Professor Victor Uwaifo, born 1 March 1941, Benin City, Edo State, a music maestro, sculptor, philosopher, poet and musical instrument inventor. His “Joromi” hit song released in 1965, won for Nigeria the first Gold Disc Record ever to come out of the continent of Africa in a competitive world. Victor Uwaifo is the first Benin man to receive the Nigerian National Honours; Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) in 1983, for his contributions to creativity and industry. He was appointed and sworn-in as Justice of the Peace (JP) 1990. He is also the first and foremost Honourable Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Nigeria (Edo State), former lecturer in the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Benin. He was honoured with an award in 2018 by the Association of Nigerian Musicologists for his outstanding music performance and leadership.
He’s the Silverbird Man of the Year 2015 and honourary Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, the highest literary academic body in Nigeria. Education: National Diploma (Graphics},Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, 1963, BA Hon (First Class), 1995, Masters degree (MFA) sculpture, 1997, Ph.D (Visual Arts), University of Benin, Nigeria. Project Title: Production of Architectural Sculpture in Nigeria: A Re-Invention of Ancient Benin Royal Altar Pieces into Contemporary Art Using Synthetic Polymer Materials
Professor Victor Uwaifo stands out today, intellectually sound both in mind and body as the most educated performing music icon in the world and the most read contemporary superstar still relevant over 50 years on stage till date. He has over 600 songs and 100 records to his credit with 8 gold and 2 silver awards. Each record is music of serious research and philosophical work equivalent to academic journal. He’s a member of the Performing Rights Society of London (PRS), a trustee of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON). In 2016, Victor Uwaifo was inducted into the Grammy Award Museum in Los Angelis, USA. He has inspired generations of musicians in Nigeria and beyond and still counting.
Victor Uwaifo is documented in the Dictionary of Music and Musicians, volume 8, documented in “Men and Women of Distinction in the Commonwealth and also “Who is “Who in Nigeria”. The Nigerian Television Authority celebrated him to mark his 50 years on stage, broadcast live to the world over a decade ago (2006) in Abuja. Western Nigeria Television, Ibadan, (WNTV) first in Africa has also awarded him a Gold Trophy in appreciation of his immense services in 1971. Professor Victor Uwaifo is the President and Founder of Revelation Palazzo Museum and Victor Uwaifo Academy of Music, Benin City, Nigeria.
DISCOVERIES, ACADEMIC RESEARCH AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO KNOWLEDGE
Prof Victor Uwaifo has made many discoveries and contributions to knowledge in the following areas:
- He propounded the theory of sight and sound, the relativity and the transposition of the seven colours of the rainbow into musical notes and the creation of (Akwete) Joromi music recorded and released in 1965 that won for Nigeria the first Gold Disc in Africa.
- He discovered the cloning of human teeth in sculpture with local materials.
- Victor Uwaifo created elephant ivory tusk by a method of simulation with synthetic polymer materials.
- He invented the 360 degrees revolving Magic Guitar, the first and only one in the world today.
- He also invented the 18 strings double-neck guitar as far back as 1967, fashioned after the mermaid (mammy-water) esoteric experience, at the Barbeach, in Lagos.
- He developed a guitar/keyboard combined that can play self- accompanied melodies. (1995)
- He designed and constructed an aircraft Boeing 727 house in Benin City, first in Africa.
- Professor Victor Uwaifo also designed the architecture of his Superstar Highgate building in Benin City, regarded as one of the weirdest homes in the world, which he prides himself as having the largest bedroom in Africa. It has a sprawling space of 1500 square feet about the size of a medium lawn tennis court, verified by BBC crew and was featured on BBC Channel 4 London, 2018.
- He introduced gymnastics, stage showmanship and dance dynamism into music performance in Nigeria and beyond over fifty years ago and still doing it till date.
- Uwaifo is a philosopher, publisher and author of books which cut across Arts, Philosophy, Autobiography, Poetry and Tourism. He also runs the Victor Uwaifo Music Academy, Benin City, Nigeria.
