2013 Medals (and Boo’s!)
That time of year, again, when everybody just loves to play judge, jury, witness, prosecution, defence, all at once. Well, I’ve been running a special kind of awards show on social media over the past couple of years – actually as a modern update of my once regular, annual radio awards show of ratings and knocks from an outgoing year. And what a year this one has been! Note: These awards are entirely my own views. If you don’t like them much, why not try make up a list of your own…and share. It could be fun!
Here we go…
1. Fad of the year – The Selfie
A selfie is a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone, and is usually taken in a slightly tilted manner. Selfies are often associated with social networking. Selfies taken that involve multiple people are known as “group selfies”. In August 2013 the Guardian of London produced a film series titled Thinkfluencer exploring selfie exposure in the UK. The term “selfie” was discussed by photographer Jim Krause in 2005, although photos in the selfie genre predate the widespread use of the term. In the early 2000s, before Facebook became the dominant online social network, self-taken photographs were particularly common on MySpace. However, writer Kate Losse recounts that between 2006 and 2009 (when Facebook became more popular than MySpace), the “MySpace pic” (typically “an amateurish, flash-blinded self-portrait, often taken in front of a bathroom mirror”) became an indication of bad taste for users of the newer Facebook social network. Early Facebook portraits, in contrast, were usually well-focused and more formal, taken by others from distance. In 2009 in the image hosting and video hosting website Flickr, Flickr users used ‘selfies’ to describe seemingly endless self-portraits posted by teenage girls. It is believed that improvements in design – especially the front-facing camera copied by the iPhone 4 (2010) from Korean and Japanese mobile phones and mobile photo apps such as Instagram—led to the resurgence of selfies in the early 2010s. Initially popular with young people, selfies have become popular among adults as well. In December 2012, Time magazine noted that selfie was among its “top 10 buzzwords” of 2012; although selfies had existed for years, it was in 2012 that the term “really hit the big time”. A poll commissioned by smartphone and camera maker Samsung found that selfies make up 30% of the photos taken by people aged 18–24. By 2013, the word “selfie” had become commonplace enough to be monitored for inclusion in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary. In November 2013, the word was announced as being the “word of the year” by the Oxford English Dictionary.
2. Radio Show of the Year – Classic Lounge with BukiHQ. (Close second – Hip Hop Ride with Kayshow)
What interests me most on a radio show is spontaneity and versatility. If that exudes from the show or emanates through the presentation, a learning process has occurred. There’s little to be learned from, or taken away from most Nigerian radio programming today. It’s all bland yakitty-yak, the same dumb music with repetitive, half-baked, poorly-processed beats and auto-tuned vocals. So it was refreshing to find a programme that stood out. I stumbled onto Buki’s Classic Lounge one Monday afternoon after I decided to end my self-inflicted radio-listening hiatus and was both deeply impressed and inspired. The issues were the trending issues of the moment, discussed widely and intelligently, matter-of-factly and time-consciously – a rarity on air, these days. I should add it was no surprise I was attracted to Buki’s show. On further research, I found her background and upbringing says all: Buki was born in the early seventies in A.B.U Zaira, in the Northern part of Nigeria at a time when black music had reached an astronomical high. With the mixed heritage of a Yoruba father and an Ishekiri mother, and having lived in the north most of her life, she has the rare advantage of the positive influence drawn from diverse impressions necessary to understand and appreciate the history, culture, art and music peculiar to the region. With her music influence stemming from her father’s astute love and knowledge of Nigerian provincial music, traditional jazz, the blues, soul and rhythm & blues, and her mother’s inclination to soft rock and pop, she has managed to give herself a firm stand in her vast knowledge of different genres of music. She also started playing the piano and reading music at the age of 7; she was introduced and constantly surrounded by an infinite wealth of the ever evolving world of music, hence, her excellent knowledge and interest in the old and contemporary; with specific reference to genres as they exit. So without any doubts, my next award…
3. Presenter of the Year:
…Goes to, Buki Sawyer-Izeogu (ClassicFM) for just keeping it real. No airs, no fake hype. You deserve it, baby – you and your amazing team!
