It was a show of bravery for Imo State artistes under aegis of Imo Contemporary Musicians Association [ICMA] on Sunday night at the 2014 Imo State Carnival when the artistes stormed the stage in their numbers to halt the event which had already seen few performances.
The artistes who were chanting ‘Stop the Show’ refused to listen to any of the organizers of the event in the persons of Mr. Paddy Obinna and Nkiru Sylvanus until the governor, His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha arrived the scene.
The artistes who cried out that the organizers never assured them of any payment for their performance till that night followed the governor after he had promised to settle the issues instantly.
While addressing the artistes on stage, Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha urged the artistes not to be violent promising to see that everyone who performed is fully appreciated.
“This is the first round, the first leg of a proper carnival, not a cultural carnival. It is a carnival, the first of its kind and we want to keep Imo State busy till the end of the year so the second carnival will be starting on the 25th of December” The governor said, while trying to assure the artistes that he has plans that will favour them
He then urged the organizers to see that the artistes are mixed with slots for both the guest and local artiste promising to give what he called an ‘encouragement fund’ to everyone that will be performing.
Latter, he urged the ICMA president to send in a list of their members that will be performing promising to set up a day for the artistes to perform before the forthcoming wedding of his daughter.
Gov. Okorocha then urged the crowd to be the judge of some performances after showcasing his shoki dance steps.
At the end of few performances, X-Busta, Acharaman and Still Bill won, winning N1,000,000, N500,000 and N250,000 respectively with 20% of their prize monies going to the comedians and dancers who also came on stage. He also mentioned the winners of others competitions with the Deputy Governor’s float coming first ahead of that of Generation Rochas.
With the carnival prematurely cut by the rain, artistes will be looking forward to Monday, October 6 2014, for another performance and also to know their fate on what they will get for their performances.
Although Gov. Okorocha has rescued the carnival, there is still much work to be done to reduce the gap between artistes and the government of Imo State to avoid the Sunday night’s occurrence in the future.