Heralding the New Year with Ali Baba et al
WHEN King of Comedy Ali Baba revealed plans to stage a special concert on New Year day tagged Ali Baba January1st Concert, it generated mixed reactions from his fans. While some doubted the possibility of having impressive turnout, those, who know the comedian and his antecedents kept fate with him.
Just as promised, the much-advertised premiere edition of the show staged at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, was not only exceptional, it was an evening of fun, laughter, music, dance and high level networking. Sponsored by Heritage Bank, the event had all the trappings of a first class show, one fit for anyone looking for unbridled night of fun with family and friends.
In attendance were the First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Abimbola Fashola, celebrities, captains of industries and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote. Also present on the night was oil magnate, Femi Otedola. Others were veteran actor/comedian Patrick Doyle and his amiable wife, Iretiola Doyle.
The event began with a showcase of raw talents by some young and upcoming comedians and musicians, who began the evening by wetting the audience’s appetite with some awesome tracks and fresh jokes; one that saw some of the audience wriggling on their seats and some others fall off their seats in a fit of laughter.
The performances set the stage for the event proper, which had some if not all Nigeria’s top music acts and comic merchants taking the stage on a night that was everything, but boring.
With the introduction and awesome performances of one artiste after another, the host of the night, Ali Baba, took to the stage to honour six outstanding Nigerians, who took the baton to be first in their chosen field of endeavour. From Chief Mike Adenuga, who was recognised for being the first indigenous telecom operator in the country to ASP Chioma Ajunwa, Nigeria’s first Olympic gold medalist and Chief Akintola Williams, Nigeria’s first chattered accountant among others.
The award presentation ushered in the main entertainment for the night, which saw performances from the big boys and girls of both the music and comedy industry. Timi Dakolo, Nigeria’s first ever winner of West African Idol, took the audience through a few minutes of soulful rendition of one of his hit tracks, Believe. His performance drew a standing ovation from the crowd, some of whom wondered why that song has not been adopted as the country’s official National anthem.
Then came one of the highlights of the night, the roast and toast section. Invited to the stage were veteran comedians like Yibo Koko, Okey Bakkasi, Basorge Tariah, Gbenga Adeyinka 1, Tee-A. Others were Koffi, Yaw, Bovi, Seyi Law and Senator.
Their task on the night was to review the event and personalities of the past year in the most insightful and comic way possible. Despite promises to talk about virtually all the events of the past year, the comedians unanimously stayed away from making any comment on the leader of the Boko Haram sect, the dead and alive, Abubakar Shekau. However, the comedians did not shy away from ripping the host, Ali Baba apart with the major damage done by Bovi. Ali Baba’s roast, which appeared to be too harsh for the comedian was, however, a planned session by all the comedians, who had unanimously decided to take on the King of Comedy with the excuse that had it been him, he would not have spared anyone.
Guests were, however, thrilled by some other great acts like Jaywon, Omawunmi, Waje, Shola Allyson with great joke from the comedy queens, Chigurl, Mandy, Princess and Helen Paul. Two of Africa’s best music acts, Tuface Idibia and Dbanj, also entertained the audience, while the duo of Dammy Krane and Sapele-born music sensation, Oritsefemi both added to the jives on the night.
Speaking on the success of the show, the producer Bunmi Davies, said, “we were determined to give the audience the very best of entertainment in all spheres; and we did it.”