Hip Hop Ride with Kayshow comes second on my list (Radio Show of the Year) You should listen in, if you’ve never: Monday – Friday nights, on City105.1FM. And, yes, Kayshow is my son!!! So. What…?
4. Scandal of the Year – Stella Oduah’s N225 million Scam.
This was the scam that just wouldn’t go away. Hard as the Aviation Minister and Presidency tried to bury their heads in the heap of muck, or ignore the calls for probe, the scam stank like a really putrid sore. By year’s end the House of Representative’s committee, which had investigated the ‘deal’ demanded her immediate sack. But stubborn Stella insisted: “I think it means you don’t read, or you probably don’t understand English, because I read it too. What was there was that Mr. President can and should review the report. That was what they said there. Probably, you should go back to school.” Oh dear…!
5. Goof of the Year.
There were quite a few classic ‘foot-in-mouth’ situations this year, so we decided on a gold, silver bronze categorisation for this award:
Bronze medal: Goes to…Femi Fani-Kayode – ‘I Slept With Bianca!’ I hope for his sake that controversial ex-Nigerian minister, Femi Fani-Kayode never has cause to cross the River Niger. I doubt he would ever return unscathed. Fani ‘Power’ Junior committed the crime of all crimes on the back of a series of vicious tirades against the Eastern community when he wrote: “I was not a tribalist when I had a long-standing and intimate relationship with Miss Bianca Onoh, an igbo lady, who later married Colonel Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu the leader of Biafra and who is now our Ambassador in Spain. I was not a tribalist when I had a long-standing and intimate relationship with Miss Chioma Anasoh, another igbo lady, who I almost married. I was not a tribalist when I had a long-standing and intimate relationship with Miss Adaobi Uchegbu, another igbo lady, who was exceptionally close to me and who is now a leading figure at the National Headquarters of the ruling PDP.” Tut, tut, tut, Fanny P, grown men don’t kiss and tell…!
Silver medal : Pastor Chris Okotie – ‘All Catholics are going to Hell.’ What on earth was Pastor Chris thinking? Did someone slip the wrong chalice of wine into his hands? Or was he having hallucinations about his pop star days? Okotie said quite a lot that day. Hear him: “The Catholic Church is a counterfeit church set up by Satan. Catholics bow to idols and crucify Jesus every Sunday when they eat bread claiming they are eating Jesus’ body. They are not Christians and have never been. They don’t know Jesus. They believe that when they eat bread on Sundays, they are eating the body of Jesus. It’s ritual.” Oh, Lordy. Lordy, Lordy…(Makes sign of the cross) I think he needs someone…er…another wife…quick! (I heard they had a “Most Beautiful Girl in Household of God” beauty pageant this year. Hmm….is Pastor Chris looking for a new wifey…?)
Gold medal: Doyin Okupe – ‘Jonathan is our Mandela.’ Okupe’s wild and reckless statement came in the euphoria of the Mandela wake, when world leaders were falling over each other in finding the best words to extol the virtues of this great African hero. The garrulous Presidential adviser must’ve spoken from his hips on an AIT news programme hosted by Gbenga Aruleba: “I checked through the history of Nigeria, among our past and present leaders, the only one we call our Mandela here in Nigeria is President Jonathan. There is not any President in Nigeria that has sacrificed 13 hours to discuss with ASUU.” I nor fit shout, ooo! Swamped with embarrassment an angry nation retorted vehemently. Okupe attempted a lame rebuttal claiming the said interview was done 4 hours before Mandela’s death was announced. He however did not deny being interviewed on the subject on AIT. Strange…! That producer has a gold mine in his hands! Here’s a Facebook conversation I had with a trusted reporter, who had worked under my direction for a number of years – immediately after the story broke…
Me: As much as I disagree with Okupe’s style and rhetoric, I find it difficult to believe he could exhibit such crass illiteracy. I will need proof to believe this story. The first post I read it from was so full of grammatical flaws I immediately disregarded it. You must show proof, Ayo!
