IPADA 2024: African American Returnee, Andrew Douglas, Named Chukwuemeka

… At An Epic Evening Event By The Atlantic Ocean

Finally, Mr Andrew Douglas, an African American who presently lives in Guyana, in the Carribbeans, fulfilled his long cherished dream, to return to Africa, his ancestral home.

For Douglas, it was a tall dream! But Motherland Beckons, a programme founded by Tourism Icon, Otunba Olawanle Akinboboye, made it possible, through IPADA (The Return).

Motherland Beckons offers a portal, for a spiritual shout out to people of African descent and lovers of Africa from all over the world to come and be part of the African experience. The coming back is the The Return, IPADA.

And they return through tailor-made exciting tours to Africa. And when they are here, they take part in African Cultural Festivals, discover safaris, get to know the culture, meet the people, and discover a new lifestyle.

So, Mr Andrew Douglas, heeded the Motherland Beckons call, and landed at La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, located at Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria, the perfect marriage between man and nature.

Overwhelmed by the unique African hospitality and courteous services at the resort, Mr Andrew Douglas flowed with warmth, enjoying all that Africa, Nigeria, and La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort had to offer in abundance.

Andrew Douglas left some hours ago, back to Guyana, with memories too numerous to mention. He will always recall the unique breakfast experiences he had here at the resort, the tour of the forest, the Atlantic ocean front, the various sporting activities at the lagoon, the fishing, the watch-your-meal-cooked as you are entertained at the Yoru’Bar African experience restaurant, the bonfire evenings, the exceptional African styled luxury homes, the rich African foods, the culture, the dances, the drums, the songs and the entire atmosphere of Africa Celebrates, the West African regional edition, which he witnessed at the resort.

Andrew Douglas did not spend all his holiday period at the the beach resort. As a first time returnee, he was also scheduled to stay at the busy, cosmopolitan, upper class district known as Lekki Phase One, where he came face to face with Lagos night life, visiting parts of Victoria Island as well. And crowning his stay, with a visit to Ondo town, where he had an experience at La Campagne Tropicana Forest, Hills And Cave Resort!

But more importantly, Mr Andrew Douglas will always hold his return to Africa dear to his heart because, on his first trip after heeding the Motherland Beckons call, he experienced an African Naming Ceremony, where he got an African name, Chukwuemeka, amidst joyful tears.

In an emotional evening Ceremony by the Atlantic ocean, the African American returnee had 3 significant cultural and traditional personalities, officiate at his Naming Ceremony. They were: The host, Tourism Icon, Otunba Olawanle Akinboboye; a Queen, Her Royal Majesty, Queen Aruk 11, Obonganwan Marie Ikpeme Erete, a traditional ruler in Odukpani local government area of Cross River; and His Majesty Rex Semako I & VI, Timothy McPherson, the Lord of the Sixth Region House of Kings, who presides over the House of Kings in ECO-6 that brings together innumerable indigenous Monarchs and Chiefs all over the continent of Africa and the Diaspora, including indigenous nations in Canada, Australia, the USA, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

What more could Andrew Douglas ask for?

So the ceremony began at dusk.

The symbolic items, for the Naming Ceremony, assembled in an African palmwine gourd. They were, kolanut, sugar, salt, bitter cola and honey.

“The kolanut describes the essence of longevity, it gives you long life and then makes you prosper, there will be a bit of honey that you will take, the basic way to depict sweetness in your life, you will take honey so that your life can be sweet. There will be bitter cola that gives you health and longevity. Then the salt, the salt and sugar is to give you the essence of sweetness and happiness throughout your life, the bitter cola we use for those who are matured, if you are a baby, it will not be served as part of the ceremony, instead, that will be eaten by the king and he will spit it on the floor in front of the baby, since the baby will not be able to eat it,” said Akinboboye.

Water from a palmwine gourd, was poured on Andrew Douglas head. “This water from the Atlantic ocean, is to request your ancestor’s blessings. The King will come and you will bow your head in his presence and he will stand in front of you and pour the water on your head, he is going to appease to the ancestors after you have tasted each of these items that are here and then he will pour it on your head and then will give you a name that he already has, so you can be fully connected to Africa.

Each item was offered to Andrew Douglas by the Queen, Her Royal Majesty, Queen Aruk 11, Obonganwan Marie Ikpeme Erete, with traditional prayers, explaining the significance of each item in his life. This was followed with more prayers and blessings by the Lord of the Sixth Region House of Kings, His Majesty Rex Semako I & VI, Timothy McPherson.

“This evening, on this day, you have been presented to your ancestors, as a child of Africa,” said Akinboboye as he continued, “you are now expected to carry the essence of Africa with you, the source and the beginning of humanity, the mother of mankind.”

