Controversy Surrounds Aguata Diocesan Music Festival And Its Director As HTC Church Choir Faces Unjust Treatment |

todayNovember 27, 2023 4

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In a shocking turn of events at the Aguata Diocesan Music Festival – Children Choir, Grade One competition, held on Nov. 20th, 2023, at the Cathedral Church of St. John’s, Ekwulobia, Anambra State., questions loom large over the impartiality of the organizers, leaving the HTC Church Choir and members from the diocese and beyond in dismay.

Despite being defending champions for two consecutive years, HTC Choir found themselves at the bottom of the ranking, accompanied by significant points deduction, amid allegations of employing mercenaries. However, the organizers have failed to produce concrete evidence to back these claims, leaving the decision shrouded in doubt and speculation.

The HTC Choir’s performance, widely regarded as one of the best of the evening, has garnered substantial attention on social media platforms, accumulating over 11k views, 500+ likes, 300+ comments, and over 100 shares on Facebook. The disparity between their acclaimed presentation and the unjust placement has ignited a firestorm of criticism and inquiry, even from the audience in comment sections.

[Link to Facebook Video]

The festival’s organizational shortcomings have come under scrutiny, especially considering the global audience. Concerns about potential bias emerge, especially as the winning Choir, Cathedral Church of St. John’s, Ekwulobia, is linked to the diocesan music director and some other organizers.

There are claims that one of the adjudicators is the wife of the Diocesan Music director who also happens to hail from Ekwulobia – where the winning church is from. These raise questions about the neutrality and conflict of interest in the adjudication process.

More questions arise whether it is a coincidence that Churches from Ekwulobia happen to take first positions in almost every category of the competition – SMAAAAC Ekwulobia took first in Grade 3 Adult choir, while St. Luke’s Church Ekwulobia took first in Grade 2 Adult Choir.

It is reported that in contrast to sister dioceses like Niger and Awka, which have set positive examples, the Aguata Diocesan Music Festival seems to lag in progress since 2013. The need for a transparent and fair process becomes paramount, with the recent issues highlighting a lack of adherence to modern standards.

Notably, the Catholic diocese of Onitsha successfully organized a music festival where winners were rewarded with cash prizes, emphasizing the importance of recognizing participants’ efforts. However, the Aguata Diocesan Music Festival seems to fall short in this regard.

The plea for transparency extends to alleged rule-breaking by other choirs, which went unnoticed or unpunished, while HTC Choir faces severe consequences without evidence. Selective law enforcement raises not just questions about the integrity of the competition but also that of hate and jealousy from the music director to this said amazing Choir.

Arinzechukwu Okoyeodogwu, who has tirelessly sought answers from the organizers for over 5 days, emphasizes the need for fairness, nonbiasness and professionalism from the organizers and adjudicators. He calls on Director Chudi Ezeokoli to address the concerns promptly.

He said, “It’s disheartening that these children, after putting immense effort into their performance, sleepless nights and days, will face demoralization from the organizers, due to baseless claims seemingly driven by hate and jealousy.”

“Over 5 days, and I am still waiting to hear from the organizers. I plea to the organizers, whom I have written countless times to, to address these concerns and ensure fairness and professionalism.” He added.

Reportedly, there have also been letters sent to the Bishop’s office (His Lordship, Bishop Samuel Ezeofor), which serves as a testament to the seriousness of the allegations.

There have been reactions from members of the Dioceses who were watching across the globe, including likes of Prince Ernest Tochukwu, who has echoed his complaints, outlining observed irregularities, as stated below from comments;

“Pulling out a boy on stage for allegedly being over aged; why did he [the director] suddenly come up when it was the turn of HTC presentation, when there were so many over-age children in the previous choir that presented, including their Choirmasters”

Tochukwu also spoke about the “Allegation of engaging the assistance of Marcinaries as he [the music director] boldly announced with all assurance, even when the parish priest (Ven Nwankwo) confirmed that all the children were his members.”

“Threat of 100 marks deduction from their overall score, while still performing on stage which demoralized the children as we all saw from their countenances. And also, raising voice on the children as well as discharging them on stage without allowing them complete their presentations.” Also noted by Tochukwu.

Mr Elochukwu Otele has called for justice for the HTC Children Choir, while pinpointing unprofessionalism from the music director. In his statement, “The said Music Director who was supposed to be a model suddenly turned to a roaring lion. He falsely accused the church of hiring macineries to sing for them.”

While pleading to the Bishop of the Diocese for fairness and unbiased judgment., Mr Otele called for immediate sanctions toward the Director, and possible replacement of the office with more professional individual.

“This Man was relieved of this same position sometime ago due to the same attitude; he was partial in his judgements, lacks decency and professionalism. He attaches eye service and favoritism in carrying out his duty.”

He also added that “It was observed that he [the director] lacks accountability as all the cash prizes won and donations made by individuals over the years are yet to be given to the deserving parishes.”

“This mess need to be addressed and the Director be sanctioned and replaced by a more professional personality.” Mr Otele concluded.

As the controversy unfolds, the Aguata Diocesan Music Festival stands at a crossroads, with the hope that rectifying these said errors will restore faith in the festival’s integrity before the grand finale on 16th December 2023.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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