APO Group, the leading Pan-African communications consultancy and press release distribution service, is proud to have been an official sponsor at the Lux Afrique Nigerian Independence Dinner at Claridge’s Hotel in the heart of London last night.
This was the fourth annual staging of the event celebrating Nigerian excellence on the global stage. Organised by Lux Afrique, the luxury lifestyle platform dedicated to Africa, the guestlist represented the crème de la crème of the British and international Nigerian community.
Stars of sport, fashion and entertainment rubbed shoulders with distinguished guests such as Nigerian High Commissioner, His Excellency, Ambassador George Adesola Oguntade to celebrate 59 years of Nigerian independence.
High profile attendees recognised for their contribution to the promotion of Nigeria in the UK included Love Island’s Ovie Soko, actor Charles Venn, former World Champion and Olympic athlete Kriss Akabusi and footballer Peter Odemwingie.
Also in attendance were boxer Richard Riakporhe, Capital XTRA radio presenter Yinka Bokinni, Kojo Annan (son of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan), Top Boy actor Kola Bokinni and singer Banky “W” Wellington.
The event began with a red-carpet welcome, followed by dinner, speeches and spellbinding performances by DJ Fasida and renowned Afrobeat musician Dele Sosimi and his band. There was also an exhibition of the latest iconic diamond jewellery from legendary fashion house Chanel.
For APO Group, who sponsored the event alongside the FCMB UK bank and fashion brand Marina Rinaldi, this celebration of African excellence and success epitomises their philosophy of promoting African business, culture and development on a global scale and connecting African people from all walks of life.
Boasting the largest economy on the continent – as well as the two wealthiest individuals in Africa, Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga – Nigeria is an emerging power on the global stage.
According to Bloomberg , demand for luxury goods in the country is higher than ever due to significantly increased prosperity. They cite a report predicting that the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals in Nigeria will rise 90% by 2024 – and global luxury brands are starting to take notice, with Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci among companies establishing a presence in Lagos in recent years.
The Independence Dinner is a chance to inspire the next generation of Nigerians to emulate that success. Last night’s event featured a ‘silent auction’, with guests keen to remember their roots and support people back home. The main beneficiary this year is Lagos Food Bank which helps people in deprived areas of Nigeria with basic food and supplies.
“The Nigerian Independence dinner is always one of the highlights of the calendar,” said Lux Afrique founder and event host Alexander Amosu. “It is inspiring to have so many people from diverse industries come together to celebrate Nigerian spirit and entrepreneurship. Most importantly, it is a great opportunity to network, share stories and showcase the very best of our wonderful nation.”
“This is a fantastic event for APO Group to be part of,” said APO Group Chairman and Founder, Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard. “Lux Afrique events highlight the success of Africans and positive developments across the continent, and we feel passionate about helping them tell these compelling stories to new audiences around the world. It is a privilege for us to be able to share in tonight’s celebrations and promote African excellence”.
VIDEO: Ace Gospel Singer, Tope Alabi Shocks Fans With Dancing Skills
Far famed Nigerian gospel singer, Tope Aalabi has surprised her numerous fans, followers and admirers by showing them her dancing skills.
The gospel singer who has recorded tremendous success in her career, and pride as a role model by her fans in a video obtained by Mega Icon Magazine through a social media platform – Facebook shows her dancing in a not-so-casual manner as she can be seen dancing Naira Marley’s newly created ‘Gbese” dance.
Dauda Epo Akara: 15 Years After | By Waheed Ganiyu
On February 18, 2005, the Awurebe exponent, Alhaji Dauda Akanmu Kolawole fondly called ‘Epo Akara’ breathed his last at the age of 62. His exit marked the end of musi-cultural era, the era of a generation of musicians whose roots are deep in the urban social fabric and heritage of the Yoruba people of Southwestern Nigeria.
Like Fuji, Awurebe genre evolved from ‘were’, which was a means of entertaining the muslim faithful in the holy month of Ramadan. His band name was formerly, ‘Dauda Epo Akara and His Ajisari Group, an indicative of the fact that he was playing ‘were’. He reportedly rebranded the group and adopted Awurebe group after returning from pilgrimage to Mecca in 1974.
