In these days of ‘common sense’ speeches and ‘buy Naija to grow Naira’ campaigns, it’s high time we start keeping as much money at home as possible.
That can be done not only by patronising physical goods made in Nigeria; we can also grow our economy and empower our artistes by paying them the obscenely exorbitant fees we pay to foreign artistes to jump around our stages at shows and feature in our songs.
In case you all didn’t get the memo, this isn’t 1994 any longer. We’re now in the year of our Lord 2016, and Nigerians don’t need the croaky voice of a 50 Cent or P. Diddy to get their groove on. Our home-grown artistes have over the years proven that they’re up to the task.
That’s why a ‘Yoruba’ rapper like Olamide can comfortably fill the bowel of Eko Hotel, one of the biggest concert venues in the country. He has achieved that feat for two years back-to-back, and he boasted about it in his song ‘Eyan Mayweather.’
Why exactly do we even still bring foreign artistes as headline acts into the country? Isn’t it obvious that our people aren’t particularly thrilled about them anymore? I was opportuned to attend the 2015 edition of the Pepsi Rhytmn Unplugged concert which had American RnB singer, Trey Songz as the headline act last December. I’m sure by now, the organisers have realised that flying down the ‘I Need A Girl’ singer was a needless waste of money. Many guests at the show openly commented that they attended only because of the Nigerian acts on the bill.
By the time Songz was performing, the level of excitement in the sweat-soaked hall had gone down several notches compared to when his Nigerian contemporaries held it down.
There is a common saying in Yoruba language which can be loosely translated to mean that ‘the way an owner treats his property is the way outsiders will treat it.’
This means that if you treat your possession with respect and care, others will do same and vice-versa.
How many times have Americans or Europeans called on Nigerian stars to entertain them at their parties? As I’m sure you already know, most of the shows in which Nigerian artistes perform in Europe, Australia, Asia and America are populated by Nigerians living in those places.
For crying out loud, many of our artistes threw a pity-party last year when it was discovered that Africian acts who were nominated for the  Black Entertainment Awards (BET) were given the award before the main show. And their part of the ceremony wasn’t even broadcast to the American audience. If the Black Entertainment Awards could treat fellow Blacks that way, I wonder what we should expect from the Grammys.
Our very own Omo Baba Olowo (OBO), Davido recently revealed that he coughed out a whooping $200,000 (N50m) to feature American rapper and Nicki Minaj’s boyfriend, Meek Mill, in his song ‘Fans Mi.’
When I heard that news, I almost wet my pants, and I didn’t know when tears started rolling down my eyes. My mind ran riot imagining what better uses that money could have been put to. With all due respect, I don’t see what value Meek Mill added to that song at that cost. Even songs which Davido featured on alone were bigger international hits than ‘Fans Mi.’
According to reports, one of Africa’s biggest artistes, P-Squared also spat out $100,000 (N25m) to enlist the vocals of another American rapper, Rick Ross, on the remix of their hit-song, ‘Beautiful Onyinye.’ Was that huge amount of money justified? Well, the jury is still out on that!
To cut the story short: Nigerian music has steadily grown in leaps and bounds over the years, and it’s still witnessing development. It is one of our major exports at the moment, and it deserves our respect.
No more going cap-in-hand to America to beg for collaborations. Experience has shown that it doesn’t guarantee that the American audience would accept you as one of their own anyway. If you think I’m lying, you can ask D’banj.
If they want us, they know where to find us. Drake and Skepta didn’t have to be paid a dime to remix Wizkid’s ‘Ojuelegba.’

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The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia, Dr. Alex Otti, has condoled with the family of Sen. Uche Chukwumerije, who died on Sunday, describing him as a great Nigerian.
In a statement he issued in Umuahia on Monday, Otti described Chukwumerije’s death as a huge loss to Abia, Ndigbo and Nigeria as a whole.
He stated that with the death of Chukwumerije, Ndigbo have lost a vibrant, fearless, outspoken, dogged and veteran politician, whose views on national issues were highly respected.
He further stated that during his life time, Chukwumerije loved and fought for the unity and well-being of Ndigbo, saying that his death has denied the South east a voice in the nation’s polity.
The APGA governorship candidate remarked that while in the senate, Chukwumerije advanced the cause of the Igbo nation and stood against the continued marginalization of the people in the country.
He described the late senator as an eminent Nigerian, who believed in a united and indivisible Nigeria founded on the principle of equity, justice and fairness.
He wished the soul of the distinguished senator eternal repose and urged the bereaved family, relations and friends as well as the good people of Abia and Nigeria to bear the irreparable loss with fortitude.

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The Alex Otti’s Support Group (AOSG) has thanked Abia voters for coming out en mass to vote in the last election.
In a statement issued by Director, Media and Communication, AOSG, Mrs. Mary Ikoku, “AOSG will like to appreciate the entire people of Abia state who not only craved change, but trouped out en mass to vote change”.
We thank you for supporting and voting H.E Dr. Alex C. Otti as the Executive Governor of Abia State 2015.
Reacting to the news, Chairman of the Support Group for Alex Otti said “We have been inundated with calls and messages from well meaning Abians on the evil plan of the PDP to fraudulently subvert the will of the people via massive rigging.
Be assured that we are on top of the situation, do not despair, it will end in praise as God has given us victory.
Once again, thank you for your support, God bless you.

