Uwaifo @80 honoured with highest copyright award

Victor Uwaifo

Okoroji, Uwaifo and KSB

 

BY NICHOLAS ABE


All-round artist, entertainer, designer, composer, performer and intellectual giant, Prof Victor Efosa Uwaifo, was on Saturday, March 6 2021, decorated with the “Grand Copyright Medal of Honour”, in Benin, Edo State, the first time anyone would be so decorated in Nigeria.

The honour was part of the highlights to celebrate the 80th birthday of the man who has traversed the entire landscape of both the performing and visual arts in Nigeria and leaving giant footprints on every pathway.

It also marked the climax of the celebration which attracted the high and mighty to Uwaifo’s Superstar Highgate on Victor Uwaifo Avenue, Ekewan/College Road, Benin City. The decoration was preceded by a documentary on the life of the all-round creative genius and the presentation of a 600-page biography of the great Nigerian, authored by Prof Muyiwa Peter Awodiya.

The presentation of a plaque and decoration with the Grand Copyright Medal of Honour was done by the celebrated former President of the Performing Musicians’ Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and current Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji. He was supported by the gospel singer and COSON Board member, Kenny Saint Brown (KSB).

Said Okoroji at the presentation, “I have had the privilege of presenting the Copyright Medal of Honour to a few very distinguished Nigerians and an international personage but not once have we presented the Grand Copyright Medal of Honour to anyone, anywhere. Today will be the first time ever, because in every way the gentleman standing next to me has created history in so many-many ways. He has been in the battle for the respect for intellectual property in Nigeria.

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“It is my honour and privilege today, with my colleague representing the Board, the Management and thousands of members of Copyright Society of Nigeria all over the world, to honour you and decorate you with the Grand Copyright Medal of Honour.”

At the event blessed by the Catholic Archbishop of Benin, Most Reverend Augustin Obiora Akubueze, were several traditional rulers, professors and academic dons, from across the nation, businessmen and politicians. Also present were representatives of several institutions attended by the legend, such as the University of Benin, Yaba College of Technology, Western Boys High School, St Gregory’s College, Lagos. There was also a hoard of media representatives at the event in which Prof Uwaifo performed a widely applauded version of his evergreen hit song and first African gold disc winner, Joromi, with the audience singing along and his guitar spinning wildly.

Prof Victor Uwaifo who is easily the most educated and academically decorated performing artiste in the world, has been invited to the State House by four Presidents and Heads of State of Nigeria and has been the recipient of several national and international awards.

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In 1997, he was awarded the Certificate of Honor 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 has been 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, Prof. Victor Uwaifo was one of the select Nigerians awarded the fellowship of the Nigerian Academy of Letters at a grand event at the University of Lagos.

Victor Uwaifo who served as Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Edo State of Nigeria between 2001 and 2003 was born on the 1st of March 1941 in Benin City.

He attended Western Boys High School in his hometown and later, St Gregory’s College, Lagos. He subsequently 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 PhD Architectural Sculpture from the same university where he has been a Professor for several years.

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