June 30, 2012 it will be one year that God Almighty, the creator of all mortals, separated from us our beloved Christiana Uduak Essien-Igbokwe. To say that one year away from us she will be remembered on this day is diminishing the reality of our lives.
We live with the full realization of her physical separation in our family as we feel the vacuum created by her absence in our everyday lives. But it is for me as her husband and our four sons; not a time for celebration.
It is rather for us a sober moment to reunite with her in faith and spirit as our family always did together while she was here with us, and time to glorify God who had admitted her into His place of Eternal Peace in Heaven. That is the path me and Christy’s (biological) four sons have thought we should rather go for the commemoration of her one year of transition to eternal glory.
The Igbokwe family therefore invites all our friends and well-wishers to join in the solemn remembrance of Christy, the woman you all used to adore as mother of all, the singer that you celebrated as “Lady of Songs” and philanthropist that you acclaimed as one that put shine on the face of mankind.
June 30, 2012 falls on a Saturday. But the family will be joining other people of good faith the following day July 1, 2012 for the memorial service at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral on Oba Akinjobi, G.R.A., Ikeja, Lagos. The church service shall start at 10a.m but the Igbokwe family and friends will be called to the Altar at about11.30a.m. We wish that you join us for the memorial thanksgiving service.
We want to use this occasion, once again, to thank all who identified with us during our moment of grief when my darling wife and mother departed us. We remain eternally grateful as your show of love and support for our family have continued to strengthen our faith that we are neither alone in our worlds nor abandoned to our fate.
We believe that even Christy is pleased and remains happy with you all.
Chief Edwin Chuks Igbokwe [Husband]
PROFILE OF THE LADY OF SONGS
NAME: Chief Dr (Mrs.) Christy Essien Igbokwe, MFR, FICA
STAGE NAMES: Christy Essien; Akpena; Lady of Songs
DATE OF BIRTH: November 11, 1960
ZODIAC SIGN: Scorpio
PLACE OF BIRTH: Okat, Onna LGA, Akwa Ibom State
FIRST MUSIC OUTING: Now Sound TV Programme on NTA, Aba (1976)
FIRST ACTING OUTING: New Masquerade TV Programme on NTA Aba (1976)
EARLY MUSICAL EFFORTS: At age 7; started dancing with drama groups in schools
MARITAL STATUS: Married at 19 to Chief Edwin Igbokwe (then General Manager of PUNCH newspapers). They have four children, all male.
1. Freedom – 1976
2. Patience – 1977
3. Time Waits For No One – 1978
4. One Understanding – 1979
5. Give Me A Chance – 1980
6. Ever Liked My Person – 1981
7. Taking My Time – 1986
8. It Is Time – 1988
9. Hear The Call – 1990
10. Mysteries Of Life – 1994
1. “Silver Prize” Winner at 6th Seoul Songs Festival, South Korea – 1983
2. “Grand Prix “ Winner at Neewollah Music Festival at Independence, Kansas, USA – 1983
3. “International Special Achievement”Award of MUSEXPO, Acapulco, Mexico, 1983
4. “Certificate of Merit” Award for Song writing and composing at the 10th Annual American Songs Festival, Los Angeles, USA – 1983
5. “Audience Favourite” Award of International Music Festival at Baker University, USA – 1983
6. “Silver Prize” Winner at Second International Music Festival of Oklahoma University, USA – 1983
7. “Outstanding Performance” Award at the World Song Festival, L.A. Arts Academy, USA – 1984
8. “Distant Accord” Award at the FIDOF Festival in Hollywood, L.A., USA, 1990
9. Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) Award in Business Management by Cornerstone University & Theological Seminary, Jerusalem, Israel – 2010
10. Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) Award in Literature-in-Africa by University of Berkley, Chicago, Illinois, USA – 2010
LOCAL AND NATIONAL AWARDS
1. “Lady of Songs” by Nigerian Entertainment Writers – 1980
2. “Star Performer” Award of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) – 1983
3. “Best Actress Runner-Up” Award for Excellence by silver Jubilee Committee of the Nigerian Television Organization of Nigeria (NTA) – 1984
4. “African Music Mother” Award by Music Extravaganza’84 in collaboration with African Music Development, New York, USA
5. “Adaha Onna” (Pillar of Onna LGA)
6. Akwa Ikwo Eket (The Greatest Singer from Eket Community) by Eket LGA Authority
7. Aha Nwanyi Ejiagamba 1 of Oru Ahiazu, Mbaise, Imo State
8. “Golden Voice of Africa” Award by music Students Association, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
9. “Gold Award” of 25 Nigerian Celebrities – 1988
10. “Certificate of Honour” by the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Anambra State Council – 1990
11. “Certificate of Recognition” by National Film Festival – 1992
12. “Service to the Music Profession” Award by PMAN on platform of NIGERIAN MUSIC AWARD (to Christy Essien Igbokwe/Edwin Igbokwe) for their efforts in forming and creating PMAN – 1988
13. Special Musical Patents Decoration Award – 1994
14. “Merit Award for Excellence in the Field of Music Therapy” by Medical Association of Nigeria
15. “Award of Honour” by Nigeria Institute of Journalism Student’s Union, Ibadan Campus
16. “Certificate of Honour” in recognition of her role as a woman of substance and her excellent performance in musical entertainment by National Association of Akwa Ibom Students, University of Ibadan chapter.
