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Oritz Wiliki: A Prophet in music, a Poet in writing

By Odimegwu Onwumere

When I saw the title, “But for my dad, I would have been a gangster” I

ignored reading it. This is Oritz Wiliki's interview in the Saturday

Sun, August 21, 2010. I had thought that it's one of those Charly Boy

and Oritz Wiliki's public events when rented audience celebrate and

are entertained with music and dancing, usually connected in Nigeria

where people speak Spanish instead of English when it comes to

corruption. I thought that I was going to read about the brouhaha

between the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), the Musical Copyright

Society Nigeria (MCSN), the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), and

the Collective Management Organization (CMO) over the government's

approval and none-approval of which organisation that has the sole

right of collecting the musicians' copyrights, but I was not

circumspect. One week later, I gave to read the interview of Wiliki

who dazed the world with his prophetic debut, “Give me little time to

fight the fire” in 1989. And, Wiliki didn't disappoint. But, before I

burgeon in this testament, may I thank one Dennis Ugbudian, who

conducted the wonderful interview on Wiliki for the discerning minds

to feed on.
It's 'I am sorry' for any reading person who missed reading this

interview. Although, I know that it's axiomatic that, another man's

food could be another man's poison. But, I think the interview is a

food for all Black Africans, especially the Pan-Africanists. This

Delta State-born music maestro takes one on a journey of courage,

perseverance, tolerance, religion, inspiration, communalism,

education, advise, enlightenment, advocacy, aspiration, Capitalism,

just to mention but a few. Wiliki explicates his points in

circumlocution, which makes the interview so interesting and poetic.

Starting, Wiliki tells us that whenever we don't see a man in the

public does not mean that he is not working. He says that to the

public the man might be quiet, but in his closet he is too busy with

work. He encourages that little beginning shouldn't be disdained,

because it can take one to his or her aspired acme in the things of

endeavour.
While he says that he was in their church choir and later became the

leader of the choir, Wiliki also reveals how his father, Reverend J. I

Wiliki was always preaching in campaign rallies and crusades, but

music becomes his (Oritz) own medium of reaching out to people, even

that his father was a good musician. Again, he reveals the difference

between the father and him, saying that while his father campaigned

and crusaded for Christ (which Wiliki said he enjoyed), Wiliki hates

anything that is anti-blackism.
Hear him: “What I love is nature. I am a Pan-Africanist and as such,

anything that is anti-blackism, I would fight it to the last.” This

statement is expedient, coming at the hill most Black Africans are

brainwashed to hate anything African. To this unorganised group of

Africans, they even hated the continent of Africa. Unlike their

Western counterparts, who hate Africans, but like Africa, because of

the economic resources that are naturally embedded on our soil.

Wiliki literally teaches with the statement that every Black African

should and must be proud of his or her Africanness and should stop

being caught in the web of globalisation which is the brainchild of

the West they are using to deride Africans of the remaining cultural

relics left of colonialism. His statement teaches that Black Africans

should decolonise their heart and dissuade playing the scripts they

have read and are still reading, which the whites presented before us.

His statement teaches that Black Africans are not going anywhere when

they allow their natural dividends to be destroyed by the western

civilisation. The question now before us is: Should we allow our

envied and cherished communalism be pushed to extinction in place of

Capitalism? Should we allow our envied and cherished hospitality

culture be replaced with hostility culture? Our future as Black

Africans lies in our hand.
I had always wondered to understand the “Idolatry” or the “Idol” in

our traditional beliefs. I had heard and read scorns on our

traditional beliefs by uninformed or misinformed persons and I have

wondered to a large extent the good works these our nature given

deities have done in protecting and securing our innocent people and

lands and had concluded that some people didn't understand the meaning

of “Idol” in the real sense of it. “Idol” does perform miracles.

