By Eric Elezuo
If the world was one big pack of entertainment and intelligentsia combined, it would have been called Ovation Carol.
The Convention Centre of the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos was not just a beehive of activities, but a convergence of all that reflects glamour, glitz and funfair when the biggest annual event of the year, Ovation Carol was hosted.
Recreating the stupendous attraction and more for which the show has been known for over the years, the 2019 Carol went a nudge further to make the surging crowd feel more at home.
Parading A-list artists and special guests, the 13th edition of the fiesta kicked off with the best of red carpet display. With beautiful array of designs depicting past editions of Ovation International Magazine and memorable moments of the group, the runway of the red carpet was practically set on fire. It was one moment when fashion styles climbed one another in unspoken challenge of who is better than the other. While known industrialists turned up on the expensive agbada attire and native accessories, the very young up and about folks could not help but expressing themselves in the best of modern designs and designer wears.
There were on displays beautiful all covering gowns, cleavage and lap revealing attires as well as makeups of diverse colours and aroma. In fact, it was a night of absolute parade of honours.
Kick starting the show officially was the magnificent performance of the highly rated over 50-man Hymnodia Choir. The rendition was out this world, and it graciously ushered in, not just the event for the night but theglorious season of Christmas. Theirs was a performance that set the stage for the wonderful evening that ensued.
With ebullient comedian and television presenter, Okey Bakassi as Compere, the crowd was in for a night of wonders.
Declaring the night open, the chief host and Chairman, Ovation Media Group, Bashorun Dele Momodu, told the cheering audience to brace up for the best times while delving down memory lane on the journey of Ovation as an entity and Ovation Carol as ‘one of the reasons Lagos is the most important city in Africa’.
Bashorun Momodu’s welcome address was followed immediately with remarks from the event sponsor and Founder of Esther Ajayi Foundation, Reverend Mother Esther Ajayi. Her invitation was heralded by a loud ovation, signifying her acceptability as a woman of passion, whose stock in trade is giving.
Delivering her speech in company of her husband, Reverend (Dr.) Ademuyiwa Ajayi, the renowned philanthropist acknowledged the good works Ovation Group is associated with and paid special tributes to the CEO as a man of integrity and reputation. She called on all who are in doubt of her source of wealth to come on board instead of dwelling in gossip, adding that her Foundation will continue to sponsor the Ovation Carol for the next 10 years, at least.
Then the stage was declared open for eye popping performances. One after another, top and upcoming performers took their turns and wowed the audience to a frenzy. There were the likes of the rave of the moment and Grammy Nominee, Burna Boy, who almost brought the roof down, right from the moment he was announced, through to the his performance and even at departure. He got everyone on his feet and screaming. His acceptability was phenomenal and completely out of the ordinary.
In the same vein, kid sensation, Rema gave a sterling display of what makes him the toast of the ladies and the young ones. With bubbling moves and dexterity, he took the stage by storm, prompting the audience, especially the female folks to throng the foot of the stage in spite of security resistance. Everyone wanted to have a feel of him.
Teni Makanaki’s appearance on stage was greeted with enthusiasm by as many that ‘want to be a billionaire’. She literally commanded and control her stage like it was second nature to her. During the performance of ‘wait for me’, Teni practically dragged ‘one fine bobo’ up stage, and proposed to him, asking that he let her be his girlfriend. The young man, who turned out to be Wahab Okoya, the son of billionaire businessman, Razak Okoya, could not however, respond to her love advances. He just stood still, taking pictures, ignoring Teni’s seductive moves. But the crowd was greatly thrilled, and expressed their delight in screams, claps and various body movements.
The never a dull moment show shot up more stars like the original Badoo, Olamide whose skills in crossover sounds enlivened the audience the more as well as Rude Boy, the ever vibrant elegant Stallion, Onyeka Onwenu, Mike Okri, Sax expert, Mike Aremu, Aramide and the gospel sensation and ‘Nara’ crooner, Tim Godfrey.
The high point of the evening was the presentation of awards and induction of prominent achievers into the Ovation Hall of Fame.
The first to be inducted was ace photographer and the real Mr. Do All, Sunmi Smart-Cole.
Reading the recipient’s citation as the award was presented, a former aide of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Rueben Abati, noted that Smart-Cole practically conquered the field of photography, became a barber and rose to become the Managing Editor of a frontline Nigerian newspaper, the Guardian.
The 78 years old Smart-Cole received his award from the Minister of Transport, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in company of the Chief Executive Officer, Ovation Media Group, Bashorun Dele Momodu.
In his response, Sunmi Smart-Cole, while expressing his gratitude to the company, noted that through photography, he has been privileged to have exhibitions in five continents, travel to 28 countries as well as gain fame.
The next recipient was Afro juju originator, Sir Shina Peters, who couldn’t hide his joy at the award.
The award was presented to the ace singer by top academic, Prof Wale Adebanwi in the presence of Dr. Rueben Abati and CEO, Ovation Media Group, Chief Dele Momodu.
Expressing his appreciation to the Ovation Group and Chief Momodu, Peters exclaimed ‘I’m fulfilled’.
Concluding the awards for the night was the Director, African Studies Centre, Oxford University, Prof. Wale Adebanwi
The trio joins the likes of former President of Ghana, HE John Dramani Mahama, Founder of Esther Ajayi Foundation and prolific giver, Reverend Esther Abimbola Ajayi and Chief Alex Duduyemi as inductees of the Ovation Hall of Fame.
Inductees into the Ovation Hall of Fame are selected after careful consideration of achievements and roles in giving back to society.
Among other dignitaries that attended the event were former FirstBank’s Group MD, Dr. Olabisi Onasanya, Chairman, Eleganza Group, Chief Razak Okoya and wife, Shade Okoya; Minister of Transport, Rt Hon. Rotimi Amaechi; Princess Toyin Kolade, Chief Olu Okeowo and wife, Reverend Esther Ajayi and husband, Rev (Dr.) Ademuyiwa Ajayi; Police PRO, Dolapo Badmos, former Ogun State governor, Aremo Segun Osoba; Chief Oyekunle Alex-Duduyemi, Dr. Cecilia Ibru, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu, Dr. Rueben Abati, Ambassador Tonye Okanlawon and wife, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick; Mr. Steve Ayorinde, Mr. Dayo Adedayo, KICC’s Pastor Femi Faseru, Prince Damola Aderemi, Prince Wale Osiyemi, Prince Iyiola Ayoade, AIG Tunji Alapini (rtd) and wife, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya and wife, Senator Tokunboh Afikuyomi, Otunba Funsho Lawal, Prince Bisi Olatilo, and Mr. Bisoye Fagade.