Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo writes that Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Dr. Uzoma Ikechi Emenike has a special place for children in her heart, a love she portrays through the Emenike Foundation
Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Dr. Uzoma Ikechi Emenike, loves children. And not one to sprout out empty platitudes, she has made sure this love is tangible enough.
For the past 17 years, she has kept faith with this love in official capacity. Through her Emenike Foundation, she has reached out to kids in her community in different capacities.
Towards the end of every year, the Ambassador would take time off her busy schedule to party with the children. It usually takes place during the yuletide season.
The Christmas party has been a regular event over the past 17 years under the auspices of the Emenike Foundation. Children from communities in Ohuhu clan in Umuahia North Local Government Area and nearby communities in Abia State always looked forward to it and they came in thousands to enjoy the fun-filled event.
The 18th edition held on December 28, 2021 lived up to the expectation of the joyful kids. In fact the children had been eagerly awaiting the 2021 Christmas party and when the date and time was announced they just couldn’t wait. The party was billed to commence at 3p.m. but before noon the children had already gathered at the gate of the Ambassador’s family home, Umukabia Okpuala, waiting to be ushered into the compound.
There was no need to keep them waiting as time appeared to be moving slowly for their liking. The gate was thrown open for them. Over 3,000 children poured into the compound and occupied every available seat in the arena prepared for the event.
Toddlers were seen being led to the event by their mothers, older sisters or brothers. No child would be happy to miss out. That could explain the reason a heavily pregnant woman, Mrs. Nkiruka Onyebuchi, brought her three children to join in the fun. Even some nursing mothers brought their babies to be part of the celebration.
A popular kid preacher, Master Samuel kick-started the event with prayer and then went on to share the word of God with his fellow youngsters. He talked about the love that God has for mankind, which was the reason Jesus Christ was born to save humanity. He preached, quoting bible verses to buttress his points and moving round the venue with such confidence that surprised many.
The child preacher held his listeners, including adults, spellbound as he talked about the saviour, Jesus Christ, whose birth over 2,000 years ago is the reason for Christmas celebration. The children cheered in appreciation of the boldness and knowledge exhibited by one of their kind doing what is usually the preserve of adult preachers. In concluding his sermon, Samuel made several declarations, invoking peace to reign in Abia and Nigeria in general.
The fun continued with music and dancing. The children really enjoyed themselves as they displayed all kinds of dancing skills, swaying and gyrating with total absorption. No dull moments crept into the event. There was also plenty to eat and drink.
The Ambassador, who was evidently enjoying the fun with her young guests, glowed with satisfaction. She only addressed the children briefly, assuring them that the usual gift packs that come with the Christmas party were not omitted despite the economic situation occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic. Emenike explained that last year’s event was done in low key due to the COVID-19 challenges, and that the party would also tow the same pattern this year. But with the pandemic still very much around and even manifesting in different variants, there was need to be very vigilant and stick to advice of medical experts.
To add to the fun galore the Ambassador organised a game of chair dance in which the children danced round chairs arranged in circular form. A dancer who failed to find a chair to sit on each time the music was stopped abruptly was eliminated. Finally, winners emerged at the end of the game and were rewarded with different gift items, including cash.
The children were fully entertained. They went home with joy and happiness at the end of the event. Little Chiemela, who clutched the toys she received very close to her chest, quipped “I am very happy”. She added that she would show her parents the gifts she got at the party.
Master Chukwudi Ndukwe was equally glad he was at the party. “I danced and danced,” he said. The seven-year-old boy thanked the Ambassador for hosting the children. He prayed that God “should bless her and provide for her to call us again for another party.”
“The fun continued with music and dancing. The children really enjoyed themselves as they displayed all kinds of dancing skills, swaying and gyrating with total absorption. No dull moments crept into the event”