September 24, 2019, would go down in history as the day a genius of sorts and highlife music veteran, Mr. Elochukwu David Uzochukwu (a.k.a Professor Chikobi, Onye-amuma-na-Asia) emerged the governor of Performing Musicians of Nigeria (PMAN), Anambra State chapter. The peaceful election was conducted by the state chapter of the nation’s apex artistes’ body and supervised by the National Working Committee, led by the national president of the PMAN, Comrade Obi Okwudili Casmir (a.k.a Voombastic Uncle P). However, the question on the lips of several PMAN members and non-members alike was whether the election of this multi-talented musician would revive the dying embers of the organisation, which has in recent times grown cold.
Recall that PMAN was founded by Christy Essien Igbokwe and Sunny Okosun, two musical legends, in 1984 to guide, protect and promote the interests of performing musicians in Nigeria. PMAN had its hayday when it called the shots and helped emerging musical talents in the country find their footing in the ever-dynamic society they lived in. Yet, in recent times, many performing artistes, especially those operating in Anambra State, tell a different story of neglect, distraction and disarray. PMAN, Anambra State, seemed to have lost its bearing and the last time they made news was in 2016 when they reportedly brainstormed on how to combat unemployment and political thuggery, a cause some might say is off tangent from the original ideal for which the group was founded. Three years after that meeting, nothing has come out of the resolution of that meeting.
Fast-forward to September 24, 2019, with the election of Nnobi-born Prof. Chikobi, a full-time music producer, multi-instrumentalist, writer and director of Analdev Productions and Studio. Even the strongest critics of this man would agree that he has been around and seen it all in the music industry. What with the long retinue of performing musicians he had played instruments for and performed with, including Chief Osita Osadebe of blessed memory, Goddy Ezeike, Ndubuisi Kanu and Ifeanyi Agwuedu.
Indeed, hopes have risen among the performing musicians in Anambra State, given that a man who wined and dined with the vision bearers of PMAN, Prof. Chikobi, has taken the reins of the performing musicians’ welfare group. He appears to be a bridge between the old and the new crop of performing musicians. How do you explain that such a young man in his late 30s has close to 30 years’ (28 years to be exact) of experience up his sleeves as a professional musician? A child prodigy indeed, Uzochukwu started professional music when he was 10 and even though he had a short stint in-between his music engagements as a Mathematics and Physics teacher at Wisdom Academy, Nkpor, which was where he got the name Prof.Chikobi because of his command of the two subjects, which made teachers and students alike liken him to the Maths guru, Chike Obi, he has continued to thrive in the music business performing for music lovers of all ages across the globe.
In fact, reliable sources have it that Uzochukwu got his title Onye-Amuma-na-Asia during his tour of the Asian continent. There, music analysts and enthusiasts who had been following his lyrics attested to the fact that his songs accurately predicted various socio-political events before they occurred. And they started addressing him as a musical prophet (Onye-Amuma) and the name stuck. This is the man that has been elected to steer the affairs of Anambra State Performing Musicians.
When he was asked why he chose to contest for the position, the maestro, Mr Elochukwu David Uzochukwu said, “I contested for PMAN, Anambra State governor because I found PMAN to be stagnant, powerless fruitless and the members unprotected, so I decided to bring the change I desire.” Is it any wonder that he got the winning vote?
It is not in doubt that leadership is a herculean task and reinventing the wheel an uphill climb, it comes as a reassurance when Mr Uzochukwu maintains that his philosophy of life has always been “persistence always breaks resistance,” or as he put it in Igbo language “Ayi ga afu isi ya na nke ikpeazua.” This is a man who takes reading and driving besides sound production as his hobbies. In a time when many talented young performing artistes are veering off into other occupations because they lack guidance, when musicians are being looked up to serve as agents of positive social change, where various genre fusions are going on and in the course of that the culture of singing about social change as performing musicians seem to be corroded by westernization of fixated obsession with the theme of women, drugs and sex, it would not be out of place to make this assertion; Prof. Chikobi is the resurrection of PMAN in Anambra State. Time will vindicate this claim.