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2020 Jesuit Festival on hold

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Muoneme

The year 2020 will surely be remembered for one thing: COVID-19 pandemic. While many see the pandemic as bringing hardship to various homes, the administrator of St. Francis Catholic Secondary School (SFCSS), Idimu, Lagos, Rev. Fr. Maduabuchi Leo Muoneme, is upbeat about its impact on human ability to adapt, even as the pandemic has made his school to put on hold its yearly Jesuit Festival, an arts and culture fiesta.

The priest disclosed that this year’s edition, which organisers wanted to be loud, was planned to celebrate Nigeria’s 60th Independence anniversary.

With this, the school will be denying the students and parents, the various theatrics they looked forward to.

Explaining the import of the festival in a virtual chat, the Catholic priest disclosed that the festival started in 2018 with the aim of celebrating Nigerian culture, honour the nation, as well as strengthening hope and faith of future leaders.

The school administrator revealed that the yearly fiesta is an avenue for students, staff, parents and friends of the school to gather to celebrate arts, dance, music, drama and entertainment.

Using Abraham Lincon’s axiom of ‘this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,’ shed light on the importance of the festival.

He said the fiesta allows everyone to dance for freedom and also for the nation’s independence, despite current challenges facing the nation.

“There is emotional power in aesthetics and beauty, and God has endowed the Magi (students) of St. Francis with different talents, ” he said.

Muoneme disclosed that part of the blueprint of Jesuit education is a holistic formation of the learner, adding that Jesuits were interested in developing students in all realms: intellectual, character, spiritual and in humanities — theatre arts, music, visual arts and dance.

He disclosed that the first edition of the event in 2018 featured a drama piece, titled, A Parliament of Vultures, by Professor Emeka Nwabueze, while the second edition, last year, saw Ola Rotimi’s Ovonramwen Nogbaisi being performed.

“Our shadows hove around us like they did for the Oba of Benin City and like they did for the British Empire. Land is sacred to Africans, and no one wants to be stripped of his or her land,” he contended.

He noted that the yearly festival has become red-letter day for the Jesuit-Catholic College of Lagos.

However, in a bid to adapt to the changing circumstances and constantly evolving Jesuit education in Nigeria, Muoneme said the school would start running a summer online programme, stressing that technology would be used to prepare interested Nigerian students for the next academic year — consequently giving them a head start.


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