Some of Epo Akara’s contemporaries in the early days of his music career were: Gani Kuti, Lawuyi Oke Eleta, Sakariyawu Ladoye(who later switched to drumming), Isiaka Ogidan, and Tunde Ayefele. Gani Kuti began his ‘were’ exploit at Boundary Area of Ajegunle, Lagos, before relocating to Ibadan. However, Epo Akara pioneered the brand, Awurebe and others followed suit. Unlike Fuji that it’s creator remains a subject of debate and controversy, Awurebe’s lordship has always been attributed to Epo Akara without dissention. Even the acclaimed Fuji progenitor, Late Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister had at different times consistently traced Awurebe origin to Dauda Akanmu. For instance, in Barrister’s LP, ‘E sinmi Rascality’, released in 1982, while appreciating the leadership of each genre of Nigerian music, he sang:’olorun naa lo s’ola Awurebe fun Dauda mi Akanmu o…abata ta kete bi eni o b’odo tan, isi gaju’. Also, in ‘Fertilizer'(1985), Barrister confirmed Epo Akara’s authority: ‘Dauda Akanmu o, Epo Akara ni’lu Ibadan lo l’awurebe o’.
Epo Akara’s style was rooted in a blend of folksy traditional art and philosophy. Awurebe is the fusion of Apala, Sakara, Woro and even Dadakuada from Kwara state. It is the perfect blend of these various musical cultures that have given the genre a uniquely definitive identity.
Epo Akara’s music was not only about praise-singing, but also to comment on issues of national significance. He deployed his prowess to promote or condemn government policies and programmes. When the then Head of State, General Murtala Muhammed created additional seven(7) states on February 3, 1976, the Awurebe icon waxed an album, ‘Ipinle Tuntun'(Vol.7) to commend the military regime. ‘Ipinle ti e fun wa o ma dun mo wa o e. Ibadan pelu Oyo o, omo iya sa ni wa’. ‘we are delighted with the newly- created states, Ibadan and Oyo have become one’.
Alhaji Epo Akara’s love for Ibadan was unquantifiable. He lived there throughout his life; even when other notable musicians believed that their trade could only thrive in Lagos. He never hid his love for the largest city in West Africa. In ‘Ori mi dara’ (vol.6), he praised Ibadan as the base of the wealthy and the noble. ‘ilu Olowo Ibadan, ilu oloye ti wa ni, ori mi dara ni’badan na bi mi o e’. Also in another album, ‘Is Gaju’, he sang: ‘eeyan t’ori e ba ti daru o, lo le f’omo ‘badan sere o’. In all his LPs, he always celebrated the ascension of successive Olubadan to the throne.
One of the arch-rivals of Dauda Epo Akara was another Ibadan- based Awurebe star, Yisau Osupa Anabi. It was alleged that when Epo Akara travelled to Abidjan, Cote D’Ivore for a musical engagement in the late 70s, Osupa Anabi hurriedly released an album, alleging that Epo Akara had been arrested and jailed for drug trafficking. The record, according to a reliable source recorded high volume of sales to the extent that Epo Akara fans became jittery and devastated.
According to a surviving member of Epo Akara’s band, Pa Sakariyawu Ishola: ‘ Osupa Anabi released the album barely three days after our arrival at Abidjan. And our boss, being a talented musician and master of his trade did a rejoinder through his album ‘Abidjan Special’ to dispel the unfounded rumour’. Osupa Anabi had sung:’ijekuje ti e n je, imu ki mu ti e n mu o…ta lo ran yin lona ibe un’. Meanwhile Epo Akara in Abidjan Special replied: ‘ko ri fun o bi ero re si mi o e…awa o r’ewon ni’lu Abidjan o. Baba n gbo o, be n bu wa leyin ba o gbo,baba n gbo’. He also promoted the abundance of Ankara fabric in Abidjan, ‘ankara yebeyebe o wa l’abdijan’.
Dauda Epo Akara played the role of a peacemaker in the highly celebrated Barrister-Kollington feud in the early 80s. While the rift was tough and resulting to the Fuji musicians splitting into two factions of the warring Fuji gladiators, the Awurebe maestro dropped ‘Ija o pe’ in 1982 where he mentioned and appealed to the feuding musicians to seathe their swords. ‘Ibo la kii ‘yan de o, ta o fi máa ba ‘ra wa ja, Kolawole, ija o pe e’. The rift between Barrister and Kollington was subsequently settled with the intervention of the then Deputy Governor of Lagos state, Alhaji Rafiu Jafojo.
