Members of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group chanted and waved flags as they gathered Saturday for the first time to celebrate their thanksgiving festival in the capital Addis Ababa, a city that prominent members of the group claim belongs to them.
The annual Irreecha festival of the Oromo people marks the end of the rainy season and the start of the harvest season.
It is traditionally held in the city of Bishoftu, located in the Oromia region some 50 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa.
Many Oromo leaders argue that the capital is part of their group’s territory, meaning the decision to allow Irreecha celebrations there risked exacerbating ethnic tensions.
But a concert Friday night in the central Meskel Square and blessing ceremonies Saturday morning unfolded without incident.
Dawud Ibsa, leader of the opposition Oromo Liberation Front, a former rebel group, told reporters that Saturday’s celebrations were “very significant” for Oromos who believe their claims to Addis Ababa have not been respected.
“This is our turn and a revival of what is taken from you,” he said.
In a park not far from Meskel Square, large crowds of mostly Oromos dipped flowers into pools of water and then sprayed themselves in a gesture symbolising gratitude and renewal.
Yado Birhanu, a student, said celebrating Irreecha in Addis Ababa was fitting given the Oromos played a major role in anti-government protests that swept Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, himself an Oromo, to office in 2018.
“We have sacrificed many young people to bring forth these reforms,” she said.
In remarks at the concert Friday, Shimelis Abdisa, vice president of the Oromia region, struck a similarly triumphant tone.
“Today, we have crushed those who crushed us, and now the Oromo is winning back his respect right where he lost his dignity,” Shimelis said.
“Today, our politics is coming from the periphery to the centre.”
But Takele Uma, the Oromo deputy mayor of Addis Ababa, stressed on inclusion.
“Now we are celebrating Irreecha with other nations and nationalities in the capital of Ethiopia,” he said.
“We are doing this because Addis Ababa is home to every one of us.”
Tight security –
Irreecha has already been a political flashpoint in recent years.
In 2016, the use of tear gas and firearms by security forces sparked a stampede that killed dozens, some of whom drowned in a nearby lake.
The government put the death toll at 55, though Human Rights Watch later said it could have been in the hundreds.
The following year, Irreecha turned into an anti-government protest.
Last year’s Irreecha, the first since Abiy came to power, was peaceful.
The celebrations in Addis Ababa on Saturday will be followed by a larger event on Sunday in Bishoftu.
The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate said the festival was expected to draw “millions of Oromos from all over the country as well as non-Oromo visitors from different parts of the country and other parts of the world.”
Abiy said the festival was “a symbol of peace and unity,” Fana reported.
Security forces were nonetheless on high alert. Federal police on Thursday said they had detained a number of people with weapons who were seeking to “disrupt” the celebrations.
By midday Saturday, the Addis Ababa Police Commission was reporting that it had gone off “without any security problems,” according to Fana.
Security is expected to remain tight in Addis Ababa all weekend, and roads in the city centre were closed Saturday.
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Nigeria’s Chimamanda Adichie receives UN Global Leadership Award
Adichie is the youngest African and only Nigerian to have received the award
Multiple-award-winning Nigerian Writer and Feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been awarded with the prestigious UN Global Leadership Award by the United Nations, making her the youngest African and only Nigerian to have received the award.
Adichie was recognized for her work in Literature – most notably, her talent for using storytelling to connect with people across generations and cultures on issues related to gender, identity, racial inequality as well as for being a leader on the frontlines of global progress.
This landmark achievement comes just after Adichie’s famous novel, “Half of a Yellow Sun” was named in BBC’s 100 Novels that shaped our world.
The 2019 edition of the annual award, tagged; “We the people to honour the founding ideals and vision articulated in the UN Charter” held on the eve of the United Nations 75th anniversary.
Adichie joins the league of notable figures that have received the award in the past, which include former Presidents of America, President Bill Clinton, and Barrack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.
Elated Adichie took to her Instagram account to announce the award.
Also honoured at the ceremony were Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland, Gunhild Stordalen, Chair of the Stordalen Foundation and Founder of EAT, UN staff members who have worked on the frontlines of crisis response, amongst others.
Complete list of the Future Awards Africa winners
Held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, the award ceremony was hosted by Falz and actress Toni Tones
The 2019 Future Awards Africa took place at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday, November 24, 2019.
The award recognizes the achievement of young Nigerian talents, innovators, entrepreneurs, and community advocates doing great in their various fields.
As usual, the annual award did not fall short of expectations. This year’s edition was themed “Nigeria’s New Tribe”. It was hosted by hip hop artist and rapper, Falz and actress Toni Tones.
