Mar 31, 2007

Good Morning Nigeria with Dan Foster

You are probably quite familiar with the Good Morning Nigeria program presented by Dan Foster on Cool FM from 6am - 12pm on Mondays to Fridays. At some point in the program, Dan and his fellow producers often call someone's number and pretend they're someone they're not. The unsuspecting recipient usually lets out words and describes actions not knowing he/she is being aired. Usually, the programs aims at correcting the menaces in the society. I was in my car this morning while the program was going on. While listening, I was so amused, I was banging my hands (and almost my head) on the steering wheel but in the end, I felt really sad. If you followed the program this morning, you'll understand why. If not, I've tried to capture it for you below.

A young lady named Lola had just called Dan to give him her cousin's phone number whom she claimed was a "supplier of girls" for "Aristos" for use during parties and more. She wanted Dan to call her cousin and pretend he needed girls for a party. She also wanted her cousin (whose name I can't I'll give her an imaginary name - Sade) to know she was the one who set her up after the whole process. Never one to miss out on a good opportunity, Dan obliged. The girls number was dialed by Dan's fellow presenter who identified herself as Cynthia and the conversation went thus. (My comments are in brackets)
Cynthia: Hello
Sade: Hello
Cynthia: Is this Sade
Sade: Yes
Cynthia: OK, I got your number from your friend, Biola (I'm using another imaginary name, can't remember the real name)
Sade: Oh, OK
Cynthia: So here's the deal, there's this party and we need your assistance, there's gonna be lots of guys coming in from Abuja. I want you to supply me with some girls.
Sade: OK no problem. How many?
Cynthia: About 4 including you.
Sade: OK.
Cynthia: They must be fine girls o. I've been told you are very fine so your friends too must be fine.
Sade: Don't worry, we are all fine girls.
Cynthia: Hope you guys are OK with doing stuff with the guys o, because these guys might just want more than the usual ... you know.
Sade: You mean like "twosome" and stuff? (I think she meant "threesome")
Cynthia: Yes, exactly. Stuff like that.
Sade: No problem with that. We can do that.
Cynthia: OK Sade, can you please describe yourself for me?
Sade: Are you in Lagos? Where do you stay?
Cynthia: V.I.
Sade: Give me your number, maybe I'll hook up with you so you can see me.
Cynthia: OK, but please first describe yourself (physical features, etc)
Sade: OK, I'm tall, I'm dark, I'm busty and I have Ass. (What!!!!)
Cynthia: OK, that's good. What about your friends, hope they're good looking too
Sade: Yes very good looking.
Cynthia: OK, please hold on for my boyfriend who just came in from America. He wants to talk to you.
Sade: OK
At this point, Dan Foster gets on the phone (American accent and all).
Dan: Hey Sade, how're you doing?
Sade: I'm good
Dan: Hey I wanna know what you'll have for us. You know my friends are coming in from Abuja and my boy is gonna be with them. What will you have for us?
Sade: Oh we'll have a lot
Dan: So what you gonna do for my boy?
Sade: (obviously excited now) Do you know this song "My humps" by Black eyed peas? (and she went on to recite Fergie's line in the song) "I'm a make make make make, make you scream, make you scream, make you screeeeaaam!" That's what we gonna do for your boy.
Dan: OK, Sade, how old are you? I wanna know how old you are.
Sade: I'm 22 (OMG!!!)
Cynthia returns to the phone
Cynthia: Hey Sade, what are you doing? That's my boyfriend!
Sade: Oh nothing, just telling him what we'll do at the party.
Dan decides to break the ice
Dan: Hey Sade, do you listen to radio?
Sade: Yes, I do (probably thinking about another fetish)
Dan: OK, do you ever listen to Cool FM Good morning Nigeria?
Sade: Yes
Dan: Do you have a cousin named Lola?
Sade: Yes
Dan: OK, you are on Cool FM and you're being heard live all over Nigeria.
... and the girl starts screaming as Dan Foster fades out the conversation.

Also, at this point, I almost start to scream myself. I was so devastated. That young girl was just 22, partaking in another kind of prostitution where girls don't need to stand on the streets. They circulate their numbers among the "Big boys" and "Aristos" who call them whenever their services are needed. They also usually have a group of partners (evident from Sade's agreement to provide 4 girls within a short time) whom they call on whenever extra girls are needed. This is what's happening in Nigeria and while many have chosen to ignore it, it's real and it's ongoing. Lots of dangers could await these girls (especially in view of the forthcoming elections). They go out with men they've never met and could easily be kidnapped, used for rituals and the like.

