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Evang (Mrs.) Ify Ebosie presents the ANFC plaque and N3m cash prize to Chinedu Kingsley Ikpe, representative of the winners - Angels Choir. With them is a member of the Choir, Nemi Iselema.

The Angels Choir of Living World Ministries, Aba, Abia State is now N3 million richer as they emerged winners in the exciting but hotly contested Annual Festival of Nigerian Choirs (AFNC) that came to a close in Abuja last weekend.

The event, which drew participants from across the country, witnessed a collective presentation of a unity song in commemoration of the nation's 50th independence anniversary.

Welcoming guests to the event, President/Founder, Royal Life in Christ Ministries Int'l and convener of the AFNC, Evangelist Mrs. Ify Ebosie said she was touched by the manifestation of great talents and gifts, being deployed by Christian youth in the worship of God. She eulogized the choristers and their handlers, while calling on churches and parents in Nigeria to encourage spirituality among the youth.

Ebosie says: 'It is our hope to use this programme to revitalize the church choirs in Nigeria with a view to making them very attractive to Christendom and the whole world. We also intend to show that moral values that have been abused by the youth can be corrected and the right path of spirituality brought to them.'

Ten choirs participated in the event with the COCIN church choir, Abuja and the Magnify Him Team Choir, Adamawa, respectively emerging the 1st and 2nd runners-up, and carting away N1.5m and N750, 000 in that order. The 3rd runner-up position went to Angels Voices of St. Paul Anglican Church, Jos, Plateau State, which took away N250, 000.

Other choirs that featured at the festival include New and Living Calvary Way Choir, Kano, Praises Family Choir, Umuahia, Chosen Treasure Choir, Kaduna and the Taraba State Mass Choir. The rest are Redeemed Christian Choir of God Covenant Choir, Port Harcourt and the Glorious Voice of African Children Choir, Kaduna State.

The judges at the festival comprised foremost Nigerian Professor of Music, Prof. Laz Ekwueme, top gospel singer Panam Percy Paul and Prof. Ebele Uchenna Umeh. The contestants were assessed on basic professional traits as well as creativity among other criteria.

The judges, however, expressed confidence in the degree of discipline shown by the contesting choirs, while noting the level of diction, stereotype, presentation and basic ethics brought to the fore by all. Highlight of the event, which would become a reality show, was the presentation of prizes and cutting of the event's cake by the AFNC Board of Directors.

Carol Opurozo, Welfare Manager of AFNC, expressed satisfaction with the degree of success of the event, promising that next year's edition will be better as contestants would be made to pass through zonal competitions before coming for the finals in Abuja. Dignitaries that graced the grand finale included Most Rev. C.A Iweha, Pastor J.T Aderinto, Rev. Dr. RBC Nwankwo, Prof. John Brown, Rev. Prof. Danny McClain, and Prof. Daniel Babayi. Others are Rev. Gyang M. Chuwang, Rev. Alex Anokwuru, Rev. Samson Kaliwa, Rev. Ujah, and Ayuba B. Gufwan.