17. “Grand Fellow of Nigerian Youths” by the Nigerian Youth Organization
18. “Queen of Music International” Award by the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, Lagos State and Degbola International Promotions –1996
19. “Outstanding Achievements Uplifting Female” Award by Youth Re-Orientation Movement – 1996
20. “Merit Award in Honour of Care for the Nigerian Child” by Broadway International School – 2000
21. “Award of Excellence and Outstanding Leadership Qualities” as PMAN first Female President -1998
22. “The Best Dressed Female Musician” Award in the Patriotic Dress category at the Nigeria Fashion Show – 1997
23. “Member of the Greatest Performers” Award in recognition of her immense contribution to the development and reformation of the world youths – 1996
24. “Award of Excellence” as Matron of the Great Eni-Njoku Hall (University of Lagos chapter – 2000
25. “Pacesetter Award” in recognition of her vision, initiator and organizer of the First ECOWAS Cultural and Musical Festival & the Entertainment Award– 1997
26. “Lover of Children” Award in recognition of her contribution towards child social and welfare development in the society – by legendary Page Boys Club (Socio-Cultural & Humanitarian Club)
27. “Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) by Federal Government of Nigeria – 1999
28. “Defender of Children” Award by Interclassic Youth Forum (a non-governmental organization)
29. “Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment Industry” Award by Top Celebrities Magazine -2010
30. “Merit Award for African Heritage” by The Gong African News Magazine -2010
31. “Honorary Fellowship Award” by Institute of Corporate & Business Affairs Management, Nigeria.
32. “Nigerian Woman of Valor” Award by National Centre for Women Development, Abuja – 2010.
MATRONSHIP/EXTRA CURRICULA POSITIONS
1. Matron; Eni-Njoku Hall, University of Lagos
2. Matron; Akwa Ibom Journalists Forum, Kaduna
3. Matron; National Association of Akwa Ibom Students, University of Port Harcourt
4. Matron; Nigerian Youth Tourist Organization
5. Matron; National Association of Akwa Ibom Students, University of Lagos
6. Matron; Association of Beauty Therapy& Cosmetology of Nigeria, Lagos
7. Matron; Worldwide Twins and Multiple Foundation
8. Deputy Vice President/Vice Chairman, Governing Council of Institute of Corporate and Business Affairs Management, Nigeria.
1. “Entertainment Icon” by West African Women in Leadership Conference (in Ghana) – 2011
2. “Excellence in Outstanding Performance& Hard Work” by National Association of Akwa Ibom State Students (NAAKISS)– University of Lagos Chapter – 2011
3. Top 100 Professionals 2012 – by International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, england
Her Charity programmes dated back to 1980 when she started championing the cause of the less privileged in our society especially the Nigerian Child. This is also evidenced in her works such as:
a. Show a Little Bit of Kindness
b. Do You Hear Me Children?
c. Seun Rere
d. Hear the Call
e. Onwegh Ihe Ka Nnwa Na Uwa (Nothing is greater than child)
In fact Royalty from the sales of her past albums remains directed towards charity projects and the needy in our society.
CHARITY AND TOURISM PROJECTS
The Lady of Songs has successfully and single-handedly pursued and executed charity projects in the following States in Nigeria
1. Adamawa State (then Gongola State); where she raised funds used by the State Government to fence, equip, renovate and provide drinkable water and main pump to the State’s only rehabilitation centre (at Jada) for the handicapped.
