Thursday, 23 July 2015

THE AMAZING STORY OF AN OSHODI KID ON HIS WAY TO STARDOM

THE AMAZING STORY OF AN OSHODI KID ON HIS WAY TO STARDOM




He was born in Lagos. Grew up in Oshodi without a silver spoon in a terrain that's as tough as in AJ city, Nigeria's crudest resource ground of exceptional artistic talents -- and, to put it in perspective, may be even tougher than Harlem, America's version of AJ city. His name is Lucky Okuhe

 LUCKY: My mother used to wake me up at 4:00 in the morning. At the age of 6 or 7, I was already working. Growing up wasn't easy. I did everything. In the morning before going to school I had to help prepare the food she was going to sell that day. I worked till 7:00 in the morning before going to school. After school I sold sachet water in the streets, sold poly-bags , ice-cream and yoghurt and I also as a bus conductor.
In Lagos cut throat competition was the name of the game. As a matter of fact cut throat competition is always the name of the game.
 LUCKY: Just to make ends meet and pursue my music career I had to learn a job. I became apprentice to a mechanical engineer in my neighbourhood. Life was a struggle. Things were bad. Where I was learning the work, the equipment were old and dangerous. One day an alternator cut my finger, and that was it. I knew that was not what I wanted to do. For two months I was in and out of hospital. I nearly lost my hand. When I got well I spent 2 years looking for a job. On and off I hung out with my friends in the hood . We played music and had fun but it was nothing serious.





Life in places like Oshodi, Aj city, Mushin, and Obalende provides the local brew for talent grooming: Nigeria's football magician, Austin Jay Jay Okocha grew up in AJ city. Daddy Showkey, African China, Fuji maestro Alabi Pasuma, The Oluaiye of Fuji, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall (KWAM 1) all have their roots from the less affluent places in Lagos.

 LUCKY: Music took the better part of my time. Hipop attracted me. Then Fuji. Then Rand B. For a time my friends and I stuck to hip-hop. Then we switched to Fuji and then we tried to do a blend of everything we had. We were just having fun. Finally in my mind I decided that a blend of Fuji-Hipop was what I really wanted to do. My mother was disappointed in me . She handed me to my Uncle who took charge of me and said if music was what I wanted to do then he would get me to meet someone.
Sometimes kids get lucky breaks and their careers take off like meteors. Lucky got a little break.


 LUCKY: After a few months, my Uncle took me to see Mr. Philip Trimnell, the MD/CEO of Music Africa, one of Nigeria's leading Music Video Programme on television, with a viewership of almost 20 Million viewers every day. I started at the bottom at Music Africa. I do all kinds of jobs in the office but I stay focused on my music. It is hard work. At night I would go to the studio and work on my voice. In the day time I do what I have to do in the office.
Countless artistes will tell you that making music is fun but it's also a lot of hard work and sleepless nights. Some find that it's easier to kick off with collaborations.
 LUCKY: In 2013, me and two of my friends , Tope and Tosin formed a group called TLT. We released a single called "Egbe ni mo gbe ". It got some attention but didn't hit much because we were new in the game. But at least we had a video and people began taking notice.
Unfortunately in this country, groups don't last long. A million and one things connived to pull them apart.
 LUCKY: Later that year we, the group TLT broke up. I started 'night-owling' again -- sleeping in the studio at Night , working on my voice and learning the basics of music. I spent a lot of time creating my songs in my head. It was so tough I fell sick that year. While I was on sick bed that day I saw a herbal medicine seller, "alagbo" and I decided to try the medicine.
Creative people know that inspiration can come from diverse sources -- sometimes from the most unlikely of sources.

 LUCKY: After taking the medicine that day, I felt better the next day. I was able to go to work. After work that night, while I was sleeping, some thoughts crammed my head and I decided to do a song about the herbal medicine seller. Two days later I told my boss Mr. Philip Trimnell, the CEO of  Music Africa  that I wanted to go to the sound studio to do a song. He gave me his backing. The next day, I talked with a Producer friend of mine. He is also a sound engineer. I told him the ideas I had created in my head. He loved them. I sang it out for him. He created the beats . We worked for a whole night and finished the song that night. But on and off we worked on fine tuning the song. We were night owls.


Throughout all this period I got full moral support from Music Africa. Then I completed the track about the time of my boss's birthday. At the party I gave the DeeJay my CD . When the track came on people just loved it. It was the first time my boss would hear the song too. He was impressed. My friends everyone rocked to the music and they asked me to perform which I did there and then. People who didn't know me kept asking "Who's this guy, who's this guy?" I was happy.
History and life teaches us never to despise small beginnings.

