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Google celebrates Christy Essien-Igbokwe’s 58th posthumous birthday with a Doodle

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A Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepages that commemorates holidays, events, achievements and people.

Christy Essien-Igbokwe’s Google Doodle

“Born in Akwa Ibom state on this day in 1960, Christy Essien-Igbokwe was an actress and singer known as “Nigeria’s Lady of Songs.”

“Fluent in her native language of Ibibo, Essien-Igbokwe also spoke and sang in English, Yoruba, and Igbo giving her music a broad appeal across cultural and tribal lines.

“Among her many popular releases, the inspirational record “Seun Rere” became a rallying cry within Nigeria,” Google said.

Google said that she once recalled saying that her childhood was very challenging, she used to have a brother who was a soldier then and was always on transfer owing to the nature of his job.

It said Essien-Igbokwe was orphaned very early and her love of music inspired her to persevere.

“I didn’t know I could sing until I found myself doing so”, the great artist recalled of her experience being caught up in the spirit of music. I was like an abandoned child, my condition made me discover myself,” she was quoted as saying.

Google said that from humble beginnings to singing in clubs, she landed an appearance on a televised talent show, which led to a role on the popular TV show ‘The New Masquerade’.

“Essien-Igbokwe released her first record, Freedom, at age 17 and never looked back. Her 1981 album Ever Liked My Person became a smash hit. In 1987 the Akwa-Ibom artist recorded a song, “Akwa Ibom Mmi,” which became an anthem of pride for those sharing her heritage.

“Using her fame to highlight social issues, she appeared in the Hollywood films Flesh and Blood and Scars of Womanhood, which addressed the abuse of women and children.

“In 1981 Essien-Igbokwe helped establish the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria with renowned artists such as King Sunny Adé and Sonny Okosun, becoming the organization’s first female president in 1996.

“She was also a staunch supporter and advocate for the Performing and Mechanical Rights Society, often donating her own royalties to health and education programmes benefiting women and children as well as the handicapped,” it said.

Google said that using the same music that uplifted her to uplift her people, Essien-Igbokwe would go on to perform at 2009’s Inspire Africa Benefit Concert and received many awards in her lifetime in recognition of her contributions as an artist and humanitarian.

Essien-Igbokwe, a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR), died in Lagos on June 30, and was buried Sept. 10, 2011.

Happy Birthday, Christy Essien-Igbokwe!

(NAN)

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Lifestyle

PDP expresses confidence in Saraki

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State yesterday passed a vote of confidence in the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki. In a statement issued after its state executive meeting and made available to newsmen in Ilorin, the party assured Saraki of its continued support and all that he stood for.

Bukola Saraki

The statement, signed by the state Chairman of the party, Kola Shittu, assured Saraki that the party’s executive and members stood firmly behind him in all his struggles to liberate, emancipate and free the country from draconian and autocratic rule and also share in the pains of the present with him in all ramifications.

The statement also thanked Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed for his administration’s giant stride in the various development programmes embarked upon since his assumption of office in 2011. It, however, urged him to continue his good work till the end of his tenure in May.
“The party hereby assures the general public that the Garin-Alimi Underpass, the UITH dual carriage way and the new state secretariat, among other projects already embarked upon by his Excellency, would be completed by the end of his tenure.

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Lifestyle

Prominent Nigerian female curator, dies aged 56

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Bisi Silva, an adventurous curator who, with her own money, founded a nonprofit art gallery and education center in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, that has nurtured the growth and recognition of contemporary African artists, died on Feb. 12 in a hospital there. She was 56.

Her sister Joke Silva, an actress, said the cause was breast cancer.

Ms. Silva started the Center for Contemporary Art, Lagos in 2007 and made it a hub for bold and experimental sculpture, painting, photography and video and performance art that could ignite local and global interest.

