COSON celebrates Victor Uwaifo as he clocks 80

The Copyright Society of Nigeria [COSON] has rolled out the drums in celebration of legendary lyricist, melody maker, multi-instrumentalist, sculptor, designer, performer per excellence and intellectual giant, Prof. Victor Uwaifo, who clocks 80 today, March 1, 2021. 

According to COSON, throughout this week, there will be celebration of the incredible life of the maestro at the corporate office of the Society in Ikeja, Lagos.

The celebration will climax on Saturday, March 6 in Benin City, Edo State with the presentation of a 600-page biography of the musician. At the event, COSON will decorate the celebrant with the “Grand Copyright Medal of Honour”, the first time anyone will be decorated with such a medal. 

In his tribute to the iconic artiste, his friend and admirer, Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman, COSON, says there will never be another Victor Uwaifo. “The story of the development of Nigerian popular music will never be fully told without the repeated mention of Prof. Victor Efosa Uwaifo.

“A composer, songwriter and performer extraordinaire, ‘the Guitar Boy’ has in a special way straddled the Nigerian popular music scene since the ‘60s. Feeding off the rich folk culture of the ancient Benin Kingdom, Victor Uwaifo has created popular music forms like Sasakosa, Ekassa, Titibiti, Akwete etc., which decade after decade, have arrested the attention of music lovers in Nigeria and other parts of the world. 

“Victor Uwaifo’s endless stream of hit songs like Siwo-Siwo, Sweet Banana, Guitar Boy, Do Amen Do, Akwete, Ebiss Ebiss, Dododo have ruled the airwaves for many years. His all-time mega hit song, Joromi, reputed to be the first African recording to win a gold disc, is certainly one of the hottest selling recordings to have ever come out of Nigeria.

“Truly, there will never be another Victor Uwaifo. Victor Uwaifo is not just an accomplished musician, he has been an innovator in the field, a maestro who does not only play the guitar, flute or keyboards but can make music from almost anything that produces sound. It was Victor Uwaifo who popularized the double neck guitar, and in the heat of several shows rolled his guitar 360 degrees, suspending it in the air at amazing speed.” 

Victor Uwaifo’s over 60 years of music and incredible stage performances were thirteen years ago celebrated by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) with a golden jubilee award, which was broadcast live to the world in 2008. 

Uwaifo has toured the world, taking his amazing music along with him to Japan, Algeria, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Romania, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, France, USA, Ivory-Coast, Ghana, and almost everywhere in Africa. He gave an unforgettable performance at the United Nations in New York during the UN Golden Jubilee celebration. 

Uwaifo, who has been invited to the State House by four Presidents and Heads of State of Nigeria, has been the recipient of several national and international awards. In 1997, he was awarded the Certificate of Honour by the House of Representatives, Boston Massachusetts. He is documented in the Groove Dictionary of Music and Musicians Vol. 8. He is also documented in the Men and Women of Distinction in the Commonwealth, 1983. 

He was presented with a Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) Degree (Honoris) by the University of Benin, the Benin National Merit Award, the University of Benin Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the National Honour of Member of the Order of the Niger by the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In 2010, Uwaifo was one of the select Nigerians awarded the fellowship of the Nigerian Academy of Letters at a grand event held at the University of Lagos. 

Uwaifo, who served as Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Edo State of Nigeria between 2001 and 2003, was born on March 1, 1941 in Benin City. He attended Western Boys High School in his hometown and later St. Gregory’s College, Lagos. 

He proceeded to Yaba College of Technology, Lagos from where he obtained a National Art Diploma with distinction and shone as an outstanding athlete. He received a B.A Hons, First Class, Fine and Applied Arts from the University of Benin and a Masters Degree in Sculpting from the same university. He also obtained a Ph.D Architectural Sculpture from the same university where he has been a professor for several years. 

Continuing his tribute, Okoroji said: “The Board, Management and members of COSON across the nation have no pillar anywhere stronger than Victor Efosa Uwaifo. For about 34 years, I have known this consummate artiste, brilliant mind, detribalized Nigerian and extra-ordinary man. 

“I have had the honour of sharing many special moments with him. I have drunk freely from his wisdom and benefited from his counsel. I have seen this gentleman perform and marveled at his boundless talent and incredible energy. 

“I have been the recipient of his unbelievable generosity. Like a rock, Victor Uwaifo has been there for me. I come from Imo State and Prof. Uwaifo from Edo State but to him, there is no difference. It does not matter. Prof. Victor Uwaifo has been my brother, my big brother. Certainly, there will never be another Victor Uwaifo. Happy Birthday, Sasakosa!”  

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