9:19 am - Wednesday December 11, 2019

Exclusive Interview to CELEBRATE 35 YEARS OF MUSIC PERFORMANCE IN AFRICA: ‘I am the First Reggae Legend in Nigeria to have composed a song that caused awareness to HIV/AIDS epidemic several years ago’-Pupa ORITS WILIKI, the Kole-man Revolutionaire …The project enabled me to drag the then serving Nigeria Minister of Health, Professor Olikoye Ransome Kuti into the music studio * ‘I authored, composed and produced FIFA World Youth Championships THEME SONG Tagged Nigeria 99’ * Recalls encounters with Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Sunny Okosuns, Lucky Dube, Ras Kimono * President BUHARI administration has done well in the area of Copyright Management *Based on constant success in the past, PMAN by now ought to be listed on Nigeria Stock Exchange *Intend to also release a Double Album of Classic Pupa Orits soon * Plans to unveil Academy for music for kids especially the Challenged in Orphanage homes * Confesses: ‘How I met my wife as an unlimited blessing from the outset’ GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICA Foreign Bureau Chief


Exclusive Interview to CELEBRATE 35 YEARS OF MUSIC PERFORMANCE IN AFRICA:

‘I am the First Reggae Legend in Nigeria to have composed a song that caused awareness to HIV/AIDS epidemic several years ago’-Pupa ORITS WILIKI, the Kole-man Revolutionaire

…The project enabled me to drag the then serving Nigeria Minister of Health, Professor Olikoye Ransome Kuti into the music studio

* ‘I authored, composed and produced FIFA World Youth Championships THEME SONG Tagged Nigeria 99’

* Recalls encounters with Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Sunny Okosuns, Lucky Dube, Ras Kimono

* President BUHARI administration has done well in the area of Copyright Management

*Based on constant success in the past, PMAN by now ought to be listed on Nigeria Stock Exchange

*Intend to also release a Double Album of Classic Pupa Orits soon

* Plans to unveil Academy for music for kids especially the Challenged in Orphanage homes

* Confesses: ‘How I met my wife as an unlimited blessing from the outset’

GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICA Foreign Bureau Chief

HE’S A LEADING MUSIC LEGEND IN THE GENRE OF REGGAE IN AFRICA’S MOST POPULOUS NATION IN THE WORLD. ORITS WILIKI, famously called ‘Pupa,’ ‘Kole-man Revolutionaire has won many music awards, performed in several open air concerts in Africa and beyond its continent. Marking his 35 years on music stage, this former Vice-president of the Performing Musicians Employers’ Association of Nigeria, PMAN, had an interactive chat with GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICA Foreign Bureau Chief where he talked on varying issue ranging from the entertainment industry to musicians’ challenges, evergreen moments and rare encounter with Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Sunny Okosuns and Lucky Dube. Enjoy:

Naija Standard Newspaper: You are a household name in Africa reggae industry. What comes to your mind remembering you are celebrating your 35 years on music stage by early next year February 22, 2020?

The special Grace of Jah Almighty kept me. You see we were many but few are left and even fewer are still standing tall l am one of them.
Naija Standard Newspaper: What surprises do you have for your world music fan as you celebrate this epic music moment in history?

It’s an opportunity to look back and give thanks and to also give back to the society while we are celebrating. We intend to lunch Academy for Music for kids especially the Challenged and the Orphanage.

Naija Standard Newspaper: Can you tell us about your latest music album released or about to be released? What is the message about it? We intend to also release a Double Album of Classic Pupa Orits. People always say “the older the wine the tastier it becomes.” We have two albums for release on that day.

Naija Standard Newspaper: As an enigma and icon in Africa music sector, will you say your adventure into music as a career has been a divine calling or what career will you have embraced if you are not into music?

Yeah it’s a divine calling that’s why we are still in the entertainment industry doing it. The passion we have for the calling is the number one driving force that propelled me from the start. That hasn’t changed over the years, since it has kept us going even till now.

Naija Standard Newspaper: What are the highest points of your music career in life?

Many high points but most memorable will be been the first Nigerian musician to compose a song to draw awareness to HIV/AIDS. That project made me the first musician to drag a then-serving Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof.Olikoye Ransome Kuti to the Studio. l am the Author, Composer and Producer of FIFA WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIPS THEME SONG Tagged ‘Nigeria 99’. Also, I am the Author, Composer and Producer of the Nigerian Sports Festival THEME SONG Gateway Games 2006

Naija Standard Newspaper: Can you recall some of your encounters with Lucky Dube, Alpha Blonde, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Ras Kimono, Sunny Okosuns that are still fresh in your memory?

There are so many encounters that we can almost write a book . With Lucky Dube, we met at Calabar it was like we knew each other for many years. In fact that meeting was to produce a Collabo until his Manager Mr. FreeMan called me up to give me a shocking news of his demise that afternoon. Then I was driving to Benin when he broke the news. I parked at a Gas station in Ijebu Ode for almost an hour. Like should I go back to Lagos because l was devastated. With Fela Anikulapo Kuti, he was like a Father to us all. My most memorable time with Fella was when we took Shaba Ranks’ to visit him. Fela reeled out funny jokes that day. Sonny Okosuns was like an elder brother. We became even closer when l produced his album titled ‘Nigerian Artist for Peace’ and when l produced his THEME SONG video for ‘Coja Games’. I have never met Alpha Blondy one on one we almost met in a studio in Ivory Coast sometime ago. With Ras Kimono ? They called us (KIMONO AND I) Siamese twins because we were too close especially during the last 6years of his life . His death affected me in no small measure because we had some dreams that were shattered.

