The National and State Assemblies Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State, on Wednesday dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate on November 16, 2019, Kogi West Senatorial rerun election, Dino Melaye, challenging the victory of Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared APC candidate the winner of the election conducted by the commission after a court had nullified Melaye’s victory in the initial election held on February 23, 2019.
READ ALSO: Nigerians May Never Experience Good Governance – MKO Abiola’s wife
In his petition, the PDP candidate asked the court to declare him the winner of the election having scored the highest number of valid votes in the poll.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, who delivered the lead judgment, said Melaye failed to prove how the election was rigged in favour of Adeyemi.
He said the PDP candidate’s petition was dismissed for lack of merit.
Meanwhile, Melaye has promised to appeal the tribunal’s ruling at the Appeal Court.
Anthony Joshua was welcomed to speak at Westminster Abbey at a Commonwealth Day church service attended by the Queen and other dignitaries.
Joshua, who has Nigerian roots and spent part of his childhood in the country, explains the benefits of being part of the Commonwealth in a moving speech.
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Joshua said: “My name is Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua and, like many of you here, I’m a child of the Commonwealth.
“I was born in Watford, and my heritage is Nigerian. I come from the Yoruba people, who are the largest, and some might say the loudest ethnic group in all of Africa. I’m proudly Nigerian and proudly British.
That cryptocurrency is gaining notoriety is no news, that it can replace fiat money is no news either, but that Africa is waking up from its “crypto slumber” is the trending news making headlines.
The is positioning itself to be the cryptocurrency of African origin to serve African states.
The ‘AKoin,’ is a proprietary cryptocurrency, released by Senegalese pop singer Akon.
According to Akon’s projections, achieving the feat of making the ‘Akoin’ the unified cryptocurrency for Africa will be rooted in the ‘Akoin’ being the medium of exchange in the futuristic “Wakanda like” Akon city less than ten minutes drive from the new international airport in Senegal’s capital city of Dakar, that debuted in 2017.
The pop singer, Akon, announced to the world via a tweet on January 13, that the ‘Wakanda Like’ Akon city, spread over an area, 2,000-acre, a stone throw from the Senegalese capital Dakar would soon get into its first phase.
Recall that the project was first announced in 2018 and was tagged the smart city that will be built on a 2000 acre plot of land near the capital city of Dakar, a gift by President Macky Sall to the pop icon, Akon.
It is projected that the new sustainable Akon city will be completed in 10 years. According to CNN, the Akon City project will roll into the second phase sometime in 2025.
Akon City will run on the proprietary cryptocurrency, ‘AKoin,’ and this digital currency, as hoped, will be integrated into Africa as a whole.
The cryptocurrency is expected to target African issues such as instability and inflation in the region, and it is also likely to stimulate the growth of young entrepreneurs.]]>
For supermodel Naomi Campbell, the last has not been heard of the recent loss that Nigeria’s Burnaboy suffered when he lost the award to Angelique Kidjo. Campbell wrote a letter to the organizers of the Grammy Awards stressing the need for Afrobeats to be recognized as a genre of importance in the world.
In the letter, Naomi Campbell first praised Angelique for using her music to enlighten people’s mind, then she opined that Burna Boy’s lack of education was responsible for the underhand played him by not giving him the recognition that was his due.
According to the supermodel, placing Afrobeat in the ‘World Music’ category during the just concluded 2020 Grammys rated the genre unfairly considering that Afrobeat has produced talented individuals whose high standard may not be forgotten.
Naomi advised the recording academy to reassess and reflect on the Afrobeat genre as a whole category and the voting pattern of the category, she also urged them to use the next 363 days to reformulate their perspective of ‘World Music.’
The full letter:
First, I want to say deepest congratulations to @angeliquekidjo for her award on Sunday and thank you to you for spreading light and opening minds through your music…
And to our AFRICAN GIANT, @burnaboygram… it is only due to lack of education that you have not been honoured with the accolades you so truly deserve. You are always a winner in our hearts. ALWAYS.
