It is not unclear that the Igbo race possesses a distinct trait of dexterity across the globe. They have always proven in recent times that the identity, ‘Igbo,’ is characterized by excellence, and success. Having said that, the mkpokiti Igbo dance and its peculiarity, is an authentication affirming the ingenuity of the Igbo people.
The mkpokiti cultural dance group was instituted in 1959 in Umunze, Anambra state, Eastern Nigeria, by Chief Festus Okoli, also known as Ojimgba, of the blessed memory. He was born in the year 1927 and joined his ancestors in 2009.
The extra ordinary dance group took the nation by surprise in 1970, when Nigeria organized an event to mark the end of the Nigeria-Biafrawar. The event was to feature a cultural dance competition from the various ethnic nationalities. Three thousand British pounds (£3,000) and a golden gong were staked as the prizes for the competition.
The Igbo spirit did not fail to manifest as the dance troupe went home with the cash prize and the golden gong. Their outstanding performance and near impossible stunts and acrobatics took the audience by surprise. The dance group did what many considered impossible, they would hang on each others shoulders rhythmically while towering over 15 to 20 ft of height and holding out one person in the mid air with just one hand, it was an extra ordinary spectacle to behold.
Due to the diligence and creativity of the Igbo dance group, the Anambra state government adopted the dance group as the official state cultural Igbo dance group. It is on record that the mkpokiti dance group has never assumed the second position in any competition, they took the lead, in the national cultural dance festivals of 1971, 1972, 1973 they even represented Nigeria in the year 1977 during the “FESTAC 77’’ in Lagos.
The group has since then gone around the globe, and making the Igbo nation proud. In New York, Washington, Brazil, Barbados to mention only a few. The Nigerian government has no choice than to make the mkpokiti dance troupe the national dance troupe and as a form of reward for their hardwork and creativity the group was ‘immortalized’ on the five (5) Nigerian Naira note.
The mkpokiti dance group is a clear example of the creative mindset of the Igbo man, they marketed the Igbo name with due diligence to the world of culture and creativity.
Ifesinachi Nnabugwu reporting, Obinwannem News