New dawn at Music and Entertainment Gospel Awards

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A few weeks ahead of the November date for the 2016 edition of the Music and Entertainment Gospel Awards, MEGA, Lagos the entertainment capital of Nigeria, seems set for the excitement that comes with the event, publicly adjudged as the most prestigious gospel recognition platform in Nigeria.

This assertion was re-enacted when major stakeholders in the entertainment industry converged on Lagos for the MEGA Winners’ Gala Nite which held at the NECA House, Alausa Ikeaj last weekend.

Convener of the event, Femi Akintunde Johnson told Friday Flavour, that this was a major milestone for the project which amongst other things unveiled the MEGA Foundation.

“It was a night of great music, model fun, extraordinary support and infectious goodwill… By the special grace of God, all the artistes billed for the NECA House (Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos) showed up to perform! All without exception…: Kenny K’ore (in spite of certain distractions)… Mike Abdul (though he had a concert earlier same Sunday)…Eben (straight from the airport, all the way from Owerri)…Psalmos (with the entire young family)… Cute Sagay (ever cool and considerate)…Aimee (taught us a different route to the Spoken Word) …Da’Son (patient and pulsating). Yet, the rains ebbed and drizzled…never stopping…but that didn’t stop the cute Bauchi Hall from reaching its capacity! And our MCs held the forte well: the magnificent Yemi Shodimu and elegant songstress, Ify Chukwu! Young comedian, MC Watermelon also thrilled, as well as cameos by a young rapper, TLG and hostess turned singer, Ify. But it was not all gospel artistes – Lagbaja (the purple/cream-garbed masked man) made a surprise entrance mid-way, and chimed a traditional gospel song, “Gb’ope mi Oluwa…” – to the great delight of all around. The warm and inspirational presentation of the former MD of Samsung Nigeria, Idorenyen Enang, who stood in for the Serving Overseer of Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare as Chairman of the occasion, was also a revelation. He launched the MEGA Foundation whose Advisory Board was ably represented by Dr. Larry Izamoje (Chairman of Brila Group) and Mr. Yinka Bakare (MD of De-Potter Nig. Ltd.). Enang also unveiled the Award Endowment concept of which two or three categories were snapped up same night. More details later. A Special Recognition Award was presented to Teju Kareem-led Zmirage by Special Guest, Lagbaja. It was collected by top actress, Lillian Amah. Other guests include Amb. Korede Willoughby, Lampe Omoyele (MD, Nielsen WA), Tokunbo Willoughby, Tunde Kolawole (USA), Olatunde Olajide, Louis Aseme, Funso & Kemi Ige, Christian and Deola Ike, Uche Chikwendu and wife, Femi and Moji Aremu (of Hotel Support), Broda Martyns, Femi and Yinka Oyeniyi, Femi and Toyin Ojo , Femi Olotu & wife, and many more.”

Frowning at the growing lack of patronage for faith-based entertainment against their secular counterparts, Johnson in his address hoped the foundation would instill some positive changes in this direction. “We have spent too long a time exercising our intellect, lubricating our network of friends and generally bashing our heads against Corporate brick walls. But we have no Moses…very few Calebs and Joshuas… most of us only see giants and rough weather in what should be our Promised Land. Yet, we don’t want to go back to Egypt! The MEGA vision has been challenged and threatened serially by many factors in the Nigerian economic space – since the seed of MEGA was planted in 2012 – essentially because of its own uniqueness: MEGA focuses on faith-based, scripture-conscious music and related creative forms. After all, it’s boldly titled “Music & Entertainment Gospel Awards”! Yet, gospel music has produced incredibly great pool of talents and gifted individuals, over the past 100 years, who have gone ahead to astound the Church in reminding us where our hearts should rest. Though several gospel-groomed performers have morphed successfully into the World, their frustrations are understandable, not excusable. Today, the artistes who dwell largely on gospel music receive less than 5% of what their secular colleagues get in terms of patronage, endorsement or sustainable support of any sort; and by extension, any platform (like MEGA) that seeks to showcase their incredible talents and soul-lifting messages is accorded cold shoulders by major corporate institutions. Apparently their Corporate Social Responsibility quotient is offended by any stain of spirituality! We dream of a not too distant time when a MEGA HOUSE will rise with different floors representing facets of musicology and gospel entertainment: Music Production Studio, Video Production facilities, Study and Research Programmes, Exhibition Hall, Listening and Viewing Rooms, Training and Workshop facilities, Archival and Inventory Library, Intern1ational Exchange Programme, a Hall of Glory documenting and showcasing musical works of great exponents of spiritual compositions”.

MEGA is in its fourth edition.

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