By Musa Jibril
If the name Innocent Ujah Idibia did not immediately ring a bell, mentioning 2face or Tubaba will certainly rouse your emotion. To some of his numerous fans, he is the muse of Afro pop. By music he acquired a fame that spread beyond the shores of Nigeria. For some years, he was one of the proud exports of the country’s vibrant music. There is no doubting the world-classiness of his talent. If talents are to be measured by a hoard of coveted honours like MTV (Europe &Africa), MOBO, KORA, Channel O, BET, and a slew of headies awards, then Tuface Idibia (now rebranded Tubaba) is the real McCoy.
His talent was the most apparent when his Plantashun Boiz group released Body and Soul (2000). In the hip hop vortex of the early 2000s, he cut a niche for himself as an inimitable hit maker with the release of his solo debut Face 2 Face (2004) album, which spawned the colossal hit, African Queen, a love anthem for all seasons, that swept Africa off its feet and swept across the Atlantic to Jamaica where it became almost a folk tune and to America where it was adopted as soundtrack for the 2006 comedy Phat Girlz.
Tuface’s impressive collection of singles––including True Love, Implication, See Me So, 4 Instance, and Enter The Place––is a testament to the fact he is not a one-hit wonder.
Since his move away from Kennis Music after the release of his second album Grass 2 Grace (2006), he’s transformed from a mere songwriter and vocalist to a record producer, releasing four more studio albums ( The Unstoppable, 2008; The Unstoppable International Edition, 2010; Away &Beyond 2012; The Ascension 2014) under his music label, Hypertek Entertainment. In a decade, he matured from afro pop poster boy to the genre’s godfather as the music stage became congested with wunderkinds and wannabes. He broadened the business side of him by owning hotels and clubs in Lagos. His non-profit, 2Face Idibia Reach-Out Foundation, also takes part of his time. Once brand ambassador of Guinness and Nigerian Breweries, Idibia was also in 2009 appointed face of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC.
If you discount the minor blight of the ban of his Enter The Place video by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, his only serious stigma was his indiscretion with women––a character flaw that made him the butt of jokes of some Nigerian smart-mouthed comedians. His bachelor years were well invested in well-publicised romance with three different women that ended in children out of wedlock. Now a father of seven children by three women, he eventually settled down to marriage with Annie Macaulay, his longtime sweetheart. Since the Dubai White Wedding in 2013, there has been neither whiff nor whisper of a Tuface scandal.
For the most part of his career, he has lived wholesomely, quietly; neither one for needless beefing, nor disposed to the so-called celebrity blings or binge, and his songs, simple, clean, pidginised and down-to-earth. He remains one of Nigeria’s best selling pop artistes and a cult figure.
…His planned nationwide protest tears Nigerians apart
by Tony Ogaga
Earlier in the week, Nigerians received the news of Afro pop singer, Tuface Idibia’s planned peaceful demonstration to highlight the problems plaguing the country against the backdrop of the recession.
To prove that he means business, the afro pop artiste, via a video on his facebook page, called on his fans on Tuesday, January 29, 2017 to join him as he personally leads the protest tagged ‘Enough is Enough.’ There is need for urgent solutions to the challenges facing Nigeria, Tuface said, emphasizing that things are not getting better for the majority of Nigerians. “We are still where we are, poor and desperate. I will no longer be quiet,” he declared.
In his reaction, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina avowed those planning the protest are those in pains over the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections. “What they don’t know is that that past is gone and gone forever. Majority of those calling for the protest are still in election mode. Majority of them are people that have resolved not to see anything good in this administration simply because the man they wanted lost at the polls,” said Adesina.
A mean statement came from the police with Lagos State Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni threatening the singer with arrest should he go ahead with the protest.
Said Owoseni: “Information reaching us revealed that some hoodlums are planning to hijack the peaceful protest, and as such, we won’t allow it to hold in Lagos. We know that Tuface does not have the capacity to contain such a crowd and we will not fold our hands and watch while things go out of hand.”
The planned protest elicited mixed reaction from the public. While some have taken him to the cleaners, others hailed his move. He had scarcely posted his video when one of his biggest critics, Professor Akindele Adetoye of Obafemi Awolowo University blasted him as a “bloody illiterate.” Adetoye, who had since apologized for his ‘harsh and wrong’ statement, particularly swiped at Tuface’s sex life: “You impregnated them (women) and made babies all over the place. You now want to lead protest against the government because of lack of governance! Have you governed your own personal life? Charity, they say begins at home. Nonsense!”
Other critics attacked his Dubai wedding. “Akpabio used state money to buy you two Prado SUVs and sponsored 100 people to Dubai for your wedding you did not reject. Now you idiot is coming out now with your dirty mouth and stinky behavior,” Jay posted, while a twitter handle identified as Africa responded: “Buhari should give him ‘two brand new Prado SUVs. That is the only way to quiet these types.”
Steve, another critic, posted: “You keep quiet when you are stuffed with millions in the regime of the Prodigal Son. Good Nigerians support people with clear conscience and not because the naira has stop flowing in.”
We stand by Tuface
Support for Tuface has been tremendous on the social media with an avalanche of messages pouring in, egging the singer not to relent.
RitaOnwurah tweeted: “When Tuface was demanding good governance from GEJ government he was a voice for the masses. But now he has motives? Whether Tuface was paid, bought or motivated by anybody, we don’t care. All we care about is marching with him on 5th of Feb.”
From another twitter user, @Chikaa_19: “Some people be digging your past up and yet their own present is worse than your past. I stand with Tuface. Tuface’s private life has absolutely nothing to do with him demanding better governance from our leaders please! Tuface can afford to feed his family regardless the situation of Nigeria.
That protest is for you and me.”
TAORIOX RULES posted: “Tuface makes an honest attempt at speaking out against the ills of our government and his history is attacked. Welcome to 9ja’s political landscape.”
An anonymous profile assured Tuface, “I will be the first person to be at the venue.”
Away from social media, in real life, entertainers are signing up to the protest. The roll call includes the likes of Daddy Showkey, I Go Dye, Davido, Burna Boy and Charley Boy to mention a few.
The biggest support came from Ekiti State governor, and chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum, Ayodele Fayose who declared his support when he tweeted: “To those planning the “Enough is Enough” National Protest, you have my total support and I will be part of the protest.”
Another boost came from ex militants of the Niger Delta. A statement by the National P.R.O., Phase 2 ex-militants and chairman, Urhobo Ex-militant Leaders Forum, Mr. H.M. Ebirie, stated: “we the Niger Delta ex-agitators are fully in support of the 2face Idibia-led nationwide mass protest against economic hardship and severe hunger in the country.”
Youths for Human Rights Protection and Transparency Initiative, YARPTI, also threw its weight behind the planned protest in a statement by its Vice President, Dr Joy Tobin, who asserted that some members of the organisation will march with Nigerians in Lagos and Port Harcourt.
Regarding the hard stance of the police, lawyer and human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa had called the bluff of the Lagos Police Commissioner, challenging him to back up his position with the Nigerian constitution.
Adegboruwa said: “I have read reports credited to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police declaring that the rally slated for Lagos on Monday February 6, 2017, will not hold. I consider this to be an attempt to intimidate those who wish to partake in the rally.”
He urged “the good people of Nigeria, especially those who reside in Lagos, to join us en mass at Ikeja, for the rally” initially scheduled for Sunday, February 5, but shifted to Monday, February 6, 2017.
“This is not a rally by miscreants or thugs as to warrant the fears being expressed by the police commissioner. The statutory duty of the police is to offer us protection on Monday and help to maintain orderliness, throughout the period of the rally,” Adegboruwa affirmed.