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Category: Features

SOUND SULTAN: LIFE AND TIMES OF A NIGERIAN LEGEND. 1976-2021

Olanrewaju Fasasi, popularly known as Sound Sultan, was born on November 27, 1976, in Jos, Plateau State. He took ill and was diagnosed with Angioimmunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma, also known as cancer of the throat. Sadly, he passed away on Sunday, July 11, 2021, at the age of 44, after a battle with the illness in an American-based hospital.

The announcement of Sound Sultan’s death was made by his family on Sunday, 11th July 2021.

Sound Sultan was known for mega-hits he released in his music career as a rapper, singer-songwriter, standup performer.

He took interest in music, miming at school parties and writing his own lyrics at an early age. He started learning how to play the guitar after his secondary school education and was in a band by 1999.

The singer was signed on to Kennis Music between 1997 and 2008, when he started his own record label, Naija Ninjas, which he co-launched with his elder brother, Baba Dee, in 2007.

The songwriter released his first single, which he titled Mathematics-Jagbajantis in 2000. In the song, he used the acronym BODMAS to reiterate the importance of Brotherhood, Objectivity, Democracy, Modification, Accountability, and Solidarity among Nigerians.

Another hit in his archives is his “Mothaland Song,” spoke about how Nigerians try to leave the country for greener pastures by all means and soon forget those who sacrificed to help them travel out. The song was a call for Nigerians never to forget their Motherland. The song was released in 2006 from the ‘Out of the Box‘ album

During his career, Sound Sultan worked with prominent artists like, Wyclef Jean, 2face Idibia, Faze, Flavour, Banky .W., Eldee, Chidinma, 9ice, Wizkid, amongst others.

As a lover of sports, Sound Sultan partnered with the organizers of the Continental Basketball League to become the team owner of Lagos City Stars (the 2017 champions).

Sound Sultan received several awards, including the 2012 Headies Award for Album of the Year (Back From The Future) and the City People Music Special Recognition Award in 2018.

In 2012, the United Nations (UN) named him an Ambassador for Peace for his exemplary lifestyle and career.

Around May 2021, rumours surrounding his health challenges filtered into circulation among his fans this caused a lot of worry among his fans and friendss. But when he made a post where he looked healthy and strong during the Eid Mubarak celebrations in May 2021, which kind of helped to calm the nerves of many.

Sound Sultan was married to his heartthrob, Farida Fasasi. They had three kids.

Sound Sultan married his heartthrob of many years, Chichi Morah, now Farida Fasasi in 2009. The union produced three children.

The shock of his death caused reactions among his friends, fans, and associates. Some reactions were messages from famous Nigerian entertainers.

Olanrewaju Fasasi, Sound Sultan, was buried in a private ceremony with a few friends and family members in attendance. He was buried on the 11th July 2021 in New Jersey, United States where he died.

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe

Pictures: Soundsultan / Instagram

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HOUSE HOLD ITEMS FOUND IN NIGERIAN HOMES THAT HAVE PHASED OUT

From generations to generations, the world has evolved and so have several items used from by people. As global civilization progresses, some things gradually fades from homes. Some household gadgets that used to be in vogue have been replaced with more simpler ones and are no longer in use. If you were born or grew up in Nigeria, some of these household items would definitely give you the nostalgic feeling. Some of such items that come tops on the list include:

  1. The Black and White TV
Old Black and White Television

In the 90’s, the black and white television was a great possession for families who owned one, but with time, it gradually became old-fashioned as the flat screen TV and plasma took over. The evolution of the black and white television moved very fast, from the regular box-shape with antenna that sometimes needed to be hit several time to get signals to the flat-screen colored LCD TV’s. Life moved pretty fast without any notice. In recent times, the black and white TV became a most sought for item especially in the south west region of Nigeria, where electronic contractors began searching the market and offering the sum of 200 ,000 naira per TV. A lot of youngsters have since searched their grandparents home to see if they can find one to sell.

According to some electronic dealers, there was a special way of confirming the authenticity of the television. A shaving blade was placed on the screen of the television, If the shaving blade magnetizes with the television screen that means it is genuine, If it doesn’t, the electronic contractor will not buy it.

2. Video Home System VHS Cassette

VHS Cassette

This was definitely the main item to enjoy a nice film as it was fondly called in the olden days. It always starts playing from where you stopped. This extremely old piece of item once contained favorite movies that could help you start a mini cinema back in the day. Unfortunately, almost every home have completely remove this black rectangular box of joy that used to be a very reliable method of watching movies, due to the advent of VCD players. Currently the VCD player is just an option to watch movies on your screen. Several alternatives like  Cable TV and movie streaming services could set your cinema experience rolling as no one cares anymore about owning a physical copy of a movie, especially with the vast library of streaming services available.