She also curated exhibitions of African art around the world. One, in Helsinki, Finland, in 2011, featured the Nigerian photographer J. D. Okhai Ojeikere’s images of African women’s exotic hairstyles. (She turned that show into a book.) Others showed the work of the Ghanaian-born sculptor El Anatsui in Amsterdam and Johannesburg.

“I wouldn’t call her an African curator, but an international curator,” Hannah O’Leary, the head of modern and contemporary African art at Sotheby’s in London, said in a telephone interview. “She promoted African artists to the world and brought the international art world to Africa, and did it tirelessly. She never did the obvious: Her knowledge and vision were unrivaled.”

Ms. Silva felt that her mission was to change the way contemporary African art was being viewed from a Western perspective and to develop African artists in ways that their schools were not.

“The gaps in the art education system are jarring,” she told Frieze, an art and culture magazine, in 2017. While some West African nations like Nigeria had arts education programs, she called them “a colonial relic out of tune with present-day contextual, stylistic and intellectual realities.”

To fill the gaps, she created the Asiko Art School — actually a series of pop-up schools holding annual, monthlong educational gatherings in various African countries including Senegal, Ghana and Ethiopia, where artists, writers, historians, curators and teachers immersed themselves in seminars, workshops and exhibitions. The events gave Ms. Silva opportunities to evaluate artists’ work.

“Everyone had 15 minutes to present,” Antawan Byrd, who learned art curating under Ms. Silva at C.C.A. and is now assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, said by phone. “She’d be very critical. You had to defend your work and your research.”

Ms. Silva believed that her exhibitions, lectures, workshops, mentoring and educational programs made a positive impact in a short time.

“Twenty, 25 years ago, curators of contemporary art might have been completely and totally scared of going to ‘the Dark Continent,’ ” she told The New York Times in 2016. “Now it’s like, ‘Oh, Bisi, I want to go to Lagos, I want to go to Ghana.’ ”

Olabisi Obafunke Silva was born in Lagos on May 29, 1962. Her father, Chief Emmanuel Afolabi Silva, was a lawyer, and her mother, Charlotte Olamide Williams, was a civil servant with the Nigerian Railway.

After graduating from the University of Dijon in France, where she studied languages, she earned a master’s in curating contemporary art from the Royal College of Art in London. Her thesis examined the marginalization of black artists at exhibitions in England.

Ms. Silva returned to Lagos in 2002, inspired by her research but disappointed that she could not find an outlet for her vision of curating contemporary African art.

“Most of the galleries were commercial, and as far as I knew, there were no nonprofits,” she told Frieze. “Government institutions were moribund, and there was no place for young artists interested in experimenting with media other than painting and sculpture.”

She decided to start C.C.A, becoming its artistic director.

“There is no government funding for such initiatives,” she said in a lecture at the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in 2017. “If you want to do something, you have to do it yourself.”

Her cutting-edge shows at C.C.A. included “The Progress of Love,” which explored love through performance work by Jelili Atiku of Nigeria and Wura-Natasha Ogunji of the United States, and installations by Temitayo Ogunbiyi of Nigeria and the United States and Valerie Oka of Ivory Coast; “Identity: An Imagined State,” which looked at African identity in videos by artists from Africa and South America; and “Like a Virgin … ,” an exploration of women’s bodies, sexuality and identities by Lucy Azubuike, a Nigerian sculptor, and Zanele Muholi, a South African photographer.

“Virgin” was “a divisive show,” Ms. Silva said in an interview in 2017 with Pulse.com, a Ghanaian news website. “There were a lot of objections to Muholi’s photographs of her menstrual blood.”

In addition to Joke Silva, she is survived by two other sisters, Olajumoke Dawodu and Ojuolape Silva; and two brothers, Olabiyi Silva and Bolaji Oladunjoye. She considered her 13 nieces and nephews her children.

Ms. Silva had a particular expertise in organizing photography exhibitions and in creating a library of visual arts at C.C.A.

