IT would be seven years on November 4, this year when Kenneri initiator, promoter and sustainer, Oladipupo Owomoyela aka Orlando Owoh died after protracted battle with stroke. But before death, came knocking, his cousin, Ade Wesco had proved a veritable successor material from pretty strong indications. However, he did not succeed him years after his death. Part of the reasons may have to do with the visible emergence of late Orlando Owoh’s biological children, Daisy and Kunle Owoh who are active acts, playing exactly their fathers brand of music which shot him into focus before he died. Aside from this, few other gifted acts, probably influenced by the late Kenneri master, also play that brand of music.
There is no doubt that each of those who play this juju/highlife brand must have been seeing themselves, as the potential successor to late Orlando Owoh who created and popularized that brand. Just as each behave rightly or wrongly as the potential successor, so also their various fans. The need to suggest the most likely successor, viz-a-viz some attributes which may have shot Owoh into focus, inspired this parade brand to provoke a healthy discourse as to who finally succeeds late Kenneri music maverick, using the various submissions of Owoh’s die-hard fans of yester-years.
For now, only Ade Wesco, Daisy and Kunle Owoh qualify as potential occupier of the Kenneri throne. Why? People may ask. Only keen followers of the Kenneri music know that only Owoh’s cousin and children are qualified naturally to succeed him. However, only one of them will pass the litmus test at the end of the day, and tis will automatically make him the Kenneri crown bearer. Now lets scale them one after another, starting with the oldest and veteran among them, Ade Wesco.
The pint-sized guitar whizkid is dynamite on stage. He has been like that since the mid 70’s when this reporter met him live on stage at a hotel around Mokola area of Ibadan, Oyo state capital. His shows then, were box office concern. Fans used to storm them every weekend to catch their fun. Wesco enjoyed this focus for quite considerable length of time till the mid 80 when he relocated to Lagos where he continued to hold sway.
But sadly, the philosophical saying that everything which has a beginning, also has an end took its toll on Wesco as his fame pummeled. What really went wrong? He had the answer. Hear him.
“As a musician, I know, I am tight on my guitar few other instruments which I have learnt to play over the years. My fans too, have been telling me this after most of my shows. The way they dance to my music may have even confirmed it. The problem I have is with music marketers. They keep hunting for those musicians who have arrived at the expense of the upcoming ones. I was a victim of this for years. This was what counted against my hitting it big as expected.”
He may not have been a big act today. However, Wesco is still the most sort after whose standard is closest to the late Owohs and as such most likely to be his successor with his apparently larger followership where ever he plays.
A cross section of fans interviewed, strongly believe that he is the most qualified successor to his late cousin, Orlando Owoh who died six years ago. Hear one of them a civil servant, Nogeem Akinlude who maintained that Wesco “ is a mismatch for anybody playing late Orlando Owoh brand of music. He has been there over the years and has also been very steadfast in playing his late cousin’s kind of music. So for anybody or group of persons to deny him as the successor to the late Owoh, will be too unfair to him, especially when all the factors have favoured his successorship”.
Interestingly, Akinlude’s strong stance, readily finds support in the submission of another Owoh’s ardent fan of many years, Samson Somefun.
He insisted that Wesco is in a “class of his own when it comes to this brand of music. I make bold to say that even some of the Ibo’s and Hausas who follow Owoh’s kind of music would attest to this”.
However, it is not so, in the opinion of a mechanic, John Odutola, a new generation juju music follower. To him, “Kunle Owoh is the most potential successor to his late father.”
In his candid submission, the maiden release of Kunle, showcases him out rightly as the most qualified successor to his late father.
But to Alhaji Oluwole Akintunde, “Daisy Owoh is the most qualified to succeed his late father. I believe as somebody who had opened shows for him over the years, while Owoh was alive. For this reason, he should know the magic of pleasing the fans of Kenneri brand. This, he must have been displaying well to the delight of people like me over the years.”
Against the backdrop of all these submissions, Wesco appears to be the most favored and qualified successor to the Kenneri music throne, six years after the death of Orlando Owoh.
However the alleged cold shoulders from the potential marketers towards marketing him and his works may have turn out to be become a visible stumbling block towards the realization of succeeding his late cousin, unless he personally resolve to market himself through the media whom he must sacrifice for, if he is to realize his dream. Oh yes! After all, publicity does not come easy. This, he must embrace for his dream to come true.