“Idol” is dumb. Our deities are not dumb. I see anything African as a

way of life and hate any practice that's against humanism, but such

practice can't only be found in our traditional beliefs, as people are

wont to saying. In the Solomon's cathedral, what is, “Holy Ghost

Fire!”? – as has become a way by the faithful for praying against

their perceived enemies.
Oritz Wiliki enlightens us of the need to make other people stars

before becoming star. This notion is African. We are known for our

communal lifestyle, except in the few decades past that those who're

hell-bent in selling alien beliefs and lifestyle us are also selling

Capitalism to us. Capitalism is not a good market, even though that

many Black Africans have bought it and are still buying it and selling

the same as well to their kiths and kin. Wiliki inspires us of the

need and joy of human empowerment, resourcefulness and talent

exploration, not exploitation, the later being one of the alien

behaviours that the Black Africans are copying from the western world

christened Capitalism. But, we forgot that Capitalism says, 'Don't be

your brother's keeper, but your brother's kidnapper.' And, because,

many of our people are brainwashed by the western lifestyle, anybody

opposed to the later is said to be primordial.
Wiliki sounds the trumpet of Communalism to the high heavens. He said:

“...I have been a father in the business (music). I would say that I

have been making stars before my stardom... great artistes like Majek

Fashek, Ras Kimono, Mandators, Alex O, Black 7, and a host of others

have felt me. You would always see my name at the back of the slip

doing one thing or the other... I didn't start playing as Oritz

Wiliki. We started out by sectioning, playing instrument and backing

other musicians...before I started releasing my own in 1989.”

It's very unfortunate today that Capitalism does not allow some Blacks

to be inspired before they do things – especially creative works. Many

Blacks today follow peer influence, while others follow the crowd:

throwing caution to the winds that not all in the crowd have

succeeded. Some of our people send their underage children to school

(when they were supposed to be at home learning informal education),

because their neighbours have done. Majority of Black Africans today

are practicing alien cultures and traditions to the detriment of ours.

Many Blacks have refused researching and asking questions about the

origin of things. Hardly our people follow their intuitions, they

believe so much in the opinion of the expert. But, Wiliki warns

against such behaviours and urges us to follow our aura.

Hear him: “The truth is that you don't have to write when you are not

inspired. I always aim to write songs that would stand the test of

time because life itself is a circle. For some of us, we are doing it

because it is a calling, even without knowing the impact it is going

to have. Therefore, we must continue to make songs that are edifying

and sensible even in 50 years time. That is, the song that is good for

the archives.”
It is a known axiom in Africa that, united we stand, but divided we

fall. Oritsebemigho Pupa Wiliki, popularly known as Oritz Wiliki,

warns that those 'media made stars' should not be rejoicing yet,

buttressing that no project that one person solely executed that there

would not be flaws. He says that in the days he started to play music,

it takes a process to become a star. But, what are we seeing today?

Stars are made every day. Hear him: “Honestly, the media are behind

the stars being made today.”
Today, the reggae brand of music known of Wiliki is gasping for the

breath in the world of music, but he is yet to accept it. He

categorically says that it were the same media that has made many

musicians stars overnight that initiated the make-belief that that

reggae is dying. He incites the incidence when the media made makosa

became a brand of music in Nigeria that even the church played because

it's replete on the radios and televisions. However, he mellows down

and says that the migration to abroad of some reggae artistes in

Nigeria should be held responsible for the back pew reggae has

occupied in the Nigerian music industry. He, however, reiterated that,

“I don't agree with you because reggae is up there in the sky. What

you may say is that the genre of reggae has evolved over the years.

Hip-hop is an off-shoot of reggae...”
In the voice of his mother, who's from Edo and partly Owo in Ondo

State, Wiliki admonishes us about her advise to him. He quotes her,

“Oritz, the world would always expect from you what they cannot give

you. They would hurt you bitterly and expect you to forgive them by

merely saying, 'I am sorry.' They would always demand from you.”

He preaches against dishonesty and disappointment in human relations.

And, he says, “So, I hate betrayals. If you checked the Bible, you

would see that those who betrayed never had forgiveness, like Judas

Iscariot and the rest. It means that is a very great sin to betray

your friend or the trust given to you.” On marriage, he admonishes

people to understand the difference between a home and a house. He

says, “In homes, people always celebrate and enjoy themselves.” He

tells us that there are several houses but very few homes and that

women should abrogate ego in marriage and stoop to their duty even

when the men are egoistic, because never in the history has two

captains stayed in one ship.
Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author and Media Consultant, is the Founder of

Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Rivers State. Mobile: +2348032552855.

Email: [email protected]

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Odimegwu Onwumere and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."