It was another memorable evening of pulsating fun and entertainment as Ovation Carol took Lagos by storm, thrilling everyone with a good mix of gospel and circular music.
Held at the Eko Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, the Ovation Carol sponsored by Esther Ajayi Foundation lived up to its billing as the biggest annual event of the year featuring the biggest and brightest stars in Africa’s music industry.
The 13th edition of the fiesta kicked off from the creatively decorated red carpet which was crafted by Mr Kingsley James-owned IDCL, the scenery was also enhanced by personnel of Fotofast led by Miss Tobi Enitan (they mounted their latest gadgets to capture guests at the event for posterity) With beautiful array of designs depicting past editions of Ovation International Magazine and memorable moments in the history of Ovation Group as backdrop, the whole area was a lovely.
Kick starting the show officially was the magnificent performance of the highly rated Hymnodia Choir.
With carols and hymns, Hymnodia Choir took the audience on a musical journey, no one was in doubt that Christmas was in the air with the superlative rendition of the choir, which was appreciated with a wondrous applause.
With ebullient comedian and broadcast personality, Okey Bakassi as Compere, the evening moved on smoothly. Okey kept his jokes short and simple and ensured that the organiser’s concept of more music and less talk was achieved.
One of the speeches was from the Chief Host and Chairman, Ovation Media Group, Bashorun Dele Momodu. He told the cheering audience to brace up for the an exciting evening while delving down memory lane on the journey of Ovation as an entity and Ovation Carol as ‘one of the reasons Lagos is the most important city in Africa’.
Bashorun Momodu’s address was later followed with remarks from the event sponsor and Founder of Esther Ajayi Foundation, Reverend Mother Esther Ajayi. Her invitation was heralded by a thunderous ovation, signifying her acceptability as an amiable woman of faith, whose stock in trade is giving.
Delivering her speech in company of her husband, Reverend (Dr.) Ademuyiwa Ajayi, the renowned philanthropist acknowledged the good work of Ovation Media Group has been associated with over the years. She paid glowing tributes to Ovation Founder, Bashorun Momodu whom she described as a man of integrity with a good heart. She called on all who are in doubt about her source of wealth to ask questions instead of dwelling in gossip, adding that her Foundation will continue to sponsor the Ovation Carol for the next 10 years, at least.
The stage was then set for the lively evening with rising stars Gypsy, Jimi Abduls, Fresh L Wole DSB, Koye Sax, Aramide and Rema setting the pace. They were followed by back to back by the continent’s super stars.
Rave of the moment and Grammy Nominee, Burna Boy, ensured there the audience were kept on their toes. Right from when he was announced, through to his last song, he was phenomenal. Burna, just like last year, was the star of the evening.
Free spirited Teni also ranked her in the minds of the audience, she was greeted with enthusiasm by as many of those who ‘want to be a billionaire’. She literally commanded and controlled her stage like it was second nature.
During the performance of her hit ‘wait for me’, Teni practically dragged ‘one fine bobo’ up stage, and pretended she was proposing to him. The young man, who turned out to be Wahab Okoya, the teenage son of billionaire businessman, Alhaji Razak Okoya, did not respond to her love advances. He just stood still, taking pictures, while ignoring Teni’s seductive moves. But the crowd was greatly thrilled by this spontaneous action and screamed with delight.
That was not all, street hop master and rapper, Olamide fondly called Badoo was soon to mount the stage and he also gave a good account of himself. Rude boy, one half of the former Psquare was also on stage and he too did not disappoint.
The organisers of the carol also gave its platform to evergreen acts like Elegant Stallion, Onyeka Onwenu and “Omoge” crooner, Mike Okri. They both took many in the audience down memory lane and it was refreshing to see many sing along to some of the tunes.
Gospels acts also came in full force from the energetic Testimony, spiritually-stimulating instagram sensation, Funke Akinokun to the dramatic Tim Godfrey, and afrocentric saxophonist, Mike Aremu, they all served a full course of food for the soul.
The high point of the evening which was produced by Chaterhouse was the presentation of awards and induction of prominent achievers into the Ovation Hall of Fame. The first to be inducted was ace photographer and the real “Mr. Do All”, Sunmi Smart-Cole.
Reading the recipient’s citation before the award was presented, a former aide of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Rueben Abati, noted that Smart-Cole has practically conquered the field of photography, became a barber and rose to become the Managing Editor at The Guardian.
The 78 years old Smart-Cole received his award from the Minister of Transport, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in company of the Chief Executive Officer, Ovation Media Group, Bashorun Dele Momodu.
In his response, Sunmi Smart-Cole, while expressing his gratitude to Ovation, stated that through photography, he has been privileged to hold exhibitions in five continents, travelled to 28 countries, gained fame and met many Presidents and Heads of State.
The next recipient was Afro juju originator, Sir Shina Peters, who couldn’t hide his joy at being selected for the award.The award was presented to the ace singer by top academic, Prof Wale Adebanwi in the presence of Dr. Rueben Abati and CEO, Ovation Media Group, Chief Dele Momodu.
Expressing his appreciation to the Ovation Group and Chief Momodu, SSP as he is fondly called exclaimed, ‘I’m fulfilled’.
Concluding the awards for the night was the Director, African Studies Centre, Oxford University, Prof. Wale Adebanwi, who was obviously caught unawares. The trio joined the likes of former President of Ghana, HE John Dramani Mahama, Founder of Esther Ajayi Foundation and prolific giver, Reverend Esther Abimbola Ajayi and Chief Alex Duduyemi as inductees of the Ovation Hall of Fame.
Among other dignitaries that attended the event were former FirstBank’s Group MD, Mr. Olabisi Onasanya and family, Chairman, Eleganza Group, Chief Razak Okoya and wife, Shade Okoya; Minister of Transport, Rt Hon. Rotimi Amaechi; Princess Toyin Kolade, Chief Olu Okeowo,former Ogun State governor, Aremo Segun Osoba; Chief Oyekunle Alex-Duduyemi, Dr. Cecilia Ibru, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu, Dr. Rueben Abati, Ambassador Toye Okanlawon, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick; Mr. Steve Ayorinde, Mr. Dayo Adedayo, Mrs Dolapo Badmos, KICC’s Pastor Femi Faseru, Prince Damola Aderemi, Prince Wale Osiyemi, Prince Iyiola Ayoade, AIG Tunji Alapini (rtd) and wife, Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya and wife, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, Otunba Funsho Lawal, Prince Bisi Olatilo, Mr Benny Obaze, Mr. Bisoye Fagade.