Moprecious stands up for the youth
You may have heard Yeye Omobola Precious, popularly known as OmoNaija Moprecious’ voice on Saturday afternoons on Ahotor FM dealing with everything Nigerian on her OmoNaija show but on October 1, she wants the voices of young Nigerians on Ghana’s streets also to be heard.
She’s urging all young Nigerians who think they have exceptional talents in areas such as singing, rapping, dancing, cooking, sewing and visual art to register and come over to the Odupongkpehe School Park at Kasoa in the Central Region to showcase their abilities and win prizes.
The event is dubbed ‘Genius In The Shell.’ It forms part of this year’s Nigerian Independence Day celebration. Moprecious’ familiarity with issues pertaining to Nigerian youth in Ghana motivated her, and her Culture Africa Global Network NGO, to initiate the programme.
“It is quite fun being on radio. I love having the attention to touch on many different subjects but our young people and their dreams cannot be constantly ignored. That’s why we are reaching out to them at their own backyard,” said Moprecious
A function is organised every October 1 at the Nigerian High Commission in Accra to mark Nigerian Independence Day. Mo Precious, who has been hosting the OmoNaija show on Ahotor FM over the last six years, felt the exclusive nature of that type of celebration cut off ordinary Nigerians who also deserved to observe the occasion in some way.
She knows there are Nigerians everywhere in Ghana and decided to create a ‘celebration train’ that would stop over at one region each year and get ordinary Nigerians on board to commemorate their Independence. The initial stop was at the All Nations University at Koforidua in the Eastern Region in 2022.
“It was a good fun time. There was eating, drinking and dancing. There was useful interaction between Nigerians in Koforidua and the Ghanaian populace. There were lots of giveaways as well and everyone was happy. We wanted to take the celebration to the doorstep of ordinary folk and we did,” Moprecious stated.
This year, the attention is on the Central Region as the observance takes the form of talent discovery at a variety of creative endeavours at the Kasoa Odupongkpehe School Park. The key aim is to help build hope in young Nigerians on Ghana’s streets who are not certain about what to do with their brilliance because there’s no push from any quarters.
“Apart from cash prizes, we’ll also give winners a year’s free broadcast on air about their talents so more people can know what they are capable of and invest in them. There’s so much talent out there waiting to be discovered and uncovered.
“Though Ghanaians and Nigerians have mingled for a long time, there’s still lack of trust and
misconceptions about ourselves. We are essentially the same people but intolerance and deception sometimes creep in to divide us. We must always strive to unite and seek collective progress,” the radio presenter who has lived in Ghana for 11 years, pointed out.
Nigerians and Ghanaians have exhibited their creative talents in each other’s territory for ages. In recent times there have been all sorts of artistic collaborations, mainly on the music and film fronts, but such interactions go a long way back.
Many would remember that the great Fela Anikulapo Kuti visited and played in Ghana on many occasions in the 1960s with his then Kola Lobitos Band. He is on record to have said that the Afro Beat music he created was inspired by Ghanaian Highlife. Ghanaian venues and artists annually hold bashes as part of Felabration which is festival to honour Fela. Interestingly, two of Fela’s many wives were Ghanaians: Serwaa and Naa Lamiley
Other Nigerians active on the Ghanaian music scene in the 1960s included trumpeter Sammy Obot of Uhuru, trumpeter Zeal Onyia of Rhythm Aces, saxophonist Djibril Issah of Alcot Dandies and saxophonist Loughty Lasisi Amao who played with Uhuru and was later part of Osibisa.
Uhuru toured in Nigeria several times. Gyedu Blay Ambolley, then a singer with the band, met and fell in love with a young Nigerian woman called Toofi and that was the inspiration for his Toofi song. Singer Kofi Sammy and his band were based in Nigeria when they recorded their famous Yellow Sisi song.
There are plentiful examples of how modest efforts had eventually bloomed into significant enterprises. One hopes the Genius In The Shell undertaking matures into a fruitful venture that immensely benefits both Ghana and Nigeria.
Some of the dignitaries slated to attend the October 1 event at Kasoa include the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E. Ibok-Ete Ibas; Chairperson for the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri Erewa; HRM Oba Abdusalam Adeniyi Saka, Olu of Kasoa and HRH Igwe Dr. Kingsley Chinedu, Igbo King for the Central Region.
Wondering if there would be any jollof at the programme? Moprecious says there would be plenty in addition to several other Nigerian delicacies at unbelievably reduced rates.