One sad moment that remained indelible in his lifetime was the loss of two of his band members, Omoboade and Dauda in an auto crash at Alapako Area of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in 1975. The tragic occurrence occurred when Epo Akara band was returning from a musical outing in Lagos. According to one of his wives: ‘Alhaji didn’t like anyone playing or singing the lyrics of ‘Ijamba Moto’ in his presence as he would start crying’. It was gathered that Alhaji Dauda Epo Akara recorded the tribute track of ‘Ijamba Moto’ LP thrice, as he could not hold his tears in the two previous recording sessions.
In a chat with one of the Awurebe king protégé, Sule Epo Akara, whose stage name is ‘Oyinmiyinmi’, he referred to his late boss as a talented musician with humane personality. ‘Ha! Oga mi Akanmu Baba Tawa, Akanmu omo ta piti, iya e gbe e. Olorin ti o see f’owo ro seyin ni. He gladly encouraged me to establish my own band. ‘Alagbe ma je n tan o, o ti to da duro’. Sule Epo had fourteen albums to his name.
Benson Idonije, a prominent music critic said: ‘Epo Akara released over 80 albums and was also on the road performing at prestigious engagements. But it is sad that a musician of his stature did not enjoy international recognition and exposure’. Honestly, what the Awurebe maestro left behind doesn’t commensurate with his fame and works. He has just an uncompleted single-storey building along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. This writer believes that Oyo State Government under the leadership of our amiable governor, His Excellency, Engineer Seyi Makinde could out of his usual magnanimity, post-humously honour this Oyo state music ambassador by renovating his house. For example, the immediate past administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state, renovated the Itoko residence of late Apala legend, Ayinla Omowura, as his effigy has been erected on his grave.
But why has it been difficult for the children of these music icons to step in to their fathers’ shoes? For instance, Musiliu Haruna Ishola resurrected Apala with ‘resurrection’ in 1991 and after his hit album ‘soyoyo’, in 2002, his popularity has dwindled. Ayinla Omowura’s younger brother, Dauda Anigilaje and his son, Akeem fell by the way side before their deaths in 2005 and 2016 respectively. Perhaps, Omowura’s shoe was too big for them. The grandson of the sakara legend, Yusuf Olatunji, Abideen Ajasa Olatunji is trying his best in Abeokuta to keep Baba Legba’s legacy alive.
It is apparent that every individual has his or her endowment.
Mrs Baliqees Jejelola Aduke, an executive member of Epo Akara Fans Club affirmed that four of Dauda Epo Akara’s children are singing Awurebe: ‘yes, four of Alhaji’s children are singing. They are Alhaja Tawa, Ramoni, Sarafa and Suliyat’. Asked which of them possesses the trait of Epo Akara’s musical dexterity: ‘they are all superb with good voices and the shoulder-shrugging dance style of their father’, she replied.
Born in Ibadan in 1943, Dauda Akanmu Epo Akara started as an ‘Ajiwere’ (Ramadan early call) singer. He was discovered and signed up by Omo Aje Records under the astute management of the current Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1.
Waheed Ganiyu, Journalist and Media Consultant writes from Ibadan, Oyo state
US based ToppyK holds Asa Day, harps on value re-orientation
ToppyK International has announced its intention to hold a cultural event tagged ‘Asa Day’ in the United States of America geared towards cultural revival and value re-orientation abroad.
The event billed for Friday 17 July 2020 will hold at Sacred Heart Church, 537 Grove Street, Irvington, U.S . Also, there would be exposition as well as an award ceremony.
According to a statement signed by its Chief Executive Officer, Alhaja Kudirat Temitope popularly known as ‘Queen of New Jersey’, and made available to Mega Icon Magazine, “the event is going to be loud. Let’s showcase our talents and the beauty of our cultural heritage. All tribes are invited. Let’s come together as one and show the world how great we are.
“ToppyK International is an international organization that is registered in United states that deals basically with fashion and entertainment promotion for less than a decade.
“Asa day programme is all about the exhibition of the values of the cultural heritage of Africa, dealing with Nigeria as a prominent and influential country in the continent
She stressed that the Asa Day programme is aimed at bringing together all the major tribes in Nigeria – Yoruba, Hausa and Ibo and exploring our cultural backgrounds in music, dance and fashion among others.
“It is to further achieve the unification of Africans in the United states, Nigerians in particular, and by extension translate these to further enhancements of the potential of individuals to better the lots of our present abode, the United states and by extension on home countries,” Temitope said.
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