3. Land Phones

Land Phone

The Land phone is an ancient medium of communication that once used to be a great asset in homes especially for the rich and even in offices and public work places. With the Land phones, time was adhered to, as people who had family and friends overseas would stay close to the telephone whenever they were given a specific time to call or to receive a call. The Land phones have since been replaced by mobile devices that evolved over the years with more applications and functions.

4. Radio Cassette Player

Radio Cassette Player

Looking at this piece of item may bring memories to people born in the 70’s and 80’s. In Nigeria, the pure pleasure of listening to the sound from this device brought memories of old radio dramas. The radio cassette player had a specific location in the home. One fun thing about this device is that it allowed you to record on a cassette player while listening to an interesting piece, the sad thing is that it had no noise proof, so if you recorded your favorite music from the radio in a noisy environment, you were sure to hear every bit of that noise alongside your favorite music during a playback. In modern society, technology has moved the radio has moved from a static household item to mobile devices and cars.

5. Kerosene Lantern

Kerosene Lamp

Hardly will any person born in the 80’s and 90’s in Nigeria, not recognize this lamp. This lamp was a must have for most homes in the olden days because electricity supply was unstable. Even those who were wealthy enough to buy a generator had this lamp in their homes. The globe of this lamp was traditionally feared by kids born in the 80’s and 90’s when asked to wash it as it was very delicate and could break at the slightest hit or fall. The Kerosene lantern was a convenient form of light that served then until the era of rechargeable lamps.

6. Double Burner Stove

Double Burner Stove

This was the surest way to get a meal prepared in the olden days. This stove was surely a great help to mothers and wives back in the day especially to cater a larger family. The size and weight of this stove made it extremely stable in use, and the two burners allowed meals to be easily cooked with preference to cooking with one burner or using both.This vintage stove is lit on a saturated wick where kerosene from the valve controls the flow and fuels the fire. Sometimes you had to cut the burnt wick after prolonged use to achieve a blue flame. Currently, the gas cooker has taken over with variety of different designs.

7. Grandfather’s clock

Grandfather’s Clock

The old fashioned grandfather’s clock is known for its free standing and weighty look with the pendulum held inside the tower swinging from left to right and vice versa. The tall case clock is also know to make a loud sound at the top of every hour causing you to be aware of the time at that moment. In the early 2000s, the vintage clock gained prominence and became a sourced for item as it is made up of a metal with strong magnetic properties that can impair x-rays or other scanning rays. It is believed that anything concealed within the covering made from the pendulum of the grandfather clock cannot be seen by scanners because the magnetic property of the metal will block penetrating rays.

8. Grinding Stone

Grinding Stone

Before the advent of blenders and electric grinders, the grinding stone was a major tool in crushing tomatoes, beans and other foodstuff. New brides were given this item as a wedding gift. There was an old adage that you never grind an empty grinding stone, as it was believed to bring problems to the home of a person. However, many Nigerians believe that the stone also gave the food a special taste and flavour, different from those done with blenders today.

Story by : Osen Attah

Pictures: Pinterest, Imgbin.com, thecypheragency.com

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THE LIFE OF PRINCE PHILIP IN PICTURES

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip was born in Corfu, Greece, in 1921 to the family of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. He was the youngest of five children and the only son.

The boy Prince Philip

At the age of 10, he set up a workshop at his father’s castle, equipped with lathes, a forge and a foundry. When he joined the Navy he designed a system of fans, radiators and thermostats for air-conditioning his quarters. He even fashioned a device, controlled by an alarm clock, for making his early morning tea – 20 years before such a gadget appeared on the market.

Prince Philip met Princess Elizabeth during a royal visit to the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, in 1939, where he entertained Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. This is where he caught Princess Elizabeth’s eye and she fell in love with the handsome young prince. Several years later, Prince Philip, showed signs of reciprocating her feelings. The romance began in earnest and soon translated into a marriage that lasted 71 years, Until his death on the 9th of April, 2021 at 99 years. The marriage yielded four children: Prince Charles- the Prince of Wales; Princess Ann- Princess Royal; Prince Andrew- Duke of York & Prince Edward- Earl of Essex.

The Duke of Edinburgh with wife, Queen Elizabeth on their wedding day, November 20, 1947
Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, before his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, working at his desk after returning to his Royal Navy duties at the Petty Officers Training Centre in Corsham, Wiltshire, August 1st 1947.
Queen Elizabeth dancing with Prince Philip.
Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.

