By Dele Momodu
Fellow Nigerians, it is that time of the year when we look back at the dying and remaining days and wonder when did the year begin. For me and my house, it has been a roller-coaster of sorts with everything moving at the dizzying speed of light. As always it has been a mixed grill of sadness and joy. Sad because the economy has taken its toll on most of us especially those who depend largely on foreign exchange for most of their business transactions. Joy because we survived the tribulations in good health and sound mind. Even if we did not achieve everything we planned to do, we still managed to stay on top of many things. To God be the glory.
At Ovation International, we always give thanks for every mercy, no matter how big or small. This is the reason we came up with the idea of Ovation Red Carol in 2007. Our intention was to give hope, help and voice to those who need just that little push. Ours was not to concentrate on those who have already given up on life and have decided to do nothing about it. We were interested in those pushing on against the vicissitudes of life and knowing there may be light at the end of the tunnel.
We are happy to note and report that we’ve been doing our bits and pieces adding salt and sugar in our own humble way to the lives of mostly our youths, especially in Nigeria and Ghana. We chose the platform of entertainment to reach out to those who may be easily disillusioned about endless struggles leading to nowhere. As always, we must thank those who have supported and sustained our dream since then.
Our friend and brainbox, Leke Alder, a man I call Professor Socrates, a cerebral being likened to that great Greek Philosopher, designed what has become one of the best events during the Christmas Season. With his amazing team, we did not have to approach too many sponsors before Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa, UBA, agreed instantly to partner with us. We must salute the foresight of Dr Tony Elumelu who was then the Group Managing Director. The theme of Hope resonated with him and the UBA crew that worked on the special project with us.
We assembled some of the most gifted musicians available at the time. We were honoured to have two incredibly creative composers and producers, Tee Mac and OJB (now of blessed memories). Between both of them, we arranged a powerful choir, instrumentalists, singers, celebrities, and others to set the stage on fire. We had fun working with Sir Shina Peters, Kwam 1, Adewale Ayuba, Daddy Showkey, D’banj, Olu Maintain, Banky W (who was making his debut on a big platform in Nigeria, Sonnie Badu (the famous Ghanaian gospel singer), Blu 3 (the all-girls band from Uganda) and others. The entire package was surreal. It was as if the angels descended from heaven to sing.
In 2008, we increased the tempo a bit and our show went viral. The attendance was powerful. We attracted The Lagos monarch, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; The Secretary to the State Government of Lagos, Princess Adenrele Adeniran-Ogunsanya, Lt. General T. Y. Danjuma and his wife, Senator Daisy Danjuma, Chief Olusegun Osoba (former Governor Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr Keem Bello Osagie, Mr Atedo Peterside, and others.
We produced a theme song for the first time in 2009. It was composed and produced by the prodigiously talented OJB. The video by DJ Tee, featuring Wande Cole, Omawumi, Olu Maintain, Niyola, Koga, Jazzman and OJB and others was really mind-blowing. The attendance this time was even more overwhelming. We jazzed up the charity aspect, making donations to a popular hospice, a clinic project, an E-library, a rural school for indigent students, all in Nigeria; a Poetry competition in Ghana, school uniform project in Ghana, and so on. We were grateful to God for making it possible for us to give something back to the society that made us who we are today. It has also been exhilarating touching lives and inspiring young talents.
Many African artists have been featured and/or popularised. They include Sonny Don Jazzy, Wiz Kid, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Waje, Yemi Alade, Eva Lordiah, Patoranking, D’Prince, Efya, Stonebwoy, 4×4, Praye, Wutah, Sammie Okposo, Abiodun Koya, Becca, Sarkodie, Okyeame Kwame, Mafikizolo, Irene Logan, Wiyaala, Gyedu Blay-Ambolley, Kwabena Kwabena, Mz Vee, Burna Boy, Ice Prince, YQ, Chidinma, Shane, Kefee (of blessed memories), MI, Ebenezer Obey, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, Goldie (of blessed memories), Obesere, Seun Kuti, Segun Obey, Malaika, DIPP, and many others.
We entered a different level last year when the telecom giant Globacom took over the sole sponsorship. GLO has gone all out to make The Ovation Carol the most sort after invitation card at Christmas. In its well-known style, GLO leaves no stone unturned. Its attention to detail has helped us mature into a major event in Africa. We are immensely grateful to the Spirit of Africa, Dr Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Isola Adenuga, for endless support for our dreams. He continues to inspire and empower new and older generations of Africans very quietly. He is happy transforming lives without effortlessly without making noise. May God continue to bless him and his family.
Globacom has surpassed itself this year with the galaxy of stars engaged to perform tomorrow night at The Eko Hotel Convention Centre, the most prestigious venue in West Africa. The line-up is not easy to come by in any single event. Globacom has helped us bridge the gap between the young and the old. Those who love the Old school music would be thrilled by the famous American Band CAMEO. You may wish to get on your dancing shoes if you are able to get the princely invitation to our event.
The King of African beats, King Sunny Ade, finally takes the centre stage this year and we are already very excited. Coming so soon after the ageless artist turned 70, it promises to be a great show to watch. The current champion of Highlife, Flavour, is on board this year, courtesy of GLO. We tried several times in the past to get him but it was not possible. I’m sure, you can see that all GLO wants this year is make us dance so much and get everyone active and ready for the new year. Ghana’s biggest gospel singer, Sonnie Badu returns to our stage after his first appearance in 2007. Pastor Badu has grown so influential in the world of gospel music and his praise and worship keeps everyone standing.
The heavy line-up has a lot of young performers including Korede Bello, Reekado Banks, Iyo, Abiodun Koya, Eniola, L.A.X, SHiiKANE, Zeynab Abib from Benin Republic,Niniola, Ruby & Pearl, Olu Jazz, Simi, Ranti, Dee Aja from Ghana. We are happy to feature so many new female talents this year. They have all promised to explode on to the world stage with this opportunity. This development is long overdue.
The Ovation Carol 2016 theme song was produced by the great artist, Fliptyce. This is his second chance and he has done an excellent job. Many of those who have watched the work on YouTube expressed satisfaction. We are really impressed and hope to continue this beautiful relationship.
For those not able to get our invitation, never worry too much please. GLO has made unprecedented arrangement for viewers at home to be a part of this huge celebration of life and hope in a better future. We are going live in different parts of Africa and Europe via satellite. The youth channel on DSTV, HipTv is transmitting live from 9pm to 1am across Africa and deploying a total of eight cameras, thus capturing every moment of the ceremony. Live coverage in Nigeria would also extend to one of Africa’s biggest channels AIT. GHOne Tv will hook up from Ghana from 8pm to 12 midnightlocal time.
The best aspect is that viewers across Europe would be able to watch on BEN Tv, the most watched African channel. We are also streaming live to a global audience and you can watch on your laptops and smartphones.
As always, we shall be making financial contributions to a few charities in Ghana and Nigeria. Our choices this year would surprise so many people. Stay tuned and join us from wherever you are on Sunday, December 18, 2016.
Nothing could be sweeter, believe us.