And the King advanced further, with the Naming proper.

“Your ancestors were bound in shackles and they were told that they will not return to their ancestral land, behold the creator will have it otherwise, not only are you on the land of your ancestors, but you start a new chapter in your family, bloodline, and in your legacy, the chapter of renewal, empowerment a chapter in which no more shackles, no more oppression, no more pain, a chapter where you find your identity, a chapter in which you are a new man, you carry the blood of the ancestors as of that generation and this will carry you forward, above the past, present and future, this day on this land you will receive a new name, not the name that someone gave you when they put shackles in your hand and in the hand of your ancestors because your ancestors does not recognise that name. You will now have a name that you can use to communicate with the ancient worlds of about 400 years ago and you, the word that was told to Abraham that his seed will go to captivity and the seed will break the captivity, and so you have come to break the prosperity, you have come to claim the cabinet that was given, you are the generation of promise, you are the generation that overcomes, you are the generation that sits beside the thrones of power, you are the new chapter and new beginning, on this day when you stand up, you will be known as Chukwuemeka.”

Ase! Ase!! Ase!!!

And so, Andrew, who was also formally known as Douglas was formally named and proclaimed as Chukwuemeka!

And the prayers continued:

“Because you have done this today, you are now standing with your both legs, the Diaspora leg and the Africa leg, and both legs will give you trust, speed, agility, ability, capability to confront the challenges in the world, the challenge of suppression, retrogression, challenges pulling the path of an average African. I congratulate you today. The whole ritual material will be handed over to you.” Said Akinboboye.

And lastly Tourism Icon Otunba Olawanle Akinboboye finalised the rite passage by offering him the insignia of the ceremony.

In those days, your ancestors went into the forest and took a piece of wood, and they got also a small skin from an animal and they put a strand by the side and then they called it the talking drum, they gave it a squeeze, when you squeeze it to a particular side, it can pronounce your name, it can sing the national anthem, way before Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, our ancestors were communicating on the face of the earth, when a kingdom falls they use this drum to announce the falling of that kingdom. They use the sound of a drum to praise their kings, they use the sound of the drum to talk to their ancestors till today. No one has been able to replicate this talking drum. This is the wool and animal skin that was used to communicate thousands of years ago. Wear this, it will remind you of where you are from, the power of the drums that brought you into this land. The power of your ancestors. Wear it with pride.

With that, Akinboboye handed Chukwuemeka, a string with an African drum, for his head and another for his neck.

“Today as you have returned to our fatherland, where our ancestors came from, and taken your African name, we pray that the Almighty God protect you, give you the courage to undertake all that He’s set for you, on your return to Africa where your ancestors left. You will find abundance, happiness, love and friendship, you will bring your offspring back to your fatherland in Jesus mighty name I pray.
Ase! Ase!! Ase!!! Ase!!!!

“As you return, you have set your foot print in Africa, you have claimed that it is your heritage, may you find fulfilment in this heritage.

Ase! Ase!! Ase!!!

May the Almighty bless you with wisdom, courage, prosperity, longevity with good health. May you find peace and solace, may you confront your challenges with grace and honour and the whole of your heart desires will be fulfilled. In Jesus holy name.

Ase! Ase!! Ase!!!

“We recall those that were thrown into the Atlantic ocean because they were sick, those that were thrown in the ocean because they were weak and some were just tired, and will never get the chance to come back. But today if they are still in the bottom of the Atlantic ocean they will rejoice, as their great great great grand children return back to the continent to take up the name of their ancestors. Chukwu emeka is from the Eastern part of Nigeria, yes they may never be able to come back but he has come back. They may never be able to add value to the continent, but he will be able to add value to the continent and he must make sure that the list of legacy, of transforming value addition to the continent, must be passed on to the next generation, so that we can begin the process of appeasing the souls that were lost in the Atlantic ocean, the souls of those that were sent abroad because they were just tired, weak and sick. The souls of those that died in the plantation, the sugar that they produced, that is called Chukwuemeka today and the honey that was produced by them is what Chukwuemeka today has used to get the rebirth, a rebirth into a new consciousness of connection. Henceforth Chukwuemeka has the advantage over everyone because, he has 2 legs, the African leg and the American Diaspora leg. We are transforming that lemon into lemonade. We have the sugar, water and we are transforming it into lemonade, so everybody can drink and be refreshed.” Akinboboye added.

An elated Chukwuemeka gave gratitude as the ceremony at the beach ended in laughter, joy and great fulfillment.

* Paul Ukpabio is Nigeria’s Tourism Writer Award Winner Of The Year 2023

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