Prince Philip is, so far, the longest-serving consort in British history, who sacrificed a naval career to give steadfast support to his wife.

Queen of England and husband, Prince Philip, marking their diamond anniversary, in 2007.
Prince Philip, walking his daughter, Princess Ann down the aisle on her wedding day, Westminster Abbey, in 1973.
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (L) toasts with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, during a reception in honor of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II at the State House in Abuja, Nigeria, 3rd December 2003.
The Queen and Prince Philip with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003.

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe

Pictures: COPYRIGHTPA MEDIA; COPYRIGHTMARY EVANS PICTURE LIBRARY; COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGES; Douglas Miller/Keystone/Getty Images

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WORLD’S WOMAN WITH LONGEST NAILS, CUTS THEM AFTER NEARLY 3 DECADES

Ayanna Williams of Houston, USA- the woman with the world’s longest nails has finally had them cut after nearly three decades. She got her nails cut because, according to her, she got tired of them. 

Ms Williams broke the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest fingernails in 2017, when she was declared female with the record for longest nails on both hands. At the time, her fingernails measured nearly 19 feet long, and it took Ms Williams more than two bottles of nail polish and over two hours to complete a manicure. 

Ms Williams said she would miss her nails as they had become part of her everyday life and she was not leaving the dermatologist’s office with them.

Dr. Allison Readinger of Trinity Vista Dermatology in Forth Worth, Texas (USA), used an electric rotary tool to cut the record holder’s lengthy nails after measuring them a final time. At that time,it turned out that the Houston resident had managed to break her own record by letting her nails grow after her initial confirmation four years ago. At the time of being cut, they measured a whopping 24 feet and 0.7 inches. 

According to Guinness World Records, this is the first time that a record-holder has cut their nails since the early ’90s. For Ayanna Williams, it was an emotional goodbye. 

“I’ve been growing my nails for a few decades now,” she said. “I’m so, so ready for a new life. I know I’m going to miss them, but it’s just about that time – it’s time for them to go.”

Ms Williams with her new length after her nails were cut

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe

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DOBALE A YORUBA HERITAGE

Virtually every ethnic group in Nigeria have cultural norms that are passed down from one generation to another. The Yorubas from the South – Western part of Nigeria, are not an exception. They have some unique cultural norms they consider precious and irreplaceable. The ‘dobale’ culture of the Yorubas is one of such practices that is inculcated into the natives even from a very young age.

‘Dobale’ in Yourba language simply means to greet. However, ‘dobale’ as a form of greeting goes beyond words. It goes with the action of prostrating which is to lie face down or lie flat on the floor face down particularly carried out by the male gender. People ‘dobale’ when greeting elders as a sign of respect at home, local town meetings and at ceremonies.

‘Dobale’ is a prominent feature in every Yoruba wedding where the groom and his friends go round to greet elders and family members of the bride as an act of respect and to gain favour before the prospective in-laws.

‘Dobale’ during the Yoruba traditional weddings are usually a lovely sight to behold. It is believed that a Yoruba marriage ceremony is not complete without the groom and his friends carrying out the act of ‘dobale’. It is a requirement that the groom and his friends must doto get the bride’s parents and elders to release their daughter and give their blessings.

‘Dobale’ is a high point of the wedding ceremony as people anxiously wait to see this part of the wedding. Young grooms and their friends have come up with new ways to carry out ‘dobale’ with style to impress their in-laws, the bride and all present. Some choose to lie flat on the floor first and then their friends follow suit, while others choose to fall flat on the floor all at once, at the same time with the friends, making it an interesting sight to behold.

Whichever way a groom chooses to ‘dobale’ before his bride’s family, it is a treasured culture of pride that will remain valuable to the Yoruba people of Nigeria.

Story & Pictures: Hafsat Isah

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‘ABACHA’, AFRICAN SALAD ON THE GO

African salad, also known as ‘abacha’ is made from cassava. It is white in colour and crunchy when chewed. It is usually topped with spiced protein like fried fish, spiced beef or animal skin, known as momo. When dry, Abacha is eaten as a snack with coconuts, roasted groundnuts and cashew nuts. But when it is eaten as a salad the garnishing is taken up a notch with other fresh condiments and vegetables.

Most of the time, it is spiced with pepper sauce, pepper stew, some green leafy vegetables, garden eggs, peppered kpomo (cow skin), fried fresh fish and embellished with shreds of African oil bean, popularly known amongst the Igbos of the Eastern part of Nigeria as ‘ugba’. African Salad is not be complete without ugba. The seeds are cooked for several hours then sliced, washed and left to ferment a little bit. As a matter of fact, the price for a fully garnished plate of African Salad with ugba is higher than the one without ugba.

