President Goodluck Jonathan (left), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari rtd (right)

President Goodluck Jonathan (left), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari rtd (right)

by Okoye Chukwudi Ezeamalukwuo

Now that the issue of who the major contenders for the 2015 Presidential election has finally been resolved, the i-s are gradually being dotted and the t-s being crossed, the debate rages of who is better and who is worse, and the mostly unhealthy rivalry goes on, the momentum keeps building up, and insults continue to be hurl on both candidates by opposite fans, the stage is finally set for what might actually be the last nail on the coffin of an ever-disintegrating Nation.

Nothing has sharply polarised this Nation since the dark days of the counter-coup of 1966 as a Buhari-Jonathan rivalry. A fight between the core muslim North, together with a large section of South-Western Nigeria on one side, and the Christian South-East and their South-South partner on the other side. Judging from online media news; the rhetorics and militant speeches spoken by supporters of both men, one is left with this unnerving premonition of an impending bloodbath, no matter who emerges winner come February. It is quite an unpleasant sight to watch the continuous unravelling of the already worn-out stitches that hold this nation together, the steady tearing of one thread after another, all for the sake of two men whose known portfolios show clearly that both are neither qualified to run nor fit to lead a nation as complex as ours.

On 31st of December, 1983, Buhari and his fellow coupists overthrew a democratically elected government. With a bold and militant speech, filled with contempt for democratic and civilian rule, he ended the second republic and ushered Nigeria once more into the dark days of military rule which was to last for 15 years. This act was initially met with joy and celebration among the citizenry. Little did he know back then that the same citizens would rejoice 20 months later on his overthrew, or that 31 years on he would be contesting as a civilian in a democratic setting for a record four times in a row.

Image of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as Head of State, & Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria

Image of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as Head of State, & Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria

Time is a funny thing, and Nigerians with their chronic amnesia are even more funny. Our infinite capacity to forgive and forget is incredulous, and borders on cheer insanity. A man who advocated brutality and torture as a means of getting things done. Who scorn on the rule of law, who had people incarcerated without trials, and kept them in prison even after their acquittal under the most inhumane of condition is today the messiah we need. A man who had no problem serving under Abacha; that corrupt mantra, who was reported as saying that Abacha had no case to answer in terms of corruption, and who currently is working with Tinubu, Amaechi and other ex-PDP thieves and co, men who had and are looting their state and constituency dry, that same man is now an anti-corruption general. What hurts me the most is when I see youths of today; many of whom are 21 years and below saying that Buhari; a 72 year old man, who was governor at the age of 30, minister at 30-something, Head of State at 41 is the future for Nigeria. The irony of this statement is neither palatable for me, nor is it beginning to make sense beyond it being a figure of speech.

Looking that Goodluck Jonathan; our president for the past 5 years (going to six), who appealed to us back in 2011 with his speech of fresh air and change. A lot of us believed him even though we had our suspicion of PDP. The Truth is that we were already tired of the old guard who have been there since Flora Shaw seduced Lord Lugard into naming this entity; Nigeria. Thus we threw our lots with him believing that at least, President Goodluck would break the old hegemony and give us something different. 5 years and counting, with fuel selling at a higher price ever, a growing and embolden cabal, zero conviction of corrupt public officials, pardon for convicted public officials, high insecurity in the land, rise in terrorism, disarray of the army, decrease of Nigerian status in international circles, civil disobedience, unpatriotic and treasonous statements from political proponents and opponents, growing inflation and unemployment, high level of youth restiveness etc, a lot of us are beginning to repent from our previous decision.

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan in his 5 years as Head of State, and Commander in Chief of the armed forces have failed majority of Nigerians, especially the lower class and the lower-middle class. He has not shown leadership quality, and a-times had appeared unwilling to seize the initiative or to make the hard decisions needed to secure Nigerians and Nigerian interests. His decision to remove petroleum subsidy instead of persecuting the beneficiaries of subsidy scam exposed his lack of willpower to make the hard choice, rather he chose the path of least resistance, which is to dump the burden on we; the ordinary people of Nigeria. His lack of imagination and innovation, strong-will and strictness in handling the Boko-Haram mayhem betrayed his lack of judgment and understanding of what the role of government is; which is first and foremost the security of lives and properties of Nigerians. This actions and more have led to the loss of faith in his administration, by many previous supporters, save a few who are currently benefiting from his rule, and others who are driven by tribal and religious sentiments.

Hence with election 41 days away, and with the presidency (if there will still be a Nigeria after the election) going to one of the two, the future for Nigeria is dire. The foot soldiers of the two are getting their arsenal ready to cause mayhem in the eventuality that their candidate loses. I don’t want to be a prophet of doom (God know there are so many of them already) but if care is not taken, and with the way things are developing we might be having two or more nations, or a civil war by the end of the year.

To be fair the both candidate; I must concede that there are some factors that mitigated against the two of them. Buhari ruled for only 20 months, in which time he oversaw the persecution of large number of people for corrupt practises albeit mostly southerners and members of the opposition party. He tried to instill a rule of discipline among Nigerians who before then (and after then) had carried on their unruly and rowdy behaviour of jumping queue, dumping of refuse indiscriminately, urinating in public places etc. He also tried to put a rigid and disciplined hold in the handling of the economy, which was a failure though, but who knows what might have been if he was allowed back then to continue to say; 48 months.

President Goodluck Jonathan, on the other hand have ruled beyond the 48 months period, and I am not blind to some of the developmental strides he has tried to introduce in a decayed system such as ours. Such as the revival of our rail system, the rehabilitation of our roads, the containment of Ebola, the building of schools especially in the core-northern areas, the increase of minimum wage, the privatisation of power, conducting of credible elections among other things. Being from a minority tribe and having little political weight in Nigeria, plus having an very powerful and ever-power-hungry cabal of Northern origin who are not only opposed to his presidency, but have continued to agitate what they see as the lose of their turn to rule. I must confess that the challenges before him is enormous and calls for some pragmatic steps, and one might be tempted to sympathise with him.

