I am a sucker for words beautifully woven. I like the romance of words, spoken, written or sung – words that keep ringing in your ears over and over again. Imagine how long ago the words, “I have a dream” were spoken. They continue to resonate across ages. Have you listened to the song, “It is well” by Buchi? It stays in your mind and on your lips everywhere you go. Just think of the great elasticity of meanings of those three words in song… “It is Well”! Buchi is a boundless man of words. That is why I am a fan of Buchi.

I am also a fan of Buchi for his carriage and his unassuming personality. Buchi is a lover of words, a lover of music and an activist. I am a lover of words, a lover of music and an activist. As activists, we are not satisfied with the way things are. So, we apply the gifts that we have received from the Almighty, to try and create change in our environment.

I have followed the journey of the composer, author, poet and reggae gospel music operator, Buchi Atuonwu. I have no doubt that he has carved a name for himself and become a source of inspiration to many.

When we think of the complexity and the varied elements and experiences that have shaped the gentleman we today refer to as Buchi, we may understand why he is an enigma, a paradox or a riddle. Some might even say that Buchi is a man of contradictions.

Can you imagine that Buchi, the deep mild mannered gospel minister, came from a background of ganja smoking? Have you read Buchi’s book, “MY WEED AND I”? You should.

Do you know that Buchi was a D.J. banging music alongside my great friend and late colleague, the Rub-A-Dub Master, Ras Kimono… another enigma? They used to spread vibes and skank it up together on the “Floating Bukka”, the night club on a boat, moored to the Lagos Marina.

We all know how reggae toasters bend and twist the English language, maintaining no rules or structure. Buchi is a reggae toaster. Please tell me how you explain to anyone that this reggae toaster has both a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in English Language. In fact, this same reggae toaster went on to become a lecturer and teach English to young people at the University of Lagos!

Do you believe that Buchi, the sweet gospel music singer, was a few minutes from being shot to death by a firing squad for fundamental anti-social behaviour? He repented, begged the Almighty for forgiveness and to be given another chance. The Almighty heard him and spared him. Buchi picked himself up, cleaned his act and has become the jewel that today serves the Almighty and attracts significant respect across the board

Lesson… If Buchi’s life can turn out so different, the lives of each of us can turn out very different.

Buchi and I share more than the love of words, the love of music and the love of activism or even the dash of the famous University of Lagos. Yes, we have both lived most of our adult lives in Lagos, the city that never sleeps. But… we both received the polish of a city you do not pass through without it leaving a gloss over you. Buchi went to Federal Government College, Enugu. I am sure that who I have become has a lot to do with the years I spent at College of Immaculate Conception (CIC), Enugu. Things may have changed, but Enugu, the capital of the old Eastern Region of Nigeria was a city that trained its wards to have a set of values – the way they think, the way they speak and the way they carry themselves.

If you know Buchi, you must know that he is not trapped in the grip of tribe and sectionalism that hold many Nigerians hostage. Buchi is a man of the people. That might have something to do with his history. Buchi was born in Kaduna in the North by parents from Abia State in the East, went to school in Enugu and has spent much of his adult life in Lagos, in the West.

I wonder how Jane, Buchi’s beautiful wife, manages the quintessential Buchi, a man of many parts, juggling his many talents and skills and living out his many contradictions. Apart from being a frontline Minister of the gospel, Buchi is a family man and father of four children, including Marizui whom I hear might be a better singer than Buchi. Apart from his many other activities, this restless guy runs the Adeniyi Jones Ikeja watering hole known as Kulture Yard which is fast becoming the melting pot of the Nigerian creative industry.

As Buchi celebrates sixty years of a life that has witnessed a kaleidoscope of colours, I say Happy Birthday to the boundless man of words, music and activism. May sixty become the beginning of a set of new big things in your life. I remain a fan.


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