Saturday, October 29, 2011


If there was anything most telling about the Hip-Hop World Awards, now known as the Headies; it was not simply that it lived up to the hype or the beautiful gold plaque, it was more of the fact that Nigerian artistes have come of age. Held on Saturday, October 22, at the New Expo Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, it featured a star studded line up of performing acts on a night of shining stars.
Like expensive football players trying to justify their huge transfer fees, almost every artiste billed to perform that night did so with the live band on stage; while the ones who performed with soundtracks tried to make up by delivering good vocals with the beats. Although Muna and Waje’s produced a not so inspiring performance of their hit song, So Inspired. Oleku crooner, Ice Prince Zamani, Olamide, M.I, Jah Bless and crew, Sound Sultan, legendary Sir Shina Peters, also rocked the stage. But if there were an award for best vocal delivery and stage dexterity that night, it could go to both Tiwa Savage and Omawumi; who performed their hit songs, Kele Kele Love and Na Who I go Ask respectively. Wizkid, who undoubtedly deserved his award for Next Rated, was the final act to perform and he didn’t let his teeming fans down with the rendition of popular tracks from his chart-topping debut album.

Tuface was the biggest winner of the night with three awards – Album of the Year, Artiste of the Year, Best R&B/Pop Album. Darey picked up two with Best R & B Single and Recording of the Year. Ice Prince Oleku won the Song of the Year, while Modenine picked the Best Lyricist on the Roll for the sixth time. M.I won Best Collabo for his song featuring Flavour N’Abania. Best Vocal Performance (male) went to Capital Femi, while Waje picked up the female version. Jahbless won the Best Street Hop for ‘Joor Oh’ (Remix)¸ while eLDee won the Best Conscious Song of the Year for his track One Day, while Dr Sid won Best Pop Single and the HipHop World Revelation of the Year. Producer of the Year went to Don Jazzy, while the Best Music Video Director went to Dj Tee for Olamide’s Eni Duro. Sir Shina Peters was also awarded the Special Recognition Award, while Wizkid, won the Next Rated award, which came with a brand new Hyundai Sonata.

Fans were also given the opportunity to pick their best artiste over the nine categories through an online an SMS voting process which started on August 15. Although the awards ceremony hosted by eLDee and Rita Dominic was delayed for three and a half hours, the organisers may be forgiven as they had no power over the earlier torrential downpour and the curfew until 4pm imposed by the Lagos State government because of the local government elections which held that same day.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Steve Jobs. Picture courtesy:
If it were possible, Steven Paul Jobs, co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of technology giant Apple, would have designed a sleek Apple iPod, iPhone, iPad, or Mac, that would eclipse the effects of pancreatic cancer with just one smart touch. Or better still, store a hundred more years in his personal iCloud. But even the great computing entrepreneur, inventor and visionary, with an eye for perfection, understood and acknowledged the mortal boundaries of his creative genius. After a seven year battle with pancreatic cancer, and two months after he resigned as Apple CEO, Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011, at the age of 56.

With his inventions, he changed tthe world and how it communicated and listened to music  by causing a technological revolutionAt the last count, Jobs had over 300 patents to his name. But he would be notably remembered for creating revolutionary consumer electronics products like the Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac and iTunesThe son of two unmarried university students - Joanne Schieble and Syrian-born father, Abdulfattah Jandali, Jobs was adopted by working class Californian couple, Paul and Clara Jobs, and fell in love with technology as he grew up in his adopted parent’s home in Silicon Valley, the headquarters of US electronics industry. He dropped out of college after one term and in 1976, at the age twenty-one in his parent’s garage, with his close friend Steve Wozniak, Jobs co-founded Apple and turned it into a multi-billion dollar technology empire - the world's second most valuable company by market capitalisation, after the oil giant Exxon, with more than $50 billion in the bank. Earlier this year, it surpassed the oil giant as the world's  most valuable company.

“For Steve Jobs, every day was like Christmas morning and nothing could shake that feeling,” said Chris Taylor, a technology writer for TIME in the 1990s and 2000s. Going by Jobs own words, Taylor had a point. “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent…. Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart,” Jobs explained in a speech delivered at Stanford University in 2005.

“Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it,” said US president Barack Obama, who revealed that Jobs personally gave him an advance copy of iPad 2 before it was unveiled to the rest of the world. “For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely," noted Bill Gates, Microsoft founder; while Michael Bloomberg, New York Mayor, said that "America lost a genius who will be remembered with Edison and Einstein, and whose ideas will shape the world for generations to come".

Like Obama rightly pointed out, "” there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented”. A statement on Apple’s website read, "Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend & an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."  Enough said.
Born February 24, 1955, Steve Jobs reportedly died peacefully surrounded by family and friends, barely a few days after the release of the Apple iPhone 4S.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Cover of WizKid's debut album
Like Tuface, 9ice, and Nneka before him, 21-year-old Nigerian artiste Wizkid (original name Ayo Balogun) was tonight voted the 2011 winner of the MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) Award for Best African Act. Wizkid, who only released his debut album 'SuperStar' under Banky W's Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) label in June, shrugged off challenge from fellow Nigerian music heavyweight D’Banj and Afrobeat musician Seun Kuti, as well as Fatoumata Diawara and Cheikh Lo. Wizkid's award is another well-deserved international recognition of the impact of Nigerian music stars over the years, as well as its growing fan base across the world. Wikzid is also nominated for the MTV Europe Music Awards scheduled to hold on November 6 in Belfast. Barely two years old as a professional artiste, only time would tell how far this prodigy would travel on the international music stratosphere.