But the truth is that after 54 years of taking scraps and shit from our ruling class, Nigerians can no longer afford to vote based on “What If” or “Sympathy” or tribal and religious affiliation. We saw hell during those 20 months of Buhari’s draconic regime, and Nigerians are seeing hell during this over-gentle and over-indulging regime of Jonathan. Who would have taught that two very opposite regime; Buhari and Jonathan, military and civilian, draconic and civil, brutal and gentle would have such similar effect on a Nation. A lot of us will not like to admit it, but Buhari and Jonathan are birds of a feather, and no matter the weather, will always flock together, and if past experiences are anything to go by, both will take us nowhere greener. I do not envy Nigerian voters at all. Having being asked to choose between the duo; Buhari and Jonathan, Nigerian voters are now left with no choice except the Devil and the deep blue sea.

The statements, views and opinions stated in this write up is solely those of the author, and does not necessarily represent those of Lyriversity.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

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Gallery  —  Posted: January 4, 2015 in Articles, EZEAMALUKWUO SPEAKS 1, INSIDE NIGERIA
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A Jasmine Flower; Picture Courtesy of Google

A Jasmine Flower; Picture Courtesy of Google

by Okoye Chukwudi Ezeamalukwuo

(Inspired by “Mandela; a Biography” by Martin Meredith)

Pick a Jasmine, my love
Pick a fresh, white Jasmine.
The flowers are more lovely this year
The bird’s songs are sweeter than before
And the sky is the bluest I’ve ever seen.
But the fallen dreams of Africa,
Lie un-blossomed still in the desert soils of our hearts.
The sower will sow once more before the year is done.
The heavens will smile, and rain will surely fall by dawn.
The farmer’s boy will till the Earth
With a village song on his tongue.
But the lost hopes of my people;
Those black seeds left un-nurtured in the ground
May never know the blooming light of day,
Though I pick this white Jasmine
Though I plant kisses on your lips.

Listen! My love, Listen!!
Listen to the sound of the wind on your hair,
The chirping of the crickets in the wood,
The clapping of the wings of butterfly,
The buzzing of bees on flower petals;
Listen! My love. You will hear it surely;
The cries of infant, the wails of women,
The clash of spears, the drawing of bows and thrust of arrows,
The noise of battle and marching of tribal warriors,
The voice of pride and the words of prejudice,
The groaning of a people down and downtrodden,
It is the voice of Africa calling. . .
And I must pick myself up and go.
From the North to the South, To the East and West,
She calls; ‘My people; what have you done to yourselves,
This is no manner to live; a stranger among friends,
Knives sharpened; ready to battle,
To draw blood from kindred veins.’
Listen! My love. Listen! She calls,
Give ears and hearken.

Somewhere in time; I believe
They will be singing the Nkosi Sikekela*
And the ancient rhythms of our land,
And there I shall return;
With love for you, and time for me.
But today; the voice of my people calls;
And there is no joy yet for us to reap
Though I pick this white Jasmine,
Though I plant kisses on your lips.

NB: Nkosi Sikekela is a Zulu song usually regarded ad a national anthem by Africans south of thr Zambezi. Nkosi means the King or the Lord; and the phrase means “God guide the destiny of our land!” (Culled from “A Selection of Africa Poetry” by K.E. Senanu & T. Vincent ed. 1988)

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

Gallery  —  Posted: January 3, 2015 in EZEAMALUKWUO SPEAKS 2, Poetry
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Guinness Made of Black; photo courtesy of guiness google

Guinness Made of Black; photo courtesy of google

by Okoye Chukwudi Ezeamalukwuo

It was a fine harmattan evening with bright stars upon a clear sky. On my table, a bottle of Guinness beer –the bottle chilled and dripping of sweat, or ice or whatever the evening has in store for me; which was not looking so good. I sat in this fancy beer parlour, trying so hard to enjoy my overpriced beer. My team was losing, and my mind was going gaga. Externaly; I was an image of solitude, internally; I was breaking into multiple jagged pieces of broken bottle. I was trying hard to ignore the painful taunting of an opponent fan. He was loud, and he was also painfully gifted in the art of taunting, I just had to give it to him. Just then, the Guinness advertisement of ‘Made of Black’ appeared on the tele. I don’t know if it was for want of escape or the need for enlightenment, but something in me was stirred. I was forced to start a conversation with my jeering neighbour, who as it appeared was skilled in other areas besides taunting. We had a very interesting conversation about what Guinness meant by “Made of Black” and what being black was really all about, but I must conclude that besides the commercial gains to be made by Guinness from the advertisement, we both ended up being more confused about the notion: “Made of Black”.

Made of Black. What does it really mean to be black, to think black, rep black, act black in this 21st century of bleaching creams and Brazilian hairs…in this age of bimbos and bambinos. I saw in the advertisement that black is an attitude, and I must ask which kind of attitude? Is it positive or negative?

In my NYSC days while I was serving in one beautiful village in South South Nigeria, I met all sorts of artistic local hairstyles and cosmetics. And I fell in love with them, and with the women who wore them. But I now know that I was all alone in my love affair. One particular incident confirmed my solitary-ness. A young village girl in my compound had just plaited one of those beautiful and artistic hairstyle, and when I saw her, I loved it, and I told her in no little way. She thanked me, and left. Less than an hour later, a guy in that compound saw her, and told her that her african-styled-hair made her to look like a maid. I overheard that, and I came out of my room and rebuked the guy and told the girl that her hair was beautiful and unique. By evening time, I saw the girl wearing a new, different and weavon-fixed hair.

Some would say that this is just an isolated event, but I have rolled with women to understand that this is a norm among them. My ex girlfriend nearly fought me one day because I wanted to see her natural hair. She was beautiful and fair, the kind that turns heads everywhere she goes. Yet in all her beauty lies this unquenchable desire to makeup for the blackness in her blood. That day, she had just removed the wig on her hair and was in the process of putting it on back when I entered the room. I being my inquisitive self wanted to see the beautiful damsel in her natural state, but the damsel was indeed distressed with her own self.

