Vanguard Newspaper 14 April 2018
74—SATURDAY Vanguard, APRIL 14, 2018 •King Sunny Ade... most decorated Nigerian musician ever King Sunny Ade: Nigeria's most decorated musician AS Henry Longfellow once said “Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time”. These words aptly encapsulate what King Sunny Ade, born Sunday Adeniyi, 71 years ago, in Ondo State, means to the music world, not only in Nigeria but all over the world. According to the Wikipaedia, he is described as “a Nigerian musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and a pioneer of modern world music. He has been classed as one of the most influential musicians of all time.” ‘King' Sunny Ade enjoyed noble status not only through birth into the Yoruba royalty of southwestern Nigeria but also through popular acclaim as the “King of Juju” since the late 1970s. In his youth Sunny played highlife, a type of urban dance music that was popular in the late 19th century and blended elements of church music, military brass-band music, sea shanties, and various local African traditions. In the mid-1960s Sunny abandoned highlife for juju, a related musical genre that was ruling the Nigerian music space since 1920s among urban Yoruba working class. He assembled his own juju band, the Green Spots, which he later renamed the African Beats, reflecting the re-Africanization of the genre that had been occurring since the early 1950s in conjunction with a growing sense of nationalism. Sunny Ade’s early albums with the African Beats include Sound Vibration in 1977 and Royal Sound in 1979 and they were hugely successful, prompting the press to declare him the King of Juju music in 1977. The title has since become integral to his professional persona. In the early 1980s Sunny signed with Island Record and the release of Juju Music, 1982, propelled him and juju into the international limelight. His next album, Synchro System in 1983, was equally successful and earned him his first Grammy award nomination in the ethnic/traditional folk recording category, hence making him the first Nigerian Grammy award nominee ever. After separation from Island Records, Sunny formed a partnership with Mesa Records, a division of Paradise Group in America, which resulted in release of another three albums. One of these albums was 1988’s Odu, for which he was nominated for the second Grammy award and thus making him the first African to be nominated twice for a Grammy. Sunny has collaborated with major artists such as Manu Dibango, Stevie Wonder, Onyeka Onwenu, Wasiu Alabi Pasuma and most recently, Wizkid, among others. Sunny Adé’s brief recordings with Island Records opened the floodgates for other world music artists like Senegalese Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita and many others. In spite of the domination of the Nigerian music space by hip hop music and the y o u n g e r generation of singers, King Sunny Ade continues to be relevant and his music influence In spite of the domination of the Nigerian music space by hip hop music and the younger generation of singers, King Sunny Ade continues to be relevant has found disciples among many of them. This is most evident during the celebration of his 70th birthday in 2016 where there was a pantheon of new generation of singers on call to honour the music icon. In 2008, his contributions to world music was recognised; as he was given an award for his outstanding contribution to world music at the drama side he asked me to go to the drama group in order to see to the music side of it. "So, I was in charge of music for his drama sector. Along the line I started playing Konga, Shekere and other instruments. After a while he transferred me back to the band. It was through Baba Sala and his friend, Chief Tunde Amuwo that I became a band leader.” He founded the King Sunny Ade Foundation, an organization that includes a performing arts centre, a state of the art recording studio, and housing for young musicians. He is a visiting lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile- Ife and recipient of the national honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic. When he celebrated his 70 th birthday in 2016 it was officially his fifty years on stage as a musician. Awards and recognitions International Reggae and World Music Awards held at the Appollo Theatre in Harlem, New York. Background: King Sunny Adé was born in Osogbo to an Ondo royal family. His father was a church organist, while his mother was a trader from Akure. Sunny Ade left a secondary school in Ondo under the guise of going to the University of Lagos. There, in Lagos, his mercurial musical career started. Sunny Adé’s musical sound has evolved from the early days. His career began with Moses Olaiya, popularly known as Baba Sala under Federal Rhythm Dandies, a highlife band. He left to form a new band, The Green Spots, in 1967. Over the years, for various reasons ranging from changes in his music to business concerns, Sunny Adé’s band changed its name several times, first to African Beats and then to Golden Mercury. King Sunny Ade reminisced about how Baba Sala charted the course of his musical journey in a recent popular interview with Vanguard newspaper thus: “Let me say that Baba Sala is my boss and he will continue to be my boss for life. I never planned to be a band leader but he gave me the opportunity for the talent to develop. "I was a little boy, playing percussion in his band. He was a musician, playing guitar, Iya Ilu (talking drum) and accordion. At that time, we were playing I.K. Dairo kind of music and I was the youngest. When he formed the King Sunny Ade is arguably the most decorated Nigerian musician ever. His two Grammy award nominations and the King of World Music award by International Reggae and World Music Award stands him out as first among equals. In July of 2009 King Sunny Adé was inducted into the Afro pop Hall of Fame, at the Brooklyn African Festival in the United States where he dedicated the award to the late Michael Jackson. In the same year was appointed a visiting professor of music at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. In November 2016 he became a recipient of the AFRIMA award. In December 2016 he was inducted into Hard Rock Cafe hall of fame. In December of 2016 as part of activities marking his 70th birthday, KSA’s famous guitars masterfully painted by award-winning artist, Victor Ehikhamenor were auctioned for N52 million within 15 minutes. In March 2017, he was appointed as the “Change Begins With Me” campaign ambassador by the Nigerian minister of Information Lai Mohammed.
