- 26 candidates receive financial empowerment
By Ononye VC
An unprecedented number of worshippers estimated at over 400,000 last Friday,Nov 10,2023,besieged the Basilica Square,Onitsha to view live performance of a galaxy of Gospel music artistes organised by the famous Lagos based “Unusual Praise” ensemble,an outfit of the Catholic Church of Divine Mercy ,Lekki,Lagos.
As early as 4:15pm Friday,worshippers had started surging into the Basilica Square to take vantage positions while waiting for the event to start.
Before 9:00pm,the arena was already filled up and overflowing outside the main gate and entire periphery.
Before the artistes came on stage to perform,the Metropolitan Archbishop of Onitsha,Most Rev Valerian Okeke,represented by the Onitsha Archdiocesan Director of Social Communications,Rev Fr Dr George Adimike in his opening prayers,beckoned on God to “come and take control of the event” and for the programme to be an opportunity to renew the faith of the faithful and also attract many blessings to them.
The Archbishop welcomed the large worshippers from all parts of the world and prayed for success of the event.
The Unusual Praise team led by the convener, Monsignor Paschal Nwaezapu gave assurances of the preparedness to do a seamless show just as the chairperson of Unusual Praise team,Onitsha,Barr Mrs Tina Igbokwe also assured.
Mr Hugeman Ifeanyi Orakwue took the front seat as the Master of Ceremony(MC)with another top official of the Unusual Praise as they reeled out the names of the Gospel artistes to include,Gozie Okeke,Nkwa Group,AVOMA Kids and Ada Jesus.
Others are,the renowned liturgical song composer and writer,Dr Sir Jude Nnam,Blessed Modesta,Chinyere Udoma,Joe Vibes,Blessed Sunday,Chinweike and Joe Kenz.
The artistes reeled out their familiar and popular songs as members of the audience literally danced themselves lame for nearly 18 hours.
Sir Jude Nnam rocked the venue with familiar liturgical songs like,”What can I offer to Jesus Christ,Come and Sanctify”,and the entire venue was inflamed.
The Unusual Praise team was coming for the third time to the commercial city of Onitsha.They came with sophisticated, intimidating and modern instruments and also with various kinds of alternative electricity power sources to ensure uninterrupted power supply to their equipment and entire venue.
The security network was top-notch as the police Bomb Disposal Unit and many other security agencies were spotted at strategic places to fend off undesirable elements.
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Onitsha Most Rev Valerian Okeke who arrived the venue shortly after midnight,applauded all that were involved in making the event a successful one and expressed hope that the spectators and entire faithful would go back home enriched with heavenly blessings.
The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the recently concluded Nigeria’s Presidential election Mr Peter Obi was present.Also Mr Valentine Ozigbo,a gubernatorial aspirant in Anambra and Hon Cyril Egwuatu among others were present.
One of the patrons of the Unusual Praise,Sir Ikem Osanakpo and many of the Unusual Praise Ambassadors were also present.
A scriptural reflection was read by Rev Fr Dr Lawrence Orazulume who pointed out that songs and praises to God can go a long way to sooth human worries and calamities.
As one of it’s charitable works of giving back to the society and empowering the youths,26 youths were empowered with various amounts ranging from N150,000(One hundred and fifty thousand) to N1000000(One million Naira) to start off businesses.Archbishop Valerian Okeke handed over the cheques to the individuals on stage.
At the close of the event early Saturday morning,a thanksgiving mass was celebrated to thank God and bid the people farewell.At the head of the celebration was Very Rev Monsignor Paschal Nwaezapu of the Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki,Lagos.
The Onitsha Archdiocesan Director of Social Communications,Rev Fr Dr George Adimike while delivering a sermon at the closing mass,said the Unusual Praise event was a way of thanksgiving to God adding also that thanksgiving is the heart of christianity and urged christians to always make thanksgiving part of their lives.