Glamour, Pomp and Thrill at Saint Francis Cultural Fiesta

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Mary Nnah

Management and students of Saint Francis Secondary School, Idimu, Lagos left indelible memories in the minds of attendees as they recently rolled out the drums and rolled out the red carpet for the glamorous celebration of her annual cultural festival.

The event is one, both parents and students always look forward to considering the fact that culture is a strong unifying factor unequivocally embraced worldwide.

The well-attended event started with a Mass, held at the Jesuit Chapel, with the very Rev. Fr. Chuks Afiawari, S.J. the Provincial of The North – West Africa Province of the Society of Jesus as the chief celebrant, followed by the dedication of a building project and the unveiling of the Soccer Academy via the Lens of Culture.

In his welcome address, the School Administrator, Rev. Fr. Maduabuchi Leo Muoneme, S.J said Lagos is the nation’s cultural and economic melting pot, a mini Nigeria, where all cultures blend as one people.

Thus, the school is a Mecca of cultures. A quest, he believes is to provide high quality, transformative, and holistic education for the children.

He argued that at the heart of human experience is culture and Nigeria is well blessed with a sound plurality of cultures.

“This school and the children strive to duplicate in the institution, so that they may be better raised to be excellent global citizens and leaders. Aside recent global advancement and development in diverse areas of human development and endevours we still dare to celebrate the authenticity, beauty, and essence of the diverse African cultures.

“Proving that we can still be one, and live in peace and unity, though, Nigeria is a country of incredible divergences, a home of 250 good and hospitable ethnic groups.

“Here the children are brought up to live together as one indivisible family. This is the children own way to put to use what they have been thought so that when they moved on higher they will not depart from it and our society be better for it,” Muoneme said.

Chairman, Russell Smith Group Nigeria, Leslie Oghomienor, who was the special guest of honour at the epic cultural event, reiterated that children are the sole heritage of any nation.

“To achieve a sustainable peaceful, united and viable nation where every citizen has the same right, those who will take over from us- the children must be very well raised and educated, imbibing in them with sound cultural, moral and traditional values right from home and educational institutions,” he said.

He drew the crowd’s attention to think about the way we feel when a Nigerian does something good and impactful, noting that nobody thinks whether the person is from Urhobo or Fulani or Annang, rather “we all celebrate together.

“Therefore, we must teach our children the true brotherhood of man, devoid of any difference, and be well oriented in the true essence of the Fatherhood of God, whom we all draw strength from. We must guide our future on the right path by the way we nurture our children.

“If we must enjoy a better, peaceful and viable united nation where all citizens have same right irrespective of where they come from, the children which is our heritage must be very well oriented and nurtured, by imbibing in them globally acceptable cultural, moral and traditional values, that will help mould them into great legends, bound to accomplish much more than what we the parents and teachers have done.

“This, I know is the joy and pride of every formator, be such an individual or institution. Therefore, it is better to think what we can do to bring them up very well, rather than waiting for government or blaming them. And they, the children must take responsibility by willing to learn and be helped when and where such is required”.

In his opening remarks, Sir Emmanuel Ogbe Akhibi, KMS, Chairman of the occasion, said the 2020 Cultural Day was unique and first of its kind since the establishment of the school decades ago.

He advocated the promotion of teaching the young people our cultural and traditional values, which will make them well qualify to take over from the older folks.

“It is our responsibility to teach our children our cultural and traditional values, so that it will serve as a moral guide for them. To prepare them better to take over from us and even do better”, he said.

Commenting on the event, the Provincial, Rev. Fr. Chuks Afiawari, S.J. said the focus of the Society of Jesus, is holistic.

“With the zeal, anywhere in the world to raise complete men and women who will be able to add worthy values to the human community in the areas God call them.

“So teaching the children to live as one, learning the cultural values of other parts of the world will make them adapt well wherever they may be,” he stressed.

The thrilling event paraded various cultural groups from diverse ethnic nationality spread across the nation. Prominent among them were the Yorubas, Ibos, Tivs, Binis, Hausa – Fulani, Esans, Efiks and Urhobo, to list a few. The children also dazzled the audience as they displayed with excellent creativity, the culture of a few other countries to the delight of the crowd.

The event was graced by dignitaries who come from Argentina, Spain, Japan and invited cultural and traditional dance groups from across the country.