2. Rivers State; where she raised funds for the Catholic Children’s Home and Psychiatric School.
3. Enugu State (then old Anambra); where she fully equipped refectory for the School of the Blind, Deaf and Dumb, Ogbete, Enugu
4. Plateau Sate; where she raised funds through Command Performances to provide scholarship endowment fund for able-bodied and handicapped children of the State origin.
5. Dedication of all proceeds from her tenth album to Essential Childcare Foundation’s coffer.
6. She has scores of students under her scholarship studying in various institutions within the country (Nigeria).
7. Her Charity work does not stop in Nigeria
a. In Liberia before the civil war, she (considering how popular she was there) was the guest of that country’s government; to raise fund for improvement of the only television organization (then) during President Samuel Doe’s tenure.
b. In Ghana where she was invited to raise fund and also launch potential Tourism in Ghana that is still booming till today. This was in 1994.
ON-GOING CHARITY PROJECT PURSUIT
Christy is presently engaged in a Child care programme she tagged “Essential Childcare Foundation”. This project kicked off in 1992 with a National Dialogue involving Nigeria’s distinguished Speakers. Today she is tirelessly putting finishing touches towards the establishment of a“Half-Way-Home” – centre for missing and mentally retarded children. For these, a Trust Fund from the Essential Childcare Foundation has already been put in place. The Essential Childcare Foundation was legally registered and launched on April 30, 1994 with eminent personalities as members of the Board of Trustees. They are successful industrialists and professionals – Chief Abdulaziz C. Ude (Chairman), former Information Minister, Chief Tony Momoh (Vice-Chairman), late Dr. Simi Johnson (General Secretary), Dr. Muktar Bello (Auditor), Engineer (Mrs.) Comfort Ponnle (Treasurer), Mrs. Njideka Ezeife, Chief Austin Izagbo, former Chief (Mrs.) Helen Esuene and Chief (Mrs.) Christy Essien Igbokwe (Publicity/Welfare Officer).
SOME OF HER OTHER OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS
1. FORMATION OF PMAN: With her ideas and husband’s support, she recorded the feat as the brain behind the formation of the only recognized national (union) body for musicians in the country aptly called Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) in 1982. It is meant to cater for the welfare and protection of Nigerian musicians and their rights, nationally and internationally. When the Union was heading for extinction, she was dragged to head it so as to revive her baby. This culminated in her serving as PMAN President for two terms and remains, till date, the only female so far to have headed a trade union in Nigeria.
2. FORMATION OF PMRS (now COSON): She is a founding member of the Performing and Mechanical Rights Society (PMRS) of Nigeria and was the Chairman of the Board for two consecutive terms; becoming the second female to head the Society – after Chief (Mrs.) Keji Okunowo. The society is majorly concerned with the general responsibility of negotiating, collecting and distributing royalties on behalf of musical copyright owners who are mostly its members.
3. ABROGATION OF OFFSHORE/ONSHORE OIL DICHOTOMY: It is on record that what the littoral State in Nigeria are enjoying today is as a result of the abrogation of the obnoxious onshore and offshore oil dichotomy which was made possible by God through Christy’s final push. She mounted campaign of persuasion that saw the regime of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida initiate and abrogate the dichotomy; thereby putting paid to the struggle that lasted decades.
4. SUSTAINED EXISTENCE OF THE FRSC: It was through her interventional effort that the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) remains today as separate entity. When it was planned for scrapping or merging with the Nigeria Police Force, she brought pressure to bear on the federal government and thus the FRSC was spared till today. This again was during the tenure of Military President Ibrahim Babangida.
5. PRIVATE TELEPHONY: It is a fact that granting license for the private telephony started from the regime of late General Sani Abacha. Christy had to intervene by pushing forward the idea that the world is fast changing in telecommunication. The idea came to her when a private telephone company (EMIS) that had its equipment and staff ready approached her with their predicament as a result of license denial. She fought this and thus EMIS became the first privately licensed telecommunication company; others then followed with ease.
HER BUSINESS EMPIRE
This has spanned over years now. She is the Group Managing Director of her family’s group of Companies – Chuduak Limited, Sountrain Entertainment Limited, Chuduak Graphic Machinery Limited, Eagle Graphic Equipment Limited, Chuduak Properties, etc.