And to The @RecordingAcademy, There is something that brings joy, strength and happiness to myself, and to so many people that hear it, and it is called Afrobeats. Afrobeats is a musical genre played on mainstream and primetime radio not only across the continent of Africa but across the world…
Recently, the genre was categorized into your ‘World Music’ category at the 2020 Grammys. This misrepresentation diminishes an entire genre in which such a high standard of talent has emerged; a genre that has been a force of hope and positivity for many, and a vehicle for artistry on the continent of Africa.
Please take the next 363 days to reassess and reflect on your perspective of ‘World Music.’ Did the world get to vote for this award, or was it only the people in the United States a part of The Recording Academy? What will this neglectful categorization of music mean to individual cultures? Cultures who contribute their blood, sweat and tears, and every level of their creativity and work ethic into making music for YOU and for all of us.
Please get up to speed on the state of all popular music today, and include Afrobeats Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and all the subcategories that this genre so deserves – just as any other respected and recognized musical genre. •
This is bigger than you, so open your eyes, ears, and minds and treat us right and with the respect we deserve.]]>
The city of 987Annual Grammy Awards ceremony, January 26, 2020, the event was held at the Staples Center.
The annual Grammy Awards event is held to recognize the best of the best in the music industry worldwide, the skills ratings are usually broken down into categories like “best rock”, ” best pop “, “best country”, etc.
Artists were selected to cover the eligibility year, which was between October 1, 2018, and August 31, 2019.
Alicia Keys was the host of this year’s Grammy, recall that the names of those nominated in all 84 categories were announced by Gayle King, Bebe Rexha and host Alicia Keys on November 20, 2019, during CBS’ This Morning Show.
It was Lizzo’s day as Lizzo received the most nominations for any individual artist with eight, followed by Billie Eilish set a record for receiving five Grammys making it the most awards received by a single artist. She won the Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist in a single Grammy Award night, the last time this feat was achieved was in 1981 when Christopher Cross won all four categories.
On the African front, Nigeria’s Afro-fusion sensation, Burma Boy (Damini Ogulu) and Beninese Angelique Kidjo were both nominated for the ‘Best World Music’ category, but Nigerian Burma Boy lost this category to Angelique Kidjo, but while making her thank you speech, she honored Burma Boy as the ‘African Giant’ crooner.
Below is the list of winners mentioned so far:
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
– “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
Best Pop Vocal Album
– “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” Billie Eilish
Best Rock Performance –
“This Land,” Gary Clark Jr.
Best Rock Song –
“This Land,” Gary Clark Jr., songwriter (Gary Clark Jr.)
Best Rock Album –
“Social Cues,” Cage the Elephant
Best Alternative Music Album
– “Father of the Bride,” Vampire Weekend
Best Metal Performance –
Best R&B Performance
– “Come Home,” Anderson.Paak featuring André 3000
Best R&B Song –
“Say So,” PJ Morton, songwriter (PJ Morton featuring JoJo)
Best Urban Contemporary Album
– “Cuz I Love You (Deluxe),” Lizzo
Best R&B Album
“Ventura,” Anderson .Paak
Best Traditional R&B Performance –
Best Rap Performance –
“Racks in the Middle,” Nipsey Hussle featuring Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy
Best Rap Song –
“A Lot,” Jermaine Cole, Dacoury Natche, 21 Savage and Anthony White, songwriters (21 Savage featuring J. Cole)
Best Country Solo Performance –
“Ride Me Back Home,” Willie Nelson
Best Country Album
– “While I’m Livin’,” Tanya Tucker
On Wednesday, Esta Charkham broke the sad news of the demise of one of Hollywood’s greats, Bryan Marshall, on his Twitter page.
According to Esta Charkham’s Wednesday tweet
So sad that my dear old chum Bryan Marshall has gone on ahead. A wonderful actor – he was so good you never noticed how good he was. He was a valued chum. His credits are a catalogue of classic British and Australian TV. Fare Forward Dearest Bryan! pic.twitter.com/yyHxgf4Fcg
— Esta Charkham (@EstalaChark) June 25, 2019
“So sad that my dear old chum has gone on ahead.
“A wonderful actor – he was so good you never noticed how good he was.
