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How not to entertain the First Lady

Thursday last week, First lady, Dame Patience Jonathan attracted over 30.000 women from across Nigeria and other African countries to the Eagles Square, Abuja for a rally tagged “Nigerian Women Rally for Peace and Empowerment”.

The event was meant to sensitize women in the country on the gains recorded so far in enhancing peace and women empowerment.

The traffic snarl caused by the rally, provoked angry reactions from workers and residents of Abuja, who had to trek long distances. While the event has drawn flak from many, others also believe that it was also expected of an event of that magnitude, especially, considering the security situation in the country.

The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan
The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan

Entertainment flaw

To lighten the atmosphere, the organisers laced the event with entertainment and assembled an array of popular Nigerian entertainers made up of Stand up comedians and musicians, apparently to showcase the huge talents in Nigeria, the Giant of Africa.

This was unfortunately where the major flaw of the event manifested.

Although this is not to criticise the rally, but one would have also expected that for an event that attracted such  dignitaries and engaged the prime time of Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, for over an hour, the organisers would have used the latest audio/visual equipments.

For instance, in this 21st century where everything is going mobile, it could only have been in Nigeria, that an event of such magnitude, would see the use of a wired microphone rather than a wireless system.

In fact, event or conference  organisers, today decorate speakers and entertainers with Easy Talk wireless USB microphone system consisting of a belt pack transmitter, Lavalier microphone (commonly known as lapel or Clip mic) and wireless receiver. The Clip Mic and the belt pack transmitter, interact with the audio reinforcement mounted somewhere in the venue.

While a wireless microphone will give confidence and ease of movement, the wired microphone will distort movement, distract and limit performance. And, this was exactly what happened to both the entertainers and the lady compere who handled the day.

How they entertained

To the credit of the event organisers, entertainers like Bose Ogunboye, the famous comedienne popularly known as Lepacious Bose  ;  Iyanya, the popular hip- hop star of Tukere fame; renowned Hausa musician Sani Danja and delectable lady of songs, Onyeka Onwenu, performed at the event.

However, the beauty of Bose’s performance often derives from the way she moves her big frame on stage while telling her jokes. But Bose, on that day, was a shadow of herself.

So also was the Akwa Ibom born music star Iyanya, who has attracted numerous fans to his music due to his Tukere dance steps. On this day, the crowd never got the dance steps.

Absence of Live Band

As a viewer, it appeared that the musicians mimed to their CDs instead of performing live.

Here again, the organisers fell short of reckoning as the play back equipment could not give optimum performance to some of the CDs.

For instance Iyanya’s CD output on the playback machine was very poor, making his mime poor, flat and uninteresting. Meanwhile, that of Sani Danja was loud and helped his mimes to deliver sweet tunes to the ear.

However, Danja who is famed for his sonorous voice, unique,mesmerising leg movements and acrobatic dance steps, could hardly display any of these due to the long ropes of the microphone limiting his movements.

Popular gospel artiste, Ayefele was another musician that performed at the event. Ayefele has made name in the music industry despite being physically challenged. With his customised  wheel chair, he usually wows his audience with deft movements while performing, but not on this day. Ayefele could not do much movement, unless he was prepared for a fall.

Why poor performance

All these entertainers could have given more if the audio equipment to support their acts were standard.

That this happened in the growing world of mobile technology where Nigeria is also blazing the trail, particularly in telecommunications, was worrisome.  It was embarrassing that all that happened in the presence of President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife and his Vice, Namadi Sambo.

It definitely was not the best way to entertain the First Lady, nor a president that may have approved some of the huge funds that sponsored the event.


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