Ayodele Ezekiel Ozugbakun: @Uncle Femi, he was Gbenga Aruleba’s guest on Focus Nigeria yesterday. I just requested for the off-air tape today. I watched the programme and I stand by my story, sir. A friend in AIT also confirmed it now, I am getting the dub in the next 3hrs.”
A goldfish has no hiding place; neither has a skunk!
6. TV Station of the Year – Channels TV. Runner up: ELTV.
Channels Television stands far apart from the pack. In another poor year of performance for Nigerian television only Channels provided some form of standard that could tear my attention from the exorbitant, but essential Multichoice bouquet. Without Channels, television in Nigeria would be totally dead! A new station popped up during the period, and we must mention that Mo Abudu’s Ebony Life TV (ELTV) is quite exciting television to watch. Ok, let me be candid. Never met her, but I never quite appreciatedd Ms. Abudu much – at least from what I saw on her interview show, ‘Moments with Mo.’ I thought her smile wasn’t genuine, her questions were weak and platonic and the whole ambience was dull. I always thought she had great ideas, but she wasn’t a great presenter. I guess I was right – the lady’s done just that – taken a back seat, launched a TV station, and shut me up! Me and my big mouth! I probably deserved it. Watch out for that Channel 165 on DSTV. Definitely going places, I say!
7. International Superstar of the Year – Miley Cirus.
First remember this – Hannah Montana and Miley Cirus are two different people! So if you or your kid sister grew up on Hannah Montana and can’t come to terms with what’s on TV now called Miley Cirus, you can still get to like her music, it don’t mean you have to learn how to twerk, or ever go nude in public. Git…? It all changed for Ms Miley in 2013 when she released her fourth album Bangerz, by which point she had become associated with that controversial public image. The singles “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” were promoted with provocative music videos. The latter track became her first number-one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. I kinda latched on to all this pretty late, but all the more reason she gets my award. She is Yahoo’s most searched person in 2013, and most controversial both in tweak and tongue. But she also proved she was hot property with chart-topping record sales.
8. National Shame of the Year – ASUU Strike.
Without seeking to find blame for what goes down in Nigerian academic history as one of the worst face offs between government and academic unionism, these awards are apportioning shame in equal measure to both the Academic Staff University Unions, ASUU officials for prolonging the woes of the Nigerian higher education system by insistence on the sustained strike, and particularly the government – especially a few senior government officials who made rather injurious public comments – for its seeming disinterest in meeting the demands and halting the suffering of the student population, most of whom have lost an entire year of academic progress. ASUU had began its current strike on July 1 following failure of government to implement a 2009 agreement on public universities funding between the two parties. Some of the demands of ASUU includes amendment of retirement age of academics on professorial cadre from 65 to 70, Funding requirements for revitalisation of Nigerian universities and federal government assistance to State Universities, payment of earned allowances, reinstatement of prematurely dissolved governing councils, transfer of Federal Governing landed properties to Universities among others. One good fallout from the ASUU strike is that it has moved government to the realisation of the importance of funding the education system to improve the poor standards and sordid conditions that presently exists on campuses across the country through implementation of a needs assessment of the universities that exposed the infrastructural deficits which the federal universities are facing. but is the ASUU strike truly finally over. Fingers crossed, still…!
9. Global Website of the Year – Instagram.
The say Instagram is the new, fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family. To do that, all you do is, take a picture or video, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram. It’s that easy. You can even share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more. It sure is a new way to see the world. A distinctive feature is that it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images, in contrast to the 16:9 aspect ratio now typically used by mobile device cameras. Users are also able to record and share short videos lasting for up to 15 seconds. Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched in October 2010. The service rapidly gained popularity, with over 100 million active users as of April 2012. Instagram is distributed through the Apple App Store and Google Play. Support was originally available for only the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch; in April 2012, support was added for Android camera phones. Third-party Instagram apps are available for the Windows Phone and Blackberry 10. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock. For a quick guide on how to use Instagram, click here: http://m.wikihow.com/Use-Instagram