“He was a valued chum. His credits are a catalogue of classic British and Australian TV.
“Fare Forward Dearest Bryan,”
Bryan Marshall was best known for his role in James Bond, he played Commander Talbot in the 007 movie, The Spy Who Loved Me, and also starred in Australian daytime soap opera, “Neighbours”.
The 81-year-old Marshal was born in Battersea, London, and trained as an actor at RADA before appearing at the Bristol Old Victoria. He also starred in The Witches, Man in the Wilderness, Heartbeat, The Bill and The Avengers.]]>
In the recent publication by YouTube, ‘Ex Con Cody Lachey’ star revealed that Tupac Shakur is still alive and secretly living behind bars in a Los Angeles prison, according to a conspiracy theorist. The strange claim comes after “new evidence” emerged the bad boy rapper seemingly survived the infamous gun attack on his life 23 years ago.
According to YouTube star ‘Ex Con Cody Lachey’ posted a video showing him sifting through the LA County Sheriff’s Department inmate information site.
It displays how he searches for Tupac’s full name and date of birth he quickly discovers two startling prison “booking in” entries.
The first is from April 14, 2017, while the second is from April 26, 2019. Both contain details which seem to match up with Tupac.
According to the unproven records, the inmate is 5ft 10ins and weighing 165lb – which tie in perfectly with Shakur.
“Tupac is supposed to be dead,” says Lachey. “This is exactly the same as the other arrest – same height, same hair colour, same weight.
“Guys – Tupac is alive, I am telling you guys. This is Tupac.”
However, not surprisingly, not everybody is convinced by the claims with some labelling them “laughable” and “clearly a joke.”
During his lifetime Tupac did serve time behind bars when he was sentenced to four years at New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility on sex abuse charges.
However, the records on the LA Country sheriff site are not connected to that offence.
The news comes after Suge Knight said Tupac talked about faking his death just weeks before he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting.
The music mogul claims the discussion started during a trip to the Pacific island of Maui, shortly after he signed Tupac to his Death Row record label.
One of Africa’s biggest comedy export, Mr Patrick, who is currently in American, is set to host his first major international show at the prestigious Indigo 02, London, come May 5, 20I9.
The comedy show will feature top music stars including Mr P of the Psquare fame and CDQ, alongside comedians including, Frankdonga, Seyi brown ( US), Eric Omondi (Kenya), Daddy Showkey, the accolade master, Charles Okocha, Osita Iheme and several others, all in one night. It will be a night of comedy, music and more.
Organisers said it promises to be an exciting night of hilarious jokes fresh from the comedians, a night filled with great music and lots of fun to keep you glued on your seat.
This is coming just few months after his sold out show titled “Homecoming with Mr Patrick and Friends” at the Club Cubana in Owerri, Imo State in January this year.
According to the comedian “I am grateful to God for an opportunity to export my craft to the next level in United Kingdom. We have been receiving massive response since the show was announced. This concert like never before, United Kingdom go laugh tire.”]]>
It’s was rumored that the juju maestro Kollington Ayinla was bed ridden and scouting for buyers for his palatial dwelling at Alagbado in Lagos, the widespread rumor had it that he was down with a debilitating illness that requires urgent medical attention, alas, a visit by BABATUNDE SULAIMAN to the Alagbado, Lagos home of Alhaji Abdul-Razaq Kolawole Ilori, a.k.a. Kollington Ayinla, proved that it was just a rumor initiated by some mischievous individuals. On arrival, Babatunde Sulaiman met the fuji maestro in a meeting with two of his relations within his expansive compound.
RECENTLY, it was rumoured that you were hospitalized and that you wanted to put up your house for sale in order to defray the medical bill. Could you give me the true picture of your state of health?
I am happy you can see me sitting in my compound today. So, what kind of ailment will you say I am suffering from? I have not contracted HIV/ AIDS and I don’t have cancer either, as it is being speculated. So, why will I want to sell my house so as to raise money for whatever treatment? I am hale and hearty. I was admitted to Amcad Hospital over three months ago and the doctors diagnosed little traces of ulcer and typhoid, and I was treated.
