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The Story of Christiana Uduak Essien-Igbokwe (known as Christy Essien-Igbokwe)



Christiana Uduak Essien-Igbokwe (known as Christy Essien-Igbokwe) was born on November 11th, 1960 in Okat, Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. During her heyday she was the grand dame of Nigerian pop music, and nicknamed the ‘First Lady of Song’.

Early Life
Christy lost her mother when she was just 12 after which she moved to Aba, Abia state to stay with her late mother’s friend. Discovering her talent, her mother’s friend urged her to pursue a career in music.

Christy began her musical career in Secondary School singing at various clubs. In 1976 she joined the satirical NTA series Masquerade. Her short role in that popular sitcom put her to the limelight and in 1977 she launched a professional music career, aged 17. Many of her albums became hit records, but none came close to the success of her 1981 hit album ‘Ever Liked My Person’ produced by Lemmy Jackson. Some of her albums include; Freedom, Patience, Time waits for no one, One Understanding, Give me a chance, Ever liked my person, It’s Time, Taking my time, Hear the call, Mysteries of Life, amongst others.

Always at the forefront of issues affecting women and children, she played remarkable roles in some of the early Nollywood flicks such as Flesh and Blood and Scars of Womanhood, both of which addressed issues of child abuse and female circumcision. With a desire to make life better for Nigerian artists, she is credited as having initiated the first meeting that brought about the formation of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN in 1981.
A year later, PMAN was founded and King Sunny Ade became the president with the late Sonny Okosuns as his vice, while she was the National Treasurer. In 1994 when PMAN was passing through one of its most trying periods, the elders of the union became afraid that the union may break up and so decided to approach Igbokwe, who was a founding member of the association in the first place. Between 1996 and 1999, she became the first female PMAN president.
Igbokwe, known for her artistic prowess on stage, charisma and dedication to her music, was truly living a spotless life until the late General Sani Abacha’s desire to sit tight in office and subsequent organisation of a one million man-march in support, by Daniel Kanu, tricked her and her entourage to Abuja. As PMAN President, she was hugely criticised for leading a few other musicians to the two million-man march organised in Abuja for the ‘Abacha must stay in office’ campaign. After the incident, the controversies which trailed it, perhaps, prompted her decision to leave office and went into private business. This scandal became one of the few regrets of her life, not necessarily because she deliberately participated in the show of shame, but because she was grossly mistaken and generally condemned despite her explanations.
One of the controversies that the Lady of Songs tried to clear her name from while alive, was the allegation by Charley Boy that she embezzled money while in office. According to her, it was the wives of Jeremiah Useni, Abacha and Babangida that saved her world from collapse at the time.
Christy was also involved in a host of charity programmes such as How a Little Bit of Kindness, Do You Hear Me Children?, Seun Rere, Hear the Call and Onwegh Ihe Ka Nnwa Na Uwa (Nothing is greater than child). Her projects covered states across Nigeria including Rivers, Enugu, Adamawa and outside the country in places like Ghana and Liberia.

