Ace musician, King Sunny Ade, has been appointed an ambassador of President Muhammadu Buhari’s reorientation programme, “Change Begins With Me.”
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made this known in Abuja on Tuesday.
Mr. Mohammed made the announcement while receiving the music maestro, who was on a courtesy visit to the minister.
He described Mr. Ade as an icon and a trailblazer, who has reigned in the music industry for over 50 years without a blemish.
“We are looking for people like you (King Sunny Ade) so the younger ones can look up to. It’s not just that you have been around for 50 years but you have been around for 50 years without any single stain on your part and that is very hard,” the minister said.
“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,’ campaign.
“’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.”
The minister said after playing music for over 50 years, the energy and passion exuded by King Sunny Ade have remained amazing and a source of inspiration for young artists.
He hailed King Sunny Ade for promoting the juju music genre to an enviable height with an originality that has made imitating his music an exercise in futility.
Mr. Mohammed said the present administration was paying more attention to the development of the entertainment industry because of its vast potential in employment generation and wealth creation.
Having studied the industry, he said he has come to the conclusion that there was a systemic weakness, especially the inability of the government to adequately protect the intellectual property of the nation’s artists, an issue he said his ministry was tackling with stakeholders.
Already, he said a Ministerial Task Force on the Creative Economy has been set up 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 said he will 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,” said Mr. Ade.
The musician thanked the minister for the passion he has shown towards the entertainment industry, especially in organising artists to achieve their potentials and contribute to nation-building.
He also used the occasion to thank the minister for attending his 70th birthday celebration.