So, I was surprised when I read that I wanted to sell my house or that I sold my house because I needed money for my treatment. Oh my God! What kind of profession have I chosen? If one farts, people will say it is blue and if one pees, people will say it is green! But honestly, there is no iota of truth in that report. If I was sick, would I be sitting here? I would like to use this medium to express my gratitude to well-meaning Nigerians who have been calling to ask after my wellbeing.
Did you grant any interview recently, where you mentioned that you were sick?
Yes, I actually granted a reporter an interview, but I am surprised he misrepresented me and injected false information in his report. Please, look at the house in question (pointing to an uncompleted building within the premises). Can I sell this kind of house? Or will I sell this other one that I live in?
Many even think you want to sell the only house you have?
If that is true, will I now be putting up at a motor park or under a bridge? Today, I am most grateful to God for His favour in my life. He has given me fame and I don’t pray for a reversal of fortune. By the special grace of Allah, I have houses and some of my children too have built their own houses. Before now, some people thought I was living in Lekki. Yes, there is a big mansion in Lekki built by one of my daughters, who is a registered nurse in the US. I had a plan for the house from the outset. So, why will I sell my house to raise money in order to treat malaria or ulcer?
What was your plan?
I wanted to use it as a hotel. However, I was advised against such a plan on the grounds that I might not be able to maintain it later on. They also advised me that it might be mismanaged by the workers. So, I was confused and didn’t know what to do with the house any more. Consequently, I stopped work on it for a good reason.
Could you expatiate?
I don’t want anyone to kill me over my property. That is the main reason I said that I could put it up for sale some day, if I so wish. The Yoruba say, Ara ile e ni, ni ota eni (Your family is your enemy). I alone know the spiritual battle I am fighting within my family. You see, the fall of a yellow leaf is a warning to the green one. All my children are faring well in their respective professions. Most of my children are graduates and they live in different parts of the world. They are not the ones after my property.
But the enemies within are those that I had mistakenly got married to in the early stage of my career. These are the people plotting my death, so they can take over my property. But I won’t allow such a thing to happen after my death. As far as I am concerned, those people who made me go through hell in life will not have access to my property. Therefore, rather than allow this property or any other one to be inherited by these people, I will sell it off. So, that was what I told the reporter. I never said I sold my house; yet, he reported that I did because of health condition. I am a not a sickler!
How will you react to the insinuation that you built the house in Lekki, which you claimed is owned by your daughter, after you played Baba Ijebu lotto and won some millions of naira?
I swear with Allah’s name and that of the holy Prophet, I don’t know how the Baba Ijebu lotto paper looks like and I have never met Baba Ijebu either. It is more than five years since I started hearing the rumour that I won Baba Ijebu lotto. They said I won N400million and that I sued Baba Ijebu to court when he defaulted. They also said Baba Ijebu promised to be paying me N1million monthly. I have refuted all these rumours several times, but nobody seems to believe me.
Maybe the people saying this have carried out an evaluation of the house and concluded that you couldn’t have built it, if you didn’t make so much money possibly from playing Baba Ijebu lotto.
Yes, you are right. But you see, as a father, whatever your child owns is indirectly yours. As I said earlier, it is owned by my daughter who lives in the U.S.
You said earlier that you made some mistakes in the past. Could you expatiate?
It is rare to find a musician, especially in this part of the world, who has not fallen into the same pit. In my case, I regret marrying many wives. If I knew things would later turn out like this, I wouldn’t have married so many women. Human beings are unpredictable! Don’t also forget that women are very jealous; they don’t like rivalry in any way. But we were too young and ignorant to know all these at that time.
In our kind of profession, if you don’t invite them (women), they will come running to you. If you have a relationship with five people, you will find someone who will be acting like Judas among them. I am not pointing finger at anyone. So, once you know that some people are after your life, even if it is a rumour, you must be very wary. So, I am trying to be smarter by wanting to sell my house, so that no one will inherit what is not rightfully hers.
If you decide to sell all your property because of the fear of attack by some so-called enemies, don’t you consider what will happen to your children?
