Grand royal farewell for Princess Margaret Obaigbena – THISDAYLIVE
THISDAY/ARISE Media Group Chairman, Nduka Obaigbena last weekend in Owa-Oyibu, Delta State in honor of his late mother Princess Margaret Obaigbena held an elaborate carnival without fresh, shutting down a rather quiet town by celebrating a woman of great impact. Adedayo Adejobi writing
You can only be intrigued by death; a necessary end that will come when it comes (to draw on the wisdom of the famous Elizabethan writer, William Shakespeare). This was evident in the carnival procession in Owa-Oyibu, where Mrs. Margaret Obaigbena, the late mother of the President and Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY/ARISE Media Group, Prince Nduka Obaigbena, was laid to rest.
Anyone would want to save their pennies to honor their dead with a good start with such a colorful vibe.
The burial was witnessed by prominent Nigerians from all walks of life, who converged on the generally quiet town of Owa-Oyibu, the administrative headquarters of Ika North East Local Government Area of Nigeria State. Delta, to pay a last respect to the deceased whose remains were buried in the compound of the Obaigbena royal family.
While some of the Victorian amenities and social customs have long since been abandoned, Obaigbena, through the ingenuity of Bolanle Okusanya-Feyita’s LTJ Funeral Homes, brought the use of horse-drawn hearses to life. Leading the procession, Okusanye-Feyita, dressed in the art of braided hair, sash and gloves, alongside mourners and pallbearers, wore military-style uniforms and crepe bands around their blue shirts, black hats, cream capes and the ladies wore blue corporate dresses, matching fascinators and gloves while dabbing their faces with black-edged handkerchiefs. Beautifully decorated horses accompanied the Escalade’s white hearse carrying the body of the deceased. The dancers were seen with batons, pages, mute and feathers as they marched in procession from the royal household to the church and back; with songs, drums and brass that praise the air. But then, there was something quite angelic about the choir…
The South African Celestial Choir
For anyone familiar with this choir who has followed the 80-140 man Stellenbosch University Choir over the years, affiliated with the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, you will understand the nature of its distinct performance during the event. For Obaigbena to headline them for the three-day event, it’s clear they must be doing something right with choral music.
Performing among many other songs, their signature song, “Baba Yetu”, which basically means Lord’s Prayers in Swahili and means “Our Father” in English, one could see the joy and passion of bandleader, André van der Merwe, who has held the position since 2003. Almost, if not everyone in the room had goosebumps. The harmony was breathtaking, articulating highs, tenors and altos in pure interaction with the sopranos and basses. It was indeed a beautiful day to have ears.
Connecting to a diverse Nigerian audience, other songs performed by the elite choir spanned a variety of choral styles, artistry, cultural influences and a high level of musical fluidity through mastery of a wide variety of directories.
As an indication of their performances, which cut across traditional African interpretations, traditional cathedral choirs and ancient European choirs, the extremely talented students of the Stellenbosch University Choir are not just a choir but a symphony orchestra.
On three different stages over three days, the Stellenbosch University Choir demonstrated strength, vigour, excellence and diversity. Ideally, a flurry of thoughts would rush through the mind at the mention of South Africa, but when you hear them sing, a new well of peace, calm and a great dose of inexplicable joy overwhelms the listener who has heard so many unprintable news about South Africa.
Indeed, the oldest choir in South Africa, 86 years old, Stellenbosch University Choir, is the promise of his country. They showcased Africa’s musical strengths and potential. No wonder it is considered one of South Africa’s leading choral ensembles and has toured extensively overseas, where it has received critical acclaim for its performances. For the late Lady of the Church of England and a lover of timeless hymns and good music, she would dance and smile in heaven to the sight and sound of mere mortals, but of the celestial choir of Stellenbosch University.
Far from the solemnity of the symphony and the discreet moments of mourning, the sound of the juju drums shook everyone’s pulse…
When Shina Peters engaged Obaigbena in a rare karaoke…
If you’ve never seen Obaigbena out of breath before, the poolside reception on Saturday and Sunday was a great time to see him in all his glory, spontaneously singing and dancing to the evergreen songs of Sir Shina Peters. His love and affection for Shina Peters is contagious! That probably wouldn’t shock longtime associates of Obaigbena who knew him from his early years in Ibadan. Shinamania showman Peters dazzled Sokoto and Kwara State Governors Aminu Tambuwal and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq respectively; Wale Tinubu, Tonye Cole, Eyimofe Doyle Atake (SAN) and Ruth Osime, Nigeria’s frontline legal luminary, all seated nearby on tables filled with food, juices, assorted fruits and bottles of champagne. This scene could be anywhere in the world. Indeed, the assortment of guests at the lavish funeral brought vibes from New York, Los Angeles, Monaco and Miami to Owa-Oyibu.
