Friday, 19 August 2016

We want to preach peace and security through music - Music Entrepreneur

Mr. Henry Izuchukwu Ukachukwu is the CEO of Henry B Klassic Entertainment. The Federal Polytechnic Oko graduate of Business Administration hails from Imo state, although he was born and bred in Anambra state.

In this interview with our contributor, Ostar Eze at Awka, Mr. Ukachukwu, while disclosing his Odyssey in the music entrepreneurship, announced his plan to launch what he termed “Peace and Security Concert in Anambra. Excerpts:

Henry’s Journey to Music?

From the origin, I had always been a music enthusiast. I enjoyed and played all kinds of music; Reggae, Highlife, Hiphop, excetera. A habit that always got me in trouble with my father who was a conservative given his religious vocation. I was also a vocalist in the church. Music was a natural flair. But I never wanted to be a public figure.
However, I started schooling at St Faith, Awka before moving to St Paul's Primary School, Awka. But when my dad, who is a clergyman was transferred to Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area, our family relocated, and I enrolled at St Catherine's Comprehensive Secondary School, Ekwulobia.
Also, I finished my secondary school education at Urban Secondary School, Ekwulobia, and further studied Business Administration at Federal Polytechnic, Oko, graduating in 2006.
Meanwhile, during my graduation year, I and other members of an entertainment club decided to close down our club by organizing a life show that would bring a lot of people. Then, Cosmo FM, Enugu was in trend. We liaised with their DJs, got the partnership of very big shots in Oko, including the Director of Rozander Hotel. The show was such an explosive success. I had not been to Lagos before then but that show took me to Lagos where I contracted Sample (Ekwe). Then, Ekwe was at the prime of his career as a music artiste. We brought him down to Oko for the show. The show was a grand success.
At course of the show, Sample observed that I was not stuff for Anambra state and encouraged me to join them at Lagos where my Entertainment promotion and organisation (which he was obviously impressed with) would be better appreciated.
As a result, I went to Lagos after my graduation, and launched myself formally into the music industry in Lagos. I hosted 120 DJs, 12 media houses and a lot of other entertainment firms in Lagos state to launch Henry B Klassic Entertainment into the Music Industry. From there, I started running shows, both on the streets and in establishments, managing artistes and suchlike. That was how we got into the music industry and it has been a rich and profitable experience all the way. These days, you find that music is the in-thing. Back in the days, when you indicate interest in music, your parents and relatives would tag you wayward, 'ofeke', but these days, football is the order of the day. These days, everybody would want to associate with musicians and musicians are big boys. We show promoters have all their contacts.
Presently, I want to break the jinx of Showbiz in the South East and make it a big deal, just as it is in Lagos.

Now, let us talk about your Peace and Security Concert. When and how did you conceive the idea and what is it all about?

I have been seeing a lot of crisis in the society.  A lot of people die, maimed or rendered homeless as a result of conflicts and wars. We got really concerned about this and started thinking of how we can reach the youths who are the primary target of conflict and instigators. We now perceived that it would be good if we go to the society with the language of music to preach peace and security.

You know that whenever a country is at peace and secured, a lot of investors come in. Business will be flourishing and development is facilitated. That is why we decided to marry showbiz with the message of peace and security, a strategy we believe would drive the message home better. This birthed the concert of peace and security.
We want to use known faces in the music industry to draw the crowd and pass the message of peace to them. People should be security conscious, promptly report any suspicious activities in their environment to the security agencies. We don't want to hold a conventional show where people just come, pay gate fee and get entertained. The event is a free show.
So far, a lot of people want to be part of Peace and Security Concert and more people are invited to partner with it to make it a resounding success.

I understand that there is such a concert in the Offings.  Can you share with us how far you have gone and when we should be expecting the show in Anambra state?

So far, we have been able to break into the Anambra state government. We introduced the idea to Anambra state government, they set up a committee to look into the project and saw that the project is good to the society. So, they have endorsed it. We have the endorsement letter with us. The government now propelled us to package our materials, source for funds from the private sector and carry out the event. We have talked to our artistes and to some media houses to partner with us, given it is more of a humanitarian outing seeking to impact the society positively. We want to also use the platform to appreciate the governor for how far he has gone with security in the state. At Lagos amongst other places, people have begun to address Anambra as a safe economic hub for investment. So far, we are looking for more sponsors to come in and partner with us, because we already have our team ready, our materials set and our artistes on standby for mobilization.
There is also going to be a PowerPoint projection of the old Anambra before the present Administration with it's security issues and then the present security status of the state courtesy of the present administration.
Also, we have other packages to make the event trending. What we have been waiting for is here already, which is the government's endorsement letter. It is here now, so we are good to go. We therefore call on individuals, firms, brewery, telecommunications, to partner with us. Let us preach security and peace to our people through music.

ASUU Wants FG to Address issues of funding, autonomy, others in universities

Okey Chris

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has urged the federal government to address what it termed depressing issues which could threaten the smooth running of universities in the country.

Addressing newsmen in Awka, the ASUU Zonal Coordinator, Owerri zone, Prof Ike Odimegwu, lamented that FG had reneged on the agreement signed with the union in 2009, including the funding of universities, universities autonomy, conditions of service, among others which led to the ASUU-FG Memorandum of Understanding of 2012 and 2013 for effective implementation of the agreement, which equally failed.

Odimegwu, who said that the Federal government has not given attention to paying arrears of 2009 to 2015 earned academic allowances in the universities, insisted that it is a violation of the right of ASUU members which has been generating tension.

He said, “Based on the ASUU-FG MOU of November 2013, Nigerian universities need one trillion, three hundred billion naira (N1, 300, 000.000) to reposition the universities to compare favorably with others around the world. Today government is in arrears of N605 billion as at the third quarter of 2016.

“Similarity the budgetary allocation to education has drastically dropped from 11 percent in 2015 to 8 percent in 2016, this situation has scutled the smooth process of revitalizing the universities…, and led to several abandoned projects in many campuses.”

The Zonal Coordinator further identified the issue of short falls in personnel emoluments in federal universities and irregular/nonpayment of salaries and subventions in state universities, saying the development has become worry some.

He also argued that the implementation of the treasure single account has made it impossible for universities to draw research grants, run programmes based on endowment funds and transfer funds earmarked for staff development in universities locally and overseas, saying the policy is inimical to the well being of universities.

“All our appeals for government to exempt universities from the TSA require has failed. ASUU would take necessary steps to resist the continued implementation of TSA in our universities”.

On the state of the nation, the union expresses worry over the state of nations’ economy, especially the adoption of the world bank/IMF sponsored policy of privatization and deregulation in the federal government, saying it has resulted to unprecedented devaluation of the naira.

“The consequence of this development is the spiraling prices of essential goods and the intolerable hardship experienced by Nigerians”, he added.

The ASUU also lamented  the inability of  many state governors to pay workers’ salaries as at when due, saying it calls for worry, asserting that as at today, not less than 28 of the 36 states owe workers’ salaries of between six and twelve months.

“We once again appeal to Nigerians to prevail on the Federal government to arrest a brewing restive situation in the nations universities system. The Government had remained insensitive to the current depressing situation in our universities and country at large, making it difficult to achieve peace, prosperity and sustainable development”, they pointed out.

Others in attendance Comrade Emeka Nwabunnia, Chairperson, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli (COOU); Dr. Ikenna Nwachukwu, Chairperson, Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO); Dr. Chidi Nwadiaro, Chairperson, Imo State University, Owerri (IMSU); Dr. Uzochukwu Onyebinama , Chairperson, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU); Dr. Dennis Aribodor, and Chairperson, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (NAU)



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