Most of my children are graduates, so they can’t be interested in my property. In my case, I am not so educated and I didn’t inherit anything from my parents. It was by God’s grace that I got to this height in life. So, the children too will sort out themselves.
How true is the report that you have 15 wives?
No, I am not married to 15 wives! It is a lie! Yes, I have wives and children. This is one of the problems I have with the Nigerian press. They don’t build, but destroy. Well, I won’t really say that it is destructive; after all, they didn’t report that I stole anything. A white man may choose to have a wife or not and he may choose to have children or not. But nobody will make a fuse about it. Sometime ago, I was discussing with my children, in company with a white guy, at a restaurant in Chicago. When I mentioned that my problem is that none of my wives lives with me, the white guy wondered why that should be a problem for me.
But this is Africa?
Yes, you are right and I told him so. You see, in my heart, I truly wish I have a woman living with me. I want to live a responsible life. But if you are battling with a spiritual problem, it will be hard to live a responsible life. Also, once the foundation of one’s life is shaky, it will be really tough to actualize one’s dream in life. Once you make a mistake in your choice of woman or even in your affairs with women, it will take the grace of God to make any correction. So, I urge the younger artistes to be very wary of women.
So, none of your wives lives with you at the moment?
I won’t lie to you that I have a particular woman living with me at the moment. Well, those of them who have children for me come maybe when their children are getting married and go back afterwards.
Why do celebrities shy away from disclosing the number of their children and wives while they are alive so as to prevent a situation where unsubstantiated reports are peddled about their families when they pass on?
All I will say is that I am married and blessed with children. But the tradition doesn’t permit me to disclose the number of my children.
When specifically were you admitted to the hospital?
It was about two months ago. After I was discharged, I have gone to perform at Osogbo with Musiliu Isola Haruna.
Looking back now, would you say you squandered the first millions you made, as most young and budding artistes are wont to do?
If I did, would I have this kind of house? In 1983, I opened a fish depot at Adua Bus Stop. Unfortunately, I lost it to spiritual attack. At that time, I was sick for 13 years.
Did you say 13 years?
It was a spiritual attack and they couldn’t diagnose anything. At that time, former Nigerian military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, directed that I be taken to the1004 Hospital, Lagos. They ran a series of tests on me, but nothing was found. They flushed out typhoid from my system and I thank God for saving my life at that time. When I travelled to America and was admitted to a hospital, they still couldn’t diagnose anything. But I knew something was wrong with my system.
Later, they suggested that I consult traditional medicine practitioners. We then began to patronise Alfas and traditional medicine practitioners before I got well fully. May Allah grant my friend, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, eternal rest. Whenever he visited me at Crown Hospital, he would massage my legs because I was on drip. In fact, on some occasions, I would leave the hospital to play and return there. I was in and out of different hospitals. But I spent more time at Crown Hospital. The truth, again, is that it was all due to my affairs with women.
Certainly, you must be close to IBB for him to have done that for you.
It was because I was singing mostly about current affairs. I was introduced to the former president by Chief Alex Akinyele, who was then the Minister of Information. Even when my first house was gutted by fire, IBB sent a minister to console me. In his speech, the minister explained why the government’s delegation had visited me. He said it was because I had used my music to promote the government’s policies. He gave me a cheque; the late MKO Abiola, Gen. Sanni Abacha, Col. Raji Rasaki also gave me money. In fact, Col. Raji Rasaki gave me a house in Ogudu. I spent six months at the Gateway Hotel and I didn’t pay a dime. So, I beg these people to allow me enjoy my remaining years on earth. Come to think of it, am I not the owner of the house? Can’t I do what I like with it? Don’t kill me as you killed my friend, Barrister.
Did anyone kill Barrister?
Didn’t they kill him? Are you saying it wasn’t a spiritual attack? Imagine someone who was bedridden for that long. At the outset, they carried all sorts of rumour about him until he eventually died. So, people should allow me enjoy the fruit of my labour. I can do whatever I like with my property.
But people say you and the late Barrister were not the best of friends.
It is all business gimmicks! We were not enemies as such. This is a friendship that developed in 1963 when we didn’t know we would be famous at all.
