Fast and furious, the song and drums roar like a crash of thunder in raining season and she dances wildly like fire. Like a devil resisting deliverance, she jumps and gyrates with the skill of a striptease dancer. She dons a white Versace wear. She’s a famous gospel music evangelist. She chews widely on a piece of gum as her mouth sings His praise but her feet shuffles excitedly to that worldly dance step, zanku, mixed with a sprinkle of shakushaku, twisting and turning. She’s a disgrace to Christendom. She’s evil; nail her to the cross, they chorus.
I wasn’t a Tope Alabi fan. Not until I listened to her monster hit, ‘Mo ri ‘yanu’, a couple of years ago. That song changed my perception of her as a colourless gospel artist assaulting the ear with monotonous dogma, devoid of talent, artistry and grace. I think ‘Mo ri ‘yanu’ is to Tope Alabi what ‘Ketekete’ – (The Man, the horse and the son) is to Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey. It’s what ‘Eri okan’ (Conscience) is to King Sunny Ade. While ‘Ketekete’ cements the legendary of Obey as a foremost philosopher, ‘Eri okan’ affirms the genius of KSA as an unsurpassable, multi-talented artist of his generation. The brilliance that produced ‘Mo ri ‘yanu’ belongs in the evergreen realm.
Until I listened to ‘Mo ri ‘yanu’, I had been put off by Tope’s alleged sex scandal with her late pastor, Prophet Elijah Ajanaku. The suspicion in which I hold self-professed men and women of God and the monologue that dominate her works had also caused me to see her songs as predictable and commonplace. In ‘Mo ri ‘yanu’, Tope acknowledges the humbling birth of Lord Jesus and His predestined supremacy. She also preaches about the Holy Trinity and the ultimate ability of God, the Father, to do all things.
But with the zanku plus shakushaku dance steps she skillfully exhibited in a music video that went viral last week, not a few busybodies feel she should be tossed into a lake of fire.
The hoopla that trailed the video is rooted in Nigerians’ monstrous penchant to idolize religious and political leaders and sit them on the same throne with God. But Tope is just a two-legged mortal with a head, two eyes and a beautiful body susceptible to arousal when lovingly caressed by her husband, Soji Alabi. Though a celebrity, Tope is vulnerable to the vicissitudes of life like any other mortal – a reason why when death came knocking on the door of her father’s soul, neither her powerful voice nor her depthless compositions could turn death back.
For those who frowned on Tope Alabi’s zanku dance, here are a few sore points that they feel fall against the grain: Why should Tope Alabi, a 49-year-old married woman and mother, deftly ‘gbe bodi’ and dance like an uncircumcised teenager to Christian songs during the burial of her father? Why should a gospel singer, Christian leader and an entertainer dance so raunchily in public?
I won’t go to Israel to recall the curse placed on Michal for criticising King David, her husband, who danced in an ‘undignified manner’ before the Lord when the Ark of the Covenant was taken to Jerusalem during a religious procession. I shall limit my opinion to the realities of our Nigerian sensibilities. I watched the video over and over, and I came to the realization that folks averse to Tope’s controversial dance did so because they couldn’t come to terms with the personalities of the hitherto dove-like Tope and the new eagle-like Tope. The sharp contrast between the two Tope Alabis, I think, was a major reason for the condemnation. If Tope had been known in the past to dance with reckless abandon, there would’ve been no room for the criticism. Having buried my mother at the unripe age of 63, I know there’s a sense of gratitude felt by children who have the privilege of burying their parents. I think that the sense of gratitude, joy and fulfilment felt by Tope birthed that dance.
It should be pointed out that Tope wasn’t dancing to salacious Naira Marley’s ‘Tesu mole’, she was dancing to a live Christian worship song performed by up-and-coming younger artists, who had come to support a big sister burying her father. To show solidarity with the younger musicians, I don’t see anything wrong with Tope doing the youthful zanku or shakushaku dance steps. Tope, who’s almost 50, should even be commended for having the stamina to compete with the youth in their own dance. Also, I see a dose of chauvinism in the criticism because I strongly feel that if the artist was a male, no eyebrow would have been raised. I’ve seen a number of popular male gospel artists do zanku and shakushaku dance steps in their music videos and no one has cast the first stone at them.
