The 2018 Ikeduru Diocesan Anglican Children Ministry (ACM) annual singing competition was rounded up Friday 28th December, 2018 amidst joy and great excitement at St. Jude’s Anglican Church Atta, in the Ikeduru Council Area of Imo State as winners coasted home with over N.2m among others. The annual event, sponsored by the family of Chief Dr.(Sir) and Lady Uzoma Obiyo a business mogul and astitute politician was in memory of his late mother, Dame Emily Obiyo, an acclaimed Sunday School Teacher and woman leader, under the auspices of Samuel-Mary Dame Emily Foundation (SMEF) a foundation given to charity and assistance to the indigent members of the society.
The programme known as a mixed grill of academic and spiritual harvest was well attended with almost all the children’s choirs in the Ikeduru Diocese, including parents and well-wishers.
Six choir groups keenly participated in the competition, they included, Savior Anglican Church Nneise, St. Stephen’s Church Amaeke Inyishi, St. Andrew’s Anglican Church Akabo and Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Iho. Under the watchful eyes of three judges, including a music director, Mrs, Patience Oguma, news men observed that the children were trained in Hymn 292, Psalm 20 and a Christmas anthem.
Three choir group emerged winners in the 2018 singing competition. St. Micheals Anglican Church Amatta took the 1st position with 836 points and clinched the golden trophy, in addition with the sum of N100,000, St. Andrew’s Anglican Church Akabo came 2nd with 834 points and coasted home with the silver trophy and a sum of N70,000. The cathedral church of St. Matthew Atta grabbed the 3rd position with 813 points and cruised home with the bronze trophy and a sum of N50,000.
Addressing the participants, shortly before the final results were announced, the ACM Chaplain in the Diocese of Ikeduru who represented the Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chigozie Maduwike, JP, Rev. Canon Peter Duruaku thanked all who gathered to grace the event. He was full of thanks to all who participated in the competition, describing it as very successful. He urged the children choristers to always work very hard by submitting to their parents ,guardians and teachers so that the riches of the gospel of Christ would dwell in them. Describing music as very important in the service and worship of God, he called on parents and guardian to assist the ACM teachers by bringing their children to serve God now that they are still very young in conformity with the ACM motto that says: “catch them young for Christ.”
He specifically thanked the family of Chief Obiyo for sponsoring the annual event and prayed God to continue to enlarge their coast. He said that all prizes were ready for presentation, adding that those who had gained scholarship as a result of this programme would continue to enjoy the gestures adding that both Bishop Maduwike and Chief Obiyo meant well for them. Before the final results were announced, the three judges addressed the participant in which some observations were made. Speaking to journalist shortly after the event, a music director and one of the judges to the competition, Mrs. Oguma Patience , described music as a universal language adding that it sharpens intellect. She said when children were taught music, especially in the way of the Lord, the society would be the direct beneficiary.
On why many youths these days were no longer interested in the things of God, especially in the of choir participation, Mrs. Oguma blamed it on parents and guardian who she accused of abdicating in their God Assigned responsibilities of bringing up the children in the way of the Lord, according to proverb 22:6. Other judges included, Mr. Odinaka Okoroma of St. Peter’s Anglican church Ogwa, and Rev Solomon Ikebuasi of Orlu Diocese. At his country home in Nneise, In the Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State the sponsor of the annual event ,Chief Dr.(Sir) Uzoma Obiyo expressed his delight that the annual competition has continued to take place despite the present state of affairs in the land.
He told journalist who visited him that the 2019 edition would be more elaborate as necessary arrangements have been put in place for necessary take off. Chief Obiyo said that all prizes including consolation prizes, souvenirs and others remain as they were. He disclosed that from next year, his wife Lady Uche Obiyo would take the full sponsorship of the annual event in order to touch more lives especially the indigent members of the church and society.
BY NICK CHIBUNNA.