Naija Standard Newspaper: Who inspired you into embracing music as a career and how do you derive inspiration in a society like Nigeria?

My Father had been my number one music inspiration . He was a good player of the instrument called Accordion. He played it with an air of class that I used to watch him sing and play this instrument effortlessly. Listening to great ROCK n Roll songs and later lots of Reggae groups like steel pulse ,Aswad, Third World eventually did me in.

Naija Standard Newspaper: Recently, Allen Onyema, the Chief Executive officer of Nigeria’s Air Peace Airline was indicted by the United States Department of Justice for fraud, forgery and money laundering after been tracked since 2010. This same Nigerian organized the first Niger Delta Peace Concert many years ago where militants were made to disarm, rehabilitated and pardoned. What is your take on this Nigerian dilemma whom American government have alleged lived a ‘fake wealth lifestyle?

My Brother Nigeria is a very funny country that condemns you guilty even by ordinary invitation by the Police. My take is: if all the political criminals in Nigeria invest the money they loot into creating jobs and employing Nigerians, l am sure even God will forgive them. They loot and take the money starched in Oyinbo (Overseas) country. Robin Hood on my mind. So let them do all their investigation and let other rumor mongers stop instead of these frivolous speculations. ‘We no dey try at all’ (speaking in pidgin) as a people in maintaining anyone’s integrity. They find you guilty even before your case commences in court.

Naija Standard Newspaper: Orits Wiliki means different things to different people. As a Lion of Africa’s reggae industry, who is Orits Wiliki presently?

Orits Williki is an Author, Composer, Writer, Producer and a performing Musician. Humble by nature but can bring out the beast in me if you are an oppressor. I hate pride and arrogance with utmost passion. Fake and dishonest people put me off

Naija Standard Newspaper: The Nigerian Senate is about to approve and pass ‘Fake News Bill’ that will eventually permit law enforcement agencies to arrest any Nigerian who post any unfounded or untrue allegation against anyone on internet to be arrested and prosecuted, as a Music freedom fighter, why do you think the Muhammadu BUHARI led government is now censoring Nigerians right of expression which will affect every person including musicians at the end of the day

If you are a social media person and you read the rots therein you may be tempted to think they have some reasons but when you now understand that Nigeria is a democratic Republic then that’s where the conflict comes in. You don’t slit the throat of your wayward child. The best you can do is to continue to advice your child make him or her know the consequences of his/her action until he/she see the reasons. I think they should scrap the National Orientation Agency, NOA, because that’s part of the legislative responsibilities for lawmakers to do. They need to come up with an enlightenment campaign on the need to stop hate speech, fake news and how it affects our society negatively. May be that will change people’s mindset but the government is just there doing nothing about it.

Naija Standard Newspaper: How has Nigerian entertainment industry benefited from the current administration in Nigeria?

Well l think they have done something remarkable in the area of Copyright Management. The government destroyed the virus of monopoly that was forced on us by the Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC in the past 24years. At least you now have about three approved collecting societies . I must confess that the destruction the forced monopoly had on our industry was enormous but we thank God and the present regime for doing the right thing. There are other areas begging for attention like piracy. It used to be physical piracy but now assumes the look of digital piracy, which is even worse. The NIGERIAN COPYRIGHT COMMISSION needs to wake up from its slumber.

Naija Standard Newspaper: After Allen Onyema was indicted by the United States department of justice, elegant stallion Onyema Onwenu commented on social media that the Nigerian press should leave Onyema alone claiming he has not been found guilty. Is she now supporting this alleged attitude of Onyema? Or is she saying American government are lying on the indictment of Onyema? Or do you think she participated that time at the Niger Delta Peace Concert under late President Musa Yar’Adua?

As I said earlier, Nigeria is a very funny country that condemns you guilty even by ordinary invitation from the Police. My take is: if all the political criminals in Nigeria invest the money they loot into creating jobs and employing Nigerians l am sure even God will forgive them. They loot and keep the money in Oyinbo country (Abroad). Robin Hood on my mind. So let them do all their investigation and ‘We no dey try’ at all (speaking in pidgin English) as a people in maintaining anyone’s integrity. They ( rumor mongers) find you guilty even before your case commences in court.

Naija Standard Newspaper: Will you agree that by now, the Performing Musicians Employers’ Association of Nigeria, PMAN, should have had Performance Centers in all states of the federation to keep musicians daily engaged?

Absolutely but l thank God we are beginning to get our bearings back. A Charlatan like Pretty Okafor who thinks unionism is the platform to butter his bread by creating problems has been shown the way out.

Naija Standard Newspaper: Don’t you think if PMAN had been successfully managed, it would by now had been listed at the Nigerian Stock Exchange

Can l agree with you any less? The answer is no. I happen to have been a one time vice president under Charly Boy l am sure you are a witness of what went under. There was discipline and part of what we fought for are what the youth are enjoying today. Artists are well respected today getting good deals before it was something else. Foreign musicians were well paid and Nigerian artists were given peanuts. We fought all of that perhaps if we had continuity may be the story would have been different.

Naija Standard Newspaper: Finally, how did you meet your beautiful wife and what are your regrets in life?

Well l met my wife on the line of music duty but nothing suggested she was going to be my wife. It was business straight up. Regrets? I am a Capricorn we hold ourselves responsible at all times whether good or bad.

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