I have always ask african ladies especially those who are so ashamed of their hair, why they feel so uncomfortable with their short kinky hair but so completely at home with loads and loads of wigs and weavons. The answers have always ranged from excuses to downright foolishness.
This has left me with the belief that many black people are not comfortable with their morphology. Is it the case of whitening soaps, creams and bleaching toiletries, those ones are another case on their own.

Another incident that informed the inferiority complex of many dark faired folks especially women took place sometime last year. I was in a park to board a bus one very hot afternoon, the weather was dangerously hot, and my queue was longer than the anaconda. I was contemplating cancelling my journey before my fairly black skin becomes baked cake, when this much more dangerously hot ebony chic came and sat on a bench near my queue. My conflict with the weather disappeared that instance. I was no longer worried about the queue, in fact I became worried that the line was moving too fast. I didn’t speak to the girl, I only wrote a quick poem there in my head, and secretly blessed her for the solace she gave me. I told this story later to a female friend of mine without mentioning the colour of the girl. It was she who brought the colour up, when she said that she believed that the girl was light skinned. I had never quite appreciated the fixation and flirtation with light skin before, but that day it dawned on me.

Women being women crave attention and fair or bright skin calls out attention better than dark and dull skin. And I now know that this pressure for women to be fairer than snow white is mostly applied by men, men who deride darker girls. Black men are less affected by the need to lighten their skin colour than women are, but the attitude of many black men to blackness and black girls help in no small way to fuel the problem.

I feel that the problems of blackness is not just artificially made, but also self-sustained. The media we watch or listen to, images and stories we see and read have shaped our thinking over the years to despise black skin, kinky hair, blackness and many things associated with it.
You switch on the TV and all you see are women with hairs as long as River Nile and skin as bright as the sun’s reflection on a mirror. You open a beauty magazine and you are brainwashed by all that you see and all that you read. You go into a mosque and God becomes a foreigner, who has to be served better in a foreign tongue. You go into a church and what you see is heaven made of white and fair beings, and hell full of dark and depressed souls. These images can be tricky. Children playing Jesus and Satan, Student depicting Good and Evil, find themselves equating perfection with light skin and imperfection/ugliness with darker skin.

Some would argue that these are not really that important, but a look at Africa and African countries and communities, would show the big-brother adoration black africans give to people of fairer skin, be they Europeans or Chinese, Indians or Lebanese. It is the same; “I know you are much better than I can ever be.” How pathetic. In Nigeria today, made in Holland peak milk sells much more faster than its Nigerian counterpart even though it is more expensive. European and Arabic names have since surpassed the Native names in number and importance. Foreign accent is now seen as a measure of enlightenment and sophistication. The list goes on and on.

How can a people who are down and downtrodden, rise to develop and better themselves when they have lost all sense of pride and purpose, all sense of dignity and duty, innovation and inspiration. Everything Black is gradually fading away, from religion, to language, from names to traditions, hair style down to skin colour etc.

So I ask again, what is made of black? What does Black being an attitude mean? What does it mean to be black, think black, act black, rep black in today’s world of bleach and Brazilian hair?

Okoye Chukwudi writes from Lagos, Nigeria. You may reach him on twitter @Mr_Charlze

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and does not necessary represent those of Lyriversity.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

Gallery  —  Posted: January 2, 2015 in Articles, EZEAMALUKWUO SPEAKS 1, INSIDE NIGERIA
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Image of Maya Angelou, courtesy of Wikkipedia

Image of Maya Angelou, courtesy of Wikkipedia

by Chime Justice Ndubuisi

A tribute to Maya Angelou (April 4 1928 – May 28 2014)

I hold it up again today; the world,
Pregnant with magical dimples
Of a child’s reckless abandon,
And look at the face,
Then I look at the deep cut
And the pain it inflicted
I look back at the unpaid ransom,
The whips, hands chained to the back
Faces buried deep into the cold wall,
The so-called wall of the world, soaked
By the tears of our raped eyes.
I have seen the world through and through;
The sweet bitterness of living and dying,
The joyful agony of getting and losing;
The memories come clear like crystal
And the weak world whirls by unconsciously
Taking us down its untrodden alluvial depths
And scattering silence nearby and abroad:
Those are the world’s worth!
Who amongst us does not have a story?
The world is killing us, thinking, perhaps
That there is sudden rebirth in each death
But those we lost are gone forever
And we bite our lips and rub our eyes,
Alas! Another phenomenon has been lost.

Like a cherished effigy
I hold it up again, the wild world
The nuance feeling surges like thousand waves
And I listen as different sharp sounds
Of cries, nay, moans pierce my ears,
The tears fall in torrents like a waterfall.
The earth, our unconcerned world is killing us,
Like little ants…it kills us with sledgehammer,
Hypothetical villain lurking by street corners
Waiting and waiting, almost impatiently.
But we love the world, and so much so
We cling to life, despite the odds
We want to live, love and be loved,
We want to experience and explore the depths.
We have been heartbroken again and again,
And each time we heal
We lick our wounds and clean our tears
Trying to protect our battered ego.
We hold it up again and again
Like a cherished effigy, smiling
Notwithstanding our heaps of unfulfilled dreams,
Our not-to-clear future, our unheard cry-cracked voices,
Despite the rigours of the trite rituals
Of our religions, our creeds, our norms;
Despite the guns, the bombs, the blades
That cut us clean and shatter our unborn hopes,
We still cuddle our earth like a cherished effigy
Dressed to pattern by virgin children
While it takes us down one after another
Jubilantly like a well trained military marksman.
Alas! Another phenomenon has been gone.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

Gallery  —  Posted: December 16, 2014 in Poetry
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by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

Some of us want to be loved. Some of us want to be respected. Some of us want to be feared. But few of us have the natural attributes in their right proportions to acquire one or more of these. Most of us don’t even know what we want, where we belong, where we are going. Most of us just have weight and occupy space, drifting through life unconscious of the value of time, of the power at our disposal, merely existing without living.