Oluremi C. Onabanjo, a scholar of African arts, wrote in Aperture magazine after Ms. Silva’s death that her influence on photography “will be writ large, emphasized in bold.”

Citing the vast range of work that radiated from C.C.A., Ms. Onabanjo wrote that “her remarkable vision and indefatigable spirit instigated tectonic shifts in editorial, curatorial and institutional frameworks in Nigeria and across the African continent.”

NYT

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Rivers: Army faults assassination allegation levelled against top military officer

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The Nigerian Army has debunked an allegation leveled against the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarham by Governor Nyelsome Wike of Rivers State that the GOC planned to assassinate him.

Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rives State

In a statement issued in Abuja by the spokesman of the Army, Colonel Sagir Musa, the Army maintained that governor Wike deployed a smear campaign against the GOC.

Colonel Musa said: “The Nigerian Army (NA) wishes to respond to the bogus and unsubstantiated allegations being peddled by the Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike. Some of his rancorous claims were that the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Maj Gen Jamil Sarham purportedly sent troops to cordon off his residence prior to the rescheduled General Elections on the 15th of February 2019.

“The Governor further went on to allege an assassination attempt on his life which he claimed was orchestrated by the GOC 6 Division.

“The NA is appalled that a Governor who should epitomize leadership and good example in all senses could descend so low to employ smear campaign against the person of a GOC whose only responsibility amongst other things, – is about the safety and security of lives and properties in his Area of Responsibility.

“The NA does not train assassins as such the institution or her personnel cannot be involved in sending assassins to murder a state Governor as alleged by Gov Nyesom Wike.

“It is indeed no secret to the military authorities that Governor Wike has on various occasions made attempts to compromise the integrity of the GOC 6 Division.

‘Having failed, despites series of overtures and monetary pledges of millions of dollars, both in person and from cronies, it is no surprise that the frustrated Governor has resorted to this appalling campaign of calumny. One would have thought that the resolute and uncompromising stance of Maj Gen Jamil Sarham in the face of several kinds of mouth-watering inducements would have earned him a commendation from any conscientious leader.

“Alas, this was not the case from the embittered governor of Rivers State but rather, these slanderous allegations.

“Despite these unsubstantiated ramblings however, the NA has deemed it fit to clear the air by letting Governor Wike and the general public at large, know that it would not be dragged into any form of political gerrymandering concocted for the furtherance of any person’s interest or notoriety.

“As a noble institution, the NA is apolitical, neutral and would not compromise its constitutional roles under any guise. Additionally, the NA would like to give Governor Wike the benefit of doubt, to within 7 days, bring forth evidence that can substantiate the bogus claims, or he could as well, save face and keep his peace.”

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Travel & Tourism

Airlines slash fare to encourage voters

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Thousands of Nigerians who want to travel to vote in the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections have been given airfare cut by Aero Contractors and Arik Air.

Both carriers yesterday introduced promo fares in what they termed ‘Fly to Vote promotion’ to encourage disenchanted electorate. But for an eligible air traveler to qualify for the promo, he must present his Permanent Voter Card (PVC). The airlines made the disclosure in separate statements issued in Lagos.

Nigerians are set to go to the polls on February 23 to elect their President, 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives after the elections earlier scheduled for February 16 were postponed. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also fixed March 9 for gubernatorial and House of Assembly polls. Arik Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Captain Roy Ilegbodu, said the N16,000 Fly to Vote promotion was to encourage Nigerians to travel to their respective wards to cast their votes during the elections.

Ilegbodu said: “Arik Air, Nigeria’s leading airline has introduced an N16, 000 Fly to Vote promotion to encourage Nigerians to travel to their respective wards to cast their votes in the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections, as well as the Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections holding across the country on February 23, 2019 and March 9, 2019 respectively.

“The N16,000 promotional fare is the one-way ticket cost to any domestic destination on Arik Air’s network and customers must present a PVC at the point of purchase and at check-in to be eligible to fly.

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