The Front Garden of the Opebi Lagos Headquarters of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) will this Saturday, June 18, 2016 witness a gathering of Nigeria’s top artistes, journalists, art lovers and critics as the copyright collective management organization hosts the broadcast icon, music man and art critic extra-ordinaire, the great Benson Idonije who turns 80 this week.
Benson Idonije was a prime mover of NBC 2, the first FM Stereo station in Nigeria which later became FRCN 2 and later RN2, thrilling millions of people across Lagos with first class music and other forms of fine entertainment. His was one of the first voices to be heard on any FM Stereo broadcast in Nigeria. Idonije who is fondly known as Benjay was producer and presenter of such famous radio programmes as The Big Beat and Stereo Jazz Club which made a lot of waves in the 70s and 80s. He was one of the creators of the Top Ten, Nigeria’s first ever publicly recognized music chart show which was shaped by RN2 in association with a major Lagos based marketing firm, Research & Marketing Services.
Benson Idonije was indeed at some point Manager of Afro Beat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. He also participated actively in developing the Nigerian Music Awards, Africa’s first truly celebrated music award show which played host to stars of all types, Heads of State, Governors, Ministers and ambassadors.
Later in his public career, Mr. Idonije became Chief Training Officer, Programme Production at the FRCN Training School in Lagos where he nurtured the careers of many budding broadcasters who today practice their craft across the country. In later years, Benson Idonije became one of Nigeria’s most read writers on the creative arts contributing critiques, opinions and commentaries to major Arts-related journals in Nigeria and other parts of the world. He was eventually invited by Nigeria’s flagship newspaper, The Guardian to write for the newspaper and he maintained three columns every week – Evergreen(Wednesdays), Sound and Screen (Fridays) and All That Jazz (Sundays). No newspaper columnist in Nigerian history is known to have maintained such frequency and resourcefulness.
A 2012 recipient of the Life Time Award for Journalism Excellence from the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, Benson Idonije is also a Fellow of the Adam Fiberesima School of Music and Conservatory, University of Port Harcourt.
COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji has assured everyone attending the Saturday afternoon event at COSON that every effort is being made to ensure that the event is very interactive and matches the high standard of the great Benson Idonije.