I sincerely hope Sade was embarrassed enough to change her ways ... and I hope other girls who partake in similar vocations will learn a lesson. Many of these girls have a need which pushes them into these things, some have to pay their school fees themselves, some have younger ones to take care of but for some of them, they are driven into it by sheer greed and peer pressure.

I'm at a loss here. I can't even think of a solution to proffer. I throw it to you. What do you think about this issue? How can it be addressed? What can the government or the people do to alleviate the situation?

[ Click here to read more ... ]

Mar 30, 2007

Idols West Africa - Top 24 review

Four weeks have gone by since the Idols West Africa Auditions (read my previous post here), four weeks which has meant different things to different people - Entertainment for viewers, tension and pressure for the contestants, "business as usual" for the judges and fun (with his tension-creating attempts) for presenter Mike Majik. Of the 80 who made it through the auditions, 24 were chosen and were divided in 4 groups of 6 contestants each. Each contestant had one (and only one) chance to showcase his/her talents, after which it was left to the voters to decide. For many Nigerians, Sunday nights became something to look forward to as the groups performed. Monday nights saw many glued to their screens as winners were announced. Hot lines received hundreds of SMS messages as fans, friends and family voted their loved ones into success.

Watching the performance of the 4 groups really got me thinking. I wondered where all these talented individuals had been hiding. A lot of music we have out there on the streets today isn't half as good as what was presented by these guys. Most of the contestants were Nigerians and they sang with such talents that I've not yet seen being exhibited by singers in the industry. This is not to say there were no shortcomings, but men, those guys put up a damn good show. I hope those who didn't make it into the top 10 will go back and do something on their own. In short, the performances were great. I'll attempt to summarize them below.

Group 1
Ibitoru Green's rendition of "Like a prayer" by Madonna was wonderful. Her performance was great and her voice was like WOW! The girl could Sing. I was not surprised because I had seen her audition.
Uche Ume sang "Angel of Mine" by Monica. His performance was excellent, he had a good voice and controlled it well. However, he changed the song so much that the original melody was lost... but this time around, it "werked" for Nana.
Timi Dakolo who sang "It must have been love" by Roxette was great up till the modulation after which he tried to take it higher and had to struggle. But he remained on key, and that was impressive. Also, his choice of song was a good choice.
Ekanem Esu did "How do I live without you" by LeAnn Rimes. Her voice was great. She also made the same mistake as Timi. She struggled a bit on the high notes but she was in control enough to bring it through.
Omawumi Megbele was next. I think she put up the best stage performance. In addition, she selected right by singing "That don't impress me much" by Shania Twain. No stress for her, no struggles.
Lara George (nee Lara Bajomo) performed "It's all coming back to me" by Celine Dion. Her performance was good but I was kind of disappointed. I know Lara can do much better in terms of singing and performance. I mean this was the same voice that sang those high notes in the Kush album ... though, some argued that she was displaying maturity but she could have done much more than she did.

I must say it was really confusing selecting who to vote for as all the performances were tight. At the end of the day Omawumi and Timi were voted as first and second. Lara George was third while Uche, Ekanem and Ibitoru did not qualify. Overall, this group had the best singers and I'm sure they would all have been chosen had they been spread among the other groups. Seriously, I don't know what the organisers were thinking when they put these 6 people into 1 group.

Group 2
The ladies in this group did not impress me in any way. The guys did great though.
Eric Arubayi started low and a bit shaky but he built up the feel along the song. His good looks and stage style made him a winner with the ladies.
Jarry Blie had the best voice in this group, his rendition of "Foolish Games" by Jewel was great, although the key got a little uncomfortable for him towards the end of the song but it was barely noticeable.
David Desmond's rendition of "Change the World" by Eric Clapton (a quite complex song) was marvellous. His presentation and voice dynamics was very good. His performance on stage was also good. He could have done more with that voice though.
Oluwadolapo Ogunwale (the Duracell battery of the group) made a wrong decision when she did "I swear" by All 4 one, picking a wrong key for her voice and finally going totally off-key on the last note. She said after the show that "I disappointed my fans". It was true. I expected much more from her. She has a good voice but messed up her one chance.
Jerrilyn Mulbah who did "I don't wanna miss a thing" by Aerosmith didn't impress me much but her emotional story and performance at the auditions was still in the minds of those who voted for her. In my opinion, her performance in the top 24 was just average.
Oge Chigbue who did "Crush" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the dark did much better. Not too spectacular though, but quite good.

