…. As Niteshift Lays the Red Carpet for Christy Essien

Not everyone may know but there is a huge debate going on presently in the Nigerian entertainment community. There is also scheming, intrigues and midnight politicking in full swing. Since the massive Press Conference at Niteshift Coliseum on Tuesday August 2 at which it was announced that on Tuesday September 6, Niteshift will host a show of no mean caliber, an unprecedented Red Carpet Tribute Night in honour of the Lady of Songs, Christy Essien-Igbokwe who transited on June 30, the industry has been sizzling. The fact that the show is being crafted by some of the best brains the entertainment industry has ever produced, has started a storm. Every serious artiste in the land wants to feature at the event which has been described as a night of “champagne entertainment” and which is expected to have colossal media coverage.

When former PMAN president and now Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji announced that the night will feature a special performance by “the Five Divas”, a selection of five of Nigeria's best female voices representing five different generations to mark the five decades which Christy Essien Igbokwe who died at 50 lived, he may not have known that he was lighting a fire. Now, everybody wants to know more. Who will those five divas be and what will be the criteria for choosing them?

The only person in Nigeria who has the answers to these questions is none other than Okoroji himself not known to be bothered by raging controversies. To make matters worse, Okoroji appears not willing to tell anyone yet how his mind is working. What he is known to have done is to instruct a reconstituted Goldtrain Orchestra, Christy Essien's backing band with which she gave happiness to fans around the world, to rehearse a certain number of the greatest hits of the Lady of Songs without telling them who they will be backing. So, the entertainment community holds its breath and managers and publicists of various artistes bombard Okoroji with telephone calls and unscheduled visits.

Okoroji is reported to have said about the show, “Those who know me know that if you want a normal event, you don't need me. There are so many who can deliver such an event. If I am involved, then be ready for the unusual and the extra-ordinary… be ready for a breath taking show you won't forget as long as you live. You can't have a show involving an Olumese and an Okoroji and something spectacular does not happen. It is not possible. Those who get the chance to be at Niteshift on Tuesday, September 6 will be part of history. You can quote me”

Not many in Nigeria would have forgotten that it was Tony Okoroji who was lowered down in style from the dizzying roof of the National Theatre with fireworks, lights and musical fanfare at a Nigerian Music Awards super show which enchanted an entire nation and became part of the entertainment industry's folk history. In the recent past, the Federal Government has had to fly Okoroji to Abuja to produce a number of “Class A” events on behalf of the nation. It was Okoroji, the man of great details and style, who produced the Night of the Melting Pot, with which Nigeria thrilled the oil ministers from around the world when the nation hosted the OPEC Summit in Abuja.

More than three weeks to the event, Okoroji is known to have held several meetings with Mr. Ken Calebs-Olumese, the Guvnor of Niteshift, who also has an unblemished standing for excellent organization. They are said to have discussed every detail of the show. According to Olumese, the night will be something to remember. In his words, “the red carpet will be fluffy, the sound will be crisp, the show will be good and dress code for all staff will be super oriental ornamental. Christy Essien was a Platinum Card member of Niteshift. She had great love for the club. Indeed, when we started the now most respected Grand House Reception, she was our first guest, along with then Coach of the Super Eagles, Clemence Westerhof. We don't do this for just anyone”

As the debate rages over who will make the list of the Five Divas, a parallel debate is going on. Who will be the 500 lucky couples who will get the specially embossed invitation cards to the Red carpet Tribute Night for Christy Essien-Igbokwe at Niteshift Coliseum which has hosted practically every man of power, influence and glamour in the land and beyond, including the likes of MKO Abiola, President Jerry Rawlings, President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, etc?

Dr. Austin Izagbo, former Delta State Commissioner for Youth, Sports & Culture who chairs the Christy Essien-Igbokwe Burial Committee has assured those who may not get invited to the Tribute Night that several other big events are being organized which will give every fan of Christy Essien–Igbokwe a chance to participate in the celebration of her life. For instance, Dr. Izagbo has called on Lagosians to turn out in their thousands at Teslim Balogun Stadium Surulere on Saturday, September 3 to witness what will be an unforgettable Football Match of the Stars at which the biggest stars of Nollywood will fight it out with the big Stars of Nigerian music for the Godswill Akpabio trophy. Speaking further of the Match of the Stars which will be transmitted to the world by Supersports, Dr. Izagbo said, “Every Lagosian should tell his neighbour and friend not to miss this show. It will be awesome! They should come with their camera phones as their will be many exciting images to record. There will be so many side attractions for everyone to catch big time fun and it is all free of charge!”.