Friday, 26 April 2024 17:19

The origins and authorship of the iconic "Iseya" song (watch video) - Olusegun Olaleye

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The inception of the Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation (OGBC) marked a significant milestone in broadcasting history, with its first office established at 78, Lantoro Road, Isale Ake Abeouta, on July 1, 1976. This followed the creation of Ogun State on February 3, 1976, from the former Western State.

During the planning phase for the commissioning of its inaugural transmitter and studio at Aiyetoro Road, OGBC's board, under the leadership of Chief Hezy Idowu, directed management to develop a station identification song. The commissioning, scheduled for December 1976, necessitated the creation of an anthem to symbolize the station's identity.

A song penned by J. J. Ransome Kuti (who was the the father of the late Reverend Ransome Kuti, the grandfather of the world acclaimed Afro Beat king Fela Anikulapo and the great grandfather of Femi and Seun Kuti who are expanding the frontiers of the Ransome Kuti dynasty) found in his compilation "Mayokun," caught the attention of the board. Titled "Ise Ya, Ise Ya, Omo Egba Ise Ya," it resonated with the spirit of diligence and community pride. This selection was affirmed in recorded OGTV interview programmes, including "Karo-O-Jire" by the late Justice Olukayode Shomolu and Tunji Oyelana on OGTV's "25 Special."

Under the chairmanship of the late Yomi Onabolu, then head of programmes and later general manager of OGBC and OGTV, the song was reworked as "Ise Ya, Ise Ya Omo Ogun Ise Ya." The production process involved collaboration with notable figures such as the late Navy Captain Bucknor, commander of the Navy Band. However, due to his absence at sea, the task fell, first, to the late Dedeke who started the work but couldn't finish the production; and later,

to the late Colonel Olubobokun, commandant of the Nigerian Army Band, whose rendition was approved by staff, management, and the board of OGBC.

The debut of the "Iseya" song on OGBC's airwaves coincided with the arrival of General Olusegun Obasanjo, then Nigeria's head of state, at the OGBC Aiyetoro Road premises on December 9, 1976, for the studio and transmitter commissioning ceremony.

This clarification lays to rest any lingering controversy surrounding the authorship and musical adaptation of the beloved "Iseya" anthem, affirming its rightful place in Ogun State's cultural and broadcasting heritage.

** Olaleye is a former staff of OGBC (1976-1982); former General Manager, OGTV; and former Executive Secretary, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria.

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