- He designed the first motorized giant Kinetic Sculpture in Nigeria, “The Royal Dance” in front of Oba Akenzua II Cultural Complex, Benin City, with spectacular features of Eben (scimitar royal swords) rotating in its hand and torso. This is a huge breakthrough, synergy of a sculptural interface with engineering.
PROFESSIONAL CAREER AND WORK EXPERIENCE
- Victor Uwaifo worked for NTA, Lagos (NTS) as it then was, from 1963-1965 as a graphic artist and assistant Head of the Department of Graphics.
- He was commissioned to represent Nigeria at the African Algier’s Festival of ARTS held in Algeria in 1969.
- Subsequently, in 1970, Victor Uwaifo was again commissioned by the Nigerian government on a musical trip to Japan for her trade fair band stand at the EXPO ’70 in Osaka, Japan.
- Again, in 1973, the Nigerian government took Victor Uwaifo and his Melody Maestros on a Cultural Exchange World Tour to Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Moscow Russia, Ukraine and Italy.
- He has showcased command performances in State Houses and Aso Rock, Abuja, on several occasions Presidential Ball on the occasion of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s swearing-in ceremony 2011 is a point of reference.
- Uwaifo served as the first Honourable Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Edo State and member of the State Executive Council from 2000-2003.
- He was Nigeria’s sole musical flag bearer that performed during the Commonwealth Summit held at the Commonwealth Institute, London in 1973.
- Victor Uwaifo leading his Melody Maestros became Nigeria’s N0 1 showcase and musical exponent at the World Black Festival of Arts and Culture, “FESTAC 77” which show reverberated around the world.
- He was the Chairman: Bendel Arts Council, Bendel State — 1984-198M6 and subsequently, the Chairman of Edo State Board of Arts Council – – -2010/2011
- Professor Victor Uwaifo belongs to two worlds of professionalism: Visual Arts (sculpture) and the Performing Arts (musicology) with a flair for architecture and inventions. He has executed several works of sculpture in public places, which were commissioned by state governments and private bodies, both North and South of Nigeria and today, he’s often referred to as an institution, genius, a living legend and National Human Treasure.
- He has contributed immensely to pedagogy and scholarship and impacted his knowledge on students as a lecturer at the University of Benin. Incidentally, his own biological son Alexander Osamu Uwaifo was one of his 400 level students, in the Department of Fine and Applied Arts 2014.
COMMISSIONED ART PROJECTS BY STATE GOVERNMENTS AND PRIVATE BODIES
- The Cenotaph at the Parade Ground in Yola, Adamawa State.
- Cenotaph in Maiduguri, Borno State.
- Cenotaph in Makurdi, Benue State.
- Cenotaph, Isaac Boro Park, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
- The Unknown Soldier Cenotaph, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
- State House Beautification, Sculptural Giant Eagle, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State.
- Pilgrimage Ground (45 giant statues) Stations of the Cross, Igarra, Edo State
- The Grotto, (Stations of the Cross) Holy Cross Cathedral, Benin City.
- Holy Mary Statue: Saint Benedict’s Church, Ijebu-Ode.
- Stations of the Cross, Catholic Church, Agenebode, Edo State.
- Sculptural Beautification: Catholic Church, Igiode and Ubiaja, Edo State.
- Chief Iginedion’s (Esama of Benin) Giant statue at IUO, Okada, Edo State.
- Giant Eagle at the Eleganza Plaza, Apapa, Lagos.
- Stained glass painting: Saint John’s Anglican Church, Benin City.
- Oba Akenzua II twice-life-size statue: Cultural Complex, Benin City.
- The Giant Eagle in front of the Palm Royal Hotel, Ugbowo, Benin City.
- The Royal Altar Pieces Sculptural Project: University of Benin, Benin City.
- Over 100 Statues at the Revelation Palazzo Museum, Benin City.
SPECIAL AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
- Distinguished Alumnus Awards: University of Benin,- 2002 and 2008
- Rotary International Fellow Award 2001, to humanity- 2003, 2018.
