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Glitz, Glamour, Dances, as Babajides donate Hall to Erinjiyan, Esa Oke



Perhaps the Erinjiyan Quarters, Esa Oke has grown so much accustomed to such glitzy razzmatazz, they easily blend with the glamour of the occasion, even despite the rustic ambience, the community, on Monday, (31 October), came forcefully out of its cocoon, in full colours and conviviality, as the traditional Prime Minster of Esa Oke Kingdom, (Baba Esa), High Chief Abimbola Paul Olamiju led others to commissioned and hand over the newly built Multi Purpose Hall and Events Centre to the community by the late Pa T. A. Babajide’s clan.

Despite blinding flashings of cameras, both orthodox and android phones, video klieg lights, and the booming baritone voice of the compeer, Pastor Akin Onifade, the people sang different tunes and dances hysterically, depicting the joy of the day. A day to mark the 75th birthday of one of their own, Dr (Mrs) Lanre Aladekomo (nee Babajide) and to give in remembrance of their late parents, Chief T. A. Babajide and Mrs. Phebian Babajide.


Ogboni of Esa Oke Kingdom and the Chief Imam of Esa Oke Kingdom commissioning the Hall

It was all glitz, colours, glamour, and conviviality, as different groups stormed the Eredi Street, to join the family of late Chief T. A. Babajide as they handed over the imposing Multi Purpose Hall built in the memory of their late parents to the Erinjiyan Quarters head.


The Babajide family led by Engr. J. F. Babajide with Ogboni of Esa Oke and the Chief Imam

The event was so impressive that the compeer, Pastor Akin Onifade delved into his very rich repertoire of panegyrics’ of each compound. He picked several relevant lines to further enliven the conviviality of the atmosphere. He did not only moderated the event, he enlivened the atmosphere with his deep knowledge of the town.


Osolo of Esa Oke Kingdom with Engr Babajide and Mrs. Babajide

Clergymen from The Apostolic Church, Erinjiyan Assembly, and the Chief Imam of Esa Oke Kingdom, Imam Ahmed Bamgboye led the people in offering prayers and praises to the Almighty God.


The Clergymen from The Apostolic Church, Erinjiyan Assembly led by Apostle Adelabu

All were evidently happy; and they showed it. A confluence of joy and nostalgic reliving of the life and times of one of the first aristocrat in the whole Ijesaland. Late Babajide was the first person to own a car in Esa Oke Kingdom.

The people were happy. And it show clearly in their faces. Happier on the day was the head of the Erinjiyan Quarters, the Osolo of Esa Oke, High Chief Adebanji Emmanuel Ojo. He beamed smiles repeatedly. He sang. He prayed for all  He danced to the various songs supplied by the various women’s groups.

Mrs Funmilola Babajide, Engr. Babajide and Otunba Olaniyi

The traditional institution was led to the event by the Baba Esa, High Chief Abimbola Paul Olamiju, the Ogboni of Esa Oke Kingdom. He led other High Chiefs, Quarters’ heads, clergies, and others, to sang various songs of praises to the Lord as Prof J. B. and Dr (Mrs) Aladekomo and other members of late Pa T. A. Babajide  (Mrs. Funmilola Babajide and Engr. Joshua Folorunso Babajide) handed over the impressive Multi Purpose Hall and Events Centre they donated to the Erinjiyan Quarter, Esa Oke Kingdom in memory of their late parents, Chief T. A. Babajide and late Mrs. Phebean Babajide. 

Pastor Akin Onifade

Commissioning the hall, the Ogboni of Esa Oke, High Chief  Olamiju tasked the various Quarters’ heads to always select the best candidate while filling vacant chieftaincy stools. He blamed many controversies on chieftaincy issues on the family heads, while urging the Quarters’ heads to always guide against propping up of half fits from the family heads.

According to him, the town, Esa Oke Kingdom can develop better and faster, if the right and proper candidates are selected as Chiefs.

In his speech, the elated host, High Chief Adebanji Ojo gave thanks to the Almighty God who made his dream become a reality through the Babajide’s.

He particularly thanked Pastor Akin Onifade who connected the Erinjiyan Quarters head to the Babajide family.

He said when he was installed as the Osolo in 2018, “each time we were inside the old hall for a meeting, it appeared like a Kegites assemblage to me. I didn’t like it a bit. I kept praying for God to do something as the community could not on its own, afford to rebuilt the hall”.