Love, Respect, Fear. Three attributes that run the world. We all desire one or more of these three. Some desire to be the name on everyone lips, uttered with passion and affection. Some desire to be the ones that get the salute at every turn. To have the world look upon them with awe and admiration. Some desire to be the ones that get the mountains to move. On whose name every kneel bows and every tongue confesses.

Love, Respect, Fear. I have always wondered which of these three is the greatest of all? Which of these three is most vital for a human being to live his life comfortably and effortlessly on earth, without having on his death bed to look back with regret and pain at things done and undone.

LOVE
Love as was preached by Christ; is the greatest of all there is. Yet it didn’t stop him from being betrayed, abandoned, scourged, spitted upon, kicked, denied, dragged on the streets, crucified and killed. Most times people say, Love is all that matters, yet when you look at those same people, you see them living very miserable lives. I have come to understand that when people say they love you, they usually believe that they are automatically entitled to certain favours from you. I believe that Love is a useless weight if it’s without Respect and Fear. Respect; in the sense that there is something about one that you admire or are bound to. Fear, that you are afraid of losing the person, or his/her friendship or association.

RESPECT
Respect; some say is a compromise between love and fear. But this definition already makes Respect a Love-Fear thing. Is it ever possible for people to really respect you, without actually loving you? In my school days we respected the offices of the Principal and teachers. We still respect the offices of the President, Governor, Senators etc. These offices don’t demand that their occupants be loved or feared, they just come with the territory. But for the occupant to really make impact, he has to lean more on the Love or Fear side of the spectrum. Else the respect becomes nothing but a symbolic gesture.

FEAR
It is much better to be feared than to be loved wrote Niccolo Machiavelli. Most people understand well the concept of pain. They are more incline to obey with a gun on their heads, than with smiles and sweets. Human beings are mostly wired that way. But no one is ever really comfortable with something that scares them. They may follow you today, but they will surely despise you tomorrow. Nobody praises a tyrant when he is power, they may remember him ten years after he has been removed with nostalgia, but today they are opened to working against you.
Fear like Love is a powerful tool, that consumes both the giver and the receiver.

Having looked at these three, I feel that Respect is the best of all. Respect you can control. You need not worry if people love you enough, because you know that they fear and admire you. You need not worry if people fear you enough, as long as they love and feel you. Respect is a compromise between the two extremes that is Love and Fear. Respect is in the middle. All you need to do is to adjust the knife edge of your metre rule in the right direction at the right time, and you are good to go.

So how does one get Respect. Real Respect (not official respect) is earned not given. You need to go into your inner chamber and evaluate yourself; your strengths and weaknesses, your gains and losses over the years. Be honest to yourself in order to reinvent yourself. You need love, but you don’t need the world’s love, it is ever changing, ever swinging. You need a first and foremost to love yourself, then cultivate a little love here and there, from your teachers, your bosses, your chairmen. You need to be feared, but you don’t need the world’s fear, what you need is to stamp your authority, mark your turf, and do not compromise unless it’s a matter of life and death, or for the right price. Step on some small toes that refuse to step aside, and people will start taking you seriously.
Remember it is not really love that you want, it is not really fear, many people don’t need to love you, many people don’t need to fear you, just earn their Respect. Love and Fear, a mixture of both, applied in the right doses will gain you admiration, affection and awe.

Remember it is not going to be easy, it will definitely be hard, but with practise, performance and perfection, you will make impart on your society, school, church, association etc. Life is a one time thing. You need to enjoy it on your own terms. Learn today to live it, and not just to exist for other’s rules and regulations.

The statements, views and opinions in this article, are solely those of the author, and does not necessarily represent those of Lyriversity.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

Gallery  —  Posted: December 11, 2014 in Articles, INSIDE NIGERIA
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by Coby Obiora

There was a time when we had Sony Music, Motown Records, Emi, etc in Nigeria. And at one point they all just packed up their things and left us clueless.
The old cats in the industry then were doing their thing, and the younger generation had no clue of what to do till some significant people decided to invent the new nigerian sound.

Even as they tried to, they were criticised by the older music acts and nobody saw them going anywhere. Even the press was not easy on those men but someway somehow, they made things happen, but of course with lot of sacrifices which millions of younger generations are benefiting from currently.

We’re taking time to briefly analyse those significant revolutionary people of our entertainment industry and by the time we are done, we’re sure to have shown the sacrifices these people had to make, and the good they did for our generation.

KENNIS MUSIC

Kennis Music

Kennis Music

Kennis Music is the first indigenous record label in Nigeria, and even though they had a structure that promoted acts under its umbrella, they generally gave the new school artist an enviable status. They were the hype masters, and were undeniable experts of bestowing a larger than life perception to the new school Nigerian music artist and warming them into the hearts of Nigerians via the widest TV network at the time.

Owners of Kennis Music; L to R D1 and Keke

Owners of Kennis Music; L to R D1 and Keke

This often attracted followership for the artist, increasing their fan base as well as big bucks from the corporate sponsors. Kennis music hold the record of getting the first new school Nigerian act (Rapper Eedris Abdulkareem) to be paid N1,000,000:00 for one show

GRAND MASTER LEE

Ben Omoage, popularly known as Grand Master Lee and widely called GML. A strong crusader for the new school act. His voice was on radio and it was loud. His platform had power and he used the power predominantly to call attention to the emergence of a new kind of sound. He was loud and he was heard. GML was known to be kind to the new bunch of musicians and gave them air time they could never pay for.

HIP HOP WORLD

Ayo Animashaun : The resilience of another pioneer. His introduction was with his magazine that thought a generation the lyrics of all their favorite songs. He was one of the first to play Mongo Park with the hip hop world. Discovering a whole new world of Nigerian music. Ayo also engineered the most enviable reward scheme for the new school act with an Award ceremony that replicated Hollywood’s glitz and glam.

