The Big Monkey’s last interview --‘PMAN presidency or death’
Rowland Onwuama, musician, writer, three time PMAN presidential aspirant and father of popular kid star, Chichi Onwuama aka Chichi of Africa on Tuesday February 21 slumped and died of heart attack at his Ikorodu, Lagos home, barely 24 hours after yet another disappointing outing at the PMAN elections in Kaduna State.
Onwuama, who was disqualified by the electoral committee on what he described as “frivolous conditions”, spoke briefly with Blockbuster shortly before leaving the Gamji Park venue of the elections Monday night. Excerpts:
Reaction to disqualification
My reaction? Ha, my brother, the world is a funny place. If the world is not funny, these people will not wait until the day of the election (Monday night) before suddenly remembering that I am not qualified to run. For your information, I paid N50, 000 to pick the presidential nomination form for this election. I didn't contest the election free. Now, they are using some frivolous conditions, which only they understand to disqualify me.
Who expelled Big Monkey?
They said I was expelled from PMAN two years ago. Who expelled me? Who expelled the Big Monkey? Let the person come and say so. I was never expelled. I did not get any letter of expulsion. Who can expel me in PMAN? It's all lies. They just wanted to stop me from running for nothing. They must give a reason anyway. Very funny people, the Big Monkey is an authentic member of PMAN. Don't mind these funny people. Even, Charly Boy asked them the same question, why expel Big Monkey?
Why I want to be PMAN president
Wait my friend, I am not bent on being president of PMAN. I am trying to contribute my quota. It is you people that are responsible for the problems here. You know that it is what you tell the public, especially these musicians, that they will believe. I want to do what I think should be done to change the lives of these people, to help them reap from where they are sowing.
To help them stop eating from hand to mouth. I know how to do it, that is why I am contesting for president. And I will not stop until I have achieved my mission. Unless I die, PMAN must benefit from what I can do. The musicians need help and I am offering myself, only that some funny people are bent on stopping me.
Am I heading for court? No, no, no I wouldn't do that. An elder will not behave like that. I wouldn't go to court. It will only add to the problems. Rather, I will see how I can help the eventual winner on what should be done to move the association forward. I will not go to court at all. But for now, I want to go and examine everything that has happened here, then I will know how best to tackle the issue. But I will not go to court.
On my daughter, Chichi of Africa
She is now a better musician. That I can tell you authoritatively. But as I was saying, except we make the industry viable, our stars will continue to have restrictions, which are responsible for the lull in the industry. Not only my daughter, Chichi will be affected but all other musicians.
How many musicians of those days are in slumber today? Some are even in musical coma and nothing is being done to bring them back. A lot must be done to make the industry viable. Chichi is doing well and she is a better musician that I can tell you. I am sure you know where to get her. She is totally not out of the industry, but what I am saying is that with a better industry, people like her will be around for a longer time.
Unless I die…
I have told you that until I get the opportunity to do what I think should be done in PMAN, I will not give up. I am a stakeholder in the industry. I stand to benefit from a viable music industry and the present situation is affecting me. Imagine after paying N50, 000 to contest this election, I have to go by night bus to Lagos because I don't have enough money to go by flight. If the industry is favourable that will not happen. Many of these musicians you see here are really living in poverty. Very few are breaking through. The majority is poor and nothing is being done to help them. I will not give up contesting for PMAN presidency. Unless I die, I will keep contesting until I emerge victorious.