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CKF’s Fillip For Green Horns To Actualize Their Musical Dream

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Christopher Kolade music award

Founder, Dr Christopher Kolade (centre) and the awardees, during the CKF Musical Excellence Awards in Lagos. PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO

Excellence, service, impact and sincerity among other boldly inscribed words in a banner at the foyer of Agip Recital Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, did not mean so much to guests as they arrived for the award night organised by Christopher Kolade Foundation (CKF).

But over an hour later when the five awardees of the night did a group musical performance, the true meaning of the words as envisioned by CFK became clearer.

The recipients: Awonuga Babatunde David, Adeyeye Adegorioye Oluwole, Eze Gerald Maduabuchi, Adenuga Johnson Oluwajuwon, and Olarinde Olubunmi Rachael represent hope for a Nigeria the world would be proud of. In fact, chairperson of CKF, Mrs. Beatrice Kolade had, at the opening of the award night, assured that “at the end of the performance, you will agree that the future is bright.”

She was proven right with the thunderous ovation that followed their performance. It was music simplified as each of the awardees played different instruments to coalesce a great blend for remix of a popular song of 1980s.

All entries and nominations for the awards were taken, exclusively, from public schools, out of which the five young musicians emerged out of a shortlist of 14, the organisers disclosed.

Awonuga is a 200L student at Department of Music, University of Ibadan (UI), Oyo State; Adeyeye, a final year student, Department of Music, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, Osun State; Eze, a final year student of Department of Music, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State; Adenuga, 200L student of Department of Music, UI; and Olarinde, a final year student, Department of Music, OAU.

Each recipient got a cash prize of N250,000. Like the Dionne Warwick’s version, That’s What Friends Are For, remixed by the young CFK Musical Excellence awardees, being supportive of the other person’s needs is the root of success and vibrant future.

Similarly, the vision of the founder of CFK, Dr. Christopher Kolade, a former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, is about supporting people to ensure that every Nigerian gets the opportunity to actualise desired goals in the development of the country. “Whatever good we want for Nigeria, the people matter.”

Kolade told the audience shortly after a music interlude from MUSON Choir during the award night. “My vision: every Nigerian who has a dream should be given the opportunity.”

He cited several experiences he had with Nigerians living abroad, who, if given the right opportunity, would have remained at home and invested their energy in the country.

The CKF was founded in 1997 as a platform through which Kolade makes contributions to the development of Nigeria. For a broad base foundation such as CKF, something must have inspired its formation.

It’s a cumulative work experience of several decades, Kolade disclosed to his guests a few days ahead of the award. With nearly 60 years experience in the private and public sectors, Kolade has a lot to offer.

According to him, “During my years of working, I found out that whether you are in government or private sector, we should develop the right capacity to carry out our various responsibilities.

So, the essence, therefore for setting up the foundation, was to see how we can assist organisations and institutions to develop the capacities of their people for best performance.”

Lack of sustenance of values, among many reasons has been found to be responsible for degeneration of standards in Nigeria. And if the argument had always favoured the older generation, could it be that values were not properly transferred to the younger ones in the past? “Maybe that’s another way to look at it,” he said cautiously and tracked the roots to domestic values.

“We start building human capacity from the family.” The challenge of economic survival over the decades, he noted, has changed such that mothers hardly spend a fraction of required time with children at home. “People were more interested in what they could get out of a situation than what they were giving back.

That’s where the values began to decline.” Weakened values, he argued, have been transferred into governance and private sectors, such that, “for example, a member of the National Assembly who took an oath to protect the interest of his people – upholding the trust or not is a value that comes from the family.” Inability to look after other people sincerely, he stated, has been a major problem.

He insisted that the older generation has no blame as such, “it is not that the older generation did not hand over properly, but the time given to the grooming in domestic affairs and the pressure of the environment weigh heavily on the situation.”

Regaining lost ground in the value system – given the domestic foundation and link – women appears to have more responsibility. Mrs. Kolade, a mother and grandparent, extended responsibility as the chairperson of CKF. She said, “It will start with mothers paying more attention to their children. When we were growing up, we had values in the kind of home we came from, particularly when we were outside.”

And the values, she noted, have changed over the decades. “No values about money, cars, houses, but about yourself. Whose child are you?” She admitted that socio-economic challenges compel parents and children to live apart, even in different countries, was sometimes unavoidable, “but the values of the family must remain.”

If discipline is the sum total of capacity building, musicians, to a large extent, could not be said to be good role models in this context. So, what would CKF for Music Excellence be doing differently? Kolade explained,

“The award is about excellence in music. And to get to the point of excellence, you must have the discipline.” He faulted a situation where “we are quick to point out where things are going wrong,” and advised that excellence and discipline should be “rewarded where we find such so we win back the society.”

He insisted that irrespective of a chosen profession, “try and be excellent” to better the society. On the board are Mrs. Kolade, Femi Sonaike, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, Mrs. Yvonne Fasinro, Mr. Biodun Jaji, Mr. Kevin Ejiofor and Mrs. Yemi Oyeleke with Mrs. Sade Mabinuori, as Secretary.

Shortly before a joint music interlude by the MUSON Choir and University of Ibadan Choir, Mrs. Sonaike commended the efforts of Mrs. Kolade on behalf of the board. She said, “without her our efforts will mean nothing.”


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