Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of the South East, literally shut down on Friday during the cultural concert to mark the 7th Anniversary of Radio Sapeintia, 95.3FM, Onitsha.
Radio Sapientia which commenced broadcast on the 8th of December 2011 is unarguably the hottest radio station east of the Nigeria with a coverage strength of about 18 states including some parts of South–South and the North even as its web broadcasting streams live globally.
Previously, the radio station had always celebrated her anniversary annually, but this year’s edition held at the expansive capacity Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium, Awka Road Onitsha was extraordinarily special, as it came with pomp and pageantry, fanfare and splendour.
Many fans said they have never seen a crowd like that all their lives. Teddy Suh, an elderly fan who spoke while commending Fr. Aloy Ossy Orakwe led management of the radio station said the crowd he saw was only close to the crowd witnessed when Pope John Paul the second visited Onitsha back in 1998.
Activities began at midday with a funfair and by 2:30pm, the grand cultural fiesta kicked off.
An opening prayer was said by the Archbishop of Onitsha and the Metropolitan of the Onits ha Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Most Reverend Valerian Okeke. From that moment, it was non-stop fun with electrifying performances by various Cultural troupes from Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Abia, Ebonyi, Delta and Akwa-Ibom states. The audience was left spell bound as group after group thrilled the screaming fans with thrilling theatrical and musical performances.
In addition to the Cultural troupes, there were also performances by the Legendary Theresa Onuorah of Egedege fame, Fanzy Papaya and the Highlife Maestro and Governor of PMAN in Anambra State, Ikem Mazelli.
There was an estimated mammoth crowd of more than 20,000 people coming in and leaving, such that at some point, there were about 10,000 people jam-packed at the Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium Awka road Onitsha.
If one threw something up, it would have landed on someone’s head/body instead of dropping on the ground
When Theresa hit the stage with her famous Egedege dance troupe it was quite graceful and colourful, with glorious choreography spiced with sounds of gongs, and other African instruments.
Their performance was a combination of songs, dance, and colourful traditional constume. Even though the Egedege was made popular about the 1980s, both the young and old were thrilled. Even in her 70s, Theresa Onuorah was as energetic as she was decades ago.
Then there was the Performance of the young and talented Fanzy Papaya. Hitting the stage with two female dancers, he got the audience singing and dancing ecstatically.
Ikem Mazelli and his band crowned it all up with another electrifying performance. With a life band and two female dancers, it was just the kind of performance the fans will not forget in a long while as he dished out tunes from his rich repertoire of songs .
Life Beer, as the official sponsors and partners at the event, were also on ground, and struggled to meet with the demands of supply for the teeming crowd!
In all, a show, a show promoter, Chike Umeojinnaka in a remark said Sapientia broke the rules, answered critics, broke records, set the pace and proved points.
“From Nkpor to Main Market, Upper Iweka to DMGS, 33-Nsugbe-Omeife to Holy Trinity, it was a complete shutdown, total gridlock and traffic standstill! There was Total Theatre with fanfare, masquerades, enactment, pantomime, costumes, makeup, props, spectacle”
The fans also had the opportunity to see the staff of Radio Sapientia as they came up from time to time to introduce different acts.
The Co-anchor, MC for God – also did a great job as he spiced up the show with jokes that sent the audience into spasms of rambunctious laughter.
Mac Davis Ngwa and JJ Agada Aguzie, two staff of the radio station in a review said Radio Sapientia has through the years proven to be an extra-ordinary radio station.
“Our programmes have captured fans from every age group such that everybody has something to hold on. From News to Programmes; from old school music to the present day beat, Sapientia has continued to put in her best to make sure the fans are always happy. So it is no doubt that thousands of fans trooped out to celebrate the Number One radio station, east of the Niger” the said.