Abacha, is served in at different occasions including naming ceremonies and even traditional Igbo marriage ceremonies. It can be eaten as a meal or snack. Many people eat it as a meal because it is fills up your stomach just like any other meal and yet leaves you with the after taste of a spicy meal.

Abacha is an easy go-to meal anytime of the day while on the move and it is really affordable.  The easy accessibility of ‘abacha’ makes it convenient and most people would rather buy than go through the stress of making it. You can find Nigerian women hawking Abacha, the relished African Salad, in busy shopping malls, markets and local restaurants and even intercontinental restaurants in Nigeria.

Story: Ehi Ohiani

Pictures: Ene Ken-Yawe

4 Christmas Traditions Amongst Nigerians

Before, during and even after every Christmas celebration, people all over the world observe certain Christmas traditions that contribute to making the season what it is. Though these traditions originate from different parts of the world, in Nigeria, West Africa, people carry out these traditions with all excitement and many, especially the young generation grow to practice them as though they were original to the Nigerian people.

Four Christmas traditions stand out amongst Nigerians which they practice even until the New Year comes.

1. Christmas Trees

In most cities around Nigeria, people mount Christmas Trees in places like offices, churches, homes and public places. They are colorful and beautifully adorned with ornaments and sparkling bright lights. Christmas trees add colour to the environment and create a mystical and celebratory atmosphere likened to the mood described in the Bible when Jesus was born over 2000 years ago.

History has it that Christians were not the first to celebrate the festive season with trees. Historians trace celebration of trees to pagans in ancient Egypt and Rome who used trees to usher in winter festivals. They believed that the trees could ward off evil spirits. The first recorded Christmas tree was in 1576 which can be found on the keystone sculpture of a private home in Turckheim, Alsace which was then part of Germany but today France.

2. Christmas Cards

The exchange of Christmas cards used to be a huge tradition amongst Nigerians up until the turn of the 21st century when new technologies in telecommunications began to gain prominence and people began to use virtual cards. However people still send cards to friends and loved ones to wish them well and express their love.  

The birth of this Christmas tradition was began in Britain in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole who had the idea and his friend John Horsley, who was an artist. Together they designed the first card and went on to print about 1000 more which were sold for 1 shilling each.

3. Santa Claus

Santa Claus, known as Father Christmas, especially amongst children in Nigeria, is believed to have really existed many years ago. He is a character who is thought to deliver presents to well-behaved children on Christmas Eve. In Nigeria parents take their children out during the Christmas season to visit Father Christmas and pay a token to get some of Santa’s special gifts.

Santa Claus is actually a fictional character and the modern day Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas who was a fourth-century Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra.

4. Boxing Day

In Nigeria, like most parts of the world, Boxing Day is a holiday which is celebrated the day after Christmas on 26 December. However lovers of the boxing game have taken advantage to the day for the thrills of watching their favourite sport ‘boxing’, while others continue their Christmas celebrations by visiting friends and family. A lot of sporting federations and organisations have taken Boxing Day literally as a day to organise major boxing title matches.

Boxing Day was started in Britain about 800 years ago, when the collection boxes for the poor, commonly known as ‘alms box’, often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people. It is also seen as a day for giving gifts in boxes.

Story & Pictures – Ihuoma Ukeje

Before, during and even after every Christmas celebration, people all over the world observe certain Christmas traditions that contribute to making the season what it is. Though these traditions originate from different parts of the world, in Nigeria, West Africa, people carry out these traditions with all excitement and many, especially the young generation grow to practice them as though they were original to the Nigerian people.

Four Christmas traditions stand out amongst Nigerians which they practice even until the New Year comes.

1. Christmas Trees

In most cities around Nigeria, people mount Christmas Trees in places like offices, churches, homes and public places. They are colorful and beautifully adorned with ornaments and sparkling bright lights. Christmas trees add colour to the environment and create a mystical and celebratory atmosphere likened to the mood described in the Bible when Jesus was born over 2000 years ago.

History has it that Christians were not the first to celebrate the festive season with trees. Historians trace celebration of trees to pagans in ancient Egypt and Rome who used trees to usher in winter festivals. They believed that the trees could ward off evil spirits. The first recorded Christmas tree was in 1576 which can be found on the keystone sculpture of a private home in Turckheim, Alsace which was then part of Germany but today France.