Surprisingly, Eric and Jerrilyn were the chosen ones for this group. I had thought the duo would come from Eric, David and Jarry, because the ladies performances were nothing to write home about. Unfortunately, voters thought otherwise and David, Jarry and Oluwadolapo had to leave while Oge placed 3rd. Coincidentally, this group had the highest number of guys (3 as against just 2 in other groups)

Group 3
Condifence Rufai (daughter of ex Footballer Peter Rufai) who did "Thank you" by Dido did a great job but someone ought to have told her that Dido's songs are not the best for this type of competition. She had a unique and strong voice, and I wish she had sang something else.
Ama Ejisu-Akropong did "Strong Enough" by Cher but was just average. Way into the song, she went off key and stayed off.
Ernest Darkwa did "Amazed" by Lonestar. He's a very good singer. He had good voice dynamics and a strong voice and he carried the song through very well.
Michael Alao had a great voice and started off great singing "Take a Bow" by Madonna. His intro and his dance steps automatically had everyone's attention. Unfortunately, he lost it when he started going off key and couldn't get back on track. I was disappointed because I had actually looked forward to his performance.
Jodie Odiete was my favourite in this group. She performed "Have you ever really loved a woman" by Bryan Adams. She was great and had arguably the best performance, giving the song a new feel. She had a strong voice and was quite confident.
Mercy Nwankwo's Performance was powerful. She did "Nothing compares to you" by Prince taking her highs and lows quite seriously and giving her spirit to the song.
The winners from this group were Jodie and Mercy. I was not surprised at Jodie being chosen. I knew right from the performance that she would sail through. I also thought Ernest stood a chance ... but I guess I was alone in my thoughts. The voters decided otherwise.

Group 4
The two guys in this group were just great.
Tony Ighofose performed "More than words" by Extreme (A very difficult song) which he did justice to. He slid through the keys with ease.
James Brendan did "Show me the meaning of being lonely" by Backstreet Boys. His voice and performance were great. He delivered the song his way ... and he did deliver.
Omodele Fatoki who did "Love is all around" by Wet, wet, wet had great singing talents and a great voice but the remaining ladies were just average.
What worked for Temitayo George was her style, dressing and performance. She sang "Searchin' My soul" by Vonda Shepard. Her singing was average but she knew her limits and stayed off them.
Joan Ekpai who did "Show me heaven" by Maria Mckey had a good voice (Remember she blew the judges' minds off during the audition) but nothing spectacular came out here. It just didn't "werk" for me.
Sokari Briggs' rendition of "Still the one" by Shania Twain was just OK. From watching her
interview just before she sang, I expected a lot more and I was disappointed.
Well, they did their part and the voters were left to do theirs. They did, and Temitayo and Joan were chosen. I was disappointed when neither Tony, James nor Omodele was announced, but it's not my decision, so I let it pass.

Next came the big surprise. 2 extra candidates were to be announced to complete the top 10. People initially though there would be a kind of 3rd place match where they would vote for 2 out of the 4 people who placed 3rd from each group ... but were surprised when it was announced that the 2 would be chosen at the Judges discretion. Omodele from Group 4 was selected - Good choice. Uche from Group 1 was also selected. According to the judges, a strong male voice was needed and there was contemplation between Uche and David Desmond ... but David could get lazy, and much to everyone's surprise, Uche got the vote.

Unlike in the auditions, I think the guys in the top 24 put up a better show than the ladies, and more guys should have been chosen. Perhaps it's just as well that it's all unpredictable. In any case, the next round shall commence this Sunday on Africa Magic and MNet West at 7pm Nigerian time and Mnet East at 6pm Nigerian time. For those not in Nigeria or West Africa, you can catch some of the action online at MNet's Idols West Africa website available here. Top 24 performances are also available. Watch this space for info on the Top 10 performances.

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Mar 22, 2007

Your salary. Is it really yours?

Before you read this post, please take a minute to read my previous post "Life Cycle of a Lagosian" available here. I'd like to say thank you to everyone who read that article and asked for a continuation through comments, mails and calls. It took me some time to get this together (especially the investment calculator). Enjoy!

