“Each time l look at my archive l am stunned. I feel like we haven’t released half of what Jah has deposited inside of me, trust me. You know I’m a multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer so I often produce myself and others with regards to music. I have a large number of unreleased materials that I would be happy to push out as Jah permits. It’s some of my best works yet.”  

That is vintage Pupa Orits Wiliki speaking to me on telephone, on his forthcoming double album launch, scheduled for November 11, 2022, at the MUSON Centre as part of his 40th year on stage celebration. The master artiste will also be bestowing what he terms, Legendary awards on 12 notable musicians in Nigeria. They include King Sunny Ade, Bongos Ikue,  Ebenezer Obey,  Alhaji  Kollington,  Onyeka Onwenu,  Bright Chimezie,  Sir Shina Peters,  Alhaja Salawa Abeni, Dr. Tee Mac lseli, Emma Ogosi, Eleru Stella Monye and a posthumous award to Amb. Osayomore Joseph.

“Let’s celebrate them now that they are alive because they laid the foundation of our booming music industry today. These people devoted their lives to bringing smiles and laughter to people through their creativity. It’s sad that Osayomore Joseph is no more. But we have to give honour to who it is due.”


As the call ends, your mind does a summersault, bringing back in bold relief, the reggae icon fondly called Koleman Revolutioaire…

His entry into the Nigerian music scene at a time reggae was in the ascendancy, was unobtrusive. He was too cool, too calm, too gentle to fit into the mold of the dreadlocked saber-rattling reggae artistes of the day who wanted to “bring down Babylon.” Not that he did not subscribe to “Babylon as the cause of the problems of the world” and should be done away with or at least reformed. Indeed, to him, revolution is the only way out! With long braids dropping almost to his waist, his voice cool as a cucumber, he advocates revolution as the way out. But it is a revolution devoid of violence, warts, and all…

These have been the bedrock of his music from his debut album, Tribulation to Conqueror, What’s dis, What’s that (which earned him the highest income) among others. The revolution which he espouses is based on four planks: The spiritual revolution that makes you what you are; understanding the essence of the supernatural force and militant fighter who despises violence and embraces divine love. ‘’I believe that even when you fight for your right if you employ violence, you might die and lose the purpose for which you fought.’’ he told me in an earlier interview. ‘’The love that I preach I call ‘’Inity’’ (unity), the type Jesus practiced by coming and sacrificing his life.’’


He also believes strongly in the right of everyone to live. Here, his fight is for equal rights and justice. “Many a time when I see men in uniform brutalising somebody, I will stop and intervene. I hate oppression,’’ he explained.

Unsurprisingly he became known as Koleman Revolutionaire, a moniker given to him in France by Sydney, a friend of his manager who considered him too much of a gentile person.  It is an assertion he agrees with. ‘’I have always been a reserved person,’’ he confessed.

His first band was formed in Paris, called The Revolutionaire Band. Unlike many musicians, his first album was fully sponsored by a French company, Alanche’ de’ Lamour. It was what took him to France in the first instance. In Nigeria, Polygram handled the release and marketing. ‘’Many Nigerians never believed a Nigerian could present reggae in that format,’’ he said of the reception of the music. “Many thought it was a Jamaican artiste.’’

His follow-up, Conqueror, caught like wildfire with an infusion of toast, rap and roots. The fourth album, One Drop, released on his own label, Cowrie Music in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health under then Federal Minister of Health, Prof. Olikoye Ransome Kuti, is a social crusade basically done to propagate public awareness of the AIDS scourge. ‘’It is only in Nigeria that musicians are taken as praise singers. Musicians should be in the eye of the public. Music remains the greatest weapon anywhere.’’ The music was well received and the tag of anti-AIDS crusader stuck to him. He does not mind. ‘’There’s awareness of AIDS today but the problem remains.’’ It is based on this that he had to work on a home movie with a slant on AIDS. ‘’It is titled Yvonne, not really suggestive of AIDS but has a message on it.” This has since taken a life of its own for him with the project, aptly tagged, MUSICAL AID FOR AIDS (MAFA) which has benefited many irrespective of color or race.


Other albums that endeared him to the Nigerian populace include: Mubalmumbe, The good, the Bad, the Ugly, Faya Burn and Lift Him Up Higher. He also composed Land of Plenty, the theme song for the 10th FIFA organized World Youth Championship Soccer (NIGERIA ’99); produced Nigerian Artist for Peace Project in collaboration with Sonny Okosuns, composed the theme song for Ogun 2006 GATE WAY GAMES and produced the video for COMMONWEALTH GAMES among others.

Music to Orits Williki, is an instrument to proclaim godliness, to turn people to God and to give happiness to those losing hope. ‘’I want to use music to make you realise the you that is in you,’’ he maintained.

The past 10 years, however, have seen him concentrate more on revamping the Copyright administration in Nigeria as Chairman, Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN). As he put it: “Thank God today, Jah won the battle.” Within the period, he upgraded his music studio to a High-Tech recording Studios, called, Cowrie Muzik/Media Network Int’l “which caters for our independent production company for TV contents. Soap operas, Talk shows, Short movies and Skits for our online Broadcast and recording younger artists for my Label, Cowrie Muzik lnt’l Ltd.”

His projection for the next few years is to leverage the digital opportunities available today to market his works and other artistes. He equally hopes to take copyright dividends to the height where “all who have works enjoy the deserving fruits of their hard labour.”


Any regrets? You ask. “If I’m been honest, it would be ungrateful for me to say I have any regrets. Jah did his thing with me. The only thing is that I wish we had social media in our days. That would have been something else.”

Does he feel fulfilled as he marks 40 years on stage? You probe. He stalls. Then he replies with philosophical calmness: “Fulfillment is relative; some people are fulfilled with physical wealth; others may just be satisfied helping others. I will say, yes, I am fulfilled. The satisfaction I get doing something that I really love, gives me unending joy. I would not trade it for the world…”

Oji Onoko writes from Abuja


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