2. Christmas Cards

The exchange of Christmas cards used to be a huge tradition amongst Nigerians up until the turn of the 21st century when new technologies in telecommunications began to gain prominence and people began to use virtual cards. However people still send cards to friends and loved ones to wish them well and express their love.  

The birth of this Christmas tradition was began in Britain in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole who had the idea and his friend John Horsley, who was an artist. Together they designed the first card and went on to print about 1000 more which were sold for 1 shilling each.

3. Santa Claus

Santa Claus, known as Father Christmas, especially amongst children in Nigeria, is believed to have really existed many years ago. He is a character who is thought to deliver presents to well-behaved children on Christmas Eve. In Nigeria parents take their children out during the Christmas season to visit Father Christmas and pay a token to get some of Santa’s special gifts.

Santa Claus is actually a fictional character and the modern day Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas who was a fourth-century Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra.

4. Boxing Day

In Nigeria, like most parts of the world, Boxing Day is a holiday which is celebrated the day after Christmas on 26 December. However lovers of the boxing game have taken advantage to the day for the thrills of watching their favourite sport ‘boxing’, while others continue their Christmas celebrations by visiting friends and family. A lot of sporting federations and organisations have taken Boxing Day literally as a day to organise major boxing title matches.

Boxing Day was started in Britain about 800 years ago, when the collection boxes for the poor, commonly known as ‘alms box’, often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people. It is also seen as a day for giving gifts in boxes.

Story & Pictures – Ihuoma Ukeje

SANITIZERS, FACE MASKS: NEW TRADE COMMODITIES IN ABUJA

Most markets in the Abuja metropolis are quite segmented with clear-cut demarcations to show customers the sections to get their required products and services.

With the outbreak of the coronavirus spreading to the major cities in Nigeria, market traders have employed strategy and creativity in their businesses by delving into new products that suit the demand of the time.

Hand sanitizers and face masks on display by traders in Garki Market Abuja

Some of such commodities which are now in high demand by most residents are hand sanitizers, face masks, hand gloves, and water dispensing buckets. A walk around Garki Market Abuja shows that these items have become commodities to sell by many who own shops in the market and even those ready to hawk them along the way. They have made a quick investment in the products and fast-selling them as well.

Hand sanitizers are seen displayed by traders of foodstuff, cosmetics, provisions, and even beverages. Many display them side by side their other items of trade. These items are sold by traders who have no idea of the content of the products except the fact that they will make a profit from them.

Traders in Garki Market Abuja, displaying their hand sanitizer and face masks stands

The traders happily display the hand sanitizers and face masks and even take a pose beside their items. Though many of them have obviously ventured into it for the quick financial benefit they will get within the time of pressing demand, they have somehow helped to fill the void of unavailability of these essential products in the face of a national health crisis.

Story: Ehizogie Ohiani

Pictures: Asmau Sani

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PROPER USE OF FACE MASKS FOR PROTECTION AGAINST COVID-19

With the outbreak of COVID-19, many Nigerians are finding ways to protect themselves from the virus. One of the measures people have adopted is the use of face masks. Various types of face masks are seen on people around Abuja town and some persons wear them with little or no knowledge about the type of mask they are using or even how to use them.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) it is not necessary for people without symptoms to wear masks unless you are told to by the local Authorities; you are in a high-risk area such as a hospital; or you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19 infection, or you are in any form of contact with a person who has been around an infected person.

  Therefore, If you must use a mask, for any of the above reasons, you need to observe the following;

  • Wash your hands with soap and running water or rub your hands with an alcohol based sanitizer before putting on a face mask.
  • Use an N95 mask or FFP2/FFP3, which is recommended over a standard surgical mask.
N95 & FFP2/FFP3 Masks
  • Ensure that the mask fits securely over the bridge of the nose and chin, minimizing gaps in the fit.
  • Ensure that facial hair is kept clean or removed.
  • Do not touch face masks while using it.
  • Do not reuse your disposable face mask after one use.
  • Remove your face mask from behind; do not touch the front of the mask, use the bands or straps.
  • Dispose your face mask, immediately you take it off, in a closed bin.
  • Don’t forget that masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based sanitizers or soap and running water.
  • Cotton/gauze masks and using of other materials to cover face against COVID-19 are not recommended under any circumstances.

Remember that use of a mask is only one part of personal protection. Not touching your nose, eyes and mouth and regular hand cleaning with alcohol based sanitizers or soap and running water are strongly recommended.

While the world is yet to find a cure to the Corona Virus Pandemic, Stay Home and Stay Safe!

Story & Pictures: Asma’u Sani

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