 LUCKY: In 2014 I got my first big opportunity to connect with a large crowd. Again it was my boss Mr. Philip Trimnell who gave me the opportunity to perform at the Music Africa Beach Splash alongside Stars like Oritshe Femi, PatoRanking and many others. Before I was tipped to go on stage I was nervous. But when I got on stage the mood changed. I connected with the crowd and we hit it big. It was a big experience for me. I know the future is bright for me. I am not there yet but I am sure I am on the way to stardom and I am ready to work to get there. I thank Music Africa's CEO, Mr. Philip Trimnell for providing his total support. I promise all my fans that I am on the way up. Just watch me!    

STARDOM : videos of this interview will come up soon on YOUTUBE.

                                                         Written  by Victor O. Sawyerr

Sunday, 19 July 2015

APPOINTMENT OF SUNDAY OLISEH AS CHIEF COACH OF NIGERIA'S SUPER EAGLES-- A MASTER STROKE OR A POTENTIAL FLOP?

APPOINTMENT OF SUNDAY OLISEH AS CHIEF COACH OF NIGERIA'S SUPER EAGLES-- A MASTER STROKE OR A POTENTIAL FLOP?


Nigeria's football governing body, NFF on the 15th July 2015, unveiled former Super Eagles defending midfielder, Sunday Ogorchukwu Oliseh as the team's new Chief Coach, giving him and his crew a 3 year deal and a 3 month Salary advance worth a reported =N= 15 million Naira. For a passionate football loving country as Nigeria, this may not be a big deal.

Some commentators  though have questioned the rationale behind paying for service not yet rendered. goal.com examines that.   http://www.goal.com/en-ng/news/8472/the-patrick-omo-osagie-column/2015/07/18/13684982/without-a-strategic-action-plan-by-the-nff-nothing-will

Sunday Oliseh no doubt has an impressive professional resume. As a player and one of the key defensive midfielders of the well loved Super Eagles team of '94, he stood tall in the team, though not first among equals. After his playing years, he went on to obtain a FIFA Pro license, and coached Vervietois, a team in the Belgian lower division in the 2008-2009 season.

For an African football coach, even though Oliseh is not yet a proven "National Team" handler in any way, shape or form, his FIFA Pro license and professional experience may mean a lot to the NFF.



NFF's President Amaju Pinnick stated on the federation's website :
               "We trust he has a temperament to work harmoniously with the Technical and development Committee... "

This here, is where the crux of the matter lies: Temperament. Sunday Oliseh's 'temperamental resume' is not as great as his professional resume. As a player, he not only had several brush-ins with the Super Eagles Team Handlers, but was so vocal in a war of words with Chief Festus Onigbinde , the Coach, that he was omitted from Nigeria's 2002 World Cup squad.

In 2004, while on loan to VFL Bochum from Borussia Dortmund, Oliseh punched his own team mate Vahid Hashemian right on the field of play. He was sacked by the club.

Now here come the ifs and conjectures:

The NFF cited insubordination and 'lack of commitment' as reasons for sacking Stephen Keshi but what if at some point in the future an altercation arises between this new Chief Coach and the NFF , and he resorts to unleashing a left hook to settle the matter? Would the NFF yet again just simply sack him and go shopping surreptitiously for another candidate?

Or is the bond between NFF President and Oliseh stronger because they are both from the same state -- Delta? Will this therefore evoke a greater kind of commitment from the new Chief Coach?

Is Sunday Oliseh's appointment really a master stroke or just a loaded gun looking for a bust up ?

Share your views with us.
   

Saturday, 4 July 2015

A VIEW FROM MY WINDOW: THE CHALLENGES OF FIGHTING FINANCIAL CRIMES IN NIGERIA



A VIEW FROM MY WINDOW

THE CHALLENGES OF FIGHTING FINANCIAL CRIMES IN NIGERIA



Throughout Africa not one situation attracts the anger of the majority of peoples as much as the brazen financial crimes pervading all levels of government and businesses.

So seemingly pervasive and entrenched is it in Nigeria that when we use the word corruption, 99% of the times we mean financial corruption and even here 99% of the time we again mean the conversion public money to personal wealth. AIn only about 10% of the cases do we even consider tax crimes as corruption. This is the reality of our perception.

The amounts of money involved are sometimes so nauseatingly huge that it boggles the mind. Sources say United Nations figures are put at a whopping $148 billion (One Hundred and Forty-Eight billion dollars)stolen from African Countries by political leaders. Leaks from Swiss Banks indicate that Nigeria alone has $266 Million (Two Hundred and sixty-six million dollars) stashed away by Nigerians in accounts that are under investigation. Two Hundred and sixty-six million dollars just stashed away and not doing any productive work for either the nation or even the account beneficiaries themselves.


