Victor Uwaifo @80: COSON Celebrates The Legendary Composer, Guitarist and Performer Extraordinaire

The great lyricist, melody maker, multi-instrumentalist, sculptor, designer, performer per excellence and intellectual giant, Prof. Victor Uwaifo is 80 this 1st of March 2021. Throughout this week, there will be continuous celebration of the incredible life of the maestro at the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja, the headquarters of Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization. The celebration will climax on Saturday, March 6, 2021 in Benin – City with the presentation of a 600 page biography of this great Nigerian. At the Benin – City event, COSON will decorate the celebrant with the “Grand Copyright Medal of Honour”, the first time anyone anywhere has been decorated with such a medal.

His close friend life-long fan and admirer, Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), herein pays tribute to the living legend who himself is a staunch leader of the COSON family.
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 designer popular music forms like Sasakosa, Ekassa, Titibiti, Akwete, etc, which decade after decade, have arrested the attention of music lovers in Nigeria and every other part 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, etc. 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.

Victor 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, etc. He gave an unforgettable performance at the United Nations in New York during the UN Golden Jubilee celebration.

Prof Victor 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 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 Ph.D Architectural Sculpture from the same university where he has been a Professor for several years. 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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