OBIWURUOTU WOMEN DANCE GROUP, IHIAGWA
Women Dance group existed at the village levels in Ihiagwa prior to the establishment of Ndom Ihiagwa dance group, which later metamorphosed into Obiwuruotu Women Dance Group Ihiagwa.
During the Women August meeting of 1979, barely a year after Ihiagwa attained its autonomous status, women at that year’s meeting agreed to set up a formidable women dance group as a body. To actualize this, the women August meeting constituted a committee to set the ball rolling.
Some members of the committee were:
1. Madam Katukoma Zander Asoluka
2. Madam Josephine Kamalu
3. Madam Justina Onyeriji Ajoku
4. Madam Ejiato Nlumanze
5. Madam Edna Okoro
6. Madam Harriet Okoro
7. Lolo Ngoka (Ugoeze), Head of the committee and others
The names of committee members written above are the ones remembered but the committee is more than the recorded figure. This committee met a couple of times and resolved that every village should draft to the new dance group, five (5) members from their existing village groups. From this account, it was obvious that the membership of Ndom Ihiagwa dance group then was about forty (40). From within this membership, the following women were appointed to lead the group. There were:
– Mrs. Maria Anokwuru
– Mrs. Nwawueze Frank Emenyonu
However, along the line, two men namely Mr. Zebulon U. Eke and Mr. Celestine Ukaegbu were drafted to help the women manage the resources of the dance group. Presently, Chief Mrs. Rose Nzuruike, the composer and led-singer of the dance group is the leader. In a chat with Chief Mrs. Rose Nzuruike, she recalled that most of the older women that started the dance with them had died while some are inactive due to old age.
Interestingly, responding to the question on when she started singing, she revealed that when she was included in the five (5) women from her village Umuemeze, she declined and refused to be part of the dance group because though she had a good voice but had never sang in public prior to 1979 and secondly she had just lost her young husband Mr. Remy Nzuruike and had little kids to take care of and therefore does not need any distraction.
Responding to another question of what made her to change her mind and joined the group, she equally revealed that during this period when the formation of the group was in the making, the late husband Remy appeared in a dream and urged her not to back out and went ahead to teach her the first song she sang during the audition of the village groups by the organizing committee. The song is “Anyi wu Ndo Ihiagwa ee…
Anyi maramma n’uyo di etc.
Chief Mrs. Rose Nzuruike revealed that rendering this song, her voice was adjudged the best and was there and then chosen to be the lead singer of the women group. Since then on, all her songs were revealed during her dream or at her quiet and lonely moments.
On why the name Ndom Ihiagwa dance was changed to Obiwuruotu women dance group, Ihiagwa, she recalled vividly that on the day the Magistrate Court Ihiagwa was commissioned, they performed during the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony, they encountered OJEMBA of IBC then who came to cover the ceremony and later engaged then in a discussion during which he suggested that he will like to air their music and in the process he asked them the name of their group. It was there on the spot that the lead singer Chief Mrs. Rose Nzuruike, told him Obiwuruotu women dance group, Ihiagwa. Ever since then, the name had remained like that.
Responding to a question on how the dance group has faired in the music scene. She informed that they have recorded seven (7) different albums but unfortunately all their sponsors ripped them off and worst still the pea nuts that were received were mismanaged by the leaders, which made the women in the group to insist that after any public performance, money received should be shared amongst them. Though this stand caused a row between the group and the entire women but was later settled. By the intervention of the then Central Executive Council, Ihiagwa Welfare Association.
Answering to a question on the way forward for the group, she pleaded with the community leaders from the village to bring out younger women for training so that they will take over when the present members who are no longer getting younger will leave the scene and in that way Obiwuruotu women dance group Ihiagwa will be sustained. Also she pleaded that musical equipments should be procured for the group since all their efforts to make money did not yield any reasonable dividend.
Ezinwa Sam. N. Ajoku KSC