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Friday, August 15, 2008

21st Annual National Convention of the Akwa Ibom State Association, USA

by Elfonnie Inokon, special to Ladybrille, Photo credit: Picture Mane Photography
Akwa Ibomites from all over the world gathered to celebrate the 21st annual National Convention of the Akwa Ibom State Association, USA at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Virginia. More than two thousand indigenes and non-indigenes of the Southeastern Nigerian state attended the convention which was held from August 7th-10th, 2008.

This year’s event was like no other as top government officials, past and present flew in from the motherland to unite with their fellow citizens. Governor Godswill Akpabio accompanied by top ranking officials of his administration, was an honorable guest at the event. Other high profile personalities that graced the event included: The Secretary to the State Government, Umanah O. Umanah, the first female Head of Civil Service, Grace Anwana, former First Lady of the Southeastern State and former Federal Minister, Helen Esuene, Chairman of the Niger-Delta Commission, Bassey Dan Abia, former Gubernatorial Candidate, Nsima Ekere, former First Lady of the State, Imoh Isemin, and former Military Governor, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga.


Also in attendance were famous Nollywood names like Emem Isong [Producer, Director & Script Writer] actresses Ini Ikpe and Ini Edo.

Every year, Akwa Ibomites gather to promote their culture, raise money for education scholarships for the youths back in Nigeria, discuss economic and health development and create an avenue for the youths in the United States to learn about their heritage as they build life-long friendships. For most people, the convention is a means of returning home with their children without physically doing so. “Calabar women,” the term used to identify a woman from either Cross River or Akwa Ibom States, are known for their natural beauty and fashion sense. They lived up to that reputation, all weekend, as they came out dressed in various colorful, magnificently designed traditional outfits, ranging from the very traditional look of two wrappers; one tied short over the longer one with a fitting blouse and a big head gear, to more contemporary looks where traditional fabrics are used to design hollywood-like dresses. The men, both old and young also got their fashion on as they displayed their traditional wear of a long wrapper tied around the waist, worn with a big shirt, a traditional hat with matching shoes and a walking stick.

The four-day event was filled with cultural performances, a Miss Akwa Ibom USA pageant, fund-raising and a town-hall meeting with the governor. In his speech, the governor reassured the people of his state that just like his name; God’s will has begun in Akwa Ibom state. He announced that in less than a year of being in office, 49 roads have been tarred in Eket Local Government Area and the State was working on ways to improve the electricity and water situation. The highlight of his speech was when Governor Akpabio announced that from September 2008, education will be free from primary [grade] through secondary [high] school. Diasporites responded with excitement and applause.

Further, to support the association’s “School of Excellence Project” which promotes scholastic excellence, sports and upgrading of schools, the governor donated $100,000.00. The audience responded with a standing ovation and jubilant cheering. The convention ended with the crowning of Miss Ima Usoroh of New York as Miss Akwa Ibom State USA 2008-2009. Miss Usoroh along with the four other contestants were surprised by the governor with first class round-trip tickets to visit Akwa Ibom State plus $2,000.00 taxi monies, each.
Famous Nollywood Actress Ini Edo with fans at the 2008 Convention
Akwa Ibom male youths at the event
Akwa Ibom female youths at the event
Akwa Ibom Cultural dancers
L-R: Godswill Akpabio & Secretary to the State Government, Umanah O. Umanah
Ms. Akwa Ibom USA 2008, Ima Usoroh
A cross-section of Akwa Ibom women from Maryland Chapter
The very first picture featured is the very gorgeous Elfonnie Inokon.

****** Get a sense of Akwa Ibom cultural dances with "Udim Ket"

Experience Akwa Ibom hip-hop hit makers with "Eyen Akwa-Ibom"

5 comments:

uni said...

Very well-written my sister....i'm proud of you....Now, i think you should be a fulltime journalist.

Itoro said...

Even more photos: http://www.governorakpabioinaction.org/akwa-ibom-association-usa-convention-2008/

Udombang said...

More comments and pictures on http://akwaibomstate.com

Stitches N' a Needle said...

Ladybrille do have a look at what we have be begun at www.stitches-n-a-needle.blogspot.com

Itoro said...

Let your voice be heard! Sign the Petition to end Child Abuse on Account of Witchcraft in Akwa Ibom State:

http://www.akwaibomnewsonline.com/petition/petition-against-akwa-ibom-children-witchcraft-abuse.php

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