• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Today’s music is computer music, easy music – Prince Jide Adeniyi at 79


Prince Jide Adeniyi, printing industry icon, transport business guru, jewel of the creative industry with special interest in music promotion, was 79 years old on October 24, 2017. He spoke to SIAKA MOMOH at length, at his cute home in Anthony Village on Lagos Mainland where he marked his birthday with friends and family members.

Prince Jide Adeniyi, a prince of the Owalukare Royal Family of Ikare-Akoko, Ondo State, tall like a flagpole, he was his ebullient self amidst his friends – largely old friends. They all engaged in endless chit-chat – and Ebenezer Obey music filtered in soothingly – reminding the oldies who gathered for the dignifying occasion of the good old days. Good music it was – entertaining, pleasing, thoughtful, philosophical, and of course evergreen – not the computer infrastructure sounds we have these days. Jide Adeniyi will talk more about this shortly.

How it has been so far

He kicked off on a spiritual note: “I give glory to the Almighty God because he is good and will always remain my God. He made us; we didn’t make ourselves. I really glorify God for He has been my God and has not made me to lack anything.”

Prince Adeniyi had his secondary school education in Nigeria in the fifties before travelling out to England to study printing. “I returned to Nigeria and was employed by Daily Times of Nigeria. I worked with Daily Times for a while and moved to NCR – National Cash Registry – an American company in Nigeria. After a while, I moved on to Academy Press as a foundation staff of the glorious company. I later on left Academy Press to set up my own printing company – Poatson Nigeria in.”

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Poatson, based in Shogunle along Agege Motor Road in Lagos, produced record sleeves for Nigerian frontline musicians and later veered into light packaging and produced Lipton Tea packets for Lever Brothers (now Unilever) and for several other companies’ brands like Coca Cola. Earlier on, he was a printing contractor to the Nigerian Army – printing their information signs – producing shoulder flashes for various divisions of the Nigerian Army. “I was with them before I commenced commercial printing where I made my mark. I was a force to reckon with in the printing industry.”

Birth of Poatson Musical Jamboree

Poatson Musical Jamboree was a product of circumstances. It came with the Buhari Military Government – a tense period in the history of governance in Nigeria. The Buhari/Idiagbon regime came in to enforce discipline, a semblance of what we have now. For Prince Jide Adeniyi, the nation needed an antidote, something that would soften the tense atmosphere then. That something was music; so he introduced Poatson Musical Jamboree. Said he: “God gave me this idea and I pulled the best of Nigeria musicians and entertainers into Tafawa Balewa Square one Easter period and that was it. It was electrifying. Gate fee was cheap – N10 for a couple and N5 for their children. It was a crowd pulling event. We had on stage the likes of Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Ebenezer Obey, Victor Uwaifor, Bright Chimezie and many others.”

But this great show later had its down side. Cost problem. According to him, “We had to stop because of high charges by musicians. Musicians were charging us N10, 000 per performance. This was the highest performance fee then. Nigerian music buffs could not afford to pay more than we were charging then. We couldn’t cope and so had to stop. Moreover, we stopped promoting the show because we were lone rangers. We called for support from the business space but got none. We were committed to promoting Nigerian music. I believe in Nigeria because I am a Nigerian. Unfortunately, the support we wanted didn’t come. So we had to stop.”

Interest in music promotion

This was an industry that made him and so he felt he should give back to the industry. According to Jide Adeniyi, “I was involved in the production of record sleeves for musicians. I made money through them. My interest in music promotion is prompted by the spirit of giving back to the industry.”

The musical industry today

“What we have now is computer music. Computer music is different from music that is composed and rehearsed. It is easier now. With computer, two or three people can constitute an orchestra. It was not like this in the past. In the past, all the instruments were available for practice, for use when there was performing engagements. The kinds of instruments we have today are computerized instruments. All the musician needs do is to sing into the computer and he is home and dry.

Poatson Pleasure Ride

A trip to Brazil gave birth to his interest in transport business His mission to Brazil was to buy packaging materials for his printing business. During the memorable trip, he saw some luxurious buses on the streets and loved them. He ended up buying six of the buses and brought them to Nigeria. Said he: “I was the first Nigerian to run those types of luxurious buses in Nigeria. ABC Transport and other transporters like him copied my idea. They all met me there. We ran Abidjan/Lagos, Abuja/Lagos, Kano/Kaduna/Lagos routes. Late General Abacha later scuttled the business accusing him of being the transport agent to NADECO chieftains.”

Youth of today

For him, the youth have taken over. “But I do not know what heritage the youths of today will pass on to their children. Why I am saying this? I am saying this because the youth of today are interested in is what they can grab. They play smart. They are in a hurry – they have no patience at all. They do not want to endure pains – they do not want to struggle – they want it the easy way; they want it big and quick; they want it now; now- not in the future.

Papa’s advice

Prince Jide Adeniyi is a product of disciplined parents. “My parents believed in discipline (they are late now). The job I was involved in had to do with public interest and so my parents were not opposed to it. They were very happy with me. I thank God for the time I spent with them; the time they saw me growing up.

Turning point

“I thank God because every area I am involved in, God is there for me. He has always been there for me. So anything, any project I am involved in, I pray and I get result. Up till today, my God has not forsaken me; my Jehovah has never disappointed me. At 79, I still believe I have so many things to do because I am very strong.