If you are a employee like I am, then you probably look forward to the end of the month when you'll get paid your salary. Depending on where you work, what you do and what post you occupy, your salary will vary from several thousands to several hundreds of thousands and possibly several millions (I wish that was me!). Yeah, some are that lucky, but everyone still falls into the same category. If month end does not come, you don't get your money. But hold on, did I say "Your Money"? I think not!

The truth is that for many people, their salaries don't really belong to them. It belongs to other people. A typical employee's salary would end up belonging to several people which might include a Landlord, Car Dealer, Washman, Shopping Mall (e.g. The Palms), Market (e.g. Tejuosho), Fuel filling stations, Auto Mechanic, Nepa, and just about anybody who provides goods or services in exchange for money. Unfortunately, for many people especially Nigerians in Lagos, they think the money is theirs. Without meaning to, they unconsciously spend part of that money everyday on one expense or the other. Day in, day out, someone collects his own share of that money. Suddenly, 2 weeks after payday, they check their bank account and discover their salary is almost gone and they begin to wonder how, when, where, why ... the simple truth is this - it's not their money.

Some people do better. They put aside a certain amount every month and save. If you fall into this category, I'll congratulate you on a good initiative. However, I'll still tell you that the money does not belong to you. Saving is good, don't get me wrong, but it's not good enough. Let's take the case of a typical worker who is disciplined enough not to delve into his savings at the slightest sign of rain and he has managed to save N100000 over a year. If he saved this money in 2006 at a rate of 3% per annum (which is the best he can get from most banks), he'll have a total of N103000 at the end of the year, with a "gain" of 3000. Now, a recent analysis showed that in 2006, the inflation rate of the Naira was 13.5%. Translation: Your money has increased by 3% but it's value has decreased by 13.5%. In other words, what you used to buy for N100 now costs N113.5. Technically, he has gained N3000 through saving, but in the real world, he has lost (N13500-N3000) = N10500. Who now owns the money? The economy! - another money collector which collects it's share of our money.

What then exactly is my money? My simple definition is this "Money that belongs to you means money that's working for you". Defining "Money working for you" brings me to the subject of Investment. Many people think investment is for the stockbrokers, business owners or people with large amounts of money, they're wrong because everyone ought to be an investor. Before your money can start working for you, you have to be an investor. Now stop reading and think for a few minutes, because your next decisions might change some things in your life.

I assume you've decided to become an investor so you can have money working for you. Congratulations because that's one of the best decisions you'll make on your path to financial freedom. Like in the previous article, I'll give you some tips.

1. Start with a plan. Good investors always have a plan. Make it detailed but not too rigid. Ask yourself this question. How much will I need to survive each month if I want to live comfortably? This is the amount you'll need per month in order to be financially free. Write down your answer. I'll call this value the "break-out value".

2. How much you can invest per month?: Decide on an amount of money you can set aside from your salary every month for the purpose of investment. You are not allowed to go below this amount, however, you can exceed it. Write down your answer. I'll call this the "Monthly Contribution".

For the purposes of this article, I've created an investment calculator that can help you see the advantages of investing. Click on the button below to open the calculator in a new window. Enter your "Monthly Contribution", "Interest rate", and "duration". Finally, click calculate to get the final value and the breakout value.

Let me illustrate with an example. If I contribute N10000 monthly to an investment that yields 20% per annum and I decide to continue contributing for 5 years, then at the end of 5 years, I'll have a total of N1071590 (roughly N1M) and I'll be making N17859 monthly for the rest of my life without have to make any more monthly contributions. (Note that this amount exceeds my initial monthly contribution). Yes ... I know you're going back to try the calculator again ... and you're probably wondering how come you didn't know this all along. Feel free to try with different values for duration and monthly contribution. The final value of N1071590 is what I call "Money working for you" to produce N17859 monthly. Simply put, you can pay yourself a salary of N17859 every month without having to work for it.

I've probably got your brain working overtime now ... just go ahead and transfer your thoughts to paper and actions. Get your plan straightened out and make sure you write them down. There's no specific format for the plan but try and make it something you'll understand easily. Note down the "monthly contribution", and when you want to break out. Include any other thing that might help you to keep to your plan. Remember the previous tips "Have a good reason" and "Have lots of determination"

Now here comes the tricky part (and the practical part). How can you find an investment that will gurantee you at least 20% per annum? Good news! There are many, each with a different level of risk and credibility. But be rest assured that it's possible to find such an investment with minimal risk. I'll talk more on that in my next article in this series. Watch out.

