Charles Chukwuemeka Oputa is an enigma of some sort. He is amazing and cannot stop pulling some stunts here and there.
On June 19, 2020 the ever bubbly punk king celebrated his 70th birthday with little or no fun fare, owing largely to the prevalence of Covid-19 pandemic which was a global menace at the time.
Nigerians, big and small were forced to observe the Covid-19, protocols of self-isolation and social distancing. And the iconoclast Charly Boy was not left out. He was holed in his Gwarinpa home, and hardly received guests, talk less, celebrating his birthday with glitz, bliss and razzmatazz.
One year after, the general feeling is that Charly Boy would mark his 71st birthday come June 19. But the weird one has pulled his stunt again, defying all logic as he has vowed to mark another 70th birthday this year. Charly Boy says that he has commenced his backwards aging process and would be marking his 69th birthday next year.
Asked why he wants to count his age backwards, the controversial musician, producer and activist says there is nothing to celebrate going forward.
“The government in power has not done anything to put smile on the face of Nigerians. It is confusion, agitation, rape, killings, maiming, stagnation nepotism, tribalism and clownishness everywhere. There is no hope for the common man.
“Since there is nothing to celebrate, I would rather remark my 70th birthday this. Next year, I will mark 69, a process of aging backwards.
However, Charly Boy will begin his aging backwards celebration with the launching of his EP titled ODUDUBARIBA.
Odudubariba simply means a spiritual warrior.
“Yes, it’s my second 70th birthday again, next year I will be 69, will continue my backward aging.
With the mood of the country and its people, we will keep the celebration simple and low keyed. Am doing this for my fans and myself.
What we are going through in Nigeria today is decades of inactions, docility and “my thief better pass your thief” mentality. We have been living on corruption money since the 60s.
We can’t continue to leave as one if we can’t come to the table to resolve our differences. The injustice in Nigeria stinks, that’s why many regions want to go their separate ways. From day one, the foundation of this country was faulty, a scam, and the Constitution, fraudulent. We can’t make progress with a faulty foundation. We have no choice but to reap what we have sowed over the years. It’s unfortunate but that’s the reality of our time”, he enthused.
Are we expecting fireworks, protests etc from Charly Boy as he counts his age backwards?
“The mood in the country doesn’t call for any fireworks, say who die? It’s time for deep meaningful reflection about our dangerous predicament. Am not insensitive to the pain my people are passing through. I have retired from active street protests which have not yielded much with the bunch of people in government today. Two years ago I retired from active street protest after giving it my all for 45yrs. I am not a professional protester. I have reviewed my strategy and am deploying my frustrations through my music, hence me coming back to one of the powerful tools of resistance, my music”.
The controversy that surrounds Charly Boy’s actual date of birth is part of the jigsaw that fuels his enigmatic personae. So many stunts pervade his personality, among which is sleeping inside the casket, holding a giant sized python, leading a protest against the system for perceived injustices, with his motor bike in tow and other weird mannerism.
A non-conformist, his wanted him to be a lawyer, but Charly was never a character to be told what to do, not even his parents. He accused his parents with over feeding him with too much religiosity, so much so that he at a point went to the seminary in an effort to become a Priest. But that was not to be as he abandoned priesthood after only six months in the seminary school, thereby scuttling the dream of being a Reverend Father. The second son of Late Chief Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, an erudite jurist and Supreme Court Judge, his father wanted young Charles to become a guru in the law profession. He was sent to America to make that dream come true, but as a non-conformist, the young man had other ideas.
While in America, he protested against his father’s wish and took a degree in Communication.
Charly Boy returned to Nigeria after his studies in America with a Masters degree in Communication, and took up a career in music, to the chagrin of the Oputa clan.
Charly Boy never wanted to live under his father’s shadow hence his sojourn to the opposite direction. By 1984, Charly Boy had become a household name not only in Nigeria but internationally. Somehow, through the dint of hardwrk and his innovative nature, he has remained relevant until this day.
No doubt, Charly Boy is the most controversial Nigerian Musician. He has seen it all and has carved a notch for himself through his alternative lifestyle and political views which has brought in its wake a mix bad of admirers and haters. The Charly Boy Brand means different things to different people.
On the choice of his outrageous brand, the maverick musician says, “I built this youthful brand to shock and awe ignorant, mongoparkish, analogue, outdated, stupid and idiotic Nigerians out of their potopoto mindset.”
Not only that, his now tested television Talk Show, The Charly Boy Show stood him out as a weird entertainer, and till date no other Talk show in Nigeria has generated the kind of impact in Nigeria like The Charly Boy Show. The political and social engineer has also used his music to stand up to the government of Nigeria against the many ills of society.
