DecemberIssavybe 2021 Flashback: How FirstBank Thrilled Nigerians with Exciting Entertainment

DecemberIssavybe 2021 Flashback: How FirstBank Thrilled Nigerians with Exciting Entertainment

Bolaji Israel

One of the strategies that has endeared First Bank of Nigeria Limited as a great brand to Nigerians is its mantra of being woven into the fabric of society.

In line with that, the bank has ensured that it doesn’t just mouth it but live out the slogan through its many programmes and initiatives that touch on different areas of life.

In December 2021, FirstBank left Nigerians with no dull moment as it massively sponsored many first-class entertainment events and programmes while VIP tickets of these events were handed out for free to many Nigerians to afford them fantastic opportunities to attend premium music concerts, stage plays, dance, musicals and other genres of entertainment throughout the festive season.

FirstBank’s Group Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications, Mrs Folake Ani-Mumuney speaking on the move explained that the novel idea which has become an annual event since 2018 was designed to provide platforms for Nigerians to create exciting memories and enjoy fun time with family and friends during the festivities.

She added that as a brand that understood people and was genuinely committed to supporting them to live better, happier and with more ease, FirstBank was extremely delighted to have offered Nigerians the platforms to enjoy exciting performances from A-list superstars and remarkable year-end experiences via the FirstBank DecemberIssavybe initiative.

“We remain committed through resourceful partnerships to nation-building; empowering and including youths to achieve their dreams as these events promote the continued growth of the entertainment industry, unarguably an economic game-changer in the global business landscape, especially a country like ours that is blessed with talents and amazing creative minds,’’ she noted.

To participate, all that was required was for people to just follow the Bank’s social media pages and updates on – Facebook: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Instagram: @firstbanknigeria and from there they got the tickets.

Interestingly, the bank had sponsored a whopping total of 11 top-notch events around the holiday season for customers pleasure.

Meanwhile, statistically, the Nigerian entertainment and creative industry as of December 2021 which accounted for 1.45% of national GDP has witnessed massive growth over the last decade, according to International Monetary Fund IMF.

Ironically, it is more than even the big Bollywood which contributes only 0.5 to India’s GDP. In terms of production volume, even Hollywood is trailing.

The Nigerian Film Industry (Nollywood), a subset of the industry is globally recognised as the second largest film producer in the world.

FirstBank’s relentless commitment to boosting this growing entertainment industry also fuelled the sponsorships move.

A source said FirstBank has invested over 100 million on the festive season sponsorships alone and has invested over 500 million on supporting various entertainment and creative industry projects in Nigeria in 2021 alone. This included its investments as headline sponsor for The Voice Nigeria, as well as bankrolling the Duke of Shomolu Productions, Ayinla the movie and others.

DecemberIssavybe 2021 Flashback: How FirstBank Thrilled Nigerians with Exciting Entertainment

These investments are strategic and are meant to boost the socio-economic standing of Nigeria as the creative hub in Africa. Given the necessary support, the industry can generate over 100,000 direct jobs, boost small and medium enterprises SMEs base, reduce youth restiveness, attract foreign direct investment, help to preserve culture and heritage, and also create relaxation and fun for the general public.

Fabulous Experience: Nigerians React

Some lucky Nigerians who got the FirstBank VIP tickets and attended the entertainment events described the experience as fabulous and exciting.

Narrating his experience at the ‘Burna Boy: The Live Experience’ concert on December 27 at the Eko Hotel, Kelly Oladele said, “I would say my overall impression about the event was amazing. Burna Boy came and made everyone turn up. I mean he gave 50/10.

“It was all vibes and incredible vibes. I have never experienced anything like this before. I went from doubting if Odogwu will climb the stage to singing my lungs out. It’s the most entertaining event I have ever been to. And most definitely, the top highlight of my 2021. Big ups to FirstBank.”

“The audience went from a bunch of sleepy heads to the most energetic crowd I have ever been a part of. We sang along to all the songs that were performed “word for word”.

For Angela Gold, a fashion designer, “My highpoint of the night was when a prominent Ghanaian singer called Black Sherrif (Blacko) who performed at the concert said Ghana and Nigeria are one, contrary to claims of disaffection and fight from Shatta Wale, another Ghanaian singer. Odogwu was super hot but I also like Dj Tarico, Yaba bulk boys, Dai Verse & L.A.X who also sang at the event. It was a Detty December for me.”

The 30-year-old Nigerian Grammy Awards winner born Damini Ogulu spared nothing in spoiling the audience, dishing out tunes after tunes and hits after hits with the energetic audience singing along. Holding them spellbound, he performed monster hits such as Question, Ye, On the Low, B.Dor, Kilometres to wild applause and frenzied screams as fans begged for more.

The self-acclaimed ‘African Giant’ performed a catalogue of his songs from 2012 to 2021 at the Eko Convention Center, Lagos which was filled to the brim with fans.

While performing, the ‘Like To Party’ crooner revealed that the best decision he has ever made was returning to Nigeria. “Coming back home is the best decision I’ve made,” he stated.

During the 3-hour long concert, Burna Boy invited other African singers ‘Black Sherif’ and the ‘Yaba Buluku’ singers on stage to perform alongside him in a symbolic move to unite Africans in Africa through entertainment.

Mamma Mia, a smash-hit musical was another interesting high point of the FirstBank December Issa Vybe events.

The all Nigerian adaptation of the global musical play created in 1998 by British theatre producer Judith Cramer featured Jide Kosoko and other acts like Patrick diabuah.

Exploring themes of love, marriage, identity and romance, a 20-year-old lady, Sophia who was getting married on an island, the same place she was conceived, got confused in search of her true father as the mum, Dona invited all 3 men who had sex with her at the time of conception to the wedding – one of them was her father but knowing him remained a puzzle.

In the ensuing confusion, Sophia cancelled the wedding and left the island with her lover.

Dona immediately received a strange marriage proposal from one of the three men who was already divorced from a previous marriage and both got married in place of Sophia on the island.

The alluring and highly colourful musical show was filled with a spectacular mix of romance, dance, sonorous music and affection.

Davido’s Tenth Anniversary concert on December 24 also didn’t disappoint as it left fans thrilled with a great musical experience.

The 29-year-old singer, songwriter and record producer came out in several colourful attires, receiving the loudest ovation when he decked the iconic Danshiki costume which he wore for the viral ‘Aye’ video, directed by the legendary Clarence Peters in 2014.

It was a great night as Davido performed many hits from his catalogue starting from his early days of 2001 with Dami Duro, Globe, Flora my Flawa, Tchelete, Pere, 1 Milli, Holy Ground, Risky, Blow My Mind, FIA, IF, Fall, to the recent tunes like Sweet in the middle, High, Jowo, For You, The Best and FEM.

Other top Nigerian singers like Tiwa Savage, Adekunle Gold, Naira Marley, Zlatan, Olamide, and Davido’s DMW boys – Dremo, Mayorkun and Liya, were on the ground to add colour to the celebration concert in commemoration of his 10 years on stage.

Alibaba’s January 1 Thanksgiving Comedy Show also created a remarkable experience for the audience ushering in the New Year in style and with plenty of laughs and fun.

Other events that made December worthwhile courtesy FirstBank included A true Christmas story by live theatre, a musical stage play; Africa Fashion Week Initiative of Nigeria, a catwalk, exhibition and learning platform and Culturati – The Africa Entertainment Festival, a high-status fusion of cultural event, exhibition and award brand.

First Viola Black Tie Christmas Concert; TheLivespotX Festival; Mainland Laughs and Fuji Opera which explores the Fuji music genre also made the A- list.