The long weeks of Lagos @ 50 celebrations came to a close on Saturday May 27, 2017, at a Gala Night held at the Lagos House, Ikeja, which featured a rich blend of music, best of Lagos cuisine, photo exhibition and the unveiling of a special photographic book that captures the essence of Lagos.
The event recorded a colourful parade of high-calibre socialites and political bigwigs including the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and seven current governors like Rochas Okorocha, Isiaka Ajimobi and Ibikunle Amosun of Imo, Oyo and Ogun States respectively. Also present were Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu I and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State and his Gombe State counterpart, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo.
For an occasion that recorded a heavy presence of captains of industries in Lagos, the Shuga Band had a tall order to provide music for the august gathering that is a mix of different generations of Nigeria’s Who’s Who. The band lived up to its billings, and its performance further reaffirmed its brand as a band that provides music for all ages.
On an historic evening that witnessed the host, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s recital of his Lagos praise poetry, Shuga’s covers of the best Lagos highlife songs such as ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Eko Akete’ and ‘My Lagos’ – an adaptation of the popular ‘Eko o Gba Gbere’ song released by the band two years ago – were in sync with Governor Ambode’s poetry which eulogised Lagos as “the smallest, the richest, the oldest”, further amplifying the state’s vaunted character as a land of opportunities where “fortune favours the brave”.
The governor and his deputy, Dr. Oluranti Adebule were later joined by other dignitaries including the first governor of Lagos State, Brig. Gen. Mobolaji Johnson, Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Lagos’ former governor and APC national leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande and former military governor of Lagos State, Rear Admiral Ndubusi Kanu for a cake-cutting ceremony to the swinging tune of ‘Happy Birthday to You’ by the Shuga Band. For the greater part of the evening, the band gave the guests the time of their lives musically.
The Lagos-based 14-piece group, led by Akiin Shuga (real name Akinloye Tofowomo) is not new to high-profile events. The widely travelled band, aside performing at the ECOWAS Heads of States dinner, has a long list of high profile clients that includes President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and former Oyo State governor, among others. This is not surprising because Shuga Band, with its legendary old-school tunes blended with African flavours, has been the toast of the high and mighty, and over the years earned itself recognition as one of Nigeria’s best live bands.
The band, with its proven knack for highlife songs that perfectly serenade every occasion, has feted at shindigs thrown by corporate and individual clients from all walks of life. From a wedding band that plays traditional love songs, to a punk band that can really get the joint jumping with dynamic sounds (like their ‘Lagos Is The Place For Me’, tune at the gala night), the Shuga Band has demonstrated its dexterity at transiting seamlessly between genres; from up-tempo secular flair to swing-beat or R&B, or from soulful to dance tunes.
Today, Shuga Band – synonymous with weddings and other social engagements – is often described as “a band for the rich and famous.” Any wedding worth its weight in gold and silver is hardly complete without a Shuga band performance.
Aside from playing for the upper crust of the society – including past three presidents of Nigeria, business moguls, and governors – the band has also played for fans across the world, from Paris to Sri Lanka to Dubai and America.
Akiin Shuga was excited that his band was the preferred official band for the historic Lagos @ 50 occasion. “It is an evening to celebrate all Lagosians and everyone who has ruled Lagos. And I feel honoured to be among them,” he said.