Yours in the race,

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Mar 12, 2007

Atiku injured, flown to London

This headline was reported in the punch newspapers of today and can be viewed here. I read the headline with interest and the article with much dismay. Barely a week ago, another Presidental candidate (Umaru Yaradua) was flown to Germany for a Medical Check-up. I immediately saw the coincidence of the situation. First, it's coincidental that a second presidental candidate needs medical attention within a period of a week. Second, it's coincidental that they both had to be flown out for medical check-up and treatment. The third coincidence is the fact that they were both elected (?) into public offices in the present administration. I'll attempt to analyse both situations below.

Governor Yaradua was exhausted due to stress: This situation is almost permanent in the lives of many Nigerians. Ask the guy who has to leave his house at 6 am every morning to go to work while getting back home at 10-11pm... and he'll define the meaning of "Exhaustion due to stress". But what does he do? He does not fly to Germany for a medical checkup. Rather he takes some Panadol & Chemiron and continues his activities which lead to more "Exhaustion due to stress". That is an average Nigerian. Governor Yaradua however, chose to fly to Germany for a medical checkup.

Vice President Atiku Abubakar had a knee dislocation: A friend and colleague of mine dislocated an ankle last month. Rather than travel to London for treatment, she saw a Nigerian doctor in Lagos, Nigeria and was back to work in two days. Another friend of mine was shot by Armed robbers and had to undergo several operations ... in Nigeria. It also happens that lots of average Nigerians suffer dislocations at one time or the other but rather than travel to London, they have to consult Nigerian doctors and in some extreme cases they consult the "Bone Healers" at Igbobi and Ajegunle.

All these point at the irony of the situation. Yaradua is the serving Governor of Katsina State. Atiku is the serving Vice President of Nigeria. Both are responsible for the medical sector in Nigeria in one way or the other. Both know that Medical services in Nigeria are not as good as the ones overseas (that's why they both decided to fly out for treatment), therefore ignorance is not an excuse. The question is what have they done to reform the Medical Sector during the 8 years they each have spent in office? I would really love to see a list of such achievements. If Yaradua had reformed the medical sector in Katsina state, he wouldn't have needed to travel for his medical checkup. Likewise, if Atiku had reformed the medical sector in Nigeria, he also wouldn't have needed to travel out.

If these two men have any honor, they should reverse their presidential intentions. As a matter of fact, they should both resign for their current posts. I remember when Tai Solarin resigned his ministerial appointment because he was stopped while driving a car without a license. Those were the days of honor. Unfortunately no such word exists in the dictionaries of those in government anymore.

I still believe Nigeria has a great and better future, which shall come sooner than later. My arms are folded waiting to see the outcome of events. God help Nigeria. God bless Nigeria.

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Mar 4, 2007

Idols West Africa Auditions - Idols or Idles?

They came in different shapes and sizes, dressed to impress with all kinds of crazy attire. Each had his own unique style, pose and speech. However, despite all these varieties, they ended up in 2 groups. Those who smiled out of the room and those who didn't. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the latest Comedy show in Nigeria starring Dan Foster, Nana Abrewa and Dede Mabiaku, featuring guests comedians (sorry artists) from all around West Africa. Welcome, to Idols West Africa!

I watched the auditions and I knew I was going to blog this. The show was so funny that at a point, I started wondering if it were really singers who were being auditioned and not comedians. When you see someone with a guitar looking so confident and who sings "bad" and plays guitar "worst" (as Dede put it), or another person who was putting so much energy into his dance steps and was panting so much that his voice was barely audible; or the guy who decides to sing ultra high falsetto he sounds like a whistle, another guy who says "I and I was not created to sing that kind song" when asked to sing R Kelly's "I believe I can fly". The show was hilarious, in the very least. The crown of it was when some "45 year old looking" guy came in. When asked about his name, he spent the next 5 minutes gesticulating and talking about his name with adequate references to Nature and Jah. Even the judges had to cool down, I guess they were kinda afraid of him. Another funny personality was "Shnook da thug" who looked almost like Snoop Dog but couldn't rap like him... and the wannabe Fela who came in dressed only in his underpants. Damn!!! Generally, the ladies were less hilarious than the guys. (You wouldn't see a lady with full dreadlocks trying to sing Raggae or Afro) although they also had their shortcomings. You know your voice is a Lauryn Hill, yet you go singing Celine Dion, of course you can't pass.