Personal Life
The icon was married to Chief Edwin Igbokwe with whom she had children including Kaka, with whom she performed with at the Inspire Africa Benefit Concert in January 2009. She died on June 30th, 2011 after battling gastro-intestinal disorder and was buried on September 10th, 2011. Her husband has since re-married.
Essien-Igbokwe received a host of awards both in and outside Nigeria. Even after her death, posthumous awards keep pouring in.
Awards in Nigeria include;
o “Lady of Songs” by Nigerian Entertainment Writers – 1980
o “Star Performer” Award of Nigerian Television Authority – 1983
o “Best Actress Runner-Up” Award for Excellence by silver Jubilee Committee of the Nigerian Television Authority – 1984
o “African Music Mother” Award by Music Extravaganza’84 in collaboration with African Music Development, New York, USA
o “Adaha Onna” (Pillar of Onna LGA)
o Akwa Ikwo Eket (The Greatest Singer from Eket Community) by Eket LGA Authority
o Aha Nwanyi Ejiagamba 1 of Oru Ahiazu, Mbaise, Imo State
o “Golden Voice of Africa” Award by music Students Association, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
o “Gold Award” of 25 Nigerian Celebrities – 1988
o “Certificate of Honour” by the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Anambra State Council – 1990
o “Certificate of Recognition” by National Film Festival – 1992
o “Service to the Music Profession” Award by Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria on platform of Nigerian Music Award (to Christy Essien Igbokwe/Edwin Igbokwe) for their efforts in it formation and creation – 1988
o Special Musical Patents Decoration Award – 1994
o “Merit Award for Excellence in the Field of Music Therapy” by Medical Association of Nigeria
o “Award of Honour” by Nigeria Institute of Journalism Student’s Union, Ibadan Campus
o “Certificate of Honour” in recognition of her role as a woman of substance and her excellent performance in musical entertainment by National Association of Akwa Ibom Students, University of Ibadan chapter.
o “Grand Fellow of Nigerian Youths” by the Nigerian Youth Organization
o “Queen of Music International” Award by the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, Lagos State and Degbola International Promotions – 1996
o “Outstanding Achievements Uplifting Female” Award by Youth Re-Orientation Movement – 1996
o “Merit Award in Honour of Care for the Nigerian Child” by Broadway International School – 2000
o “Award of Excellence and Outstanding Leadership Qualities” as the first female president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria – 1998
o “The Best Dressed Female Musician” Award in the Patriotic Dress category at the Nigeria Fashion Show – 1997
o “Member of the Greatest Performers” Award in recognition of her immense contribution to the development and reformation of the world youths – 1996
o “Award of Excellence” as Matron of the Great Eni-Njoku Hall (University of Lagos chapter – 2000
o “Pacesetter Award” in recognition of her vision, initiator and organizer of the First ECOWAS Cultural and Musical Festival & the Entertainment Award – 1997
o “Lover of Children” Award in recognition of her contribution towards child social and welfare development in the society – by legendary Page Boys Club (Socio-Cultural & Humanitarian Club)
o “Member of the Order of the Federal Republic by Federal Government of Nigeria – 1999
o “Defender of Children” Award by Interclassic Youth Forum (a non-governmental organization)
o “Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment Industry” Award by Top Celebrities Magazine -2010
o “Merit Award for African Heritage” by The Gong African News Magazine – 2010
o “Honorary Fellowship Award” by Institute of Corporate & Business Affairs Management, Nigeria.
o “Nigerian Woman of Valor” Award by National Centre for Women Development, Abuja – 2010.
International Awards;
o Silver Prize” Winner at 6th Seoul Songs Festival, South Korea – 1983
o “Grand Prix “ Winner at Neewollah Music Festival at Independence, Kansas, USA – 1983
o “International Special Achievement” Award of Musexpo, Acapulco, Mexico, 1983
o “Certificate of Merit” Award for songwriting and composing at the 10th Annual American Songs Festival, Los Angeles, USA – 1983
o “Audience Favourite” Award of International Music Festival at Baker University, USA – 1983
o “Silver Prize” Winner at Second International Music Festival of Oklahoma University, USA – 1983
o “Outstanding Performance” Award at the World Song Festival, L.A. Arts Academy, USA – 1984
o “Distant Accord” Award at the FIDOF Festival in Hollywood, L.A., USA, 1990
o Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) Award in Business Management by Cornerstone University & Theological Seminary, Jerusalem, Israel – 2010
o Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) Award in Literature-in-Africa by University of Berkeley, Chicago, Illinois, USA – 2010
Posthumous Awards:
o “Entertainment Icon” by West African Women in Leadership Conference (in Ghana) – 2011
o “Excellence in Outstanding Performance & Hard Work” by National Association of Akwa Ibom State Students (NAAKISS) – University of Lagos Chapter – 2011

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Nollywood actor allegedly Abducts, Defiles 14yr-Old Girl In Canaanland




While Nigerians are still grappling with a popular Nollywood actor’s alleged defilement case in court and the rude shock that accompanied it, an unpopular actor may be walking the route of spotlight without paying his due.



Aliu Oladele Gafar, a filmmaker and chief executive of Main Page Concept, a feature film and television production company, has been accused of allegedly abducting a 14year old girl and took sexual advantage of same.


The girl, Aina Bolarinwa, went missing late on Thursday evening, July 29, 2021, in Sango area of Ogun State and investigations by the her guardians revealed that she was in the movie maker’s custody till the following day.



It was shocking to realise that contrary to the dictates of the producer of Peregun’s profession, the girl was not scripting nor acting; the actor allegedly used her to satisfy his sexual desire.



Peregun, which featured the producer himself, Ibrahim Chata, Yewande Odukoya, Dupe Jaiyesinmi and many others, boasted of being selected for the New York Independent Cinema Awards, according to a July 10, 2021 post by the producer on his Facebook account.



“It’s PEREGUN year … I’m honored and excited… New York Independent Cinema Awards selected PEREGUN to be included in festival…. Alhamdulilahi 🙏🙏❤️❤️ Thank you all for the love … Second selection of the month ❤️❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸,” he wrote excitedly.