After wooing guests on Saturday, Obaigbena insisted the Afro-Juju king should wait to wow guests again on Sunday. In what was supposed to be a rather fast-paced performance, it turned into something of a carnival.
A highlight of his Sunday performance was when Peters, through his syncretic genre, percussive and melodic rhythms, crossed the edge of the pool to where Obaigbena was seated with his guests and spontaneously sang praises “I want to be like Nduka ooo, Obaigbena”.
Obaigbena, a prince of the Owa Kingdom, decked out in his signature all-white Buba and Sokoto, in his element, took Peters’ microphone and responded in the same lyrics, singing “I want to be like Shina Peters ooo”, and the crowd burst into a loud laugh.
Peters also went further in heaping praise on Tambuwal, while Obaigbena continued to sing the Governor’s praises, lyrically waxing a song in support of his senatorial ambition in 2023.
Recounting how he sees Tambuwal becoming president in the future, the music reached a crescendo as Peters asked Tambuwal and the other guests to stand in the performance of the national anthem, prophesying him as a future president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Peters went further to praise his prodigy, Akinloye Tofowomo of Shuga Band fame…
If there’s one musician that the President and Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY/ARISE Media Group is very fond of, it’s Tofowomo. That’s thanks to Shuga’s sizzling performance of classics – highlife, jazz, old skool and Motown throughout the three-day event. Her guests and family members were wowed by the classics and repertoire listings produced each day. No performance was the same, so much so that he had the crowd jumping while the guests danced their hearts out.
At the end of the last day, delighted with the performance of the Shuga Band, Obaigbena, a very reserved but observant man, could not help thanking and congratulating the boss of the Shuga Band, saying to him assuredly: “thank you very much, we will work Continued.”
For any musician, nothing could have been more deeply satisfying than such an endorsement from someone like The Duke himself.
Colorful cultural shows…
The three-day celebration, carnival and colorful cultural performances in honor of the late Lady Obaigbena by the various dancers, all of Owa-Oyibu descent, generated awareness about indigenous art forms, particularly the oral tradition. The various dancers were all about royalty and “big” energy.
Surrounded by male and female dancers, the king’s physical image was elevated as he appeared in special costumes. Next, various acts of submission to the king are re-enacted by his chiefs and subjects, followed by songs of praise, eulogies, or chants, for a monarch stepping on the pedestal of a deity.
Portraying the full brilliance of its culture and historical tradition, the dancers moved gracefully as the king played his role as the chief risk bearer. In an attempt to explore and examine the artistic qualities and possibilities of the performances, the dance rituals and performances displayed the unique artistic and literary characteristics of the Owa-Oyibu people that had gone largely unrecognized and unrecognized with their performance music, which, critically, could be a potential for tourism.
The colorful cultural display during the three-day event attests to the ethnomusicology of the people of the Ika Local Government Area of northeastern Delta State while also serving as a reminder of its enormous tourism potential, if it is well used.
Tributes to Princess Margaret Obaigbena…
In his tribute to the religious service, the Governor of Delta State and Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, praised the deceased for her invaluable service and her important contributions to the advancement of the cause of humanity.
Speaking to THISDAY, Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote described the late Princess of Owa Kingdom as a great community leader. “She really helped her people; it has helped the state and also Nigeria in general. She served and she did her best and we pray that her soul rests in perfect peace.
Meanwhile, All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Bola Tinubu described the late matriarch as a great, humble and virtuous woman who should be celebrated.
The Governor of Ekiti State and Chairperson of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi has commended the deceased for her hard work and extraordinary commitment to the family.
Kano State Governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje described her as a human woman, adding that she cared about people. To the bereaved family, he asked them to “take it in good faith because it is the work of God and they must continue to pray for it”.
In his tribute, Edo State Governor Mr Godwin Obaseki said: “Mom was a healthcare worker, a nurse who took care of people, brought people to life and took care of them all throughout her life as a nurse and the way she lived her life. was like an exemplary giver of life.
Truly, the three-day royal funeral ceremony was a rich tribute to Lady Obaigbena’s life of service to her family and community in Delta State.