Here is the complete list of the winners:
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR ACTING
Timini Egbuson (32) – Winner
Bimbo Ademoye (28)
Bandele ‘Baaj’ Adebule (30)
Sharon Ooja (28)
Fatima Washa Abdullahi (26)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR MUSIC
Teniola Apata (26)
Damini Ebunoluwa ‘Burna Boy’ Ogulu (28) – Winner
Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana
John ‘Johny Drill’ Ighodalo (29)
Sadiq ‘Wurld’ Onifade (32)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR AGRICULTURE
Emmanuel Maduka (24)
Chiamaka Ndukwu Theresa and Kenneth Okonkwo (25/25)
Uka Eje (29) – Winner
Divine-Love Akam (24)
Rotimi Olawale (29)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR ADVOCACY
Hamzat Lawal (32) – Winner
Bright Jaja (29)
Uchechi ‘Ucy’ Rochas (27)
Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti (30)
Funke Adeoye (27)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR ARTS (VISUAL & APPLIED)
Arinze Stanley (26)
Ken Nwadiogbu (25) – Winner
Dipo Doherty (28)
Olarinde Olayemi Ayanfeoluwa (22)
Olabanke Subair (28)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR COMMUNITY ACTION
Abdulazeez Kaltumi (27)
Yetunde Fadeyi (27)
Kelechukwu Nwachukwu Lucky (25)
Tony Joy (27)
Akpobi Elvis (31)
Isaac Success Omoyele (28) – Winner
Stephen Teru (29)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR FILM-MAKING
Kayode Kasum (28)
Dare Olaitan (28) – Winner
Chinney Love Eze (31)
Rahama Sadau (26)
Uche Odoh (30)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR LITERATURE
Akwaeke Emezi (32)
Ijeoma Umebinyuo (30)
Lanaire Aderemi (20)
Oyinkan Braithwaite (31)
Otosirieze Obi-Young (25) – Winner
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR MEDIA
Peace Itimi (24)
Paul Alasiri (27)
Edirin Edewor (28)
Samuel Ajiboye (28) – Winner
Tosin Olaseinde (31)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICE
Bukky Akomolafe (31) – Winner
Adesola Ade-Unuigbe (28)
Yinka Iyinolakan (30)
Onoriode Reginald Aziza (27)
Peter Tega Oghenejobo (32)
PRIZE FOR OAP (VISUAL & AUDIO)
Osato ‘EDK’ Edokpayi (27)
Huisaina ‘Dashen’ Usman (31)
Mayowa Ogundele – Adegoke (30)
Simi ‘Drey’Adejumo (21) – Winner
Sandra Ezekwesili (30)
PRIZE FOR PUBLIC SERVICE
Adetola Onayemi (28) – Winner
Ibijoke Faborede (31)
Moses Onalapo (29)
Dr Achama Eluwa (31)
Fehintola Ajogbasile and Judith Oguzie (27/32)
PRIZE FOR SPORTS
Al-farouq Aminu (29)
Georgia Oboh (18)
Eseoghene Oguma (21)
Samuel Chukwueze (23)
Israel Adesanya (30) – Winner
PRIZE FOR EDUCATION
Olaseni Cole (32) – Winner
Omozino Eguh (28)
Eyitayo Ogunmola (31)
Seyi Oluyole (27)
Farida Kabir (27)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR TECHNOLOGY
Chinedu Azodoh/ Adetayo Bamiro (29/32)
Zang Luka Bot (28) – Winner
Muhammad Salisu Abdullahi (28)
Timothy Adeleye (25)
Funfere Koroye (29)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR FASHION
Andrea Iyamah (26)
Derin Fabikun (29)
Tuboboreni Sandrah (28) – Winner
Osemwengie Victor Odion (31)
Kenneth Izedonmwen (29)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR BUSINESS
Adekunle Hassan (31)
Obi Ozor (30)
Chika Madubuko (30)
Olawale Ayilara (31) – Winner
Tiwalola Olanubi (31)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR JOURNALISM
Aisha Salaudeen (25)
Joey Akan (28)
Ayodeji Rotinwa (29)
Shola Lawal (25) – Winner
Kiki Mordi (28)
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY
Adah Clarence (30)
Yemi Ajala (31)
Praise Nnemeka (21)
Stephen Tayo (25)
Tolani Alli (27) – Winner
THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR YOUNG PERSON OF THE YEAR
Debo Ogundoyin (32)
Kenneth Udekwe (32)
Damini ‘Burna Boy’ Ogulu (28) – Winner
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