Chief Ade Ojo: Industrialist with passion for hardwork SATURDAY Vanguard, APRIL 14, 2018 — 75 By Theodore Opara FOR more than four decades, Chief Michael Ade Ojo has bestrode the Nigerian automotive sector like a collosus. He began with the sale of various auto brands such as Peugeot, Volkswagen, etc, before finally settling for Toyota, a product he turned to a household name in the country. Ade Ojo was not born with a golden spoon, he worked hard to achieve success. It would indeed be difficult to discuss the automotive industry, insurance and education in the country without a mention of his contributions in these areas. Though he will be 80 later this year, he has not slowed down on his busy schedule. He moves from one management and board meeting to another without any sign of weakness. To his credit are several thriving organisations, among which is a new generation tertiary educational institution, Elizade University, in his country home, Ilara Mokin (Ondo State). Born on June 14, 1938 to the family of Chief Solomon Ojo of the Lamilohun Lisa Chieftaincy House and Chief (Mrs) Beatrice Ademolawe Ojo at Ilara-Mokin in Ondo State, Ade Ojo had his primary education at St. Michael’s Anglican School, Ilara- Mokin, after which he proceeded to Imade College, Owo under the headship of the late Pa Adekunle Ajasin in 1954. He thereafter undertook an 18-month course at the School of Agriculture, Akure after which he had a stint as a laboratory technician in the Ministry of Agriculture, Moore Plantation, Ibadan before proceeding to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, in September 1961. At the university, he studied Business Administration and graduated with a Second Class Upper Division in June 1965. Uncertainty of private enterprise After his graduation in 1965, Ade Ojo worked with CFAO (which had sponsored him during his last two years at the university) and later moved to the Federal Inland Revenue Department. He was at British Petroleum Nigeria Limited between July 1967 and July 1971 where he distinguished himself as the company’s best sales representative. He also attended various management development courses including the Chief Executive’s Programme of the Lagos Business School (CEP-7) now Pan-Atlantic University and the IESE/LBS Seminar on Competitive Strategy and Value Creation in Barcelona, Spain. In fulfilment of his resolve to establish his organization within 10 years of graduation, he abandoned the certainty of a plum colonial job for the uncertainty of private enterprise. The result was the establishment of Elizade Independent Agencies; a family business cofounded with his late wife, Chief (Mrs.) Elizabeth Wuraola Ojo in 1971. The company was later incorporated as Elizade Nigeria Limited in 1973 to deal in Toyota motor vehicle sales, spare parts and service. This business has remained success story in Nigeria’s automobile industry to date, thus corroborating John Scully’s famous statement that “the future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious”. Today, the company which Ade Ojo started with just one support staff in 1971 has become a conglomerate with several subsidiaries including Toyota Nigeria Limited, M i k e a d e Investment Co. Ltd, Mikeade Property Dev. Co. Ltd, Classic Motors Ltd, Elizade Autoland Nigeria, Okin Travels Ltd, Oodua Creations Ltd, among others. His love for the e c o n o m i c development in Nigeria led him to his building of a vehicle assembly plant which was completed in November 2015 for the assembly of Toyota and JAC vehicles. He has invested about $50m in the plant which is capable of assembling 40,000 units of cars, light trucks and mini buses per year. His group of companies contributed about N200billion to the economy of Nigeria between 2005 to 2015 in terms of Customs duties, VAT, company income tax, education tax excluding the personal income taxes of the management and staff. Ade Ojo is gradually transforming his native town Ilara-Mokin from a village to an economically vibrant town through his He has invested about $50m in the vehicle assembly plant which is capable of assembling 40,000 units of Toyota cars, JAC light trucks and mini buses per year various community development projects. These include t h e construction of 8.5km Ilara- M o k i n township roads with side shoulders and drains at a cost of N205 million in 2005 as well as his financing of the Shield M i c r o Finance Bank Limited. He has also assisted a number of indigenes through his economic and financial empowerment programmes. Little wonder he was awarded the prestigious chieftaincy title of “Aare Ataiyese of Ilara-Mokin” by his people in 1992 and in 2007 was awarded the Asiwaju of Imesi- Ile, the home town of his late wife, Chief (Mrs) Elizabeth Wuraola Ojo. In January 2010 he was conferred with yet another •Chief Ade Ojo...distinguished entrepreneur prestigious chieftaincy title of Baaloro of the Source, Ile-Ife by the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade. A disciplinarian and stickler for details, Ade Ojo never takes ‘No’ for an answer. He insists that every problem has a solution and holds tenaciously to his unchanging principles of hard work, honesty and integrity, which have seen him through turbulent times. A patriot and a lover of culture, Ade Ojo has continued to demonstrate his love for the country at all times. His passion for the sustenance of Yoruba culture motivated him to establish Oodua Creations Limited, a garment manufacturing outfit which specializes in traditional and corporate wears with the use of Nigerian Fabrics. This has won international awards at various times. He is also an ardent lover and supporter of education. Apart from donations to various educational projects, he set up the Ade Ojo Scholarship Scheme in 1991 from which more than one hundred and twenty students have benefited. In realization of the dearth of skilled technicians and artisans in the country, he and his late wife decided to arrest the situation by proposing to establish Elizade Polytechnic, which was conceived as a skill acquisition centre where technical and entrepreneurial skills could be imparted to youths from all parts of Nigeria and beyond. The need to move with the contemporary trend, occasioned by the Federal Government’s policy change on polytechnic education coupled with the desire to provide, at the highest level, quality education to the teaming population of Nigerian youths, led to the commencement of Elizade University in January 2013. Elizade University was set up to be a student-centred university, with great emphasis on best practices in the delivery of teaching, research and community services. The university had her maiden convocation in April 2017.