reward hard work and patriotism amongst the Igbos.

We totally agree with the writer that the Igbo Nation has been bedeviled by some miscreants and betrayers as the case may be. But that is not the exclusive right of the Igbos alone, don’t the other ethnic group have their own share of the  Judas.

Calling Igbos fraudsters and never do - wells is not only insulting but the highest disservice any true son of Igboland could do his Nation.

This name calling can only be associated with the Igbo adage which says, “It’s only a fool that uses the left hand to point at his father’s house”.

The writer spoke of Ohaneze Ndigbo going political. What will he say of Afenifere and Arewa, etc?We are not the mouth piece of Ohaneze Ndigbo or any other pan Igbo group even if the saying goes that Igbo enwe eze (kingless Igbo), we will surely accord due respect to our own.

He identified education as the greatest threat to the Igbo nation (we agree) but what is the essence of education without the political powers and will to change things (food for thought)

The Igbos are not the least educated in Nigeria and will never be. Mr.Onwumere should take the pain of going through NECO, WEAC and JAMB enrolment list in the last twenty years to see the priority Igbos place on education..

The building of schools is the exclusive right of the government, NGOs, religious Institutions, private enterprises etc.

Philanthropy is a thing of the mind and is not restricted to any ethnic group, except he is of the illusion that he has not heard of Ndi Igbo who individually or through their institutions and organizations built schools and gave out scholarships.

The problem of Igbo has always been the pull me down syndrome, unlike other ethnic groups who know how to manage their crisis, some of us will rather dance naked at the market place.

The Igbo adage,” a mad man is a delight to watch but no one wants him to come from hisfamily” readily comes to mind

It is rather absurd and unfortunate, that throughout Mr Onwumere’s write up, he never found it necessary to recognize the contributions of notable sons and daughters of Igbo-land in the present and in the past who have contributed positively to the growth of their nation. The list is endless or is he saying we are all 419ers.

How do we encourage the young and up coming Igbo sons and daughters that hard work pays if not through the recognition given high Igbo fliers who will remain role models.

Social, economic, educational ineptitude and negligence is not limited to Igboland, youth restiveness and unemployment has enveloped our land.


Some graduates all over the Nigeria are taking to armed robbery, kidnapping, prostitution, militancy and all other social vices.It is as a result of a failed Nation and not the making of Ndi Igbo

Members of the Ikenga Merit Awards are young men and women who have distinguished themselves in their various disciplines. With time, we will unveil the faces behind the mask.

Our plans are all encompassing and with time, we will continue to unfold them.

We remain resolute in our vision and no amount of distraction will stop us from achieving our goals.

On a yearly basis, we shall beam our searchlight on Igbos at home and in the diasporas who have attained a high status of achievement.

After all, the agama lizard which fell from the big iroko tree, says if no one applauds his feat by falling from such goliath height without a scratch, he will applaud himself (thanks to Chinua Achebe).

The Igbos are full blooded Nigerians, we have not and cannot play second fiddle to any ethnic group.We  have our problems just like every other ethnic group but with time, we will surely get our dancing steps right.

The Ikenga Merit Awards has been positioned as our own NOBEL PRIZE to deliver our 1 st eleven team to the world; other ethnic groups have the right to bring forward theirs for measurement, which is why our motto is ….ana esi na ulo mara nma pua na ama (Charity begins at Home).

Which other event could be used to achieve all the unity professed by the writer if not through such a gathering?

As to whether Ikenga Merit Awards is an Award for Fortune or for failure, Mr Odimegwu Onwumere should leave such submission to time and God, the ultimate being, for no man can play God.

We will encourage him and his likes to take up the mantle in their own little corner and initiate positive and meaningful projects that will project the Igbo nation rather than being on the fence. The time for rhetoric and good prose is over.

Chief M.K.O Abiola of blessed memory, said, you have to wake up if your dream is to become a reality.

Ikenga Merit Awards is dedicated to all sons and daughters of Igboland who died fighting for the Igbo cause





Ikenga Entertainment & Awards

19 Afariogun Street , Off Obafemi Awolowo Way ,


Lagos .

Tel: 016601836, 08037217013

info@ikengamerits.com ,




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