Egbe Omo Oduduwa celebrates 10 years in Columbia

Monday, July 27, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 11:19 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 27, 2009
Tajudeen "TJ" Soyoye, Becky Oyelola and Juliet Ogungbade sing and dance during a live band performance at the annual celebration of mid-Missouri's Nigerian cultural association, Egbe Omo Oduduwa. This year marked the tenth year of the organization.

COLUMBIA — This Saturday marked the 10-year celebration of Missouri's Nigerian cultural organization, the Egbe Omo Oduduwa of Mid-Missouri.

Nigerians from across the state, mainly Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis, met at the American Legion in Columbia for food, live music, dance and a long list of speakers, typical of many African gatherings.  

The organization's purpose is to share Yoruba culture with the Mid-Missouri area and to foster cultural, economic and social ties among its people, according to Oduduwa president Emmanuel Oyelola of Columbia.  The Yoruba are the majority ethnic group in the southwestern part of Nigeria and their population is substantial throughout the United States.

"I didn't realize there were this many Nigerians living in central Missouri," said Mike Beahon, who was invited to speak at the event. Beahon, of Fulton, ran a brewery almost 28 years ago in Nigeria and found out about the Oduduwa organization at a Rotary meeting several months ago.

His wife, Mary Ann, said the event brought back wonderful memories of when they lived in Nigeria 27 years ago. She mentioned the music, the friendship and the many children at the celebration. Before the event, the only Nigerian in Missouri that the couple knew of was former MU basketball forward/center Tajudeen "TJ" Soyoye.  Soyoye also attended the event.      

The Oduduwa aid Yoruba newcomers to Mid-Missouri and send support back home to Nigeria. The organization is also involved in Columbia. Members participate in Columbia's Adopt-a-Spot on Walnut Street, hold Yoruba language classes at the Black Culture Center and Columbia Library, and host several cultural and artistic events.  


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"Wherever our tribe goes, we always want to participate in any community development in the city where we are," Oyelola said.

Oduduwa Secretary Femi Ogungbade, known as Prince Femi Ogungbade back in Nigeria, said organizing the Yoruba community makes it easier for them to participate in the local community. 

"We are here today to pay back the community which has given us our sense of being and sense of pride," Oyelola said.

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Ray Shapiro July 27, 2009 | 11:51 a.m.

Somehow I didn't get my invitation.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz July 27, 2009 | 12:40 p.m.

Seems like that happens a lot Ray. I'll occasionally see a news story for a particular gathering, group, what have you after the fact and think "Gee, wish I had known about that beforehand."

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro July 27, 2009 | 2:41 p.m.

I would have brought my signature carved "potluck" edible arrangement.
Yes, it would have been a better article if the entire community read a pre-story invite first. This is why, IMHO, it comes across as a "closed" gathering and conflicts with the "we want to give back" or "open ourselves up" to the community at-large.
(A favorite movie of mine is "Coming to America"
I guess that and this article will have to suffice.)

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 27, 2009 | 3:03 p.m.

So much for "inclusionism" in our Liberal Progressive community.

What Diversity is my next question.

(Report Comment)
missy stewart July 27, 2009 | 3:48 p.m.

I appreciate the article and although I was not invited either, I know these people work hard and give a lot to our medical community. I also know that the one white woman is not the only white female in the group they need to stress this more . It is not easy for mixed American/Nigerian children to get the credit they diserve.

(Report Comment)
Clara Allen July 28, 2009 | 8:52 a.m.

Is there a contact number for the group?

(Report Comment)

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