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No fewer than 1,000 Abia women, all dressed in black attires, staged a protest march in Umuahia on Tuesday against what they described as the falsification of the March 28 National Assembly (NASS) elections in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
They expressed concern that the results of the election, which was peacefully conducted in the state, ‘’were rigged by PDP in connivance with some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).’’
Operating under the aegis of Abia women For good governance, the protesters demanded that ‘’our votes must count.’’
They said that the results of the NASS poll were not the true reflection of the people’s votes.
The leader of the group, Ms Jenifer Ukaobasi, said, ‘’We freely voted for the candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the Senate and House of Representatives but we were surprised that our votes did not count.
‘’We are tired with the status quo, we want a positive change in Abia and we voted for APGA,’’ she said.
Ukaobasi, who led the women to the INEC office in Umuahia, said ‘’we went to tell INEC that enough is enough.’’
Speaking in the same vein, 75-year-old Madam Patience Eleleme, the leader of Grassroots Women, who were also part of the protest, regretted that ‘’we stood under the scorching sun to vote for APGA but INEC declared PDP candidates as winners
‘’Our grouse is that we voted for APGA but the ruling-PDP government rigged the results in connivance with some unscrupulous INEC officials.
‘’What we are requesting is that our votes must count,’’ the septuagenarian said.
The protesters displayed placards with different inscriptions, some of which read, ‘’We will speak again!’’, ‘’This time, you will kill us first before you steal our votes again,’’ ‘’APGA won all,’’ among others.
Receiving the protesters, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Selina Oko, expressed worry over the series of protests that have so far trailed the results of the polls.
Oko said that she was disturbed because the protests portrayed her as having not done well, ‘’in spite of my efforts to ensure that the exercise is credible.’’
Oko urged them to assist her with documented evidence of the alleged fraud, including the one involving any of her officials, to enable her to take the matter to the highest quarters.

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The Alex Otti Support Group (AOSG) on Tuesday called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reshuffle its ad hoc staff in order to ensure a credible outcome of the April 11 polls.

The Chairman AOSG, Mr. Uduma Kalu made the call at a press conference in Umuahia, saying that the group came up with this position because of its experience during the first round of the 2015 general election. He said that they have received some disturbing information about Over 80% of INEC Adhoc staff being sponsored by PDP across the State. PDP pays them the approved allowances meant to be paid by INEC.

He reiterated the allegations by Abia APGA that the March 28, polls were characterized by electoral malpractices hence the need to guard against re occurrence.

“We condemn the manner the National Assembly election was conducted in the state on March 28 which featured late arrival of materials at the polling units, maltreatment and intimidation of election officials and party agents, among others,” he said.

The Group chairman vowed that Abians would vehemently resist any attempt to falsify figures in the governorship and House of Assembly polls.

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It is no longer news that shameless Gov. Theodore Orji, who lost the senatorial election of March 28 in his polling unit, used the police high command in the state to alter the unit results to poll 65,653 ahead of other candidates in the Abia Central Senatorial District election.
What is news and indeed an aberration in decent and civilized society is the role of the police and other sister security agencies in the state to achieve this odious ‘’feat’’ in which the loser in a contest suddenly emerged the winner.
Impeccable sources at the police headquarters on Bende Road, Umuahia, have revealed how the Police Commissioner, Joshak Habila, rallied his men and heads of other security agencies to give cover to electoral thieves to steal the peoples mandate expressly given to the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the Abia Central Senatorial election, Barr. Ahamdi Nweke. He was allocated 46,070 and placed second to Orji.
The source explained that Habila, who has been rewarded ‘’handsomely’’ for the yeoman’s job, and now lives in the Presidential Lodge, Government House, Umuahia, claimed that he waded in after he received a call ‘’to deliver Orji’’, who was trailing abysmally behind in the election.
‘’Orji failed woefully even in his polling unit but the Commissioner was directed to deliver him,’’ the source added.
This unholy act did not only drag the image of the police in the mud but reminds one of the yester-years image of the Nigerian Police. It further reaffirmed the axiom that ‘’police is a friend to a thief’’ and that ‘’police aid and abet crime and cannot be trusted.’’
The implication again is that Habila and his co-travellers by their action desecrated the people’s inalienable right to choose the person that should represent them. He has subverted the people’s wish. He has inadvertently made it impossible for the people’s vote to count.
Habila and his cohorts have also challenged God, having pitched their tent against the voice of the people. Remember the popular maxim, Vox populi, vox dei.
Habila and his ‘’partners in electoral fraud’’ should know that they have collected blood money. It is cursed money. It is money stolen by TA Orji from the aged, sickly, hungry and frail-looking pensioners, some of whom have died because a heartless man seized their pensions and gratuities to fund his election and that of his son, Chinedu.
But our solace is that every stolen mandate would be reclaimed because under President Mohammadu Buhari, it will not be business as usual.
So, Habila should be getting ready to face the music because there will be no hiding place for his kind.
For subverting the people’s desire for change, expressed through the ballot, he and his ‘’masters’’ will remain prisoners to their consciences all the days of their life unless they do not have any.

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The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in Abia, Dr. Alex Otti, has urged the people of the state to use the occasion of the Easter celebration to show love to one another.

In a statement made available to newsmen, Otti further admonished the people to demonstrate greater love to the state by voting for him at the April 11 polls in order to bring about the desired transformation in the state.

Describing himself as a change agent, he said that a vote for him means securing the future for the present and future generations of Abia state.

He said, ‘’Easter is a moment to show love as Christ did on the cross of Calvary, where he allowed himself to be killed for the sins of the world.

‘’He rose in Victory on the third day, having overcome the devil and his demons.

‘’And that is the reason for our redemption and the celebration of Easter.

‘’In the spirit of Easter season, I call on all Abians to show love to our beloved state by voting for me and all the APGA candidates on April 11.

He said that the party’s victory at the polls would herald true redemption for the state, saying, ‘’Our victory is your victory.’’

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