10. Naija Music Stars of the Year – Olamide and Burna Boy.
The Lagos Carnival 2013 was a riot! I knew. I was onstage. I was carnival MC! The venue, the Tafawa Balewa Square is arguably the biggest covered and terraced event venue in the entire length and breath of Nigeria. It was packed full on that day. Over 40,000 people in and around the arena. The stands were full, the grounds were full, right up to the barricades, stage upfront. The rotund stage was surrounded by hordes of youths, male, female, kids. They all wanted one thing, only. And they shouted his name. Badooooooo!!! That’s when I knew how big Olamide was. He could only sing just one song when the crowd went berserk. He didn’t even sing – the crowd did; belting out every lyric. He just smiled and chorused! I had heard his music and did follow his rise as a superstar through the very first radio interviews he had on the fringe stations, City, Continental, Top FM. Kid was ‘razz’ – the top ‘Island stations’ ignored him – at first! Their undoing. Today, the weird and controversial but multitalented rapper, Olamide, undoubtedly sits atop the Nigerian music industry alongside any Nigerian superstar one can think of, even with his erratic lyrics that are a blend of Yoruba and English language – mostly Pidgin English. So, the one they call Baddo, Young Erikina, YBNL , ‘Baddest Boy Ever Liveth’, whichever nickname you choose to call him; the 24 year-old rapper and singer, Adedeji Olamide, gets hotter with time and his lyrics which practically leaves the listener speechless in a good way will surely be heard for a long time. Mark my words…he will be around quite a while, yet!
I like Burna. I think his album “L.I.F.E.,” which stands for “Leaving an Impact For Eternity,” is the best Naija album of the year. When I posted that fact on my Facebook status sometime in November a lot of people were amazed at my seeming agelessness – in terms of musical appreciation. I admit that I was first attracted by his uniquely rich vocal timbre. Then I stumbled on him while rehearsing at Ayo Bankole Jr’s Minstrelcraft studio, under the tutelage of his grand dad, and one of my hero’s, the great Benson Idonije. that forced me to follow his progression further – very few of today’s Nigerian musicians could play band music in a modern industry that has been ravaged with sampled syncopations, vocoder-tainted vocals and DJ-inspired beats. Burna Boy is a splendid vocalist and he oozes versatility as his unique sound blends Dance-hall, Afrobeat, R&B and Hip-Hop into one tightly knit package. His songs span from ballads full of depth, sometimes to the controversial subject matter as well. No doubt, Burna was inspired by Fela – Idonije had managed Fela before; but I do feel we were all a bit unfair to the young man for castigating him over the ‘pants’ issue on stage during a performance at Felabration, earlier this year. The kid was just 6 years old when Fela died in 1997. Give him a break!
11. Photo of the Year – Oshiomole and the Benin Widow Drink Tea Together.
The photographic image of the governor and the widow went viral in the press and on social media after the Edo State governor had publicly apologised for assaulting the woman, Mrs. Joy Ifije earlier. Governor Oshiomole had castigated the widow woman for selling her wares on the streets. His words to the woman were: “Go and die!” Nigerians reacted angrily. The opposition PDP cashed in at once, announcing a N250,000 donation to the woman to enable her replace her wares, which had been confiscated by the Governor’s entourage. For his apology, the widow was invited to tea with the governor where she was offered government employment, plus a N2 million bonus! Is it true there are quite a few more ‘widows’ hawking openly on the streets of Benin these days…? ( View image here: http://olorisupergal.com/wp-content/uploads/oshiomole-and-widow.jpg)
12. Most Significant Event – The Mandela Memorial.
Most fathers of a nation, like George Washington or Giuseppe Garibaldi, made their nations on a battlefield. Mandela did it with smiles. High quality global journalism requires investment. He achieved this on the most unpromising ground. In a terrible way, apartheid succeeded. It started from the assumption that people of different “races” were different, and it created races that really were different. Black and white South Africans grew up in different neighbourhoods, spoke different languages, went to different schools, earned different incomes and died at different ages. These divides were designed to create white contempt. But Mandela overcame all that with a smile and by an endearing spirit of forgiveness and ‘Ubuntu!’ 92 Heads of state and governments attended his memorial ceremonies. It was epoch! People gathered in the tens of thousands – presidents, prime ministers, royals, celebrities and ordinary South Africans – all united to say farewell to a man hailed as a global symbol of reconciliation. From President Barack Obama to Cuba’s Raul Castro, praise came from all sides in a four-hour memorial service at Johannesburg FNB stadium for the revered statesman. Obama summed it up in his speech: “We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.” True dat!
