Another major attempt to have a constructive engagement for Nigerian artistes began on a humble note recently at the palace of His Royal Majesty, De Wheno Aholu Menu-Toyi I, the Akran of Badagry. This time, the big idea is anchored on an organization known as Association of Cultural Artistes for Integrity (ASSOCAI), which was formerly known as Nigeria Musicians for Good Governance and it is working with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation.
President of ASSOCAI, Ambassador Makinde Akinlabi who led an assortment of artistes to the inaugural meeting with the royal father said the main activation of the group is a proposed Africa Music Summit on Piracy which will have as one of its highlights the investiture of President Goodluck Jonathan as the Pillar of Entertainment in Africa. One of the legacies being projected as a dividend of the summit is the launch of an African Performing Center in Badagry.
During the visit which coincided with the weeklong Badagry Festival, the Akran seized the opportunity to announce his willingness to kick-start the project by donating 100-acres of land for the proposed African Performing Centre.
Depending on the final choice of month and date by First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, the proposed seminar is slated for October. This seminar will provide an opportunity for African musicians to have a renewed hope that their work can no longer be pirated and an opportunity for the teeming youths to hope for a better tomorrow.
Some of the artistes at the Akran’s Palace were Alhaji Saka Orobo, Fada U-Turn, Original Stereo Man, Baba Fryo, Alam Bloo to mention a few. Representation by artistes cut across the different genres of music including Islamic musicians, fuji, juju, highlife, reggae, gospel and pop. Artistes from Oyo and Ogun states were also at the meeting.
An important highlight of the visit to the Akran’s Palace was that each visitor on the ASSOCAI team was issued with a certificate conferring him/her with the status of Badagry Pilgrim (BP).
The artistes did not depart Badagry without causing a stir with spontaneous performance by the likes of Fada U-Turn, Baba Fryo, Original Stereo Man, a female juju artiste and an Islamic singer who impressed the gathering with his adaption of hip hop and ragga beat on Islamic songs. All the artistes were well applauded by a small crowd that gathered as the sounds of music rent the air.