Nigeria is blessed with songs and talents. Every Nigerian loves to sing and listen to music in one way or the other.
Nigerians are reserved in the kind of music they listen to. It has to be one that has a good rhythm, catchy and easy to remember.
The Nation goes memory lane to dig out songs that every Nigerian knows as much as the national anthem.
· Onyeka Onwenu – ‘Iyogogo’ (1992)
Iyogogo is an English/Ibo song by Onyeka Onwenu, who is a singer, songwriter, actress, journalist and politician. The song met with the popular approval and appreciation, thereafter becoming a measuring standard for songs in the same genre. The four- minute and thirty-one second song tells the story of a woman and her lover at a point in their relationship where he must decide if he would stay with her or not.
Onwenu, 64, remains the only musician to have crossed pop with juju music and highlife, seamlessly combining English and local languages to deliver songs of great social value.
· Mike Okri – ‘Hear your mama, hear your papa’
Anyone born between the late 1980s and early 1990s can never deny hearing this epic music by Mike Okri, drumming obedience and respect for parents and elders into the ears of every kid. Every child who had music enthusiasts as parents will never forget this song.
· Majek Fashek –‘Send down the rain’ (1991)
Stories have it that Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly called Majek Fashek, called for rain in Lagos in 1991 with this song and it rained continually for months and the city was flooded. That song won the Edo-born music star six US-based PMAN Music Awards.
· Fela Anikulapo-Kuti – ‘Water no get Enemy’ (1975)
Fela Anikulapo Kuti is best remembered for his politically charged lyrics as he was seen as the voice of the poor in a society ruled by dictators. His songs served as hope for people and he has since been nicknamed a “fearless prophet’’. He went as far as mentioning names, which got him into trouble countless times.
He however did a song in 1975, titled “Water no get enemy” where he discussed the importance of water to a man. He died from complications related to HIV/AIDS in 1997.
· Prince Nico Mbarga – ‘Sweet Mother’ (1976)
Prince Nico Mbarga recorded sweet mother in 1976, and it sold over 13 million copies upon its release. It is now considered globally as the African greatest song of all time.
The song suffered some persecutions, as it was turned down by EMI in 1974, citing the song’s “childish appeal.” “Sweet Mother” suffered further rejections from Decca Records and Philips Records before it was eventually released in December, 1976 by Rogers All Stars, a Nigerian recording company based in Onitsha. It has grown to be a song known by every average Nigerian.
· Christe Igbokwe Essien – ‘Seun Rere’ (1981)
‘Seun rere’ was released in 1981 by the late Christy Essien-Igbokwe. Translated to mean “be good/do good”, it was featured on the album Ever Liked My Person? under International Records, Skylark Records.
It is still being sung in 2019, 38 years after its release. Before her death in 2011, Christy Essien-Igbokwe, a fluent speaker of English, Igbo, Ibibio and Yoruba, was the first ever female president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN).
Daddy Showkey – ‘Dyna’ (1999)
John Odafe Asiemo better known as Daddy Showkey was a popular musician in the mid-90s. He grew up in Ajegunle, a “ghetto” located in Lagos. He was known with so many songs, such as Ghetto Soldier, Welcome,Dyna, “Fire Fire”, “the chicken” and others but he scored a major hit with Dyna for so many reasons.
It was catchy, danceable, and most of all it told a story of ‘Dyna’ A story that everyone could really get with. He is remembered for leading a peaceful protest march to the then National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) office in Ajegunle to draw attention to the lack of electricity supply for nine months. The move paid off and electricity was restored. As a result of his hood’s love for him, he was conferred with the title of “Aare Onifaji of Ajegunle” which means the king of enjoyment.
Seyi Sodimu – ‘Love Me Jeje’ (1997)
Before the likes of Asa, Simi, Adekunle Gold and others came to limelight, there was a Seyi Sodimu who released a single in 1997 titled “Love Me jeje” and it went on to be one of Nigeria’s love classic of the 90’s, gathering generous airplay while rising up the charts.
Seyi is currently based in Washington DC, USA and still very much in the music making business. He runs Good Life Entertainment.
2Face Idibia – ‘African Queen’ (2004)
The line “you are my African Queen, the girl of my dreams ….”, rings in the head of every Nigerian, since it was released by Innocent Idibia in 2004 shortly after disbanding from “Plaintation Boiz” . The song is assumed to be more popular than the artiste (popularly called 2Face) himself, as the market seems not to get enough of it. The song alone has won the Jos-born Nigerian star several awards
Olu Maintain – ‘Yahooze’ (2008)
“Yahooze” is a Nigerian song by Olu Maintain. It was produced by Puffy Tee with its music video shot in Nigeria It was reporter that Olu Maintain performed Yahoozee at the Royal Albert Hall, London and brought on stage, the former Secretary of State of the United States,Colin Powell, “Yahooze” won Hottest Single of the Year at the 2008 Nigeria Entertainment Awards, and the 2008 song of the year. It is argued that the song promotes “yahoo yahoo” amongst Nigerian youths, as it portrays wealth, materialism and lust.