Following the COVID-19 Ogene Message Competition launched by business icon and philanthropist, Valentine Ozigbo, the winners have received their prizes. A total of N365,000 was distributed as cash prizes to the winners of the competition.
The competition which ran in April 2020 and ended on May 1, 2020, was open to all Ogene groups in Nigeria, and the objective was to compose and perform a three-minute Ogene song in the Igbo language. The song was supposed to contain lyrics and messaging which educate people on COVID-19; how to stay safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The panel of judges comprised Professor Kenneth Kalu, Chief Tony Offiah (Akajiugo), Dr. Odyke Nzewi, and Mr. Izu Oraelosi.
The Ogene groups were judged on five criteria including musicality, costume, performance, choreography, and quality of the COVID-19 message.
Janka Armani Ogene Africa was announced as the winner of the competition on Saturday, May 2, 2020. They received a cash prize of N100,000, as well as a role as the Official Ogene Partner to Mr. Valentine Ozigbo’s foundation, the Chineto Ozigbo Foundation.
The second prize winner was Ogene Uzodimma who received N75,000, while the third prize winner was Ogene Praise with Father Onyeka and received N50,000 as a cash prize.
The fourth to tenth place winners each received a prize of N20,000 as a consolation prize.
Speaking about the contest, Mr. Izu Oraelosi, the General Manager of Chineto Ozigbo Foundation who was also a judge, said, “Rich in raw talent, display and originality, the Ogene challenge is a novelty that showcased the potency and ingenuity of our socio-cultural and local heritages.”
Dr. Odyke Nzewi, another judge said, “In indigenous African cultures, music has always been an agent of social reform, good to fall back to this age-old practice to sensitize on the COVID19 pandemic. There were brilliant entries.”
While announcing the winners, Valentine Ozigbo stated that his intention for starting this contest was to inspire creativity in Nigeria’s musicians and entertainers, and celebrate Igbo music and culture, as well as provide a platform for expression and exposure for Ogene groups.
Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, who is a business leader, and the immediate past President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Plc congratulated the winners and thanked all the Ogene groups in Nigeria who participated in the competition.
Inspired by the initiative, the winners received further cash prizes from friends of Ozigbo, Mr. Nonso Okpala and Chief Benji Uba (Ozonma).