Charly Boy is a man of history. He became the President of the Performing Musicians of Nigeria (PMAN) after the tenure of King Sunny Ade, followed by Femi Lasode. Charly Boy only did one tenor as the PMAN president, But his administration was a non-stop era that was busting with so much activities.
Under his watch, PMAN became the hot bride of corporate Nigeria. Nigeria musicians were restored to their glory days. Ultimately, the musicians’ respect was restored and the big payday for them was assured as he midwifed the first foreign deal involving local artists and their foreign counterparts.
At the time, Charly Boy believed that corporate organizations were milking and shortchanging Nigerian musicians and he gave them a fight for their money, warning corporate Nigerians not to mess with him. Until he left office after one term, he was feared and reverred for his transparency, and he was the only force to reckon with in the music business. Nobody dared to try Charly Boy, he was unstoppable.
e did not only restore respect and dignity of the Nigerian Musicians, the maverick PMAN president fought music piracy and ensured that the Nigerian musician had a strong voice in affairs concerning the industry.
“As PMAN president, I fought for more respect for the Nigerian artiste, I fought for more money, I fought for their property rights.
“Today, the Nigeria music and musicians are reaping the fruits of all our struggles back in the day”.
Area Fada as he is popularly called by the Nigerian youths is an advocate of the masses. He fought and he is still fighting for the rights of the average Nigerian. He has been a victim of execute high handed uses he has been tortured, beaten by the Nigerian police, the Nigerian Army and security agents several times for standing up to the Nigerian government, who he accuse of injustice to the people.
In the mid-nineties, Charly Boy fought for the right of military pensioners during the Abacha-led military dispensation by marching to defense headquarters in Abuja to demand payment of their pension arrears.
He has also campaigned for Nigerian widows, and founded the Save Nigeria from Nigeria Campaign during the last presidential election. During the fuel subsidy protest in 2012, he was arrested alongside six other activists for civil disobedience. He is also the convener Our Mumu Don Do.
When Mr. President took a medical sabbatical for almost 90days without any explanation to Nigerians, it was Area Fada’s constant agitation that brought Mr. President back from London.
Over the past four decades, Area Fada had put himself in harm’s way. Not too long ago he was tear-gassed at the Unity Fountain Square, Abuja, nearly stoned and stabbed to death at Wuse market. He led 5,000 youths at Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, and protested against the Supreme Court ruling that annulled the election of Emeka Ihedioha as the Governor of Imo State, and replaced him with Senator Hope Uzodinma.
But Charly Boy says he is done with street protest, “I am no longer a spring chicken, my bro, sometimes, e dey be me like the pipo you dey fight on their behalf no wan know. I wan face my music for now, Carry all my frustration for this country put inside my music. When the youths wake up we go jam for junction. For me now, It is a question of strategies and less physical exhibition”, he explained.
It will interest you to know that Charly Boy may have stopped street protests, since in his words “Protests does not move Nigerian leaders. It rather makes them go harder on the governed because they are Evil incarnates.
“We are so corrupt that we need to change our mindset – my thief is better than your thief kind of mindset cannot work. A thief is a thief, no matter how you try to colour it, most of the people that claim they are fighting on behalf of the people today are mere hustlers, they are fighting for their pockets.
Charly Boy is a brand that is always trending. It is a youthful brand built for the entertainment pleasure of the young people, not old school. And the only way to keep the youthfulness and the longevity of the brand is to keep trending. And there is nobody that can teach you more about the concept of the brand except young people because it is their world.
He believes that the Nigerian youths need reawakening of their mindset. “Its’ either they are vexed enough to understand what is about to happen/happening to them or they are too scared and rigid to act. It is the docility of the youths that has contributed to my decision to stay on my own and use my music which is a stronger tool to fight for the people.
“I still believe that the salvation of this country lies in the hands of its exceptional youths. I still can’t see how these ancestors from the 18th century can defeat the millennial of the 21st century. This oppressive government can’t operate in perpetuity. It has an expiration date. But for sure, there will be consequences for our docility over the years. Before it gets better it will get worse.
‘How do we reason with barbarians and animals in human skin? There is a demonic wind blowing across the country now. Prayers alone can never solve this, we must resolve to strategically push back or accept our faith as slaves”, he querried.
Charly Boy believes that all hope is not lost for Nigeria, though. There is hope for the country, he stated, stressing that it is still the exceptional few, Nigerian youths that will remedy this country when the chips are down.
The marverick musician retorted, “Life is a journey of twist and turns. But I have lived a charming life, 90% of the time on my own terms and rules. I was the underdog no one gave a chance. I have lived several lives in one and I am not your regular everyday Nigerian, am a limited edition. I have no damn regrets.
“My life is better than most Hollywood fiction. I will forever be my authentic self. I forever keep pushing my dreams with consistency, tenacity, sagacity, audacity and tremendous focus,” he concluded.