“But the Lord did intervened miraculously. Pastor Onifade without any prompting connected us to the Babajide’s and without asking they informed us that they would like to rebuilt the hall in memory of their late parents and donate it to us”, he added.

He appealed to all stakeholders in Esa Oke to focus more on the development of the Kingdom by reviving the comatose banking facility in the town,  reviving the decaying educational System and bringing morden shopping complex for the town to attain the status of small London.

He saluted the courage of Prof J. B. Aladekomo and his wife Dr. Lanre, who has renewed the name of their father. 

The Erinjiyan chiefs were led by the Quarters head, Osolo of Esa Oke Kingdom, High Chief Adebanji Emmanuel Ojo to the carnival like ceremony.

At the ceremony were High Chief Olatunde Esan, the Odogun of Esa Oke, who assisted the Ogboni in cutting the tape to commissioned the Hall. while all the Quarters’ heads led their Chiefs to the event. High Chief Femi Aluko, Asaba of Esa Oke, High Chief Sehunde On, Obafin of Esa Oke and High Chief Babajide Adeniji, Enurin of Esa Oke 

The Ila Orangun community, an integral part of the Erinjiyan Quarters, were fully represented by Chief Ayo Ogunleye, Hon. Adeniyi Ekundayo, and others. (C2022)


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Society & Events

Fuji music : The infectious devotional music of Nigeria’s Yoruba Muslims



First published Adama Munu of Arab News

Before Afrobeat, there was fuji. This local Nigeria’s musical imprint is known worldwide, but less is known about the Yoruba Muslims’ contribution to its success. Fuji music is at the forefront of this sound, with its origins in prayer, devotion, and rhythm.

The first time I heard fuji music was in 2010 at my Nigerian friend’s wedding party in South London.
I still remember the catchy upbeat rhythms from the ensemble of tracks that played which were made up of a unique drumming tradition, specific to her ethnic group.

What I did not know at the time was how Islamic spirituality is central to its story.

“Dating back to colonial times, wéré music was traditionally performed by urban, working-class young people to keep Muslim communities entertained during Ramadan nights or to wake them for the pre-dawn meal before fasting”
A pop-up exhibition, Fuji: A Opera is making its international debut at London’s Africa Centre to introduce this unique musical genre to new and old audiences. It will include never before seen archive footage artefacts and installations and highlight the origins of fuji music, and its rich subculture from the 1960s to the present day.

The exhibition’s founder, Bobo Omotayo told me that now feels like the perfect time to celebrate the phenomenal influence of fuji music, how it began and its lasting impact. “Without fuji, there would be no Afrobeats. With London’s huge Nigerian community and close links with Lagos, I’m proud to be bringing Fuji: A Opera to the Africa Centre this summer.”
The exhibition premiered in 2020 the pandemic in Nigeria, and the organisers say it’s the most extended showcase of the fuji subculture today.
The exhibition will display rare instruments from Nigeria that have been played since the genre emerged over 50 years ago. These have been donated by some iconic fuji artists, and will also pay homage to Yoruba Muslim communities on Lagos Island who invented the musical origins of fuji music in what is known as wéré music or ajisari which means ‘waking up for suhoor’ in the Yoruba language.


The Ramadan roots
Dating back to colonial times, wéré music was traditionally performed by urban, working-class young people to keep Muslim communities entertained during Ramadan nights or to wake them for the pre-dawn meal before fasting. This is a tradition that is in the same spirit as the drumming that is often played on the streets of Istanbul to wake Muslims up for suhoor. Wéré music is heavily set in providing spiritual messages praising Allah or other reminders that are linked with the Islamic faith.
There are two schools of thought on where the name fuji originates from. One says it comes from the Yoruba word which means to party, and then the second school of thought refers to Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister who said he came up with the name after seeing a poster at an airport advertising Mount Fuji, the highest peak in Japan. Like wéré music, fuji music is largely played using percussion instruments like the ‘talking drum’ or gangan.
Socio-political issues, ethics and historical events are key themes that set the tone for traditional fuji music. Nigerian culture consultant, Jídé Taiwo, tells The New Arab that “in the 1960s, fuji music was only just being formed as Barrister himself was still serving in the Nigerian army at that time. His music then was largely religious-inspired with a dose of secularism, such as records Let’s Do God’s Will and Mecca Special.

