London, January 6, 2024 — The Wheelshunters Social Club in London played host to the annual Warri National Union Itsekiri Thanksgiving Service on the 6th of January 2024. The event, mirroring the annual thanksgiving by the Olu of Warri, brought together the Itsekiri community in the UK, showcasing unity and gratitude for the past year.
The gathering witnessed a remarkable turnout, with the four other associations that make up the Itsekiris in the UK, namely Otonloye UK, Ugbajo Itsekiri UK, Warri Ladies Vanguard, and Itsekiri Cultural Heritage, including Itsekiri Congress UK, fully represented.
The proceedings began with an opening prayer, setting a spiritual tone for the event. The National anthems of Britain and Nigeria were sung, resonating with the cultural diversity of the Itsekiri community. This was followed by the rendition of the Itsekiri anthem, a moment that filled the room with a sense of pride and identity.
Mr. Churchill Park, the President of the Warri National Union, delivered a warm welcome speech, expressing gratitude to the Itsekiri community for their enthusiastic response to the gathering. The event featured three hymns, with the first one sung in Itsekiri. Bible readings accompanied each hymn, emphasizing the spiritual significance of the occasion.
Prayers were offered for the prosperity of the Itsekiri Nation and Iwereland, as well as for the well-being of Ogiame Atuwatse III, the Olu of Warri. Pastor Omasan Oritsesan delivered an inspiring exhortation, underscoring the importance of faith and community in the face of challenges. Additional prayers were offered for the Warri Kingdom, emphasizing the desire for peace, progress, and unity.
A moment of thanksgiving followed, marked by a generous offering from the community. The Warri National Union expressed appreciation in a heartfelt vote of thanks, acknowledging the support and participation of everyone present.
The atmosphere shifted to one of celebration as rounds of dancing ensued, with the music seamlessly transitioning between traditional Itsekiri songs, Nigerian Afrobeats, and classic tunes. The gathering provided an excellent opportunity for Itsekiris to come together, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.
Members and attendees alike enjoyed a memorable time, creating lasting memories and strengthening the bonds within the Itsekiri community in the UK. The annual Thanksgiving Service served not only as a moment of reflection and gratitude but also as a vibrant celebration of culture, faith, and unity among the Itsekiri people.