EMMA UGOLEE

Emma Ugolee is A forerunner with the introduction of music videos as the new tool for marketing the new Nigerian artist. On TV, this presenter, producer was the only alternative to the Kennis music dynasty. As inventor of the first ever all Nigerian music video countdown, his TV show was making more artist than we expected. Renowned for his ear and eyes for talent and personal support for most of Nigeria’s biggest music acts today from the early days of their struggle. A force the industry would never forget

DJ JIMMY JATT

Dj Jimmy Jatt

Dj Jimmy Jatt

Dj Jimmy Jatt: An old school Dj with the new school flavour. If Jimmy played your song, it was like getting a seal of industry approval. Unlike many of his colleagues who were still stuck with music from the west, Jimmy celebrated the new Nigerian music by playing at the biggest platforms in his time. Every leader of the new school has a cherished favour given by Jimmy in the wake of his career. In the words of Tuface “back then na Jimmy Jatt na him dey give us instrumental”
  

PAUL PLAY

Paul Play

Paul Play

Paul Play: New school producer extraordinaire. Made that fresh sound for so many of the pioneers as well as himself. Formed one of the first new school RnB groups in Nigeria called Oxygen. Paul Play whose real name is Paul IK Dairo had big shoes to fill with a musical icon of a father, but like Femi Kuti, he too had found his own path and identity but also carried quite a crowd on his back in the process.

KWAME; GLOBAL SOUNDS

Kwame

Kwame

Kwame: Kwame was another voice on radio with a following that was hard to ignore. His style made us all want to listen to what he said. This presenter deserved our attention. When the new school took off. Kwame was a pilot that the journey wouldn’t do without. He used his platform well for the good of the course. His hunger expanded to TV where Nigizzie was eventually born
              

TRYBE RECORDS

Eldee: For an undergraduate in his late teens, his vision was legendary. Forming his solo record label (Trybe records) and initiating trade with the Alaba trader for the industry are landmarks that changed the business, inspiring a whole lot. Attributable all to a man aptly called the Don. Trybe records also went on to create a long chain of successful careers.

NELSON BROWN

Nelson Brown : Another producer of the new Nigerian sound. The legendary Daddy Showkey’s “Diana”  and Plantation boy’s “body and soul” albums are one of the many industry redefining sounds that came out of the stable of Mr Brown’s dove records that operated from a small kiosk in Festac. Nelson’s versatility was amazing as he made hip hop hits for Def O clan, Love songs for P.boiz  and yet sold that Ajegunle new school to Nigeria.

OBI ASIKA:

Heavy weight that enjoyed throwing his weight behind the new Nigerian sound. His backing for Junior and Pretty was one of the early signs that the industry was better off with Obi sticking around. This was made manifest over time as many more owed their blossoming careers to his dedication to improving the industry

SWAT ROOT:

When rap music had taken over the world and we were wondering who could represent the nation with the way it should be done. A team of Northern Nigerian based rappers known as Swat root did not let us wait for long. These intellectual kings of punch-lines made so many youngsters believe that they too could get a shot at this as a means of living. The acknowledgment intro of Ice prince’s ELI album lists their names as OD, Terry tharapman, Mode 9, Six foot plus, Ruclean and EldeeXtra Large

UZO OKPECHI:

The man who took directing music videos personally. Invested for the sake of showing that we too can look like the guys on MTV Europe and Channel O. He was at a time the sole supplier for quality videos to all who played them. His tag team with Mr Emma Ugolee mentioned earlier was memorable as defining what is today called packaging with visuals.

PLANTASHUN BOIZ:

Plantashun Boiz; from L to R Black Face, TuFace Idibia, Faze

Plantashun Boiz; from L to R Black Face, TuFace Idibia, Faze

As Jodeci, New Edition, The boys, Boys to men, etc all got everyday black American boys to believe in coming together to make music magic, Plantation boys did same for the Naija kids. Totally fresh sound from the boys next door, transformed their reality into millions of achievable dreams for music hopefuls who flooded the industry. Body and Soul- the album remains the contact point for many with the new age Nigerian sound

REMEDIES:

Remedies Group; from L to R Tony Tetuila, Eedris Abdulkareem, Eddy Montana

Remedies Group; from L to R Tony Tetuila, Eedris Abdulkareem, Eddy Montana

Another Music redefining band. Made music that opened doors to the acceptance of the new school. Eddie, Tony and Eedris where the symbol of the new school super stars. They inspired many to make that trip to the studio and make the sponsors of entertainment take the new school seriously 

OJB JEZREEL:

OJB Jezreel

OJB Jezreel

Like Paul play and Eldee. Ojb too had opened his doors to the production of talents that congested his studio daily. If he got paid for free beats he gave out, he would have been a millionaire. Responsible for the 1st sounds from Dbanj, Rugged man, Funke etc… He was another one man mopol that defended the new music.

FEMI LASODE:

Here is a man who set up a business to make money out of music with his Africa ‘n Vogue concept but ended up playing father Christmas all year round with free studio sessions and video making ticket to countless artiste who could not afford it. Femi was supportive of the new music and must be proud of where it has gotten.  

TEE JOE

it takes one to know one they say. A music lover but also a business man. Approached by Eldee with a plan to make paper packages for cd’s instead of the expensive plastic cases. Then also to use the Nollywood distribution network to spread this new emerging sound. The catch was for him to provide a bulk sum to finish production and invests in the distribution. That game changing decision in favor of millions to come was made by Tee Joe, and today millions of naira flow through that system

EDDIE LAWANI:

The bearded one is everybody’s uncle. Not only as a sign of respect for his mature, fatherly demeanour, but for his mentorship role that pointed many budding acts in the right direction with his wealth of experience. A technical guru with events production but also used the link to put bread on many tables as a go between sponsors and artistes.

CALLY IKPE:

Cally Ikpe

Cally Ikpe

Cali was also a crusader on TV. The first man to put Plantation Boiz on TV. Cali didn’t believe that we should make our guys look local. He did what he could to equate the hype he gave home grown talents on his show “Live Beats” to the one he gave international act.