Either due to the excitement or a way to boost his chances at the awards, Gafar allegedly decided to defile an underage girl in his house behind the popular Canaanland, the campus of Winners’ Chapel (Living Faith Church), an Evangelical megachurch in Ota, Ogun State.



According to the victim’s foster mum, Oluwakemi Sunday, who narrated the girl’s ordeal to Freelanews’ correspondent, Ade Oluwaferanmi, it was confirmed that the filmmaker, who is popularly known as Boda Ali in Peace Estate, Zone 4 Arobieye, abducted the girl.



“In the evening of Thursday, July 9, 2021, my daughter, Aina, said she wanted to go and fetch water at Boda Ali’s house and I told her not to go as it was already late. I instructed her to do that the following morning before going to work. Boda Ali usually allowed the community to fetch water for free in his compound.



“She then returned the bucket and went outside to monitor a small shop I operate outside the house with her sister. We usually close the shop around 10pm daily.



“According to the story her sister later told me, while at the shop, Boda Ali came around and beckoned her over. Aina went to him and they started chatting. Suddenly, they disengaged when they noticed that someone was approaching and Aina returned to the shop where I sell breads and other petty things.



“Later around 10:30pm, Boda Ali called Aina again when the coast was clear and they continued their discussion before Aina returned to the shop.



“A friend’s daughter, who was on her way to buy something at my shop, later told me she had to run back out of fear when she saw someone hiding in push, whispering ‘Aina, se kia! Aina, se kia!’ (Aina, hurry up!)



“She went back home to call her sister to accompany her because she was afraid of someone hiding in the bush around Aina’s house. On getting to the spot, they realised it was Boda Ali who they greeted and they all went their ways,” Oluwakemi narrated.



Freelanews corespondent, Oluwaferanmi, was informed that when Aina’s foster mum became worried when she suddenly realised Aina was not in the house sleeping with her siblings.



She told us that she went to outside to wake her to lock the shop and come inside thinking maybe she must have slept off.



“I was initially annoyed and sat in front of the house waiting for her, wondering when she started being wayward.



“While waiting, I saw Boda Ali who greeted me and walked on. Few minutes later, he walked past the shop on his return journey,” the foster mum, who didn’t see anything strange in that at the time, narrated.



After a long wait and no signs of Aina, she placed a call across to her own friend whose children are also Aina’s friends to find out from them if they had seen Aina; their responses were negative.



“On Friday’s morning, I went to the woman again and told her the girl didnt sleep at home. The woman now called her children, who later told us they saw Boda Ali hiding in the push and whispering Aina hurry up. And my daughter, who was with Aina at the shop also claimed that she called Aina twice when she was chatting with Boda Ali because it was getting late but she didn’t answer her.



“So I went to Boda Ali’s house and asked him if he had seen Aina because she came to fetch water yesterday. And he replied that he had not and wondered why she wouldn’t return home ‘when she is not a small girl; a girl of 16 to 17years old’.



“I told him that Aina may be endowed with breasts but she is just 14years old,” Oluwakemi countered Gafar.



So immediately, the filmmaker volunteered to search for the missing child with the mum while he kept comforting her to calm down that he was convinced Aina was okay.



“I hope you have not raised alarm,” Gafar allegedly asked the mum and she answered that she had not.



Late in the evening of Thursday, the physically depreciated Aina was seen wondering along the road far away from her home when a bike headlight shone on her and a friend of the mum recognised her.



“My friend brought her back to the community and I was sad to see how haggard she was looking,” she explained.



Aina narrated how Gafar lured her into his house and disflowered her forcefully.



“I’m appealing to the relevant authority to please come to our aid and ensure that justice is served,” Oluwakemi wailed.



According to our correspondent following up on the case, Freelanews can confirm that movie maker has been missing since the case leaked and calls made to his number didn’t connect as at the time of publishing this report.

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UBA’s RED Radio, Another Innovative To Bring People Together




AFTER recording massive success with REDTV, Nigeria’s United Bank for Africa, UBA is set to replicate similar feat with RED Radio.



The development is a further demonstration of the bank’s unalloyed commitment to ensuring premium services as well as reaffirming its dominance in Nigeria and across Africa.



The decision to kick off a radio arm is on the heels of the innumerable success that REDTV has recorded with countless globally respected, first rate productions that have been churned out under the supervision of Bola Atta, executive producer, REDTV and UBA’s Group Director for Marketing and Corporate Communications.



