The great lyricist, melody maker, multi-instrumentalist, sculptor, designer, performer per excellence and intellectual giant, Prof. Victor Uwaifo was on Saturday March 6 in Benin-City decorated with the “Grand Copyright Medal of Honour”, the first time anyone anywhere has been so decorated.
The decoration was the climax of the big celebration of Prof Uwaifo’s 80th birthday which attracted the high and mighty to Uwaifo’s Superstar Highgate on Victor Uwaifo Avenue, Ekewan/College Road, Benin City.
Before the decoration, there was a documentary on the life of the all-round creative genius and the presentation of a 600 page biography of the great Nigerian, authored by Prof. Muyiwa Peter Awodiya.
The presentation of a plaque and decoration with the Grand Copyright Medal of Honour was done by the celebrated former President of the Performing Musicians’ Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and current Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji. Chief Okoroji was supported by the gospel minister and COSON Board member, Kenny Saint Brown (KSB).
Said Chief Okoroji during the celebration, “I have had the privilege of presenting the Copyright Medal of Honour to a few very distinguished Nigerians and an international personage but not once have we presented the Grand Copyright Medal of Honour to anyone, anywhere. Today will be the first time ever because in every way the gentleman standing next to me has created history in so many-many ways. He has been in the battle for the respect for intellectual property in Nigeria not apologizing to anyone, not giving a hoot to what anybody says but leaving a lasting legacy for our nation. It is my honour and privilege today with my colleague representing the Board, the Management and thousands of members of Copyright Society of Nigeria all over the world to honour you and decorate you with the Grand Copyright Medal of Honour”
At the event blessed by the Catholic Arch-Bishop of Benin, Most Reverend Augustin Obiora Akubueze, were several traditional rulers, professors and academic dons, from across the nation, businessmen and, politicians. Also present were representatives of several institutions attended by the legend, such as the University of Benin, Yaba College of Technology, Western Boys High School, St Gregory’s College, Lagos, etc. There was also a bevy of media representatives at the event in which Prof Uwaifo performed a widely applauded version of his evergreen hit song and first African gold disc winner, Joromi with the audience singing along and his guitar spinning wildly.
Prof Victor Uwaifo who is easily the most educated and academically decorated performing artiste in the world, has been invited to the State House by four Presidents and Heads of State of Nigeria and has been the recipient of several national and international awards. In 1997, he was awarded the Certificate of Honor by the House of Representatives, Boston Massachusetts. He is documented in the Groove Dictionary of Music and Musicians Vol. 8. He is also documented in the Men and Women of Distinction in the Commonwealth, 1983. He has been presented with a Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) Degree (Honoris) by the University of Benin, the Benin National Merit Award, the University of Benin Distinguished Alumnus Award and the National Honour of Member of the Order of the Niger by the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In 2010, Prof. Victor Uwaifo was one of the select Nigerians awarded the fellowship of the Nigerian Academy of Letters at a grand event at the University of Lagos.
Victor Uwaifo who served as Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Edo State of Nigeria between 2001 and 2003 was born on the 1st of March 1941 in Benin City. He attended Western Boys High School in his hometown and later, St Gregory’s College, Lagos. He subsequently proceeded to Yaba College of Technology, Lagos from where he obtained a National Art Diploma with distinction and shone as an outstanding athlete. He received a B.A Hons, First Class, Fine and Applied Arts from the University of Benin and a Masters’ Degree in Sculpting from the same university. He also obtained a Ph.D Architectural Sculpture from the same university where he has been a Professor for several years.