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Chidinma Ekile, Project Fame West Africa (Season 3) Winner

It’s no more news that petite Chidinma Ekile, a 22 year old business promoter and student has won this year’s edition of Project Fame West Africa. I was not so surprised when I heard the gist before it was televised last Sunday. I had observed her gradual ‘adjustment’ during the course of ten grueling weeks in the house. I think she improved with time. She managed to pull through despite having to do songs that were clearly not meant for her voice earlier on in the programme. I remember when she did one of the legendary Onyeka Onwenu’s songs (Ekwe); while Onyeka rightly said she was sassy in her performance, I felt she was not so fantastic with the vocals. I just could not fit her voice to that song!

Reprieve came when the contestants were asked to do their own (self-composed) songs. The first time she took the song (Direction), I just had to clap. I felt it was a masterpiece. Being a die-hard fan of slow, cool songs with effective lyrics (I love songs that call for introspection), I just had to give it to her. She had finally been able to vindicate herself. I was wrapped up in the lyrics of the song, the musical notes (especially the slur at the end of the *chorus*) and her performance. You could have only expected that from some American diva, but I felt so proud to get this coming from a fellow Nigerian. I saw brilliance in the composition of that song and would rather say she had the best original composition. Thankfully, she has come to terms with the fact that it is no more illusion: she is the winner!

I am quite aware that Kesse Frimpong, gifted Ghanaian singer, was favoured by a lot of people to win, but he ended with the 1st runner up prize. He could have easily claimed the top spot too, but Chidinma warmed her way into our hearts several weeks ago. (Even Kesse wrote her a song…) I believe her small frame and carriage did the magic. I also imagine her Pastor at the Foursquare Gospel Church she attends announcing every Sunday and at every opportunity, reminding members of the congregation to vote for ‘our own Chidinma’. People’s votes counted most at the last stage, so I find baseless some ignorant people’s claims that MTN did ojoro (that MTN was dubious). Many people just kept ranting, never voting for their own favourite contestant(s). Besides, you may want to consider the number of MTN users who are Nigerians vis-a-vis those who are Ghanaians. Do not also neglect the fact that not all Ghanaian voters necessarily voted Kesse. There were also voters from other West African countries. So I’d say Chidinma clearly deserves her win!

I can only wish that she stays focused and determined to do good music. I hope the numerous invitations to shows do not hinder her from settling down in time to produce her own album, something worth the fame. (Her recording contract expires someday, I presume.) I also pray that she is not involved in or tainted by any scandals. Hope she spends her N2.5m wisely and drives her brand new Toyota RAV4 safely and responsibly too. Her parents, especially her mum, should receive some extra pampering, I suppose. She is really young and I wish her well as her career blossoms beyond her imagination. Congrats Chidinma!

To the other finalists: Kesse Frimpong (1st runner up), Eyo Eminue (2nd runner up), Yetunde Orijah (a.k.a. Omo Ibadan) 3rd runner-up, Tolu Adeshina and Ochuko Ogbu-Sifo, I also say a big Congrats! (Someone’s gotta win the top prize anyways, and I hear the top six contestants are expected to release a group song, produced by one of Nigeria’s leading producers as well as a video.)