For being true to herself by openly showing her unrestrained dancing skills, Alabi shouldn’t be condemned. Her dance is in total contrast to the hypocrisy of the Nigerian political leadership typified, in this instance, by the House of Representatives which just ordered from overseas 400 brand-new Toyota SUVs for its members. It’s shocking that the House of Representatives could shun indigenous auto assembly plant, Innoson Motors, and ferry boatloads of foreign exchange to Japan to buy 2020 edition of Toyota SUVs when the Federal Government failed to transport Nigerian amateur boxers to Senegal for Olympic Games qualification trials – on account of paucity of funds. The callous Federal Government had shamefully turned down the request by some of the boxers, who had been in camp for several weeks without camping allowance, to sponsor themselves for the qualifying event. The boxers had been raining blows on one another in the hope of earning Olympic tickets in the different weight categories only for the Sunday Dare-led sports ministry to murder their hopes in cold blood. Giving the most absurd of excuses, the sports ministry said boxers would be sponsored to compete for Olympic tickets at the world boxing qualifiers in France. Nigerian leaders are surely walking with their heads upside down. Transportation to France will cost much more dollars. Qualifying from France will be like putting the came through the eye of the needle. Why go to France when you can get qualification tickets in Senegal? Are some people waiting to exploit the country for estacodes?
If the Major-General Muhammadu Buhari regime calls on Nigerians to fasten their belts tight, officials of government should also be seen as doing so. It’s wrong for misdirected customs officials to break into poor folks’ family kitchens in search of imported rice, turkey and toothpicks while President Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbanjo, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, and House of Reps Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, their families and cohorts living on taxpayers money, eat foreign food, ride exotic foreign vehicles and treat the masses with indignity.
Even if it’s to score a cheap political point, it never occurred to the Gbajabiamila-led House to take up the sponsorship of just three of the boxers to Senegal by buying 399 SUVs instead of 400. These lawmakers have the latest state-of-the-art vehicles costlier than the incoming acquisitions. The Major-General Buhari-led executive appears not to have time for any other thing at the moment; it’s busy with ensuring ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members are treated with dignity, honour and love befitting of royalty. This is the change promised.
NB: Congratulations to the World Boxing Council new heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, the Gypsy King, whose victory I predicted. Fury’s victory is down to belief, passion and courage – virtues lacking in the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government headed by Major-General Buhari, a Fulani herdsman.
Tunde Odesola is a seasoned journalist and a columnist with the Punch newspapers
3 Lawyers Docked For Impersonating CBN, Unity Bank In N52m Judgment Debt
The Federal Government has charged three Abuja-based legal practitioners before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on four counts of criminal charges, bordering on false information with the intent to mislead the Court into entering a N52m consent judgment in their favour.
The prosecution agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) told the court that the offences are contrary to sections 96 and 140 of the Panel Code law of Northern Nigeria as applicable in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The lawyers are Messrs Maxwell Opara, Gold Nwankwo and Jubilate Obasikene, all practising in the law firm of Maxwell Opara and Associates.
The charge filed marked CR/444/2022 and by the prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Buba followed a petition by the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, to the Chairman of the EFCC, accusing the lawyers of fraudulent representation and impersonation.
They were alleged to have fraudulently entered appearances for the CBN and Unity Bank Plc, without the consent and authorization of the banks in an appeal in respect of garnishee proceedings involving the sum of N52 million, at the Court of Appeal, Abuja division.
The proceedings were in respect of appeal No: CA/A/18M/2017, between Mr. Godwin Emmanuel Vs Chris Obot. Ambo Top Nig Ltd, Unity Bank Plc and CBN.
The appeal arose from garnishee proceedings wherein the CBN was served with an order Nisi dated November 3, 2015, by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gwagwalada, Abuja.
The Court of Appeal had granted the CBN leave to appeal against the judgment of the lower court on the condition that the entire judgment sum of N52m be deposited to the deputy Registrar to be kept in an interest-yielding account in a commercial bank within 30 days from the date of the ruling, pending the determination of the appeal.
The CBN said it was surprising to learn that the matter came up for hearing on September 9, 2020, and that on that day, based on the application filed by counsel to the judgment creditor, Maxwell Opara, the court ordered that the judgment sum be released to the judgment creditor.
The bank asserted that its concern was the fact that neither the bank nor its counsel was served with any hearing notice in respect of the proceedings of September 9, 2020.
