Today: 31st December 2008.
I was at the MUSON centre, Onikan, Lagos, Nigeria on Tuesday 23rd December to attend the Ovation Red Carol and believe me, it seems like ages ago. How time really does fly.
The publisher of the incredibly successful publication of Ovation Magazine, Chief Dele Momodu, and a hard working proud Nigerian, had a vision to inject, announce and preach hope to Africans through entertainment, and trust me he just as well succeeded in doing precisely that.
For those who are close to me, I tend to view life by asking questions. Questions such as – how many bedrooms can one actually sleep in at a go? How many shoes can you show off at a time? If you have a house and for the heck of it, one room, just one room as much as gathers dust for lack of use, then what is the point. To leave a lasting legacy, you have to go out of your way to invest in fellow human beings by employing the God given talents God Almighty has invested in you. It may be by your talents of writing (check out Dele Momodu’s Pendulum, appropriately sited on the back page of the Saturday edition of ‘This Day’ newspaper, or the immense talent of Jay Jay Okocha – the extra ordinary footballer who gave abundant joy to football lovers, or the exuberant organising skills of Nduka Obeigbena, or the Couture skills of Adebayo Jones.
What of 9ice (my favourite Nigerian musical talent of the moment), closely followed by Dbanj or the directing skills of Kingleys Ogoro (of ‘Osuofia is coming to London’ fame). Now these Nigerians do not have to be stupendously rich, but hey, they bring joy to many across the globe. They have chosen to be extra ordinary in approach. It is the extra that bit that has made them all stand out. Oh, and I must not forget the genius of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of Purple Hibiscus.
Chief Dele Momodu has chosen to go a step further from publishing the Ovation magazine. This energetic fellow, who has achieved and met with the rich and famous all over the world has chosen to use his fame to spread the goodwill message of HOPE to the continent of Africa.
The event was a ‘who is who’ in the political, commercial and entertainment world in Nigeria. It was a strictly by invitation event, which made it exclusive and drastically reduced the likelihood of gate crashing. I was there with my gorgeous wife who was in all white top and trousers laced with big red beads with red ear rings to match. I was in dark red Senegalese long attire with brown shoes to match. If nobody told me I looked good, I can tell you, I felt not only good but important on the night.
Bearing in mind the theme of the night was red; my only disappointment was the sheer audacity of Nigerians wearing nothing even closest to the family of red. I was expecting all sorts of attires in red, but I was wrong.
As soon as guests arrived, they were made to feel important as they were ushered onto the red carpet where numerous flash bulbs competed in taking the best photo angles which was beamed live into the auditorium.
On producing our exclusive passes as we approached the entrance to the auditorium, we were then ushered to our seats by ladies clad in Benin native attire with beads perfectly supported on their heads acting as the head gear. They looked very traditional and smart. I must point out that they were all without shoes, to make the traditional impression complete.
We were seated on the same table as Ayo and Mogaji Gbenga Olunloyo, Elsie and Deji Falae, Engineer Kole Adegunle and Influential Lagos technocrat Sogo Osikoya. It was a table that was going to be fun on the night. The table right in front of us had the Secertary to the Lagos state government, Princess Adenrele Adeniran Ogunsanya seated together with Chief Fatoye, the Telecoms magnate. The highlife maestro, Victor Olaiya came to join them. Behind me had Funmi Iyanda, a famous television presenter and not too far away was Lanre Tejuosho.
I am not ashamed to drop names at this point as Bob dee managed to attract, as you would expect someone of his calibre to, the high and mighty in the commercial industry. The founder and pioneering Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of IBTC Chartered Bank Plc, Mr. Atedo Peterside, in his traditional, cowboy looking hat was in attendance, ably supported by Hakeem Bello-Osagie. Femi Otedola and his wife were around to honour Bob Dee’s invite, so was the extra ordinary influential Nigerian, TY Danjuma who was seated on Otedola’s table.
The King’s table, and what I mean by that is the table the Oba of Lagos was seated. There was the big player of UBA, Tony Elemelu and his wife, Tokubo Afikuyomi, Aliko Dangote, Fortune publication’s appointed richest African on earth ( I must say he was not as large as he appears in photographs, well what was I expecting). There was Bob Dee as well and of course the 19th Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Babatunde Osuolale Aremu AKIOLU I in a white hat.
I will roll out other names that were present, they included; Albert Okunmagba of BGL, ex Governor Segun Osoba, Sam Amuka (publisher of Vanquard newspapers – apparently, one of Dele Momodu’s mentors), Senator Udo Udoma and the ever aging musician Fatai Rolling dollar- the highlife musician in his 80s who still looks very active for his age.
Sir Shina Peters, Adewale Ayuba and Kwam (King Wasiu Ayinde-Marshal) were all present and performed an impromptu medley of the greatest hits of each of the artistes. Just as they were about to perform, Victor Olaiya – the highlife king, with the three younger singers all on their knees before him said a prayer before he departed the stage.
Adebayo Jones and Dakova (remember him?) were also present. Adebayo jones’s collections exudes style and class. He had close to 30 dresses on display. All top drawer.
Alibaba, Tee A and Julius Agwu were at their best with jokes which almost cracked my ribs.
RMD and Olisa Adibua were comperes. There was a live telecast on AIT and BEN ( can confirm this) as well as an internet live cast. Segun Arinze and Stella Damasus – Aboderin also sang on stage.
Quote of the night: “Nigeria is hope”
Victim of the night: Tu Face ( there were far too many jokes about his excess libido)
Voice of the night: Amanze Igbenedion (the Gospel singer. Simply awesome)
Arrival of the night: Aliko Dangote ( a near commotion by photographers upon his arrival)
Hilarious moment: Dekunle Fuji (his rendition of xmas carols in fuji)
SCORES (out of 10)
Organisation – 8
DJ – 5
Table setting _ 7
Crowd – 9
Invited guests – 9.5
Artistes – 9
Drinks/Food – 8
Dress code – 4
Fun - 9.9
Man of the moment – Dele Momodu for his sheer determination of making a success of the Night of Hope.
I WISH YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR.
“Do not wait for the future to come to you, face the future”