What do you miss most about him?
Oh! I miss him a lot. Whenever he visited me, we would joke, play and recount old memories. Sometimes, he would just deliberately say, “Let me poke Kola” and I would say, “Go ahead and see the result.” He once came here and while we were eating, he said, “Do you know that as we sit here, some people are out there fighting one another over us?” and I said, “Yes”. One day, he came here with his son, Barry Showkey, who had just produced an album. He told me he had blessed it, but he wanted me, as Barry Showkey’s second father, to do the same. That day, he also said, “Kola, let’s put an end to this rivalry” and I said, “Who is fighting you? Are you not the one who always insults me with proverbs?” And we all laughed over it.
Recently, Queen Salawa Abeni was ill and your name was never mentioned among the people who visited her while she was on sickbed. This, to me, further shows that you have not resolved your issues.
I still spoke with her three days ago, when my daughter came to inform me that she was going to London. I speak regularly with her. I read about her illness in the newspapers and I felt that I should be the first person to know about it. I am her husband in the whole wide world; after all, she can’t be thinking of getting married to any man at her age now. We don’t have any issue. But I later visited her at home..
You claim to be her husband when you are not legally married to each other.
She has three children for me and you are still asking me if we are legally married or not.
Maybe that is why she feels she is not obliged to tell you certain things.
She was just being funny then. Now, she knows I am her husband and I know she is my wife.
Is it not possible for both of you to live as husband and wife, under the same roof since you said there is no woman living with you at the moment?
The reason we can’t live together is that I don’t want to endanger her life. If she moves in with me, don’t you think her seniors will kick against it? I am happy at the way she is. Besides, she takes care of my children. In the same way, I can’t bring in any of the other women. So, I only need to reorganize myself.
Is this the biggest mistake you have made in life?
It is because of it that I have not been more successful than I am. If not for their problem, the fish depot would still have been in existence. I made the mistake of entrusting it under the care of a woman. So, at the height of the spiritual attack, I had to sell it to raise money to treat myself, in addition to all the money I got from the government and individuals.
How many albums have you produced?
Popular Nigerian singer, Banky W who contested to represent a Lagos constituency at the National Assembly election has spoken about his experience.
Banky W, is a household name in Nigeria, he is the extremely handsome, bald headed musician and filmmaker, a man loved by Nigerians and especially the ladies. Banky W. contested in the recently held National Assembly election under the umbrella of Modern Democratic Party in a bid to represent Eti-Osa constituency, Lagos at the House of Representatives, but he did not make it, before now, a lot of reasons and theories have been propounded as the reasons why he lost the election but at last ADEMOLA OLONILUA caught up with the very quiet superstar and was able to hear from the proverbial “horses mouth”.
Here are excerpts from the healthy chat between Ademola Olonilua and Banky W.
What influenced your decision to go into politics?
“The reason I ventured into politics was because of my desire to impact and improve my community; the desire to do more than just talk, tweet and complain about government and the issues facing young people, and the desire to be a part of the progress we all seek. Most of us say we want a better country, but that’s where we stop.”
Some people think that you should have started small, probably by contesting a post in the Lagos State House of Assembly. Do you agree with them?
“I think each person must decide on what their vision is, and how they want to approach its execution. For me, it wasn’t just about winning any available election. I actually went for the specific role in government that I felt I wanted to work in at this time if given the opportunity. The House of Representatives would give me an opportunity to serve the whole country as a federal lawmaker, and also to serve my local community because of the constituency development that each member of the National Assembly is responsible for. That dual role of impact at the federal and local levels is what informed my decision to attempt this race.”
You weren’t elected at the end of the day. How do you feel about losing out?
“I feel very grateful, even in defeat, because of the things we were able to accomplish. Just by running the kind of campaign we ran, and winning some of the major polling units in our area, especially in places like Lekki, Agungi, Idado, Northern Foreshore, Badore, etc. Even in the places where we didn’t win, we were consistently placed in the top three right alongside the two major powers that be. And we did all this with a new, unknown party with no godfather or major sponsor and in the space of three months. It shows that we can compete. You have to remember that a lot of the voters were accustomed to just picking sides between the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party. We actually earned every single vote we got, and that’s something to be proud of. We also hopefully inspired our generation enough to know that it can be done and to participate in the future. We made it to the top three in just three months; imagine what we can do with four years of consistent effort? We may not have won the election in Eti-Osa, but we won something far greater. We won their hearts.”