That it was further informed that CBN was purportedly represented by one Gold Nwankwo in the proceedings of September 9, 2020, a counsel unknown to or briefed by the bank nor affiliated in any way to any of its external solicitors.
That in the same vein, One Okechukwu Jubilate Obasikene was said not to have the authority of Unity bank and also appeared for Unity bank in the proceedings.
Upon investigation, it was discovered that the said Gold Nwankwo was listed on the letterhead of Messrs. Maxwell Opara and Associates(counsel to the judgment creditor), as one of its lawyers in chambers.
That it, therefore, appears that the counsel from the chambers of Messrs. Maxwell Opara and Associates representing the judgment creditor, might have colluded to deceive the Court of Appeal by impersonating the counsel briefed by the CBN, contrary to the legal practitioners’ rules of professional conduct.
Meanwhile, when the case was called for trial, the prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Buba informed the court about the absence of witnesses from the CBN and Unity Bank in court.
He, therefore, urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable him produce them in court.
Following the consent of the defence of counsel, Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned the case to February 1 and 2, 2023 for trial.
The charge marked CR/444/2022, and dated August 26, 2022, reads:
“That you Barrister Maxwell Okpara and Barrister Gold Nwankwo sometime in September 2020 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, did conspire to commit an offence to wit: giving false information with intent to mislead public servant and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 96 of the Penal Code law of Northern Nigeria as applicable in the FCT, and punishable under section 97 of the same law.
”That you Barrister Gold Nwankwo on the 9th day of September 2020 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, did inform the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja that you were representing the Central Bank of Nigeria during the hearing of appeal No CA/A/18/M/2017 and consented to the withdrawal and striking of the motion paper dated August 29, 2020 and filed on September 1, 2020, knowing that the Central Bank of Nigeria never authorised you to represent it in the proceedings, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 140 of the Penal Code law of the Northern Nigeria as applicable in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, and punishable under section 140 of the same law.
”That you Barrister Maxwell Okpara and Barrister Jubilate Obasikene sometime in September 2020 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, did conspire to commit an offence to wit: giving false information with the intent to mislead public servant and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 96 of the Penal Code law of Northern Nigeria as applicable in the FCT, and punishable under section 97 of the same law.
”That you Barrister Jubilate Obasikene on the 9th of September 2020 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, did inform the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, that you represented the Unity Bank Plc during the hearing of appeal No CA/A/18/M/2017, and consented to the withdrawal and striking out of the motion paper dated August 29, 2020, and filed on September 1, 2020, knowing that the Unity Bank Plc never authorised you to represent it in the proceedings and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 140 of the Penal Code law of the Northern Nigeria as applicable in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, and punishable under section 140 of the same law.
2nd House Prize Winner Emerges In Festival Of Joy Promo Draw In Port Harcourt
Foremost mobile network operator, Globacom, on Thursday held a draw to select the winner of a second three-bedroom house prize in Port Harcourt in furtherance of its Festival of Joy loyalty reward promo.
In a press statement issued by the company after the Port Harcourt draw, Globacom encouraged subscribers who desire to win prizes in the promo to dial *611# and keep recharging (voice and data during the promo period) to qualify for the draw.
The winning number was drawn by an elderly Glo subscriber, Mr. Ogbomade Sampson Joe, who was present at the Gloworld to transact business. It was witnessed by several Glo subscribers, the media as well as Mr. Koko Finny, the representative of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) in Port Harcourt.
The lucky Glo subscriber who emerged winner in the draw will receive the house prize at a presentation ceremony billed for Friday, December 9, 2022.
Three lucky Glo subscribers had previously become landlords in Ibadan, Abuja and Port Harcourt courtesy of Glo Festival of Joy promo which has on offer, 20 houses, 24 brand new cars, 100 generators, 200 sewing machines and 1,000 rechargeable fans.
Abducted Ondo Monarch Regains Freedom
The monarch of Oso Ajowa Akoko in in Akoko North-West Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Clement Jimoh, who was kidnapped, has regained freedom.
The traditional ruler, who was abducted in his palace, was set free by the bandits after he had spent seven days in their den.
According to a family source, the monarch was freed on Wednesday evening and he had been taken to the hospital where he was receiving treatment.
“Kabiyesi regained freedom yesterday (Wednesday) evening but he has been taken to the hospital for treatment,” the source stated.
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