Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has appointed King Sunny Ade as an Ambassador of the National Re-Orientation Programme “Change Begins With Me.”
Speaking in Abuja on Monday when he received the music maestro on a courtesy visit to his office, the Minister described King Sunny Ade as an icon and a trail blazer, who has reigned in the music industry for over 50 years without blemish.
Announcing the appointment, he said “we are looking for people like you (King Sunny Ade) that the younger ones can look up to. It’s not just that you have been around for fifty years but you have been around for fifty years without any single stain on your part and that is very hard.
“Most people like you would have had one issue or the other that today their integrity would be at stake. Your integrity is as strong if not stronger than when you started. So it would be a pleasure if you can accept to be our Ambassador of the “Change Begins With Me”. “I want the younger ones to look at you and see that you can actually get to the top without cutting corners. That is exactly what you have done. You have never cut corners and you have gotten to the top.”
Alhaji Mohammed said after performing music for fifty years, the energy, dexterity and the passion exuded by King Sunny Ade have remained amazing and a source of inspiration for the younger artists. He hailed King Sunny Ade for promoting the juju music genre to an enviable height with an originality that makes imitating his music an exercise in futility.
The Minister said this Administration is paying more attention to the development of the entertainment industry because of its vast potential in generating employment and creating wealth. He however said having studied the industry, he has come to the conclusion that there is a systemic weakness in the industry, especially the inability of government to adequately protect the intellectual property of the nation’s artists, an issue he said his Ministry is now tackling with stakeholders.
Alhaji Mohammed said he had set up a Ministerial Task Force on the Creative Economy as a deliberate strategy to explore ways of turning the creative industry into a viable avenue for investment by the private sector.
While accepting the offer to serve as an Ambassador of the “Change Begins With Me” Campaign, King Sunny Ade pledged to partner with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to move the nation forward. “You don’t need to say much. This is what I love to do and it has been in me. We are ready to do that officially throughout the whole world,” he said.
King Sunny Ade thanked the Minister for the uncommon passion he has shown to the entertainment industry, especially in organising the artists to achieve their potentials and contribute to nation-building. He also thanked the Minister for attending his 70th birthday celebration, which was held recently.