What lessons did you learn from the exercise?
“I learnt more in three months of doing politics than I have in some years put together. It was an enlightening, eye-opening experience. I learnt about people from all walks of life, and what drives them. I learnt about people in my community, from the grass roots to the top of the food chain; I learnt about their needs, issues, expectations, and dreams. I learnt about the problems in society and how I can continue to play my role in trying to fix them. I learnt more about being a leader, and what it takes to be a good one. I learnt so much in such a short period of time, that I don’t have space or time here to get into the details. I think I actually need to write some blogs about the lessons I learnt, in the hope that some will find them beneficial.”
With your popularity as a singer, one would have thought you would have contested on a stronger platform but you opted for a relatively new party. Why?
“I was looking at the political landscape about a year ago, and I was a little frustrated that everyone around me seemed to only be focusing on the presidential and governorship elections. No one seemed to know or care much about the National Assembly seats, or even state Houses of Assembly. Even the “smaller” parties who really didn’t have the structure or ability to deliver the presidential mandate seemed to be mostly concerned with attempting it. And I felt that as a generation, we needed to dream big, but start small. So while I doff my hat to all the alternatives or young candidates running for President, I felt like we also needed to focus on the smaller races, focus on putting the brightest minds among us in government at lower levels and prove that we can break in at that level and build up from there. I had multiple conversations with Bukunyi Olateru-Olagbegi (National Chairman of the Modern Democratic Party), and we both agreed that we wanted to put the spotlight on the National Assembly; these legislative seats have so much power and responsibility, but very little-to-no accountability and transparency, because we aren’t really paying attention to them. We agreed that our strategy as a party would be to focus on entering government at the community level and building a movement that will allow credible like minds to do the same across the country; that way we can infiltrate the government and build up from there. MDP was the only party that saw things the way that I did.”
Do you think you would have had a better chance if you had contested on the platform of one of the popular political parties?
“My goal was not to just win an elected office; my goal was also to inspire my generation to get involved. You see, there are millions of disenfranchised young people who are fed up and frustrated by our government and political parties. When we look at the numbers after every election, it shows us that the turnout, especially among young voters, is always very low. And it’s ironic to me because these young people actually have the numbers to sway any election in this country, from the presidential, all the way down. That power has always been with the people, but the people don’t bother to use it. There are actually always more people who do not participate than there are who are loyal to (or paid by) a particular party. And so my goal was to try and convince as many of those people who normally wouldn’t bother, to care again. Nigeria can only really change if and when the young people demand it, and get involved in making it happen. And I feel like we’ve sparked that movement with the race we ran. Our work has just begun. We must now continue to build the movement, and sustain the momentum.”
You said you started your campaign about three months to the election. Why did you leave it that late?
“There were a lot of things to consider before making the decision to run. I had to consider the safety and security of my family first and foremost. I needed my wife’s permission, and I also needed to speak with my business partner and a few close friends and contacts for advice. I also had to give up certain endorsement deals and sources of income in order to contest, because corporate companies are not allowed to have you as an ambassador or influencer while you’re contesting for, or in, office. So I had to really decide if these were sacrifices I was willing to make and if this was the right time to make them.”
Some people believe that desperate politicians would do anything to win, including using diabolical things like juju. Did you witness anything like that?
“I did have some very mind-boggling experiences, and I can honestly say that it’s sad how much of a do-or-die affair politics is to some people. However, that can never, and will never be me. If I’m ever going to get into office, it will totally be because of the grace of God, the will of the community, the strength of my vision and willingness to work hard for it. Anything outside that is simply not for me. We received some small diabolical threats, but I always believed that ‘greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world’, so I was never scared, not for one second because I knew God would always protect His own.”
What was your wife’s initial reaction when you told her about your plan to go into politics?
