How well do you know the Mkpokiti cultural dance group? If you haven’t come across them performing live, you would have seen them countless number of times at the back of the Nigerian five naira note.
The currency of nations is usually a symbol of the people with special engraved pictures to honour the heroes of the land.
All the same, the ‘Mkpokiti igbo cultural dance group’ had written their name in the sands of time as they did not only earn national recognitions but are also well respected internationally.
We wouldn’t talk about how this group got to the back of the five naira note without tracing a bit of their history.
As a reminder, In 1959, the late Chief Festus Okoli, popularly known as Ojimba, established the Mkpokiti cultural dance group at Umunze in Anambra state.
The group is known for their unique dance steps, incredible stunts and acrobatic display.
This group distinguished themselves from other competitors as they consistently thrilled their audience since their establishment.
However, Mkpokiti group first came to limelight in 1970 when the states of the federation gathered at Lagos to celebrate the end of the civil war. The group seized the opportunity to establish themselves as the best group in the country by clinching to the first position and winning the 3000 pound with a gold gong which has been set aside for the winner of the cultural dance competition.
The competition also took place between 1971 to 1973 and the Mkpokiti dance group took first position. According to Obindingbo, the group had never taken second position in any competition. Consequently in 1973 when the five naira note was introduced by the Yakubu Gowon regime, the front of the five naira note bore the engraved portrait of Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa who was the first Prime Minister of Nigeria.
The back of the note was then engraved with the picture of the Mkpokiti dance group who were the best cultural dance group in the country.
Moreover, the group continue to win more cultural dance competitions both at state and national levels. This frequent triumph prompted the Anambra state government to adopt the group as the state representatives in cultural dance competitions.
Following their unwaved victories and defeat of rivals. The federal government of Nigeria later decided to make this group the country’s ambassadors at world level. Yet, the group continued to prove to the world that they are the best in the world.
The Mkpokiti dance group represented the federal government of Nigeria at FECTAC 77 in Lagos. They have been to New York, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Venezuela, Jamaica, Cuba, England and lot more.
Interestingly, the Mkpokiti dance group came back to Nigeria with the ‘cultural dance world cup’ in 1978.
This was after a company named Satin Sheen availed the Mkpokiti group the opportunity to compete at Wembley England.
The Mkpokiti dance group successfully beat off other competitors from all around the globe to win the World cup.
Furthermore, this amazing dance group has been to every part of the world apart from Australia. The spectacular achievements of Mkpokiti dance group had led to their picture being used at the back of the Nigerian five naira note.
In 2015 they won the UN Gold medal of culture and exhibition and are thus regarded as the greatest cultural group in the universe.
This igbo dance group has proved beyond doubt that Africa is rich in culture and heritage. They continued to make the igbo culture proud and the country at large.
Now you know more on how the group got to the back of the Nigerian five naira note. Kindly share this article and remember to follow my account for more interesting articles.