CHARLES NOVIA:

Charles Novia

Charles Novia

Charlie as he was fondly called is today more remembered for his contribution to Nollywood but he had long before that been a pillar for the music industry. TV was his medium, and playing videos and interviews was his timely share of introducing and promoting the new era music. His show “who is on” in 1996 forced a lot of Nigerians to accept the new kids on the block with the most popular medium called the NTA network.

Mr Coby Obiora

Mr Coby Obiora Onwuemeli

Coby Obiora is a writer, producer and recording artiste. With a passion for the growth of the entertainment industry in nigeria. You may follow him on Twitter: @theycallmeCOBY

NB: This is the Median Article of Coby-Writes.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

Gallery  —  Posted: December 9, 2014 in Articles, COBY-WRITES
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Map of Nigeria

Map of Nigeria

by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

Reading; makes a Man. Discussion; a better Man, and Writing; a complete Man.
— Francis Bacon

Most Nigerians don’t read; this is a statement that has been proven beyond reasonable doubts. But why are most Nigerians allergic to books? Now this is an observation which has so many divergent theories trying to explain it.

I was discussing with a “Friend” about this blog, and also about the culture of reading and writing in Nigeria. He told me that he has been seeing my post for awhile now, but he hasn’t opened it, and he is not planning on doing so. He went further to tell me that Nigerians don’t read. And this according to him is because Nigerians (and in extension Africans) are hungry, and that as long as Hunger persists in Nigeria, Literature (Reading and Writing) will remain an art for those who dream and are not willing yet to wake up to the reality of our situation.

He also prophesied to me that in 10 years time, that frustration would have stopped me from writing, and he even dared me to bet with him.

It is funny to me now how less we value our own, and how much we let our words run riots and spill lava upon the dreams and aspirations of our neighbours.

Nigeria has frustrated us all, and still does frustrate us today, but some of us remain optimistic about the hope of redemption for this Nation. We don’t cling on to this hope because we are dreamers, or idealists. No, we do cling on to this, because that is what good men do.

According to my friend, Nigeria will never get better, not in the next 200 years at least. He calls himself a realist, I call him a negatively skewed case. Being a realist does not mean that you can’t dream and seek for a betterment of a screwed situation. It does not mean that all you see is the unrepentance of the present situation. No, it does not intel seeking to uplift yourself alone to the detriment of the community, or folding your hands and condemning the Nation without as much as lifting a finger to help, or uttering a word of advice, encouragement or praise. No, Being a Realist is acknowledging that the Nation is fucked, but those who wish to make changes have to go about it in a certain manner, in a manner filled with thorns and thickets, the narrow road, where feet may fail…yet willing to make the move.

I believe that Nigeria will never get better until Nigerians start changing first and foremost their attitude, their Mental Attitude towards the Nation.

I don’t believe that Nigerians don’t read because of Hunger, I believe that Nigerians don’t read because of the Decay in our Educational System…where graduates like my friend, are proud to say that Books make them sleepy, that they only read to pass, or to get money, and nothing else. I write this because I know that folks who went to school in the 60s, 70s and early 80s, they read and they read a lot. But Children of Today don’t even know how much they have been robbed.

There is a need for Organisation…Nothing can be achieved without Organisation. Good men should come together today to form a group and try to reason a way out of this mess.

Nigeria does not need a million people to change it. Boko Haram I believe are less than 2,000 men. With a 100 men and women of similair aim, with Organised Structure, focus and determination…Nigerians will feel something new.

Can Nigeria change…YES,
Will Nigeria change…Only You and Me can answer that.

Okoye Chukwudi Ezeamalukwuo writes from Lagos. You can reach him on twitter: @mr_charlze

Gallery  —  Posted: December 4, 2014 in Articles, INSIDE NIGERIA
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Painting by Hillary Cypril

Painting by Hillary Cypril

by Hillary Cyril

The medium with which the artist transformed form into subject matter bears witness to its form of art, which in this case is painting. The paints were dropped with high stokes of straight, slant and oscillating lines of harmonious orches, Sien, umber, green, cobalt blue, purple and lemon which unfold the pristine figure of a young woman poised in portrait form like the Da-Vinci’s Mona Lisa (but in 3-quarter) with a part of her hair flowing down rhythmi ally to her left to create a symphony with the dark green shade of the lower part of the background. The other part of her hair covered her ear, as if to suggest she was wearing a scarf, And a peeling at the right part of her eye to expose the African Map.

The figure exposes the mediation between cultural change as a result of education and its effects on gender. The centralised figure executed in naturalistic style bearing witness to Africa’s uniqueness in creating realistic forms. The work at its first glance evokes a question in the viewers mind; why a woman? Why a young person? Why Africa? And why the eye? And why the revolving background? Et al.

I do not pretend to have the answers. But i believe that
i-women represent Change, birth, relegation, and a nation.
ii-young people represent strength,vigour, hope, joy, love
iii- Africa is the centre of the world.
iv-The eye is of strength and vision.
v-The revolving background the definition of change…

HILLARY UGOCHUKWU UZOMBA is a student of Art History, Alvan ikoku Federal College of Education, Nigeria. He blogs @ http://www.artmystory.blogspot.com. You may reach him on twitter- @hillarycyril

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

Gallery  —  Posted: December 4, 2014 in PAINTING
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Map of Africa showing Burkina Faso

Map of Africa showing Burkina Faso

by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

“While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas.”
—Thomas Sankara

The events that took place in the past few days in a small impoverished African country of Burkina Faso, which saw the 27 year old regime of President Blaise Compaore toppled, is unprecedented in Sub-Sahara Africa where illiteracy, poverty, tribal differences, neo-colonialism and a wicked twist of fate all work together to keep majority of the indigenous population enslaved, divided and indifferent to their condition.