The trio of Dede, Nana and Dan did not waste words in telling people off (Dede had a way of twisting his words such that you never really know what he's about to say), although honestly, there were some good singers who were told off. I was personally pissed off when the lady who sang "Stickwitu" (PussyCat Dolls) was rejected and the one who sang after her was taken. IMHO, she performed much better than the next lady. I mean, she literarily performed the song like it was done. Also the guy who sang "you're not alone" (Michael Jackson) was told off without a single vote of yes. I think the guy did fine. Maybe not too well, but he did better than the type of judgement he got.

The lady who sang "Irreplaceable" by Beyonce was another comedian. She didn't know half the words of the song and substituted her own words (which didn't make sense) to fill the gap. Quite surprisingly, she was taken. She had attitude anyway, and confidence. I was also surprised to see Lara George (nee Bajomo) of Kush. In my opinion, she doesn't need West African Idols to get famous. She's a star anyday. But of course, she could always use a record deal. Ibitoru was another who impressed me. The girl could sing.

People had a lot to say about the judges. Dan Foster likes fine girls (with his "shower singing" and "water in her voice" thoughts), Nana likes good looking guys ("I like you, I like your voice, but it's just not werking for me!") and Dede was too razz (what else did they expect?). I'll say it all added to the uniqueness of the show.

Now the list is down to 24, and the voting begins. You can follow their progress here. As for me, I'm keeping my fingers crossed as the first group performs. Good luck to all the contestants.

If you missed out on the Idols West Africa auditions, you can still catch some of the action on Channel 37, DSTV. The auditions will continue on this channel until 18th March.
Meanwhile, the search is on to vote for the worst audition!!! Check it out here

[ Click here to read more ... ]

Mar 1, 2007

Nigerian Music - The Relay

I've always wanted to write about the Nigerian Music Industry & the musicians that make up the industry with a focus on a genre I call the "Nigerianized" Hip-Hop. If you are an observer like I am, you'll notice that there's some kind of ongoing relay race in the music industry, complete with baton and laps. You successfully receive the baton, your lap begins and you become the next star. You feature in shows all over the country sponsored by such giants as Nigerian Breweries, This Day, BAT, etc. Your songs are on top of the charts and they get played in every nook and cranny of Nigeria (including but not limited to Obalende, Ikeja "Under Bridge", Mile II, Ojota, etc). Unfortunately just like a real relay race, you must finish your lap and hand over the baton, at which point you fade away and the next star shines. It's as simple as that.

The prelimnaries of the race started around 1998. A group called "The Remedies" had started a musical revolution with the popular "Mi o shako mo" single and other artists like Plantashun Boys, Paul IK Dairo (Now Paul "Play"), Trybezmen, had followed suit with their albums & singles. There was a new feel to Nigerian music. Hip-hop beats, Rap and R&B were being blended with Nigerian languages and styles and Nigerians loved it. I shall not cover those early days. I shall break into the scene sometime in 2002, when the real relay race started.

At that time, the Nigerian music industry had already revolutionized and was looking promising. Co-incidentally, as was usual then, there was a nationwide ASUU strike and students were sitting at home. Invariably, there was many an unfavorable thought towards ASUU and lecturers. All these events set the stage. The timing couldn't have been better for the first lap & the first athlete/musician. Eedris Abdulkareem was on the tracks and the baton was the hit single "Mr Lecturer".

This song was an immediate success. Everywhere there were shouts of EEDRIS. All shows had the name "Eedris" as a star attraction and the song received massive airplay. It's appeal to students was further fueled by the ongoing ASUU strike. The video (viewable here) was released and it was just as good. Critics however had other things to say. His songs lacked melody, had no structure and his raps had all the "effizzy" but no skill. I agree with them, to an extent. Eedris was an "anything goes" kind of artist (which was probably his style). Now he could be rapping, next singing, next talking. Well, the finish line was in sight, and he had to hand over the baton - to RuggedMan

This guy came in with yabs and jabs. His primary targets were Eedris and Maintain. I don't blame him ... he felt they lacked talent and a reform was necessary. He was bold and didn't care about whose ox was gored. He even dissed the CEOs of Kennis Music (The autocratic Godfathers of the music industry at that time). Much of what he said was true, and the best part of it was he was a good rapper. I believe he's one of the best rappers produced by Nigeria. He suddenly became a hero and Nigerians loved him, but he had more enemies than friends, and so unfortunately, he did not have too long a hold on the baton ... and he didn't pass it to anyone in particular. The baton was left hanging for some time. Suddenly, in late 2003, the baton was claimed again ... By... Styl-Plus who debuted with their single "Olufunmi" (viewable here).

