Oluwaleimu Street in the heart of Ikeja, Lagos Nigeria, was on lockdown this past Tuesday, October 12, 2021, as Nigerian musicians came out in their numbers to celebrate the life and times of the great composer and lyricist, melody maker, multi-instrumentalist, sculptor, designer, performer per excellence and intellectual giant, Prof. Victor Uwaifo described by Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji as “a legend of the Benin Kingdom, an icon of the Nigerian nation and an unforgettable African superstar”.
A giant stage with diverse musical instruments was mounted on the streets in front of COSON House, the magnificent Headquarters of COSON, Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, and traffic was diverted for several hours as the Super Tribute Night and Street Concert in honour of the “guitar boy” and “joromi king “, Prof Uwaifo who passed on August 28, 2021 at the age of 80, unfolded.
One of the first to arrive and step on the fluffy red carpet laid out in front of COSON House was a compatriot of the fallen star and juju music legend, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi who announced to the hoard of assorted media present that he was just recovering from surgery at the age of 79 but had to be present because of the significance of the event. Obey, who composed an instant song in honour of Uwaifo which he sang a Capela with the multitude on the red carpet chorusing with him, showered praise on COSON and its Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji for the great celebration of Uwaifo and other Nigerian musicians praying for the continued protection and blessings of the Almighty for COSON and Okoroi. He eulogized Victor Uwaifo as he paid tribute to the man he described as “a dear brother and a dear friend who has contributed his quota to music in Nigeria and the continent of Africa and the world at large”.
After the red carpet, the event shifted to the packed COSON Arena at the top of COSON House where a multimedia presentation of the life and times of Prof (Sir) Victor Efosa Uwaifo which filled the digital screen wowed the audience. Many spoke glowingly about the fallen including a number of musicians who played in his band. Among those in at the event masterfully coordinated by Chief Tony Okoroji and Koffi Da Guru, were Nollywood Stars, Chief Emeka Osai and Patrick Doyle.
There was also former Delta State Commissioner for Sports, Dr. Austin Izagbo and CIG President, Mr. Felix Duke. Also present was every member of the COSON Board and COSON GM, Mrs. Bernice Eriemeghe-Ashibogwu and her Deputy, Mr. Vincent Adawaisi.
The multifaceted event returned to the streets as eighty candles were lit by the stars present to mark the 80 years that Uwaifo lived and after a joint countdown from 80 to zero, the candles were blown off.
The street concert was an explosion of a diversity of sounds and music that went on till the wee hours of the morning. On stage were the likes of Afro Juju Star, Sir Shina Peters; Reggae Exponent, Righteousman with his wife, Carol; Gospel Music Ministers, Buchi and Kenny Saint Best; Juju Music Warrior, Alariwo of Africa; entertainment impresario, Steve Black and many-many more. The dancing and celebration on the streets of Ikeja was out of this world and there was no doubt that Prof (Sir) Victor Uwaifo meant so much to so many.
The high point of the street concert may be the unrivaled rock performance of airline captain and master guitarist, Captain Emma Anyanwu who practically set the night on fire!
At the end, Chief Tony Okoroji who was the mastermind of the event thanked all the people who worked hard to make the event unforgettable including the musicians, the COSON staff and great technical crew. He also thanked the many musicians and lovers of Victor Uwaifo who called in to express their solidarity. Chief Okoroji said that he was very happy that his brother, older friend, confidant, professional colleague, staunch supporter and an unapologetic partner in the work of the promotion of the unity and progress of Nigerian artistes and the protection of their legacy, has been honoured in a special way.