Posts Tagged ‘Articles’

by Tim Nwaobilo

I woke up, for the 2nd time that day, one cold Saturday afternoon feeling lazy. It’s those kind of Saturdays that you don’t feel like doing anything. Well, maybe not like doing anything exactly, but you don’t feel like doing anything that will stress you or make you leave your bed. Actually, I had hardly left my bed all morning. The cold was a bit numbing here. The cold always started from 7:00 pm on an average day and lasted till around 12:00pm the next day. That’s the Nigerian harmattan season. My uncle who I chatted with by 9:00 am that morning while still lying on my bed informed me that it was just 23^C there in “The State of Osun”, that was the way the APC governor of “State of Osun” instructed everyone to called it; State of Osun, and not “Osun state”. Just like he preferred his name being prefixed with “Ogbeni” instead of just “Gomino Rauf Aregbesola”. Ogbeni means “Mr” in yoruba language. One could be jailed for failing to properly address His Excellency.

Why this was the first thought to cross my mind immediately after waking up, I still wonder. Ok…honestly it must have been the 2nd or 3rd thing that crossed my mind post-sleep, after the Football Manager 14 game I was playing on my smart phone before I dozed off; and definitely after the fact that I had possessed intentions to go and pray to my God somewhere quiet earlier in the day. Maybe it was because everywhere I looked all I saw was Jonathan and Buhari posters and billboards, telling me why I should vote for Jonathan or why I should vote for Buhari, Or that everywhere I listened, all that people were discussing was how evil Buhari used to be, or how Jonathan could have been a “nicer” president, or how Buhari was the better of the two evils or how Jonathan …and so on and so forth (you see what I mean already?) I woke up thinking WHERE IS THE GEJA I USED TO HEAR ABOUT?

You must be wondering what GEJA means and what it has to do with anything. In 2011, during the Presidential campaigns in Nigeria, some people came up with the acronym GEJA—Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Azikiwe. Adding Azikiwe to Goodluck Jonathan’s name was to sort of idolise him, and to portray him with this saviour-like personae that was normally attributed to the Great Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s first president. I do not know if they realized that reconstructing GEJA could also give JEGA. Professor Attahiru Jega was the chairman of the INEC, the electoral body. If GEJA=JEGA, I think the deeper interpretation is best left to your imagination.

So, where is the GEJA I used to hear about? After years of military rule, 8 years of a controversially democratic Obasanjo aka OBJ rule, and 4 years of an OBJ proxy-rule, Nigerians sought for some deliverance, someone who would wipe away their tears. They wanted change. They craved for a leader who would feel their shoe-pinch and live on their heart-beat. It’s no wonder then that the “shoeless” Jonathan fitted this mental picture and Nigerians were all too willing to fit him into the physical frame. The people I used to hear then promoting this, kept preaching at every available opportunity how poor he had been in his early life and how much of a commoner like us he was. If he didn’t have shoes in his childhood days, we surely could give him a chance to rule us, right? I don’t think many people asked how many pairs of shoes he now had.

Jonathan was from a much maligned tribe, so he might have been the voice to raise up a people that had potentials for greatness, but had remained buried. It’s apparent that in the past 4 years (make that 5), Jonathan has been the president of not-the-Ijaws but of Nigeria. After all, wasn’t that what he was elected to be? Southern Nigerians who were feeding on the fantasies of a president who would turn the South-South into a heaven must be chewing their fingers (or whatever is left of it) in regret and disappointment.

Where is the GEJA I used to hear about? Yes, the GEJA I used to “hear” about. I repeat for emphasis: HEAR about. What sweet tales did we not hear! Nigeria would become America if you waited for a meagre 4 years, we can wait right? After all, we have Patience as our first name…scratch that…first lady. We were told that Power supply would be so stable that it would be visible and tangible. GEJA, where are you? They said corruption was devilish and since we were electing an angel, corruption would naturally (I reckon supernaturally is more appropriate) die off. If you are a Nigerian or based in Nigeria, I suppose you know where we are on that. It is now obvious we were fed fat French-baked pies in the skies…hmmm, yummy! The name Boko Haram is now synonymous with Jonathan’s incompetency and lack of quality leadership. That is one of the most shameful blemishes of the Jonathan presidency.

I am not disappointed. No, I am not. I am not disappointed in GEJA. This is because I didn’t expect anything better from him, other than what OBJ or the OBJ-proxy had previously offered. I, for one, was of the notion that Jonathan was simply an appendage of the OBJ dynasty, and therefore of the conclusion that he wouldn’t offer more than OBJ had stuffed down our polluted throats for some years, except he was offering more in the negative order, which he actually seems to have contrived to achieve, arguably. If puppets were held on strings, Jonathan was probably held on bridge draw-strings, the kind used on the River Thames. It’s interesting to note however that he seems to have outgrown his master’s ropes and has imbibed a similar trait from him—stubbornness. I ensured I didn’t raise my expectations of his government so that in the case he couldn’t fully rise to the challenge, I wouldn’t be chewing my nails, like most of my compatriots are doing now.