Now I've got to give it to these guys. They were good. Their blend of harmony and lyrics was a masterpiece. Stations jammed endlessly, request shows were filled with requests for "Olufunmi". Ladies named "Olufunmi" suddenly became popular. This was a much needed break in the industry. Just like "Mi o shako mo" set the old standard, "Olufunmi" set a new standard. I think Styl-Plus held onto the baton longer than anyone else in the industry. It was well deserved. They had set a standard so high it would be hard for other people to strike up a counter-attack. Not long after, they released a 4-track album and set about working on their next single "Call my name" to be released in Mid 2004. Around this time however, another artist had summoned courage to claim the baton. His name - 2Face Idibia.

2Face is probably one of the most natural & real musicians I've seen come out of Nigeria. No unnecessary "Phoneh", he spoke pidgin without "sending" anyone. No extravagant dressing or over mocked up scenarios for his videos. He was the kind of guy who would do his videos in the streets without any finesse. He was real. His trademark "Nothing dey happen" caught on everyone like Hay Fever, everywhere you went you heard "NOTHING DEY HAPPEN". He debutted with a full album "Face 2 Face", which was a plus for him. The hit track "African Queen" (viewable here) became immediately popular and received massive airplay. The height of his stardom was the MTV Music Video award which he received for "African Queen". A friend of mine who travelled to Uganda was thrilled when he heard the song playing and being sang by dozens of Ugandans. 2face was the star. The baton was his, and run with it he did. But he was not alone in his desire to run with the baton, and sometime in 2004, he had to pass it on. His lap was over, and P-Square came into the scene.

P-Square debuted with the single "Bizzy Bodi" (viewable here) which was released to radio stations. The song became an instant hit. Not only did it have all the musical excellence displayed by Styl-Plus, it had an up-beat party groove making it a natural for club and party DJs. It was jammed nationwide. Another hit song was "Get Squared". In addition, the guys could dance (something which Styl Plus didn't do much). Another plus was the fact that unlike Styl-Plus their release was a full album and the songs were all tight. The playlist was well arranged and their videos were good. P-square became the household name and they were heard far and near.

At this point Stylplus was in the close background wondering how the baton slipped out of their hands in the first place. Critics had said their songs were love songs with no real party groove. In addition they had not yet released a full album. Their first album was just a collection of 4 singles & 4 instrumentals and couldn't really be referred to as an album. I guess they got the message, and with these points in mind, they hit the studio again ... and out came their album "Expressions". Expressions was packed full. The hit song was "Imagine that". The album was well rounded, had enough groovy songs and was backed up with their great musical ability... For a while, the baton co-inhabited with two groups. Wherever you went, it was either P-square or Styl-plus. Radio shows even carried out polls to find out who was more popular. Websites ran with such titles like "Who would you prefer, Styl-Plus or P-square?" They deserved it. They had the tightest beats and songs. But all good things are bound to fade away. Gradually, they did and along came D Banj.

Now, frantically, I don't know what happened when this guy came in. He entered the scene with "Tongolo" (viewable here) and immediately became popular with his charade of slangs which ranged from "No long thing, kokolet, koko, run down, etc". In reality, his songs really couldn't stand up to his predecessors (PSquare and Styl Plus) in terms of musical ability and voice talents. He lacked the harmony of StylPlus and the precision of P-square. But what he lacked, he gained from other things. He prided himself in his ability to attact women and he didn't waste words in letting people know. "I don get degree for womanology" was the second line in his first song. He was also an excellent stage performer, and his friend and producer Don Jazzy's playboy style added more effizzy into his performances. He released a first album and then a second containg a remix of the first hit single "Tongolo" and his new single "Why me". Right now, "D Banj" is the name everyone is saying. Like a friend of mine once said, "D banj has banjed everybody". I agreed with her. Anyway, the baton is still with him.

Right now, the baton is getting warm, and it needs to change hands. The next star could be you. Hurry up. Nigeria is waiting for you!

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