From being a music superstar, actress, journalist, politician to becoming an author at 68, there’s not much that Onyeka Onwenu doesn’t have an idea about. The history of Nigerian music industry cannot be written without the inclusion of the ageless singer and songwriter widely referred to as the ‘Elegant Stallion.’ In a recent chat with ASSISTANT ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR GBENGA BADA, the Septuagenarian spoke on various issues ranging from her music and more as well as her journey to fame.
Why do you think this is the right time to put out your book?
I didn’t know, it was just the time when the book was finished and it appears to be the right time. The right time in our country, looking at things, wondering where we went wrong and how we can get out of this quagmire that we are in as a nation. So it’s a good time to talk about what those of us that were born before independence experienced. Our school system was so much better. When I went to America, I was beating everybody in English Literature. They couldn’t come near me, I knew all of Shakespeare from school here, so much that my classmates had to go and complain that how come this African is getting A+ in English Literature and they are failing. Until one day I remember Mrs.
Copland decided to read some of my papers that I had written and I said you haven’t even seen anything. These are things that we studied how many years ago and you people are still on it. That was the education system that we had in Nigeria. It was something to be proud of but we seem to be falling backwards with the quality of education. Breeding a nation without educated people is programming yourself for total failure and I hope that somehow we will catch ourselves. That’s how it is in Nigeria, we will get to the precipice and God will find a way to bring us back, I hope he brings us back this time.
The amount of killing, the bloodshed, is too much. The number of people who graduate and there is no job is too much, without any sense of direction. You go and study and at the end of the day you are being paid stipends, what can that buy for you. That’s why when people come to work for me, I go by my own God sent mind and say this is how much you will be paid because if you are working day and night, you ought to be able to take care of your family, your needs and still put away something for emergency.
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