Valentine Ozigbo, a Nigerian business mogul and philanthropist, has announced the winners of the VCO Mbem & Oja Voice Melody Competition, an initiative by the Chineto Ozigbo Foundation aimed at showcasing the rich Igbo musical culture of Mbem and Oja.
“I firmly believe the indigenous cultures like the Igbo civilization, hold the appropriate wisdom for the development of life and I created the contest to preserve and protect the treasures of the Igbo society,” Ozigbo said in a press statement as he announced the results on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
He revealed that cash prizes amounting to N525,000 have been paid to all the winners and contestants.
Igwe Credo and Chinwendu Okafor Nzekwe emerged as the top prize winners in the male and female categories respectively. They both took home N50,000 each and the title of the official Mbem Partner of Chineto Ozigbo Foundation.
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Mr. Ozigbo congratulated the winners and all the contestants. He also commended the panel of judges for their time and effort and thanked the staff and volunteers of Chineto Ozigbo Foundation who “do the incredible work on the ground where it matters most”.
The judges for the contest were Professor Kenneth Kalu, Dr. Odyke Nzewi, and Mr. Izuchukwu Oraelosi, the general manager of the foundation. Five criteria were used in deciding the winners namely, voice, melody, composition and message, costume, and dance.
Second place winners, Mbem Nne Akalabo (female) and Desmond Okonkwo (male), each received N30,000, while Mbem Nwada Ngalakwesiri (female) and Mbem Ugoezugo Okwodu who placed third both received N20,000 each. The rest of the top 20 contestants received N10,000 each in both categories. While, the rest of the 31 contestants received a N5,000 consolation prize.
The VCO Mbem and Oja Voice Melody Competition which opened for entries on Monday, May 11, 2020 was open to all members of the public who had the skill to showcase culture and society as their progenitors did. It closed on midnight, May 28, 2020.
Mbem and Oja are traditional eulogy and folklore brands of music used in strategic communication and extolling the virtues of accomplished people and very popular among the Igbo people of South Eastern Nigeria.
This competition comes off the heels of the equally successful COVID-19 Ogene Message Competition, another laudable culture-promoting contest sponsored by Mr. Ozigbo, which was concluded early in May.
At the launch of the contest, the respected business leader, revealed that he started the VCO Mbem & Oja Voice Melody Contest as an avenue to inspire creativity in the youth, celebrate the rich Igbo music, history and culture, as well as provide a platform for expression and exposure for the Mbem and Oja genre especially in leveraging it to draw attention to education and health at a time like this.
Valentine Ozigbo is the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, and through his various philanthropic, social, and cultural development initiatives, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has become one of Nigeria’s leading lights in nation-building.
Last week, Ozigbo, who is the Chairman of Feet ‘N’ Tricks International, the largest promoter of Freestyle Football in Africa, unveiled the maiden edition of the Freestyle UNLOCKED Africa 2020 championship which is first of its kind on the continent.
The contest, which is a novel online Freestyle Football platform is open to all Africans, will open on July 1, 2020 and last for 20 days with cash prizes of $6,300 to be won.