The Fuji’s dominance
Musical genres are never static. They evolve to reflect the tastes, cultures and preferences of newer generations and other host communities who produce and reinterpret them. The same happened to wéré music. “What fuji did was incorporate some dance. The traditional track would start off with praises to Allah or Qur’anic references. Over time, fuji artists toned down Islamic references for cross-over appeal, but those who were unashamedly Muslim, would create a dance format on side A of the cassette and side B would be more Islamic,” Bobo says.
The genre evolved to include musicians from other communities, different themes and instruments like the piano and the Hawaiian guitar. Towards the end of the colonial period in the 1950s and 1960s, many performance groups emerged in other cities like Ibadan and Ilorin, the most notable of whom include Sikiru Omo Abiba, Kasali Alani, Saka Olayigbade, Ayinla Yekinni.

Musicians like the London Special, Fuji Reggae and Kollington Ayinla broke through in the 1970s with an eclectic feel while fuji musicians in the 1980s (which is noted as fuji music’s golden era) began using synthesisers with hits like Fuji Garbage and American Special. During the 1990s, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall who worked closely with Barrister became a trailblazer with records like American Tips and Consolidation.

Nigerian songwriter, Beautiful Nubia says: “At the beginning, it was the music of the Muslims…. and then it changed and became a bit faster, at some point, it earned fans from across the country. But it also used also be the music of the poor. The more elitist Yorubas would listen to foreign music or juju music or highlife. And the poor people listened to fuji. But now I think it’s gone beyond that. It cuts across all classes.”

While fuji music’s popularity can be traced to its ‘party appeal’, its emergence as Nigeria’s post-colonial era progressed invited scores of political and social commentaries, not quite unlike what Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat movement was doing around the same time.

“Fela Kuti’s music was only a part of his larger-than-life life (apologies for the pun) because of his never-ending run-ins with Nigeria’s military governments. But fuji did reflect the times as well, perhaps more than Afrobeat because of its reach among the Yoruba people. Each musician made it a point to have a socio-political theme in each of their records. For example, both Barrister and Kollington had albums that discussed Nigeria’s 1983 election and transition, which was eventually truncated by yet another coup only three months later. KWAM1 too released Adieu Awolowo in 1987 to mark the passing of the country’s political leader Obafemi Awolowo,” Jídé explains.

Fuji’s future
Fuji music is still popular among Yoruba Muslims and an overwhelming majority of performers come from that community. Due to the secular nature of the genre, it is often not played among religious circles but “it’s a generally accepted fact that fuji music came from a Muslim background despite its cross-religious appeal. Also, because it’s been successful for five decades, upcoming musicians do not necessarily have to start from the mosque because the skills can be acquired from older performers and as such, that mosque-to-stage pipeline is no longer as important as it used to be,” Jídé tells The New Arab.

This mirrors how American gospel music was the training ground from which r&b and pop artists with Black American heritage emerged, such as the late Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross and Whitney Houston, Faith Evans, Ledisi and John Legend. But today, a foothold in the Black Church’s musical tradition is no longer an expectation or backstory for today’s singers in the mainstream, and this speaks to the changing articulation of what counts as a ‘guarantor’ for one’s musical talent and prospective success.
Today there is very little tension in the articulation of genres like Afrobeats music (which is not to be confused with Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat movement). It is a primarily secular musical enterprise from West African countries like Nigeria with a host of popular artists like Wizkid, Burna Boy, Yemi Alade and Tems. The genre’s pioneers have accrued millions of streams on platforms like Spotify and are selling out some of the world’s largest stadiums. For instance, Tiwa Savage will make history as the first female Afrobeats star to headline London’s iconic Wembley Arena in November.

Earlier in June, Spotify launched Afrobeats: Journey of a Billion Streams, a dedicated site tracking all things related to the genre. Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, Spotify’s Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa said, “There is no doubt that Afrobeats as a genre is here to stay and will only continue to shatter more ceilings. In 2023 alone, the genre will have been played for more than 223 million hours, with streams exceeding 7.1 billion on Spotify. We created this site for both new and longtime fans of the genre who would like to have a better understanding of how and where this explosive sound came to be.”

Fuji music has not made the same inroads as Afrobeats primarily due to its music composition and stage aesthetic.
The typical traditional fuji record is meant for live performances and weddings which is why it’s extensive averaging about 18 minutes per song which is why, as Bobo tells me, “Fuji musicians have never been able to present themselves the way Afrobeat artists do, because the formula is that you record a hit single, you make a video for it, and then you promote it on radio, but it’s hard for radio stations to play an 18 minute single.

