By Joy Umukoro
On Sunday, December 18, 2016, hundreds of Igbo men and women from Enugu, Abia, Imo, Anambra and Ebonyi states gathered at the Uke Multi-purpose Hall, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos, to celebrate with the Big Stars Club of Nigeria.
The club, which is led by Mayor Donatus Ikechukwu Ogbonna, was established in 1996. It comprises 60 members, mostly businessmen and professionals, within and outside the country.
Ogbonna told Daily Sun that the club’s main objective was to provide help for the needy by showing love to motherless babies homes, giving loans to members for their business and making the society a better place.
“We have a branch in China. Some of our top members outside the country include Friday Abucho and Chinedu Nwekwerem, who is the chairman in China. We have members in the United States, India and Europe.
“Big Stars started in one small house at Mandillas, Lagos Island, and we have our office at Anjorin. God has been so faithful to us over the years. We are blessed with children, beautiful wives and we have not recorded any death of any our members since inception. We have also recorded a lot of achievements since we started. So far, Big Stars Exquisite Club of Nigeria has acquired 10 acres of land to build its own estate in Lekki area of Lagos and Nike in Enugu State. Our project for next year is to build our secretariat in Amuwo Odofin,” he said.
Ogbonna charged members of the club to remain united and focused. He enjoined them to bring development and progress to the Igbo nation by promoting their rich culture and values.
At the event, illustrious Igbo men of honour and integrity, who have distinguished themselves in their service to Igboland, were honoured. They included the chairman, Elders Forum, Sunday Nwafor, Chief Ikenga, the man that started the club in his house, Chuma Nnabo, and many others.
It was an entertaining evening, as the Alor Nwanteje Band rendered Igbo music accompanied by ogene instruments, to the admiration of many. The breaking of kola nuts was done by the patron of the club, Chief Lambert Ogbonna Onwa. He thanked everyone who helped to stage the event even as he charged Ndigbo to be good ambassadors of the nation wherever they find themselves. However, he cautioned young men and women against partaking in drugs and human trafficking as well as other social vices that could dent the image of Nigeria abroad. The highlight of the event was the fund raising for the building of Big Stars Exquisite Club of Nigeria’s secretariat.
Many members of the club who were businessmen based in Nigeria, China, Malaysia, Asia, India, Europe and the United States, among others, made huge cash donations to the club. Some of the donors include Chief Samuel Ike Nwakwor, who donated N50,000; the president, Ogbonna, N150,000; vice president Samuel Nwatu, N30,000; Onwa, legal adviser, Ken Akunebu, and others also made donations.
Chief Sam Ike Nwakwor said he was elated at the turnout. He praised the Igbo for coming out en masse to support the initiative and called on government to look into the current economic recession, which he said was affecting business.
“Government must provide an enabling environment for business to thrive,” he said, even as he lamented the high exchange rate of major foreign currencies. He also noted that the bad treatment meted out to Nigerians doing business outside the country as a result of the negative image of Nigeria abroad was affecting business.