13. Letters of the Year – Before it is Too Late. OBJ – GEJ/Open Letter to my Father. Iyabo Obasanjo/Jonathan Replies OBJ
What a season of letter-writing, or as Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah put it – A Season of Epistleocracy! It all began with a potent letter from a prominent member of what we may refer to as Nigeria’s ‘Three Musketeers.’ the former President had informed us that his other two colleagues, the former military commanders, Obasanjo and Danjuma were well aware of his complaints and had both felt likewise. He then went on to drop many bombs on the path of the President. If only he knew there was a sniper nearby. The enemy appeared from close range…a traitor, from within, a product of the veracity of his own command! A product of his very own loins! The General’s own daughter, Dr. Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello fired from the flanks and hit at the centre. Her missive was destructive to say the least. The general, who had claimed many past victories (Not according to General Alabi-Isama – you should read his war memoirs, “The Tragedy of Victory.”) could not win this one, as hard as his foot soldiers tried to disparage the authenticity of Iyabo’s letter with an error-ridden denial. The general was weakened, the Presidential army knew they had the upper hand. President Jonathan’s reply to Obasanjo was a bit reserved, but you could tell the President was visibly hurt. He deployed his forces to the media, and informed the human rights commission of violations evident from OBJ’s treasonable comments. Who can predict the next few days ahead? I wouldn’t even attempt it!
14. African Sound of the year – Mafikizolo: Khona.
“Khona” is a song by South African musical duo Mafikizolo, released as the first single from their eighth studio album, Reunited (2012). It was written and composed in Zulu by Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhlanhla Nciza of Mafikizolo. The word, “Khona” translates to “there” or “at that place”. The release of the song marked the official reunion of the musical duo who took a two years hiatus to work on solo careers. Prior to releasing “Khona”, Mafikizolo were precisely known for putting out wedding inspired themes. In a nutshell, “Khona” blends West African sounds with African house instrumentals. In South Africa, the song peaked at number 1. In Nigeria, the song received numerous radio airplay across the country and was a sure-shot floor filler in clubs and parties. Upon its release, the song was met with great reception throughout Africa. Many people fell in love with its syncopated rhythmic drumbeat sound. The song has elevated the South African house genre to some extent raising the profile of many other songs in the format, and was released with the idea that music can influence a large demography of people across the African continent.
15. Album of the Year – 20/20 Experience: Justin Timberlake.
Seems like Timberlake has always been around, lurking in the shadows, somewhere. Born in 1981 in Memphis, Tennessee, he appeared on the television shows Star Search and The New Mickey Mouse Club as a child. (He had a few other famous name contemporaries who walked the same route) In the late 1990s, Timberlake rose to prominence as the lead singer and youngest member of the boy band ‘N Sync. During the group’s hiatus, Timberlake released his solo studio albums Justified (2002) and FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006). Timberlake already has a fistful of hits under his belt: “Cry Me a River,” “Rock Your Body,” “SexyBack”, “My Love”, and “What Goes Around… Comes Around”. With each album exceeding sales of seven million copies worldwide, he was established as one of the most commercially successful singers. From 2007 through 2012, Timberlake focused on his acting career, effectively putting his music career on hiatus; he held starring roles in the films The Social Network, Bad Teacher, In Time and Friends with Benefits. But In 2013, Timberlake resumed his music career with his third and fourth albums The 20/20 Experience and The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2. The former became one of the best-selling records of the year and spawned hits “Suit & Tie” and “Mirrors”, while the latter is preceded by lead single “Take Back the Night”. Timberlake’s work has earned him six Grammy Awards and four Emmy Awards. Timberlake has also received a total of seven nominations at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Album (The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience), Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (Suit & Tie with Jay-Z), Best Pop Solo Performance (Mirrors), and Best R&B Song (Pusher Love Girl). If you haven’t, go download a copy now!