The big winner of the night was Jessie J, who won four awards - Best Newcomer, Best UK Act, Best Album for Who You Are and Best Song for Do It Like A Dude.

Congratulations, Wizkid! Like the title of his debut album, with chart topping singles, he has proven to be a SuperStar indeed.

Full list of winners:

MOBO hosts: Jason Derulo & Alesha Dixon (Pix courtesy DailyMail)
Best African Act – Wizkid

Best Song: Jessie J - Do It Like A Dude

Best Album: Jessie J - Who You Are

Best Video: Tinchy Stryder and Dappy - Spaceship
Best International Act: Rihanna
Best R&B/Soul Act: Adele
Best Hip-Hop Act: Tinchy Stryder
Best UK Act: Jessie J
Best Newcomer: Jessie J
Outstanding Contribution To Music: Boyz II Men

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Imagine those American kids on Youtube
Really meant it when they sang
'I want to be a Nigerian so freaking bad'
Cos Bruno Mars now lives in Yola.

Imagine those bomb blasts were actually scenes from a Nollywood set.
Imagine Nollywood movies winning Oscars every other year.
Imagine Super Eagles winning the World Cup.
Imagine Nigeria finishing among the top five
On the Olympics medals table.

Imagine food baskets all over the country
Enough to feed 200 million people
Yet have enough left for export.

Imagine the UN asking Third World countries
To learn from the rapid 'development of the West;
Only this time, the 'West'
Actually means South-West Nigeria.
A global model for socio-economic development.

Imagine the rise of groundnut pyramids
Like sphinx in the Northern deserts.
Imagine those cattle
On a thousand Northern hills & valleys,
Whose dairy products are sold in Europe.
Imagine 'almajiri' is an ancient word.
Imagine Harvard in Jigawa
And MIT in Kebbi.
Imagine that the best resorts
In Africa are in the Niger Delta
Imagine that those children could
Actually swim in clean waters flowing from the creeks.
Imagine Hawaii in Akwa Ibom or Bayelsa
Imagine Disneyland in Warri.
Imagine those architectural masterpieces.
Imagine a boat cruise in the Niger Delta.

Imagine those exotic landscapes in the South.
Imagine the lush vegetation and fertile lands,
Beautiful landscapes
And techies in West Africa's first Silicon Valley in the East.
Imagine an original car model called Utomibile. Maybe Aba-car or Zik-ari,
Designed & manufactured in Aba
But competing with others made in Europe & Asia.
Imagine Japanese CEOs driving made-in-Nigeria cars.

Imagine one Naira to a dollar.
Imagine nine functional refineries.
Imagine nuclear power plants in Ajaokuta.
Imagine 24 hour electricity in every city or village
Without the interruption of generators
Bleating like stray goats in the marketplace. 
Imagine you telling your children PHCN stories and everyone laughing about it,
Like they were fairy tales or Alice in Wonderland.

Imagine the first Nigerian astronaut
Taking off from Abuja Space Agency.
Imagine the Nigerian police truly being your friends.
Imagine a well-equipped police force
Without the everyday drama of corruption.
Imagine thirty seven world class international airports.
Imagine Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez
Travelling to Nigeria on Nigeria Airways.

Yes, 'Nigeria' Airways.
Imagine Sasha & Malia Obama
Begging for a Nigerian vacation.
Imagine the beauty of traffic at night.
And the joy of inter-state road trips.
Imagine a country bonded by its diverse cultures,
Cemented with the right values system.

Imagine a country where the Hausa, Ibo,
Yoruba, Isoko, Itsekiri, Nupe and all Nigerians
See themselves as Nigerian first before their tribe.
Imagine Tuwo sinkafa, amala, and banga,
On the regular menu list in Waldorf Astoria.
Imagine that the 350 ethnic groups
Understand their differences.

Imagine that the people,
Rather than fight,
Harness her diversity into strength.
Imagine a truly indivisible country.
Imagine how great Nigeria would be
If every tribe & group unite as one.

Imagine 180 million beautiful people
In a beautiful country,
One nation under God,
Living together,
For the love of country & humanity.

Imagine a country with focused,
Selfless leaders. And strong institutions.
Imagine a country where Boko Haram,
Kidnapping, Niger Delta militancy et al
Would be forgotten tales by moonlight
When we sit under the shades of history,
Sipping the palmwine of true nationhood.

Imagine a country where the rule of law prevails.
Imagine a country where there is dignity in labour.
Imagine a country where justice
Is a meal both the rich & poor can afford.

Imagine your imagination running wild.
Like truly seeing Eko Atlantic City
On Victoria Island Beach,
Imagine Nigeria's own Manhattan.

Imagine Ajegunle, Mushin and Agege
With VGC architecture, infrastructure and design.
Imagine you living the Nigerian dream.
Imagine 'that' is possible.

Forget Nigeria today.
Imagine the new Nigeria tomorrow.
Imagine that beautiful country

But don't stop there.
Together, we can make it better!
God bless Nigeria.

© Arukaino Umukoro