The music business is a money-gulping endeavor and as such, admits only the financially buoyant less the artiste becomes broke and signs up for bankruptcy. Many an artiste and many a label have ran down as they couldn’t keep up with expenses—cost of production, recording, promotion, distribution, branding, even photo and video shoots.
In the seventies, eighties and nineties, men and women with fat pockets were known to sponsor talented acts – King Sunny Ade, Chief Ebenezer Obey, Oliver de Coque, Kollington Ayinla etc – who in gratitude sang their praises in highlife, juju, waka and fuji songs.
Here are seven sponsors of contemporary Nigerian music:
1. IB Dende
Born Ibrahim Egungbohun, 45-year-old IB Dende (Customs-licensed clearing agent and hotelier) is one of the biggest funders of contemporary music in the country. Chief IB Dende’s generosity has extended to Pasuma, Olamide, Phyno, Lil Kesh, Small Doctor—with the ‘ain’ creator famously singing “IB Dende Olorun fa e l’owo s’oke (God will lift you up)” on hit single Arrest.
2. Ayiri Emami
Warri billionaire Ayiri Emami, the Akulagba 1 of Warri, was famously referenced by Akwa Ibom comedian/singer/dancer, MC Galaxy, on the ubiquitous dance track Nek Unek. Oil magnate Ayiri who had a stint as a music artiste during his come-up has lavished his goodwill (including financial resources) on Nigerian artistes such as 2Face, D’banj, MC Galaxy, Oritsefemi, Iyanya, Majek Fashek, etc. He even showed his benevolence featuring in Omawumi’s 2014 Megbele video in honour of her father.
3. Baddy Oosha
Self-titled “street lion”, Baddy Oosha has been referenced by not a few Nigerian entertainers—name-checked on different occasions by those whom his generous pockets have flowed to. Badmus Akeem O. first got showered with praises in 2012 when rapper Reminisce rapped on smash hit 2 Mushh. Olamide, Lil Kesh, Small Doctor are others who have found his kindness. Recently, he decided to try his luck on the mic.
4. Sir Emeka Offor
The fifty-six-year-old founder and executive vice chairman of Chrome Group, a Nigerian conglomerate with interests in oil, biofuels, insurance, dredging and logistics is well known for his philanthropic gestures. In 2013, he donated one million dollars towards the eradication of polio and two years later reportedly donated ten million dollars to fight river blindness. Towards music, he has been benevolent in the development of stars, and so it wasn’t a surprise when KCee sang his praises on Ogadinma and Phyno on Nme Nme. Highlife artiste Flavour has also praised his generosity.
5. MC Oluomo
The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) leader in Oshodi, Lagos, Musiliu Akinsanya aka MC Oluomo came to national prominence some weeks ago when he reportedly hosted a braless party to celebrate his birthday – a stunt he denied. Headies-winning pop artiste Sean Tizzle eulogized him on Momayan. KWAM 1, Pasuma, and other fuji artistes have been beneficiaries of his.
6. Opa 6ix
Born Oluwasegun Akinola Opaogun, Opa 6ix has extended his charity towards music. Reminisce once rapped his praise: “Shout out si awon omo ni Malay waya waya, Opa 6ix” on 2Mushh. Street pop artiste Small Doctor also had thankful heart on Uzobu off his Omo Iya Teacher sophomore album. Like Baddy Oosha, Opa 6ix has delved into music recording.
7. Ateke Tom
On March 26, 2016, the Nigerian music scene received with pleasant surprise the news of reconciliation between members of the defunct Plantashun Boiz spearheaded by ex-Niger Delta militant, Chief Ateke Tom. Former member, Faze posted a video on his Instagram page with the caption: “Just yesterday. When plantashun Boiz turn (sic) to men. Thank you Chief comrade Ateke Tom.” Aside from 2Face, Faze and BlackFace; KCee, MC Galaxy, Iyanya, Cynthia Morgan and Harrysong have benefitted from his right hand of fellowship.