16. Best Actor/Actress: Mercy Johnson.
I dunno why, but seems like Ms. Johnson was in the news all the time. I don’t watch Nollywood that much, but at least it’s better than doing the Tonto Dikeh all over again! Actually Google reported that notorious little Missy T was the most ‘searched for’ Nollywood celebrity. Still don’t know what they were looking for. (Ehm…Ms. Mercy came in second!)
17. Naija Song of the Year: KCee – Limpopo 2. WC – The Kick.
KCee, former half of the singing duo KC Presh overdid himself this year. 2013 without doubt was his most successful season ever. It all began with a simple love song he called, “Limpopo.” it was a song made for radio, and once the stations latched onto it, It eased gently into our consciousness. It was simply a song that obeyed the traditional rules of music marketing: Good song – Airplay – Publicity (Appearances/Marketing) – Sales – Charts. KCee has a way with songs. It all began with the Okpekete sound and it’s as if he has found a new breath of air ever since he split with his former colleague. By the way, anyone know what’s up with Presh…?
Close second on my personal fave list for Naija Song of the Year is this one – “The Kick,” by WC, with Don Jazzy – a true classic from the House that Don Baba J built! Wande Coal left Jazzy’s Mavin Records in 2013, but the collaboration gave us one massive kick. Don Jazzy always gets it right with the bass and drums! For me, this rating does more to Jazzy’s credit than to WC’s – as you know, Jazz has produced tracks for Mo’ Hits & D’Banj, Dr SID, Wande Coal, D’Prince, Darey, Naeto C, Sauce Kid, Ikechukwu and Tiwa Savage. He also collaborated with Jay-Z and Kanye West on the production of “Lift Off,” featuring Beyoncé on the album “Watch The Throne,” and was recently rated as the 36th. “Most powerful celebrity in Africa” according to Forbes.
18. Person of the Year – Goodluck Jonathan, President Federal Republic of Nigeria.
There were very few candidates for this most sought after award within Nigeria. If it were to be given to any person outside our shores, the obvious candidates would’nt differ from those who had been mentioned and awarded many times before. So I sought candidacy from different sources. For me, President Goodluck receives this award for doing nothing! And please understand me…I castigate not! We have come from a recent history where leadership had never been known to be silent, or meek and civil in a raging storm. Nigerian presidents do not have any respect for enemies, or even mere rivals. Many such have died both open and mysterious deaths in the past. Yet here is a man who has been put on record as the most abused Nigerian leader in history. Here is a man who has been called all sorts of unfriendly, demeaning, belittling names in the public space, newspapers, radio, television, social media, etc. and yet not one person has been arrested, jailed or has disappeared! I mean, even the opposition call him a drunk, and he leaves it to his ‘boys’ to react. In another clime…under a certain crop of generals…hmm. I think it is absolutely amazing that for the first time in history, Nigeria has a gentleman as it’s president. I’m sure we can drink to that…Mr. President. Er…champagne for you, sir…?
19. Sportspersons of the Year – Stephen Keshi and the Super Eagles.
Stop press…! How we we ever forget the scintillating performances of the Super Eagles at the African Nations Cup against all odds. And the double victory of coach Keshi against the beauraucrats in sports manipulative ivory tower after the tournament. To cap up a magnificent year for Nigerian football, Keshi and his amazing boys went on to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil. Nigerians hopes are high for great results in the land of football. Many believe that if the Eagles survive the group stages – where we meet dreaded Argentina, againg, they could go very far in the competition. The good news is – Keshi will be on the bench in Brazil. Nigerians vehemently spoke up against suggestions that a foreign coach will be brought in to “assist” Keshi. The FA quickly backed off! Good sign…?