Only recently, REDTV’s ‘The Men’s Club’ emerged winner of Gage’s Award for Web Series of the Year 2020. A testament to the expertise and quality of production, supervised by Atta.



Following a thorough audit by the organisers of the awards, TMC which was nominated alongside four other popular online shows, clinched the award and was announced as the winner in an elaborate virtual event which was held on Saturday, April 24th, 2021.



As technology continues to drive innovation, the broadcast media, especially radio, is also devising ways to make the radio experience worthwhile for listeners. And RED Radio is positioned to offer the sterling experience.



In its short existence, RED Radio has positioned itself as one distinctive radio platform known for creativity, innovation, uniqueness, and style.



The RED Radio routinely broadcasts to several thousands of unique listeners on live web traffic throughout existence in several countries across Africa and the world.



Atta says the RED Radio, which is available 24/7, is a dynamic and creative online radio channel, that provides round-the-clock informative and entertaining content while striving to bring out the best of Africa.



She also explained that the platform is an affirmation of the leading role that UBA is playing in the innovative space on the African continent as the bank keeps seeking more ways to reach out to and galvanise people.



“RED Radio can be described as a meeting place. It is an avenue to discuss all kinds of issues that affect the youths on the continent, whether it be business-related, health, relationships, sports, lifestyles, anything,” she began.



Continuing, Atta says, “As we bring people together, we also entertain them with music from across the continent.’ ‘it’s such a cool and diverse platform with shows in different languages to appeal to a wide section of listeners. I leave it on quietly on my iPad constantly, catching up with anything I have missed.’



Noting that radio plays a critical part in the development of a country and the continent at large, Atta says RED Radio would leave nothing to chance but contribute positively to the course.



One of the flagships shows on RED Radio that has been getting positive reviews includes the ‘Barbershop Chronicles,’ a talk show featuring Shody, Sess, Alhaji Popping, and Femisoro. For the programme, the four co-hosts discuss life matters from the perspective of men.



Another programme that is fast becoming rave of the moment is the ‘Diary of an Africana.’ The programme follows the journey of a young African woman as she manoeuvres through various obstacles whilst she explores her true self.



‘The Red Pill,’ is another programme whose format provides exciting news and music from the Congo.



Beyond lip service, the bank, which is known for its culture of excellent service, has continuously innovated all of its business segments, whilst delivering top-notch operational efficiencies and best-in-class customer service. In recent time, the reward for creating such superior value has come in form of customer satisfaction and numerous local and international awards, thus consolidating their leadership position in Africa. For the bank, those awards are evidence of the diligent execution of its strategic initiatives geared towards customer service fulfillment.



There is no gain saying that over the years the bank which is passionate about customer satisfaction has proven to be in the forefront of numerous cutting edge innovations in a bid to effectively satisfy its increasingly growing customer base, placing it ahead of its contemporaries in terms of innovation and overall customer well-being.

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Van Vicker Finally Bags Varsity Degree — 24 Years After Secondary Education



Van Vicker

Van Vicker, the multiple award-winning Ghanaian actor, has finally bagged a university degree — about 24 years after completing senior secondary school.


The 43-year-old movie director, who is a renowned face in Nollywood, took to his Instagram page to recount the touching tale of his educational journey.

He said while his secondary schoolmates were enrolling at the tertiary institution in 1997, his single mother couldn’t afford to send him to school.


He also accompanied the post with a photo in which he could be seen wearing a graduation robe of the African University College of Communication (AUCC).



Vicker said he bagged first-class honours in Strategic Communications and was named the overall best in his set.



“21 years later, here I stand before you with 3 achievements during my graduation; to God be the glory. 1. 1st class honors. 2. Best Student in Strategic communication. 3. Best Communication Student Award,” the actor wrote.


“The above is within the context of my 2021 post on social media and is in no way presumptuous but uprightly to inspire. I could not enroll at a tertiary institution in 1997 because my single mother did not have the funds.


“If free SHS was available back in the day, most likely I would have graduated in 2000/2001. My career took off and I have been blessed but as someone who relishes education getting that degree was just a matter of time.



“I complete my Masters program this December and I am sorely motivated and committed to going even beyond, God willing. I thank all those who supported me and are supporting me during this journey.”


Vicker has appeared in hundreds of films including ‘My Soul Mate’, ‘Heart of Fire’, ‘Popular King’, ‘Gambling with Marriage’, ‘Harvest of Love’, ‘Stolen Will’, ‘The Joy of a Prince’, ‘Discovered’, ‘The Kingdom’ and ‘Against The Law’.

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