The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has given the late Rub a Dub Master, Ras Kimono, a farewell that would make many of its members feel that they are in good hands should death come calling. For two days, the usually calm Oluwaleimu Street in Ikeja, Lagos was on lockdown as artistes young and old stormed the COSON House located there to pay last respects to a legendary Ras Kimono, who passed shortly after attaining the age of 60 a few weeks ago on June 10. Also present were prominent personalities from within and outside the country.
On Wednesday, August 23, a sleek red-carpet event and tribute night took place for the beloved music legend and was attended by music industry personalities of all persuasions. It served as climax to the week-long programme of events for the funeral that will culminate in the burial in Delta State.
Gospel artiste, Kenny Saint Best, opened the show with an invocation on the top floor of COSON House, with performances from the late musicians colleagues including Tama Nisa, a singer with the voice of an angel. Flanked by five sweet looking girls dressed in black, each with a lit candle, Tama Nisa wowed the audience with her adaptation of Elton John’s ‘Candle in the Wind’ she titled ‘Good Night Ras Kimono’.
Reggae singer Righteousman then rendered a moving tribute in a song titled ‘Jolly Good Man’ as did Essence Uwale who brought tears to the eyes of many with her unique rendition of ‘One Sweet Day’.
Rather than the traditional minute silence, there was a minute of whistles in which everyone in the audience blew their whistles in celebration of Ras Kimono, very well known for his love of whistles.
The show at the COSON House was streamed live on several media platforms and on a huge screen on Oluwaleimu Street where a significant audience lined the street and watched until the beginning of the explosive music concert on a huge stage set up by COSON on Oluwaleimu Street which concert went on until the early hours of Thursday.
In between the performances, there appeared on the big screen at the COSON Arena, a finely scripted documentary personally produced by the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, which traced the life of Ras Kimono with details unknown to many; from his birth in his hometown, Onicha Olona, to his passing in Lagos. The documentary received a rousing applause.
The unforgettable event with Koffi as MC, ended with a moving performance of ‘Holy Spirit’ by the iconic reggae legend, Majek Fashek, after which the tribute night shifted to the grounds of Oluwaleimu Street where artistes took to the big stage and performed into the morning.
On Thursday, August 23, Oluwaleimu Street witnessed a grand lying in state for Ras Kimono. The body of the reggae lion was placed in an all glass casket on an enchanting dais designed by Gbemisola Amedu and set up by Lefranc Eventors, in front of the magnificent COSON House. People streamed in from everywhere to view the body and pay their last respects. A delegation of the COSON Board and officials; the Rastafarian community, members of the family, friends, other entertainment industry personalities and the media, set out in a massive convoy to Asaba, the capital of Delta State, afterwards.
The body in a white Cadillac Escalade hearse, which was cheered by Nigerians on the road, all the way to Asaba, was received in the Delta State capital, on behalf of the state government by the state Commissioner for Culture & Tourism, Mr. Emma Chinye. At every stop along the way, ordinary Nigerians waved with many singing and dancing to ‘Under Pressure’, ‘What’s Gwan?’, ‘Rumba Stylee’ and the rest of the unforgettable music of the great Ras Kimono who was a 100% COSON activist and Board member to the end.