I was on the election queue that day in April, 2011 when some people awaiting their turn to vote produced a newspaper. The paper was a complete derision of Jonathan’s main opponent. It had many people confused that day. I could see and hear from conversations that many people who hadn’t given Jonathan a thought previously were now doing so. If his main opponent was such a devil as seen in that particular paper, then Jonathan might as well be the lesser of two devils. In fact, some well enlightened members of my family who were with me that day advised me not to waste my vote by not voting for Jonathan. I was not moved, as I am up till now. Jonathan ended up winning that election and Nigerians have been reaping the dividends, haven’t we? However good or badly his government has performed is a matter for critical discourse and dissection, but the fact that Nigerians are now seeking for another change, the kind of change which they thought the Jonathan era was to introduce in 2011, says a whole lot about the present administration. If indeed Nigerians have found their saviour, would there be all the on-going tremor and anxiety? Wouldn’t the majority of Nigerians be clamouring for a continuity? Would they be willing to consider another “change” so soon? I doubt that.

GEJA no longer inspires the downtrodden like he used to do. GEJA no longer means god. GEJA is after all a human, not an angel. The GEJA camp no longer adds the ‘A’ to his acronym lest they be lynched in the burnt and deserted streets of Chibok! Where is the GEJA I used to hear about?

I calmly closed my laptop which I had been working with while lying on the bed, got up and prepared to step out to watch an English Premier League match with my guys. I think Chelsea was playing. I would rather give my support to and raise my expectations of Chelsea (like winning the UEFA Champions League this season) than expect anything good to come out of Nazareth-Otuoke. At least Chelsea is on top of the League.

Tim Nwaobilo is a Mechanical Engineer, writer, poet and programmer. He writes from Port Harcourt.

Liberty of Creativity

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

Art by Hillary Cyril Ugochukwu

Art by Hillary Cyril Ugochukwu

by Hillary Cyril Ugochukwu
Email: Hillarycyril@gmail.com

‘Okirikiri ka ana agba ukwu ose, anaghi ari ya elu (You can only run around a pepper tree, you can’t climb it)’ –An Igbo Adage

An Igbo adage says ‘ihe ojo gba afo, ya buru omenala’. One thing about african maxims; it loses some of its weight when translated to western lingua. But for the sake of comprehension, I will translate this adage to give a hint of the meaning to those who do not understand my language. It simply translates to ‘When evil persist it becomes a tradition.’ A tradition that can add life to culture or take life from culture.

My story tells of a nation where evil grows, a time when hypocrisy persists, a city where crime is a tradition, admist a people who are like the ‘ukwu ose’ (pepper tree) you cannot stand at a place to talk about them, or pluck them…you can only go round them to define them, to understand them and to be part of them. My name reflects it all.

I was born in 1998, and stiffened by Octobers dryness. I was told by my mother that time was what seperated me from been called the child of
independence. On 2nd of October, I cried my first tears on earth, few minutes past midnight, few minutes past October 1st, Nigeria’s independence. I grew up grateful to the clock for not letting me be the Nigerian child, but a child from Nigeria.

I am Igbo by identity and tribe, and Nigerian by western making. I was given an Igbo name by my parents because they didn’t know an english name they would give to me. The English names were always funny and at times meaningless to them, one of such was ‘Winterbottom’… They wanted a name with meaning as customary in igbo culture, hence they chose a name that exposed the world I was born into, a generation I am part of; a world of choas and trouble, of power and weakness, a dual world, an uncertain generation, and of a seemingly united country, so stiff and wreathed in imperfection that the seam is coming undone- a truth we all have refused to accept because we believe in another name; ‘Ogadimma’ (it shall be well) and yet I ask, When? When?…

As a child I learnt to read books that were higher than I was. A tradition I started when I was in my hometown. I read my uncles notebooks that were well preserved with dates like 1971, 1975 and 1980. I heard names like Chinua Achebe, Fela Kuti, Nelson Mandela, Wole Soyinka; the professor who as a child I was able to recognise by his rather white hair. My uncle Ikenga loves war history, so I got fond of the tales of Ojukwu and Gowon, Hitler and the Germans, Saddam and General Joe Achuzie the fiercest Biafran soldier. Before this tales of war, we were told the legendary folk tales of ‘Mbe and Alia’ (Tortoise and Ant). I was very voracious. I chewed books and vomited wisdom. This was how I know of Thomas Hobbes’ ‘Leviathan’, and the word ‘State of Nature’.

I left my hometown; Oguduasa in Isuikwuato, Abia state, at the age of seven. I lived the next three years in Benin, Aba and Owerri, each with
an uncle or relative. Those three cities changed me, but I never knew more was coming…things and people who would change me forever and
forge me into someone extraordinary.

