Heralded by a plethora of fun events, the Christmas season is always a season for celebrations. It is now a tradition for event organisers to key into the happy mood as well as the accompanying frenzy for commerce. From chorales, fairs to music concerts, the joyful bells of Christmas can be heard from any part of the country. Lagos, being a commercial and tourist attraction has become a home to many of the landmark events. The month of December is always a busy one in the mega city. Nseobong Okon-Ekong and Vanessa Obioha report on some of the highly anticipated events during the Christmas season

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Rhythm Unplugged
For 12 years, Rhythm Unplugged has continued to raise the bar with musical entertainment. Produced by Flytime Productions and urban radio station Rhythm 93.7FM, and now sponsored by Pepsi, the concert created a niche with its unique surprise twist, which often is an international artiste. Last year, it brought sensational R&B singer, Trey Songz. Past events have seen various international acts like Wyclef Jean. The seven-hour entertainment spectacle is a fusion of comedy and music. This year’s edition held on December 23 at Eko Hotels and Suites. A homecoming performance featured Wizkid, where the Starboy performed alongside Davido, Tekno, Olamide, Cobhams Asuquo, and P-Square among others.

The Headies
Dubbed Nigeria’s Grammy, The Headies made a name for itself as one of the most anticipated controversial shows of the Yuletide period. It debuted on the Nigerian music scene in 2006 as Hip Hop Awards and received great accolades for recognising outstanding achievement in the Nigerian music scene. However, the awards has had its fair share of highs and lows. From location to logistics, Ayo Animashaun, the convener and owner of Hip TV, has remained undeterred. In 2010, no one hosted the show and in 2012, the name was changed to The Headies. The past three editions of the show have been held during the yuletide period. Last year, the event was held on January 1, 2016 and was riddled with the controversy between Olamide and The Mavin Crew. This year’s event which took place on Thursday, December 22 had its fair share of controversies as well.

Carnival Calabar

Initiated by former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, in 2004, the Carnival Calabar has become a tourism spectacle that draws people from within and outside Nigeria. Kicking off on the first day of the last month of the year, the carnival is characterised by a street party, boat regatta, fashion shows, traditional dances, a Christmas Village as well as the annual Ekpe Festival. It also hosts music and Nollywood artistes. Although Duke has long left office, the Calabar Carnival still resonates in the beautiful city owing to the commercial and tourism boost it provides. Each celebration is planned by a committee that deliberates on the theme for the year.

For 2016, the theme is ‘Climate Change: Bigger, Bolder, Better’. The committee aims to continue its efforts to entrench the culture of preserving the environment and emphasise the effect of doing so on individual lives. Divided into four weeks namely: Millenium Week (1-10 Dec), Sports Fiesta (12-17 Dec), TINAPA Family Fun Festival (19-24 Dec), and the Carnival Week (25-31 Dec), there will also be a Green Initiative. This comprises a Green Ball that will celebrate government’s efforts in combating climate change; Green Symposium that will discuss and educate the populace on climate change and the Green Carnival which is a campaign to plant 10, 000 trees.

One Lagos Fiesta
Last year, the Lagos state government under the new administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode introduced a new kind of entertainment to its citizens. Called One Lagos Fiesta, the concert is held simultaneously in five different locations in Lagos: Agege, Badagry, Ikorodu, Epe and Victoria Island. With the aim to create a unique spirit of oneness among Lagosians, culture and character of Lagosians, the concert offers the best of music performances by A-list artistes. The line-up of this year’s edition include music performances, food contests, Lagos Got Talent open mic contests, special kiddies events and other fun activities. The climax of this year’s event which will kick off on December 24, is targeted at the special appearance by the governor. OLF targets to unite 20 million residents across the state through a celebration of culture and arts.

Ovation Christmas Carol
In 2008, the Publisher of Ovation International Magazine, Chief Dele Momodu ushered in a new way of celebrating Christmas. He launched the The Red Carol now Ovation Christmas Carol and Awards which is held every December. It has become one of the most popular annual Christmas events that comprises of musical performances, drama, fashion shows and award presentations for varying charitable causes.