Popular uprising where a large number of the citizens of a country take to the street to demand the resignation and removal of the Head of State like the one of Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain etc has never happened before in this part of the world. Che Guevara and his Cuban revolutionaries tried it in Congo in the 1960s without success. Nelson Mandela and his ANC members tried it too in Apartheid South Africa, with mixed results. So seeing the footage of Black Africans protesting on the streets and achieving the aim of the protest, did come as a surprise to a lot of us, but to the observant eye, the toppling of Compaore’s regime was inevitable, and only a matter of time.

Uprising in Burkina Faso

Uprising in Burkina Faso

Uprising in Burkina Faso

Uprising in Burkina Faso

The history of Burkina Faso is similar to the histories of most African Nations. A promise of progress at Independence, a conception of a dream, the nurturing, then a little bump on the road, another bump, and yet another bump, and another, and another, and the promise becomes a lie, the progress becomes one perennial regression, the dream becomes vague, and the demons creep in, and nightmare becomes the reality.

A lot of people (Africans included) have argued that Africans cannot rule themselves, that our blackness runs deep into our hearts, that we are irresponsible, naïve and lack the creativity and discipline to develop ourselves and our countries. A quick survey of the conditions of most African countries will confirm the true in this. But a deeper study of the facts, the why, and the how, will show a network of finery spun webs, a canvass of conspiracies, a mirage of misconception, perfectly painted by a much higher force to keep a whole continent, blind and backwards.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I do like to examine every aspect of a problem, so as not to leave any stone unturned.

A look at the formation of African Countries, will show that all African Countries (excluding Ethiopia) are an invention of the Berlin Conference of 1885. African communities were not consulted before their assemblage into a Nation. The customs, cultures and contributions of the indigenous population were not considered, or required to form a state even till this very day. These issues of National identity, tribal, cultural, religious and language differences were not discussed or resolved before Independence. Most Africans today don’t see themselves as Nigerians, Rwandans, Ivorians, Liberians, Somalians etc but as Igbos, Yorubas, Hausas, Hutus, Tutus etc. A typical African Nation is but an agglomeration of countless nations whose common identifying factors have been blurred by Corruption, wars, famine, religious intolerance, illiteracy and Neo-Colonial manipulations.

Furthermore, Africa has produced its share of great, charismatic, disciplined and innovative leaders. The problem is that the very good ones, the ones that would have made the change did not last long in office, removed by the same imperialistic factors that scrambled Africa in Berlin. Leaders like Patrice Lumumba of Congo who was arrested by African Peacekeeping Force in 1961, and later killed on the order of Mobutu Sese Seko, for the pleasure of USA and Belgium. Amilcar Cabral of Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau, killed in 1973 by some of his disgruntled guerilla fighters on the request of Portugal. Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, killed in 1987 on the order of Blaise Compaore for France imperialistic interest. And other African Heads of States who were removed in office by western sponsored coup de’tat.
The only ones who last so long are those who were or are in bed with the colonialists, leaders like Senghor Sedar Leopold, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Blaise Compaore, Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, Paul Biya etc.

Patrice Lumumba

Patrice Lumumba

Amilcar Cabral

Amilcar Cabral

Thomas Sankara

Thomas Sankara

African governments are not African’s. What we have in Africa as presidents are foreigners in black skin, who look African in nothing else but skin colour. Every other thing about them is either Eurocentric or Americanized. These are leaders whose wives go to London, Paris, Brussel, Lisbon or USA to give birth, so that their children would become a citizen there. These are Leaders whose children don’t attend school in Africa. These are leaders with all their investments abroad. Leaders who will die tomorrow, not in an African Hospital but in Europe, Russia, Saudi Arabia or Usa. Africa doesn’t have a government yet, or a constitution that is truly African, which recognises the similiarities and differences of the various ethnic tribes, religious and cultural groups in the Nation. What we have are revised constitution of France or America. What we have are illegitimate Regimes who rigged themselves into power with the blessing of the international community (USA, France, Britian, Canada and EU). Once the international commuinty recognises you as the leader of an African Country, even the voice of God which is the voice of the people will not disapprove of it. Herein lies the bane of African Society.

Nevertheless, what happened in Burkina Faso has now shown that all is not lost. Africans are down, but they are far from out. Like I wrote above; to any observant eye, the dismantling of structures of imperialism and Neo-colonialism is inevitable and only a matter of time. The world is getting more globalised, it is getting smaller, and African people have suffered enough, they are getting wiser, bolder, and more persistent in their pursuit of justice and equality. A lot of good men have died, many more will die but the blood of good men is the seed of our liberation. You can kill one man, two, three, a thousand men but as Thomas Sankara said; revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill [their dreams and] ideas.

Okoye Chukwudi Ezeamalukwuo writes from Onitsha. You can reach him on twitter: @mr_charlze

The statements, opinions and views expressed in this write up is solely those of the author and does not necessarily represent those of Lyriversity.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

Gallery  —  Posted: November 3, 2014 in Articles, EZEAMALUKWUO SPEAKS 1, INSIDE NIGERIA
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Map of Nigeria, courtesy unknown

Map of Nigeria, courtesy unknown

by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

Are you currently sitting in a hold up? Are you looking for a job, or being laid off? Are you presently being harmed or harassed by the security personnels stationed to protect you? Or are you tearing apart a stewed leg of an innocent chicken? There is this thing in the air, and it’s not Boko-haram (though T.B. Joshua may beg to differ), it’s not the unelectrified bulb, and it’s not witches or the woman-bird. . .it is the 2015 general election.

With Atiku and Buhari declaring their intentions to contest, and PDP agreeing on Goodluck Jonathan, and with Kwankwaso, Rochas, (and maybe Chris Okotie, Pat Utomi et al) soon to declare their intentions as well, I believe that the ground is being watered for the plundering.

But in all of these politicking and lobbying, there are three things I am sure of; come 2015, with all things being equal.

1) There will be no change in the socio-political structure or economic imbalance in the nation regardless of which party wins the 2015 Presidential election.
2) APC and PDP are the same. A vote for APC is similar to a vote for PDP and vice versa.
3) President Goodluck Jonathan does not deserve to be Nigeria’s president beyond 2015.