After my stay in Owerri, I went to Mushin Lagos to live with my uncle Ikenga (and I still live there). Mushin is the bed rock of the raw ‘State of Nature’. Life in mushin is adventurous, and filled with enough drama and confusion, and only the fittest makes it out of this slump. Anyone who lived in Surulere in the 70s and 80s, would tell you that Mushin was back then the Ajegunle of today, filled with highly realistic and cunning individuals from all tribes of Nigeria with a common bond of poverty uniting them. Neighbouring towns like Surulere, Oshodi, Bariga, Isolo, Itire feel the little heat from the burning fire of trouble in the city. Different classes, different fates, people with dreams and families. There are the likes of Obi and Ada, Olu and Simbi, Fatimah and Musa; different tribes, different people all clamouring to make it here.

Mushin haven’t changed much today. The atmosphere is always tensed, and death hovers over every nuke and cranny. It is so densely populated that one only breathes the air which another had exhaled. The air have this odour arising from a natural concoction of scents-from marijuana, gutters, toilets and rubbish, heaps of dead decayed animals.

Houses are mainly of wood. They are called ‘batcher’ or ‘kwacko house’. Only few houses are of brick and block. The kwacko houses are built on top of gutters that carried all the filthy waters from all over Mushin. Many have their toilets inside the one room batcher they live in.
I remember an incident that happened sometime ago. I was walking on the street one hot afternoon when a gang war started in the area, and I was caught in the middle of it. Running, I found a house and ran into it for safety. I stayed there until the street was safe for me to return home to my uncle living in Ahmodu Street. When I told the man who harboured me that I wanted to make use of the toilet (for fear had pushed faeces close to my anus). He removed a plank from one side of the house to reveal a big gutter where they defecated. I swallowed my saliva and shook my head. I was dumbfounded. The wife and children were at one end of the same room gobbling a bowl of cold rice. I made use of the toilet anyway. Thank God I didn’t catch any disease. Mr Ola was a life saver …his name is all I know of him.

In Mushin, crime is commerce and commerce is the survival of the Mushin Ghetto. I and my uncle live at Ahmodu Street off Akala street
which is the hottest zone in Mushin….the norms are simple; rape, armed robbery, soddomy, child trafficking, ritual killings, gang war, broad daylight shooting, and drug pushing. In short, ghetto isn’t the word for it, hell is, and in the lips of everyone surviving in this slump, lies the phrase ‘This is Lagos’.

There is no Ajebutter in Mushin – Let me tell you what an Ajebutter means. An Ajebutter is a nickname for rich, spoilt, dependant kids, Ajekwacko is the opposite.
No one speaks correct English here, but deep rooted Lagos pigdin English with a Yoruba accent. I can’t forget my first week in Mushin. My uncle sent me to buy cowbell milk, popularly called ‘Abiola’.
‘Sir good afternoon, I want to buy cowbell milk worth of fifty naira.’ I told the shop keeper who sold both provisions and ogogoro at the same time.
His reply was shocking.
‘Yeye!!! na mi you dey yan gramma for, Ajebutter! Common comot for here. I no blame your papa, Oleshi..mtcheew.’ He thundered.
Just for milk. I’ve never forgotten this. Since then I only spoke English correctly when I’m with my uncle Ikenga.
Everyone’s psyche is built with the phrase of ‘shine your eyes’. To survive, you must be fearless and cunning and smart and a good liar. The lies saved me many times.

I have lived in Mushin with my uncle for six years before I could fully know how everything works. In Akinboyi street, stalls are hauled with young teenagers prostituting, & Alaka is where Agboro boys use guns as their third leg for walking, and hawk drugs like sachet water popurlarly known as pure water.
At least this is the general idea, but one side of the story. In this ghetto, good people live in abundance even as rusty as it is. Good things do come from Nazareth, if you know what I mean. It was on this same ghetto that I met Nwanyimma, an unfortunate good soul whose fate and mine entwined.

You see, Mushin holds the truth about my name, a name I have come to value for its vision and truth. I may have questioned my parents for the name when people make jest of me, saying that it sounded ridiculous. But this is who I am. I am Igbo, and my name is UWAEKWENDOZI (The world refuses fixing).
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HILLARY UGOCHUKWU UZOMBA is a student of Art History, Alvan ikoku Federal College of Education, Nigeria. He blogs @ http://www.artmystory.blogspot.com. His works have appeared on African Star News, Network Africa, ‘Nigerian Newspoint’ Newspaper, BLACK COMMUNION POETRY ANTHOLOGY. He took 3rd position at the AKWAIBOM@25 poetry competition, 1st place at SWORDS OF WORDS, Words Bleeding Letters Poetry Slam, organised by Lyriversity FUTO. His first volume of poems will soon be out. You may reach him on twitter- @hillarycyril

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity