Sir (Dr.) Victor Uwaifo MON, JP. Member of the Order of the Niger Justice of Peace
Many rains ago, in the early summer of 1965, something had happened on the West Coast of Africa that had never happened before. It's frenzy, like the persistent rhythm, loud and clear, of African Festival Drums, seized all negro souls North, East, South and West Africa. It rode on the wings of the dry Sahara wind and the African route Airlines into Europe. Flashy mohogany-skinned Air hostesses stepped into exotic night clubs of Europe with a song on their lips and this entrancing dance step to go with it. Enchanted, every white boy and girl asked with a glint in their eyes, "What is this new song that you sing, and this new dance that you dance?" From London to Lusaka, across Europe, East and West, the inquirers always got the same answers: "...the song is JOROMI and the dance we do is Akwete!" Modern highlife.....the Creator is Sir Victor Uwaifo.
For the Citation which was read during the conferment of Doctor of Letters D.Litt(Honoris Causa) by the University of Benin on Sir Victor Uwaifo, Saturday November, 22nd 2008
INTRODUCTON Sir Victor Uwaifo was born on the 1st of March , 1941 in Benin city in the Old Western Nigeria which metamorphosed into Midwest State and to Bendel State and now Eedo State of Nigeria. He is married with children.
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND WITH DATES
Masters Degree. MFA, Sculpture, University of Benin
B.A Hons, First Class, Fine and Applied Arts, University of Benin
National Art Diploma, Distinction, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos
Western Boys High School and St. Gregory’s College, Lagos
ACADEMIC DISTINCTIONS: Sir Victor Uwaifo was the best overall graduating student and read the valedictory speech on behalf of the rest graduating students in the faculty. He made a distinction in (Commercial Arts) Graphics and won Lintas West Africa Scholarship offer as the best student in 1962 at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos.
NATIONAL HONORS: In 1983, Sir Victor Uwaifo was watched live by millions of Nigerians when the President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari bestowed on hm the National Honors of (MON) Member of the Order of the Niger on the same day with personages like Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Anthony Enahoro which was a rare privilege. Again in 2001, the maestro, poet, inventor, philosopher, architect, scholar and sculptor was appointed as the pioneering Honorable Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Edo State and thus became the first performing artist(e) to serve as member of the State Executive Council in Nigeria 2000-2003. During his tenure, he developed a tourism blue print for Edo State and initiated a number of projects like Igun Street World Heritage site and the enhancement and functional of the Cultural Complex.
FEDERAL AND STATE APPOINTMENTS:
Sir Victor Uwaifo was the Assistant Head of Department of Graphics at the Nigerian Television Service (NTV), as it then was, now NTA, Lagos
Chairman, Bendel Arts Council, now Edo State Arts Council
Appointed as the Honorable Commissioner for Arts Culture and Tourism in Edo state, Nigeria
2000 – 2003
He was appointed as the Ambassador plenipotentiary, extraordinary of culture, Cross-River State Government by Donald Duke
He applied for the post of a lecturer in Fine and Applied Arts Department, University of Benin and was granted by the Vice-Chancellor Prof. E.A.C. Nwanze.
Victor Uwaifo’s wealth of experience has imparted positively on the students and in recognition of his sterling qualities, he was appointed by the Vice Chancellor as the current Chairman, Members of Committee on Cultural Activities in the University of Benin, between town and gown
PRIVATE WORKING EXPERIENCE AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
Victor Uwaifo has held 3 solo Art Exhibitions and taken part in many group exhibitions. His works include the following commission jobs:
The Cenotaph at the parade ground in Yola, Adamawa State, in Maiduguri, Borno State; Isaac Boro Park, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State; The Unknown Soldier, Abeokuta, Ogun State; Akwa-Ibom State House Beautification in Uyo; The Kinetic Sculpture at Oba Akenzua II Cultural Complex, Benin City; Pilgrimage ground (45 giant statues) Stations of the Cross at Igarra, Edo State; The Grotto Beautification Stations in Holy Cross Cathedral, Benin City; Holy Mary at Saint Benedict, Ijebu-Ode; Stations of the Cross at Catholic Church Agenebode, Igiode, Ubiaja, Edo State; Elaganza Giant Eagle at Apapa, Lagos; Stained Glass at St. Savior’s Anglican Church, Etete, Benin City, Edo state and St. John’s Anglican Church, College Road, Benin City, Edo State and many others too numerous to mention.
INTERNATIONAL SPECIAL RECOGNITIONS:
Sir Victor Uwaifo was awarded the Certificate of Honor by the House of Representatives, Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States of America
He is documented in the Groove Dictionary of Music and Musicians Vol8 and the only artist solely recognized in that edition
He is documented in the Men and Women of distinction in the Common Wealth
He is a member of the Performing Rights Society of London, England, since
Member, Advisory Board, Biographical Council, Cambridge, England
Member, Advisory Council, American Heritage University, (AHU) California, USA
Appointed as Visiting Professor of Arts to the American Heritage University, (AHU) California, USA –
First African to win a Record Gold Disc
Resourcefulness Productivity Merit Award
Fellowship of The Institute of Independent Marketing Management of Nigeria
Recipient: Certificate of Appreciation, Holy Cross Cathedral, Benin City, Edo state for Services to Humanity
Rotary International Award for Service to Humanity
2002 - 2003
Association of Nigerian Authors and Publisher Awards
The Benin National Merit Award
University of Benin Distinguished Alumnus Award
Doctor of Letter (D.Litt) Honoris, University of Benin
RESEARCH AND DISCOVERIES: Sir Victor Uwaifo, a research scholar, discovered the structural rightness in sculpture that stands without a supporting base. Most of the works which adorn the Revelation Tourist Centre in Benin City were done personally by him. Sir Victor Uwaifo designed and constructed a functional sculpture of Aeroplane House, now the largest man – made sculpture in Africa and second to the Tower of Liberty in New York, USA. Victor Uwaifo stands out tall as the first artisit in igeria to sculpt a motorized giant kinetic sculpture also the first in Nigeira “The Dancing Chief” in form to Oba Akwnzua II Cultural Complex, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
SPECIAL INVENTIONS: The maestro not only plays the guitar with his fingers which is normal, but also with his jaw, his toes, his teeth, from behind his neck and back which are unusual, then, he spins the guitar 360 degrees suspending in the air with amazing speed faster than sound in a phenomenon.
He invented the double-neck guitar with 18 strings fashioned after the Mammy-water esoteric encounter in 1967 while looking for inspiration during a late night outing at the Barbeach, Lagos.
A VISIONARY: A man full of dreams and accomplishments, Victor Uwaifo is the founder of the Revelation Tourist Center which stands as the key to the historical events, horrors tragedies, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Beautiful.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS: Sir Victor Uwaifo 50 years of music and stage performance was celebrated by N.T.A. with a golden jubilee award and broadcast live to the world in 2006.
Victor Uwaifo, the Living Legend, twanging of the guitar in quick successions, the up-and-down strokes by hand on the strings have exceeded 5 million kilometers accumulated length measured at an average speed of 10 strokes per second and combined with the movement of the left had to and fro on the guitar neck are long enough to go round the planet earth.
ENDURING LEGACY: The total duration of his recorded repertoires can play non stop for one month uninterrupted, the recorded tape can stretch across Africa from Egypt to Cape-town. His fame cuts across generation gap ethnic barriers and has become a household name in Nigeria and beyond.
PUBLICATIONS: Sir Victor Uwaifo, a man of abundant creative energy, multifarious talents, a researcher scholar, inventor, poet, philosopher, maestro, and sculptor, has written and published four books:
Autobiography “My Life” ,
The Nigerian Music,
Philosophy of Life,
He has also contributed and enjoyed national and international coverage on newspaper tabloids and electronic media world wide.
Sir Victor Uwaifo has released over 100 records. Each record is a work of serious research and publications on vinyl to his credit on international record labels with 6 gold and 4 silver awards.
TRAIL BLAZER: Over the years, Victor Uwaifo, like Tower of Paris superlatively in height and in depth, amongst the pantheons of Benin Arts and Cultural Heroes, invariably, more than anyone else, bought honor and respect to his country, world-wide through music.
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL MUSICAL TOURS/ PERFORMANCES: Sir Victor Uwaifo has toured many parts of the world representing Nigeria in musical festivals: - Expo 70, Japan, Algiers 69, African Common Wealth Festival, London 1973, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, East and West Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Rome, France, Operation Bread Basket in USA 1970. Other places are: Dallas, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, New York, Ivory-Coast, Ghana, where Joromi almost became an anthem and operation Guitar Boy was code named for a military coup. Some outstanding performances include:- Presidential Command performances (1) 1984 State House, Lagos, (2) 1986, Government House, Benin, (3) 2005, Aso Rock, Abuja, (4) Millennium Show 2000, Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin. (5) 2004, Pan African Festival, (6) Ghana 2003 and many other parts of the world too numerous to mention including Nigerian where he has toured its length and breadth. This was crowned by the Lifetime Award he received in London 2006.
PACE SETTER AND FIRST AMONG EQUALS:
First Record Gold Disk Recipient in Africa in the International Market
First Honorable Commissioner for Arts Culture and Tourism in Nigeria
2000 – 2003
First Maestro to be appointed as Justice of the Peace in Nigeria
First Performing Maestro, Sculptor and Academic in Nigeria (Lecturer)
2006 till date
First to design a motorized giant kinetic sculpture in Nigeria
First Nigerian Artist to design and build a customized sport car (The Vision)
First artist to propound the theory and relativity of sound and colors of music
First Nigerian artist to present sculpture in true – to – life material, human skin resemblance in tourism art setting with Sound and movement simulations
First school high jump record holder of 50 years unbroken in Nigeria
1958 till date.
HOBBIES: This multifarious artist(e) genius and living legend, gifted with esoteric knowledge and long standing experience enjoys reading, studying nature, meditating, body and building and swimming.