Momodu has continued to uphold this tradition and never missed a year except in 2010 because of the impending elections. In 2013, Momodu took the event to Ghana, a country which he has very strong ties. The event was graced by former president of Ghana J. J. Rawlings with Wyclef Jean as the headline act with many other international and Nigerian performers. For the first time since the history of the show, Momodu held two shows in different locations (Lagos and Accra) in 2015. The events were both headlined by Wizkid. It held its ninth edition recently which was attended by the president of Ghana John Mahama. At the event, King Sunny Ade, Mike Adenuga were inducted into the Ovation Hall of Fame while the Family of OJB

Jezreel and Cymbals Dance Crew were honoured with cash awards. A Ghanaian, Mr. Richard McCarthy was also rewarded with a cash sum of N500,000 for taking kids off the streets of Ghana through boxing.
Music performances came from Flavour, King Sunny Ade and American legend Cameo who performed for the first time with his band in Africa.

Akwa-Ibom Christmas Carol Festivals
This event made history in 2014 when it broke the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest gathering of carol singers in the world. About 25,272 carol singers gathered at the Akwa Ibom Stadium, Uyo,

Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria on December 13 and made history with their performances.
The event kicked off in 2012 and has since become a gospel spectacle for holidaying families. It has featured great gospel artistes like Donnie McClurkin, Jesse Jackson, Don Moen, Angela Christie, Sinach and Lionel Peterson. The 2016 edition enjoyed performances from Don Moen, PRM band, The Kayamba Africa Choral Ensemble, Kenya Boys Choir, Sammie Okposo, Buchi, Steve Crown, Elijah Oyelade, Aity Dennis Inyang, Rev. Fr. Patrick Edet, Esther Edoho and other singers.

Industry Night
For the first time since its inception, Industry Nite had a Christmas event which it tagged its ‘Grand Finale’. Matthew Ohio, the convener came up with a weekly activity that pools both new and established artistes, music executives and influencers in the entertainment industry every Wednesday night for more than three years. It recently had its first Christmas event which was headlined by Davido and his DMW Crew at the Oriental Hotels, Lagos.

Beat FM Christmas Concert
Urban radio station, Beat FM kicked off its Christmas concert last year with international acts like Krept and Konan, Skepta and other local acts. Its 2016 edition was held at Federal Palace Hotels and Casino recently and featured performances from Wstrn, Migos, Krept & Konan, Davido, Falz, Wande Coal, Simi, Ycee, Adekunle Gold, Lil Kesh and a host of other Nigerian artistes who gave a show stopping performance.

Cool FM Christmas Praise Jam
From being a major Sunday morning programme, Cool FM transformed its Praise Jam to a Christmas affair more than a decade ago. The show holds on Christmas Day and features stellar performances from both local and international acts. Usually hosted by the radio’s OAPs, the event also creates a meet-and-greet for its die-hard fans.

Olamide Live in Concert
The singer/rapper notorious for his street lingo made a name for himself in 2014 when he kicked off his self-titled concert. He came up with a concept that beautifully combined music performances, theatrics and comedy.

Since that first edition, his followership has increased.
The third edition is billed to take place at Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos on December 26. A collaborative effort of Achievas Entertainment, YBNL Nation Entertainment and Right Entertainment, OLIC has grown to become one of the anticipated shows of the Christmas period. Promising surprising thrills for his fans and music lovers, he proclaimed that this year’s event will be the best of them all. Some of the artistes billed for the night include Lil Kesh, Viktoh and Adekunle Gold.

‘Christmas Live In Benue’ Concert
Benue State known as the food basket of the nation plays host to top comedians in a Christmas themed entertainment event, tagged: ‘Christmas Live in Benue’ which holds at The Dream Center in Makurdi.

‘Christmas Live in Benue’, is an end of the year music and comedy event organized by Dream Center, led by popular entrepreneur and media personality, Love Idoko. The event which will hold on Tuesday December 27, 2016 will star top comedians and musicians such as Gordons, I Go Dye, Osama, Adilarings, MC Fresh Boi and a host of others.

A Benue state indigene reminisces that Benue state has witnessed impressive entertainment events in past years where the likes of Basketmouth, 2face, Gordons, Banky W, Desmond Elliot , Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Jackie Appiah, and a couple of other stars attended.