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Ushering –in of the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Dr Paulinus Ezeokafor  (3rd from left, front row) into the cultural arena by ADCC executive and members. The bishop is flanked on his left by the ADCC Chairman, Prof Oby Okonkwor, LSM; ADCC member, Daniel Amazu; ADCC Vice Chairman, Rev Fr Peter Nwankwor; ADCC members, Mrs Vero Uzoechina and Lady Tina Okeyika, and on his right by ADCC member, Rev Fr Patrick Umezi and Rev Fr Peter Chikelue.

The grand finale of the first Iso Ebe Cultural Competition to mark the 3rd Edition of Awka Diocesan Cultural Commission Carnival, has ended with Enugwu-Ukwu Deanery defeating other 22 deaneries of Awka Catholic Diocese to lift the champion trophy with 85.3%.
In the keenly contested competition which was held at St Patrick's Catholic Cathedral, Podium, Awka, Anambra State on Saturday, April 29, 2017 with the theme: The Church and Moral Formation of Young Girls in the Light of Igbo Cultural Heritage, Neni Deanery followed closely with 85.2% for the 2nd position.

Awka Diocesan Cultural Commission (ADCC) coming for thanksgiving. In procession are the Royal Father  of the Day, Igwe Lt. C.A.O. Muoghalu, Ochiagha  Di Ora Mma of Isuofia and Lolo Muoghalu (3rd line);  first from right (4th row) is Ifeoma Ezenyilimba of Fides.
Only 13 deaneries out of the 23 deaneries of Awka Catholic Diocese participated in the competition. Other positions included Awka 2 Deanery- 3rd position with 74.5%; Awka 1Deanery-4th position with 72.7%, Amawbia Deanery- 5th position with 68%; Ekwulobia Deanery – 6th position with 67%; Umuchu Deanery- 7th position with 59% and Akpo Deanery- 8th position with 50.3%.
Also were Isuofia Deanery – 9th position with 50%, Umunze Deanery- 10th position with 49%, Adazi Deanery- 11th position with 48.7%, Uga Deanery- 12th position with 46.7% and Ugwuoba Deanery – 13th position with 41.7%.
Earlier, when he led in a concelebrated Holy Mass to mark the event, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Dr Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor, described the Iso Ebe which showcases the moral formation of young girls in preparation for motherhood as a welcome development.
The Catholic prelate said the Church is not against culture, but against idol worship and other practices which militate against God's worship and Christian faith. He flayed those who turned the burial dust-to-dust rites to their “culture” for their selfish gains and thereby prevented widows from exercising their Christian right for their uncalled for idol practice.
According to the bishop, 'Anything that comes between Christians and God and between Christians and teachings of the Church is an idol, and it is this idol worship that the Church is against. The Church did not come for war, but to better the lives of individuals and foster development'.
Bishop Ezeokafor commended Awka Diocesan Cultural Commission led by the chairman, Prof Oby Okonkwor for promoting the good aspects of Igbo culture through her various activities in line with the teachings of the Church. He prayed the good cultural celebration would spur all for ideal Christian life so as to make heaven after their sojourn on earth.

The overall winner of the competition Enugwu-Ukwu Deanery Cultural Commission members  (left), receive their champion trophy from the secretary of Awka Diocesan Cultural Commission, Rev Fr Coach Obinna Obiora Dike (right).
In his remarks, the chairman of the occasion and the PPA aspirant for Anambra State 2017 Governorship election, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, described the event which showcased the rich Igbo cultural heritage as a great one for the Igbos, Anambra State and Awka Catholic Diocese.
On her part, the chairman of Awka Diocesan Cultural Commission (ADCC), Prof Oby Okonkwor said  studies revealed that Iso Ebe is a school of thought that focused on education and moral upbringing of the young girls to become responsible individuals through activities like songs, dance, cooking and family upbringing. She said, the commission chose iso ebe as her activity for the competition in the 2017 to, in the light of the Church, promote the moral formation of the contemporary young girls.

Iso Ebe Cultural competition by the various deaneries.
The chairman commended the vice chairman, Rev Fr Peter Nwankwo and the planning committee led by Rev Fr Christopher Nnonyelu for the successful event.
Donations in support of ADCC project led by the chairman of the occasion, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, cultural parade, cultural competition and presentation of trophies to the winner, first and second runners up of the competition were highlights of the event.

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