Anambra State to immortalise Essien-Igbokwe

“The state lawmakers unanimously vote to a street or road be named after the late musician and actress.” 

Christy Uduak Essien-Igbokwe. (1960–2011)

The Anambra State House of Assembly has passed a resolution to immortalise Christy Essien-Igbokwe for her contributions to the music and motion picture industry.

Kenechukwu Chukwuemeka (APGA, Awka South 1 Constituency) moved the motion on the floor of the house at its plenary on Tuesday in Awka. The motion was unanimously supported by other members.

“As a way to reward hard work and also immortalise her, I move that a street or road or alley be named after her in the state capital,” he said.

Seconding the motion, Tony Muonagor (ACN, Idemili North Constituency) recalled how the late Essien-Igbokwe thrilled Nigerians when she acted the role of Akpena in the television series, ‘The Masquerade.’

Popularly known as Nigeria’s “Lady of Songs”, the late Mrs Essien-Igbokwe was the first female president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria.

She began her music career in 1976 as a 16-year-old and released her first album, “Freedom” the same year. She eventually released 10 albums in a career spanning 35 years.

Reacting to news of Mrs Essien-Igbokwe’s demise, PMAN president, Dele Abiodun said, “We lost a legend.” The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has also reacted to her death.

A statement from the organisation read, “With sadness, COSON mourns the passing to glory of our frontline member, the lady of songs, former chairman of the defunct PMRS and former PMAN president, Christy Essien-Igbokwe.” Flutist, Tee-Mac who jointly organised a show with the founder of Punch Newspaper, Olu Aboderin, in 1977 at the National Theatre, Lagos, where the late songstress performed, also expressed sadness at her demise. “May she join Fela and other musicians who have crossed over; may they continue playing music.”

Dancehall musician, General Pype, has also commiserated with the family. He said, “Rest in peace to a legend. May your gentle soul rest in peace in the Lord’s bosom. To those you left behind, accept our sympathy.”

Born on November 11, 1960, the native of Akwa Ibom State started singing in secondary school. Some of the albums of the late musician who played Apena, wife of Jegede Sokoya in “The New Masquerade” include “Patience”, “Give me a Chance”, “Time Waits for no One” and “Hear the Call.”

Though not Yoruba, most of Mrs Essien-Igbokwe’s hits were in the language. They include: ‘Omo mi Seun Rere’, ‘Ife’ and ‘Moloro’. She was also at home in her native Ibibio, and Hausa and Igbo languages.

The late songstress is survived by her husband, Edwin, a former director of Punch newspaper and four children, one of whom also sings.

-Adaego Ogbulafor & Akintayo Abodunrin both contributed to this report. 


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