Lagos, Nigeria - Panland, Nigeria received some visitors from Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday 2nd August 2011. Keith Diaz - Pan Trinbago president, Ladi Franklin - Co-Chairperson of the Nigeria-Trinidad & Tobago chamber, Taharqa Obika, as well as the High Commissioner of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago to Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr. Nyahuma Obika - were all received by the CEO and the president of the Nigerian Steelpan Society, Chief Bowie S. Bowei. Their mission was to see how the steelpan movement had developed so far in Nigeria, and to discuss ways to improve on the efforts of Bowie who till this time had carried the entire burden of the steelpan movement in Nigeria single-handedly, with the backing of former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The team was first taken to the Adeniran Ogunsanya college of Education Lagos, where they met with its Provost, Chairman of the governing council, as well as other top management staff. Panland had just concluded arrangements on an affiliation with the college, which is meant to certify students who undergo a two-year diploma program in Music education, specialising in Pan Art, Pan Construction technology and Studio engineering with a specialty in recording Pan Bands. The team was given a detailed account of the affiliation by the Provost of the college, Mr. Hakeem O. Ajose-Adeogun, and was informed that admission for the 2011/12 session was in progress.
At Panland, the team was taken round the facility, which is presently under reconstruction to meet the internationally required standard. Xcel Steelband also thrilled them as they played May May and Meh Number is 69 by the Mighty Sparrow. Panland CEO Bowie also took them through a presentation to show how far the Pan movement in Nigeria has come, the challenges faced, and proposals for the way forward.
On Saturday the team, along with Chief Bowei visited the initiator of the Steelpan movement in Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who back in 1977 brought the Starlift Steel Orchestra to Nigeria, when he [Obasanjo] was Head of State. At Obasanjo’s Abeokuta country home, issues concerning the development of the Steelband movement were discussed, and a committee comprising Nigerians and Trinidadians was formed immediately. As a sequel to this development, the Nigeria-Trinidad & Tobago Steelband Development Company Ltd. was formed, with its main objective the enrichment of the diverse cultures in Nigeria with the Steelpan instrument, as well as creating avenues for economic empowerment of the Nigerian youths through training to produce, as well as to play, the Steelpan instrument.
The team also visited the Honourable Minister of Culture and Tourism in Nigeria, Chief Edem Duke at his office in Abuja, where some of the expectations of the newly-formed steelband development company were shared with the Minister who pledged his full support for the steelband movement in Nigeria. The company is to be based in Lekki area of Lagos and will be launched before its kick-off in November, during the 2011 Nigeria National carnival in Abuja.
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