Financial crimes have evolved from simple bribery to more sophisticated embezzlement and these days, even more ingenious electronic theft.

Justice Emmanuel Olayinka Ayoola, Chairman of Nigeria's ICPC in 20005-2010 admitted:

      "The commonest form of corruption used to be bribery but in recent years this     has been overtaken in level of prevalence by embezzlement of public funds, abuse of public power for private gains ... extortion and illegal party financing."
JUSTICE EMMANUEL OLAYINKA AYOOLA


The critical questions that arise in the minds of most of us are : "Why? Are Africans by nature simply corrupt? Is it that we have a corruption DNA implanted in our genes? Or is that maybe, we have learned too well from our erstwhile masters? "

Although the questions can go on and on, the most important query for me is: "Why is it so difficult for us to fight financial crimes in Nigeria? "

But before we even begin to examine this let us first establish that the average Nigerian is no more corrupt in his DNA than the average American, or the average Briton, or Asian or whatever race on the face of the earth. Historically, and traditionally as a matter of fact the average Nigerian was always exceptionally honest and forthright. Time was, (our grandfathers will swear to this), when traders left their wares and the sales made on the day, overnight unguarded in their open stalls, without fear of losing even a pin the next day. You could leave the 'household' of your wealth untended and no one would touch it, much less steal it. Sounds mythical maybe, but this was true for generations. The fear of the traditional gods of the land kept fickle fingers and fickle minds straight. That was the age of innocence.

As a matter of fact the generation of our fathers fathers, believed that the decline in moral standards began when Europeans made their foray into Africa, and began planting the seeds of mass deception, brazen lying and subterfuge in the minds of the African traditional elite -- the African kings, their chiefs, and top members of African societies-- with the aim of capturing their peoples as slaves, usurping power and ultimately controlling the wealth of Africa. And Africa lost her innocence.

In general there is widespread belief amongst us, the masses in Africa that international media makes us look more corrupt than we really are. Our nations are branded corrupt simply because a few of our leaders are corrupt. There are millions of Nigerians who are hardworking and dedicating their lives each and every single day to making honest living through their creativity, sweat, tears and sometimes blood but they simply do not make the headlines because their stories are not considered newsworthy. This for most of us is the story of our lives and in our heart of hearts we denounce the branding of all of us as a race of corrupt people, and in our heart of hearts we desire passionately that those few who give us the 'bad name' be brought to book.

Herein however, lies the dilemma. In Nigeria for instance the Evidence act was passed into law in 1945. 1945, and it has not been revisited since. This law does not allow for the admission of electronically generated evidence in court. How then can we ever hope in this 21st century to at least, effectively prosecute financial crimes committed electronically when any defense lawyer worth his onions would immediately glide through this gaping hole with a smiling client firmly strapped to his back. If the 8th National Assembly of Nigeria is committed to frontally engage financial crime as it proclaims, this is one of those loop-holes it has to effectively seal off with a little bit more than brick and mortar.

Second. The penal code for financial crimes is over 50 years old and as a result does not even recognize some types of financial crimes. In an instance for example where someone who steals billions of Naira is successfully prosecuted , he may actually and in reality get only 2 years of jail term. This is definitely not a disincentive. Many I know would gladly take the two years.

Third. For me this is the most important. There is really no law that allows for investigation based asset sequestration. What this means is that if I do my calculations well, I can successfully steal 2 Million Naira, put aside 1 Million Naira for the dust, shame, investigation, legalities, legal fees and what have you, that are bound to follow, and I promise you I can enjoy the remaining 1 Million Naira thereafter.

If however there is a law which says that once I am under investigation for some financial crime, my accounts will be sequestered, then it would be impossible for me to use the stolen funds to fight the justice system. This would make me think twice before I engage in any financial crime. The downside however is that some governments may use this to intimidate critics of an oppressive regime and if not applied under strict oversight from an "above-board" body, it could become a very dangerous tool in the hands of any investigating agency of government.



Fourth: Financial Intelligence Unit. A country as populous as Nigeria needs to have an independent, standalone, financial intelligence unit whose main functions would be to gather financial intelligence, interpret same and grant agencies of government like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ICPC and the Police access to this intelligence.

With major gaps like these existing within the system as a whole it is easy to see how difficult it can be to successfully prosecute financial crimes in Nigeria. The simple and singular most important recommendation is that the law makers in this 8th assembly, (proponents of change as they call themselves ) should as a matter of priority overhaul all laws relating to financial crimes.

                                Written by Victor Omotayo Sawyerr
 

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