“Her initial reaction was one of worry; she said politics in Nigeria is dirty and dangerous, and she didn’t want anything to soil my name or harm me. But I explained to her that it will always be dirty and dangerous if good people avoid it. Some of us need to get into the system to try and fix it, or it would remain rotten forever. And thank God she understood why it was necessary, and went on to support me every step of the campaign.”
How did she feel when she learnt you did not win?
“She told me that she had never been more proud of anyone in her entire life and that it was an honour for her to be on my side. And then she called me her hero which was quite emotional and still is.”
At a point, you opened a GoFundMe account for your campaign. It came as a shock to people as you are perceived as a rich man. Why did you make that move?
“Anyone who was shocked that we embarked on a fundraising campaign has no clue just how expensive it is to run a political campaign. Even political godfathers and billionaires need to do different kinds of fundraising. Even Barack Obama (ex-US president) needed to crowdsource funds for his campaigns. In most societies, crowdsourced fundraising is a very necessary part of running a campaign. I think the people who are shocked here just don’t understand what it takes.”
People believe that to make a headway in politics in Nigeria, you need a godfather. Do you agree with them?
“I think people probably feel that way because thus far, it’s mostly been only those with godfathers that have had any kind of success. I, however, believe that anything is possible with God and the will of the community on your side, and that is what I set out to prove.”
You are very popular and can have any politician as a godfather. Why didn’t you opt for that?
“I think people need to realise that the two main parties and the godfathers in them are so powerful today because decades ago, they got together and built something. They didn’t just wake up with the most powerful structures in the country, they built them. And structures win elections. So if our generation is serious about wanting to succeed in politics, we must also invest in building our own structures. If we want an independent seat at the table of governance, we must bring our own chair.”
As you didn’t win in this election, is that the end of your political aspiration?
“I can live with trying and failing at achieving a goal, but I cannot live with not trying. I said at the beginning of my race, and throughout the campaign that this was not a three months race. This is a lifelong commitment. We have started a movement that has shown the potential for success down the line; the key for us now is to sustain the momentum and continue to build the movement. Consistency is crucial. Our movement has just begun, and it will go as far as we are willing to take it.”
Now that you have ventured into politics, don’t you think it would affect your music and acting career?
“To the glory of God, we released a movie titled “Up North” while we were in the middle of the campaign; I didn’t have the time to promote it as much as I ordinarily would have and it still ended up as one of the top three blockbusters of the season. I think that goes to show that people will only put you in a box if you let them; I don’t worry about politics affecting my career or businesses. I just try to do my best and give my all in everything I’m involved in. When you do that, eventually everything else will fall in line.”
Or are you planning to quit entertainment for politics?
“I’m not quitting entertainment anytime soon and people can still expect to see and hear from me as a musician and filmmaker. In addition, EME as a media agency is doing fantastically well. In fact, ironically, the company has never been more successful than it has been in the last two years when we refocused our operations towards the agency space. So in music, movies, and media, I will always be here, by God’s grace. But I will also be doing a lot more work in service to the public, whether I am ever given an elected office or not.”
Why did you have a political concert instead of a political rally?
“It is because the MDP is more of a movement than a party. We’re building something special here, and it is different from every other political platform in the country, so we must also do things differently.”
How did you feel when you saw some memes on the Internet by Nigerian youths mocking you because you didn’t win?
“I read a quote once that said: “Small minds cannot comprehend big spirits. To be great, you have to be willing to be mocked, hated and misunderstood, I know where I’m going, and I intend to spend all my time and energy working hard until I get there. I can’t afford to lose focus because of all the noise and distractions. Even when I’m being mocked, I’m at least doing something worth talking about, right? I’d rather be the person that’s always talked about than the person always talking.”
What is next for Banky W?
“I intend to spend the next four years building the MDP movement in preparation for the 2023 elections. When I look back at what we did in just three months, I’m hopeful about what we can potentially achieve within the next four years. I believe that by the grace of God if we are consistent, we will be a lot more successful next time around. I also have more music, movies, and media projects in store, and a lot more as a businessman and family man to achieve.”]]>