- Association of Nigerian Authors and Publishers Award – 1994
- Benin National Merit Award for uplifting the Benin heritage values -2007
- Institute of Independent Marketing Management of Nigeria Award-1996 Award Certificate of Honour by the House of Representatives, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America. -1997
- Member: Advisory Board, Biographical Council, Cambridge, England.
- Member: Advisory Council, American Heritage University, C.A; USA-2006
- Doctor of Literature D.Litt.(honors causa) University of Benin -2009
CERTIFICATES OF HONOUR AND MERIT
- Nigeria International Song Festival (NISOFES) Golden Song Award- (1999)
- Niger Delta Legendary Award- (2013)
- Federal Ministry of Information and Culture Certificate for Creativity-(1996)
- University of Nigeria, Nsukka Silver Jubilee Certificate of Excellence- (1986)
- Actors Guild of Nigeria Certificate of Merit for contributions to Showbiz-(2005)
- Edo Club Certificate for Contributions to the Heritage of Edo People – (1983)
- Coalition of Civil Society in Nigeria Heroic Award – (2016)
- University of Ibadan Sigma Club, Havana Music Carnival Award-(1975)
- University of Lagos, Edo Students Association Certificate of Honour- (2001)
- Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) Genius Award- (2018)
- Independence Hall of Fame (Dreamspash Award) of Excellence- (2006)
- Lifetime Award by City People Magazine Publishers- (2015)
- Association of Sports, Science and Medicine (NASSM) Recognition Award-(2016)
- Students Union Government (UNIBEN) Award for Hard Work and Art- (2008)
- Legendary Award of Excellence by 24 Bits, United Kingdom- (2017)
GOLD RECORDS AND TROPHIES
- “JOROMI” First Gold : (Philips Records PF 383-45) Year of release-(1965)
- “FIVE DAYS A WEEK LOVE” GOLD: (Polygram Records Polp 012 –(1977)
- “USA 1997” GOLD: CD sales worldwide (JTV RECORDS 020)- (1997)
- “FIFTY YEARS ON STAGE” GOLD: Golden Jubilee NTA Award- (2006)
- “GENRES OF MUSIC” GOLD: Edo State Musicians Award –(2005)
- “PAN AFRICAN FESTIVAL” GOLD: Cape Coast Ghana Award – (2003)
- “BEST GUITARIST AND INVENTOR” GOLD: (JTV RECORDS 021) – (2001)
- “TITIBITI SOUNDS” GOLD: (JTV RECORDS 022) – (I2002)
- “TALK OF THE TOWN” SILVER: (Polygram Records 631033 PL)-(1973)
- ”HOLD YOUR ROMEO” SILVER: (Polydor Records LP) –(1981)
SUMARY AND CONCLUSION
Professor Victor Uwaifo as far back as 1970 enjoyed international recognitions and one of such was the invitation extended to him by President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia to Dinner on 19th October, 1970, in the United Nations Main Delegates Dinning Hall, West Terrace, N.Y. USA. His professional qualities and accomplishments, as well as rich combinations of talents and skills, stand him out as a man of unique multidimensionality. He’s an illustrious son and brand that has brought pride and respectability to Nigeria.
Employing the universal language of music, he has promoted national unity and social harmony across religious and ethnic barriers. He possesses a depth of knowledge about social issues, which he shares without condescending to ignoble tendencies. Since he came to limelight and public consciousness, Professor Victor Uwaifo has remained constant in the firmament among the constellation of stars. He’s a quintessential, information and communications technology personage of our generation a century ahead of time. His music never fades and never lacks harmony. His artworks demonstrate great splendor, extreme grandeur, unparalleled and exemplary grandiloquence. Victor Uwaifo is a gift to mankind. In the words of Professor Victor Uwaifo, he says, ”God’s Divine Hands are upon me, I’m His esoteric vessel and terrestrial assistant in creation.
Victor Uwaifo Biography and Profile (Victor Uwaifo)