“I am really interested to see how the next generation of fuji artists adapt to this cookie-cutter template. If you think about the Afrobeats artists who are sampling references from this genre, fuji music is clearly a blueprint. I think it is a wonderful way of reimagining our past and imagining our future,” Bobo concludes.
The exhibition runs for several days from 18 to 28 August 2023. You can get tickets here:
Adama Juldeh Munu is an award-winning journalist that’s worked with TRT World, Al-Jazeera, the Huffington Post, Middle East Eye and Black Ballad. She writes about race, Black heritage and issues connecting Islam and the African diaspora
Follow her on Twitter: @adamajmunu

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UNICAL Suspends Dean in Sex Protests, Bars Him From Campus



The raging controversy of Casanova escapades involving the embattled Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, Prof. Cyril Ndifon has finally consumed him. This is as the University’s authority considered his response to a query issued to him on Monday (14 August) as unsatisfactory.

He has therefore, been suspended indefinitely by the University’s authority. He is also “banned from the University premises except while responding to invitation from the panel investigating these allegations”
Prof. Ndifon was alleged by a group female law undergraduates during a protests round the school last Monday, displaying various placards detailing his alleged inappropriate sexual assaults on the hapless young girls.

The embattled Dean, Prof. Ndifon was said to have been handed over his letter of indefinite suspension “for alleged violation of the provisions of the extant laws and policies of the institution.”

The letter conveying the school’s decision according to a top source within the institution, plainly stated that the school was dissatisfied with Ndifon’s response to earlier query issued to him after the students of the school took to the street to protest against him.

The full statement is contained in the letter signed by the University Registrar, Gabriel Egbe, which takes effect from August 17, 2023, read in part:
“Please refer to our letter Ref UC/REG/DISC.45A dated August 14, 2023 on your alleged violation of the provisions of the extant laws and policies of the University and your response to the said letter which was dated 16th August, 2023. “

“The Vice Chancellor has gone through your written representations and is not satisfied with your explanations. She has therefore directed that you should be relieved of your position as Dean, Faculty of Law and placed on suspension while the matter is referred to a panel that will be set-up to investigate these allegations.

“The relief of position as Dean, Faculty of Law and suspension from official duties takes effect from August 17, 2023. You are to hand over all University property in your possession including all official responsibilities presently handled by you to the Sub-Dean of the Faculty before vacating office.

“You are to stay away from the University premises except while responding to invitation from the panel investigating these allegations”
Ndifon was said to have been suspended for the same allegation in 2015 but said he was exonerated by the court.
Mr. Effiong Eyo, a senior staff in the Public Relations Department of the school, however, confirmed the suspension to our Correspondent saying, “Yes it true. He has been suspended.”

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Theological School Graduates 66, Holds Convocation Saturday



Theological School Graduates 66, Holds Convocation Saturday
By Our Reporter

The West Africa Theological Seminary will holds it 32nd Convocation on Saturday 10 December for sixty-six new graduates, with Professor Olugbemiro Jegede, a former Vice Chancellor of the National Open University, (NOUN), delivering the 32nd convocation lecture.
The convocation will holds Saturday (10 December) at the Ipaja, Lagos campus of the institution.
Professor Jegede will address the topic: The Role of TEL (Technological Enhanced Learning) in Improving Content and Context of Theological Education in Africa.
A total number of 66 students are expected to graduate from the foremost theological institute of learning.
The breakdown of graduands is as follows: B.A. Theology (40), Postgraduate Dip. (4), M.A. Christian Leadership (5), M.A. Biblical Studies (3), M.A. Christian Education (4), M.A. Intercultural Studies (2), Master of Divinity (8), and Doctor of Ministry (1).
WATS Acting Provost, Dr. Tosin Awolalu in a statement said the convocation lecture theme was carefully chosen to address current reality in theological education. “Today, we are obviously confronted with the need of harnessing technology and especially it’s deployment for improvement of theological learning environment, a reality we cannot run away from.
“It is this understanding that informed the theme of the convocation and the choice of speaker.
“Prof. Jegede was the VC of an institution that has deployed technology, providing instructionally designed materials in diverse formats maximally to disseminate knowledge. It will be great to learn from him. The entire WATS community is looking forward to the convocation lecture.” (C2022)

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