Some folks will call me a prophet of doom; one who is pessimistic about the fate of the Nation. Others will call me a skeptic, a blind un-believer who can not see the achievements and promises of positive change that the opposition has got. There are still many who will want to chastise me for not understanding that the current administration has tried so much in the face of all the opposition and sabotage the president has had to endure and still endure, and that the opposition is our major problem.

But I am not a prophet of doom or pessimistic. I am neither a skeptic nor an un-believer. In fact, I believe that the opposition has a major role to play in any democratic setting. I believe that the challenges before the present administration are enormous, and that the opposition has not been helpful at all in providing reasonable solution to any of them.

APC as an the opposition in Nigeria under the scrutiny of a microscope is mainly an aggromeration of disgruntled individuals, many of whom have failed in their respective mandates and manifestos. APC to me is a party without ideology (as is with PDP), with no manifesto, no code of conduct, no vision except to gain the presidency. And for APC to admit aggrieved PDP members, many of whom are beneficiaries of the same corrupt system that they claim to be fighting, has shown most of us sitting on the fence that the party is no messiah at all, and that we have to wait awhile for the messiah to come.
APC die-hard followers have always argued that there is strength in number. And that sometimes a good man has to seek alliance with evil men in order to win. This I totally disagree with. Darkness and Light have no connection at all at all. Show me your friends and I will show you who you are. And having seen APC members, I can comfortably say that APC is PDP in everything but presidency. A quick look at there Presidential candidates so far shows the same crop of ancient politicians who might have been there when Flora Shaw seduced Lord Lugard into naming this country; Nigeria. Kwankwaso is a bit young, but he is a PDP product who has no structure outside the core north. Atiku is seen by almost all as the controller general of corruption. Buhari; the anti-corruption general has history against him. His regime and Abacha’s are both competing for the all time most brutal and draconic regime. He is old, and seen by folks in many places in the south and middle belt as not being a Nigerian candidate, but a core Northern candidate.

Coming to PDP, the ruling party that has been there for 15 years now. Whose first president is now half PDP, half APC, and who gave us two violent selections in the name of 2003 and 2007 elections. PDP to me is the main problem of Nigeria. It is a cancer that was given birth to during the “10-percenter” days of the first republic, survived the civil war, and the lacklustre regime of the second republic, nurtured by the Babangida’s and Abacha’s administrations, legalised under Abdulsalami’s regime and Blosoomed in 1999 as a full blown epidemic. Yes PDP as well as Goodluck Jonathan’s administration does not deserve to exist beyond 2015.
A lot of folks say that President Jonathan is a good fellow and has good plans for the Nation. Some say that he is trying his best. But the truth remains that whether it is Boko-Haram, Kidnapping, Oil Bunkering, Corruption, Youth Unemployment, Low Power Supply, Insecurity, Lawlessness, Infrastructural Under-development. . .name it; President Jonathan is not a casualty of any of these, or is his immediate friends and family among the victims of any of the myriads of Nigerian problems. The same can be said for the opposition leaders. It is the common Nigerians that have to suffer these, so the idea that Mr President is the target of some local and foreign detractors are nothing but bullocks.
Has Mr President done enough to curb any of these problems? The answer (even in Thunder) is a resounding NO. Corruption and Impunity have grown exponentially under his administration. And coupled with his unwillingness to take a decisive step in tackling any of these problems, is not helping his case among those of us sitting on the fence.

So APC and PDP are out of the question in terms of producing a messiah. Then what is the way forward? Is there light at this really long dark tunnel? With the way things are shaping out, there doesn’t seem to be. It is unfortunate that Nigeria is a non-homogenous, and complex country that have a simple way of partitioning us all into opposing groups. . .we swear, we curse at each other, and at the end of the day we support the same group of men who kept us in this harsh condition. Many people who support President Goodluck Jonathan, do so simply for sentimental reasons…and they are mainly South-southerners and South easterners with a mixture of Middle Belterns and South westerners. You can hardly see a core Northerner supporting Goodluck Jonathan, they are Buhari’s core supporters. Yes Buhari’s base are mainly in the core North, a mixture of South-westerners, Middle Belterns. You can hardly see a South-southerners or South-easterners supporting Buhari. Same can be said of Atiku and Kwankwaso, who have there supporters restricted to their region. We are all Tribalist, and this makes 2015 very interesting but with little prospect for change.

The only way I see towards having a change in Nigeria is to for the good men (who are in large numbers) to go and form their own party. A party with clear ideology and strict code of conduct which will regulate its members. A kind of association built from the ground up. Which should involve every strata of the Nigerian socio-economic society. . .which should include traders, teachers, scholars, students, church leaders, muslim leaders, farmers, carpenters, technicians, bankers, lecturers, etc. Everyone is called to partake and contribute their quota. . . and not a party of the elite for the elite.

The problem with Nigeria (and indeed Africa countries) is the failure of Leadership. Achebe said this, and I’m reaffirming it. Our government is not ours. It is a foreign entity legitimatised by a sham election and a broken system that is recognised by the West. If we pulled down the government and the system that sustains it, and replace it with a government that truly draws its power from the masses, then the domino effect will be drastic and progressive.

How do we change our system? Simple, start changing from the bottom, because the up will only take divine intervention to change. Good men need to start organising themselves, and start taking back their community little by little. Find people of similar ideology, form an association, a cult. . .contribute money, share ideas, and then go out to the streets and make it better.
You are paying N50K a term on school fees, that’s N150K per year. Try and get one or more parents to your side, join your money together, send your child to a public school, and use the money to develop that school. Stop complaining, APC and PDP won’t improve education in Nigeria, their children are not here. Stop waiting on those men, they and their children are not Nigerians anymore. And until we realise that APC and PDP are not here for Nigerians, until we do, and start working towards regaining our nation, until then. . .the light at the end of the tunnel may remain ever elusive.

The statements, views, and opinions in this write up is solely those of the writer, and does not necessarily represent those of Lyriversity.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

Gallery  —  Posted: October 15, 2014 in Articles, INSIDE NIGERIA
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