Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Reflections on Elections...

The morning after..

It has been quite an interesting time in our Nation's History. Exhilarating for some, disappointing for others... but interesting nonetheless. The announcement of the 2015 Election results has dominated every news medium, traditional and social media platform in the last few days. Alongside most Nigerians worldwide, I was glued to my television throughout the process as INEC members slowly read out each result from each state, and then as the Chairman Mr Jega gave the final results and declared the winner.

Now that the dust has settled a little, it's time to share some of my random thoughts on what has just happened, and celebrate/highlight some of the key factors.

Here's to the President-elect, General Muhammudu Buhari. Congratulations Sir on your victory. Yours is a lesson of perseverance. After contesting and failing in 2003, 2007 and 2011, some would have understandably thrown in the towel on this particular goal. But it's never failure until you give up, give in and quit trying. There's a lesson for all of us in this. When you get knocked down, you get back up, dust yourself off, re-strategize, and try again. That's precisely what he did, and now he's the President-Elect. He's got a tough job ahead of him...the economy is coming upon harsh times; oil prices have crashed and foreign reserves have been depleted. The Unemployment rate and poverty index in Nigeria is at an all time high. General Buhari's administration have their work cut-out for them, and here's hoping they hit the ground running. It's time to cut the excesses of times past... time to focus on what's truly important to the Nigerian people, and make significant strides in the right direction. Everything needs improvement. Security, Employment, Power, Education... you name it. Change is what we voted for, and change they must deliver.

Here's to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Many of us have been vocal critics of the present administration over the past couple of years... but you've left a legacy of conducting/overseeing/allowing two free & fair elections to hold in Nigeria. That's more than any other President can say in our Nation's history. You've also been gracious in defeat, and your move to quickly congratulate the opposition has probably helped ease the atmosphere in these tense times. That these elections have been MOSTLY violence-free, is no small feat. Your position, that neither you nor any politician's ambition, is worth the blood of any Nigerian, is noble, applaudable, and appreciated. If you're going to go out, this is the way to do it.. with your head held high and your dignity intact.

Here's to Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Muhammudu Jega. You've overseen such an intricate, tense, political process and come out mostly spotless. In recent times your job has probably been the most powerful and the most stressful in Nigeria, and yet you handled your affairs as cool as the other side of the pillow. Never once losing your temper, never once succumbing to pressure or drama, never once letting people see you sweat. Your attitude, manner, and competence in dealing with highly sensitive tasks and times, is one that is exemplary to all Nigerians. This is how to become a living legend. Our hope, however, is that INEC will improve upon this exercise and learn some very necessary lessons. The process to collate, calculate and announce results took entirely too long. It's 2015... we can't at this point, be that adverse to the use of excel sheets and calculators. Too much time passed between when votes were cast and when the results were announced that could be interpreted as an avenue for rigging to occur. The situation and allegations in States such as Rivers, and some areas in the North and East, should also be looked into for the purpose of eliminating any areas of malpractice in the future.

Here's to the young people that were actively involved in the political process this time around. It was encouraging to see more of us participate. For instance, one of the parties used peers of mine like Adebola Williams and Chude Jideonwo (and their media platforms) to handle their PR and campaign activities with great success; while other parties used spokespeople who some say may have done more harm than good. Sites like LindaIkeji's blog, Bella Naija, and YNaija, were just as, if not more important to candidates and voters, than traditional newspapers and media. This shows the innate tremendous power and influence that young people and our platforms have. Don't be surprised when you see some of these young people being appointed in strategic powerful positions in the near future.

Here's to the Nigerian People. This 2015 Election marks the first time in our history, that an incumbent President has been voted out of power. That in and of itself is a mark of a true democracy, and a sign that power still belongs to the people. My hope is that this will serve notice to the incoming administration at the Federal, State and Local levels. Gone are the days when our leaders can do whatever they like, and expect to remain in power with little to no backlash. Gone are the days when no matter how bad your actions are, or how bad a state we find ourselves in, we just say "it's Naija" and "God dey". The time has come where we must now hold our leaders accountable for the offices we have elected them into, and this election was the first step in that direction. We must pay attention... we must care. Not just about the office of the President, but the Governors, Senators, House of Reps, and Local Government positions. This is the only way we will see Nigeria truly change for the better. If we the people, just... care, again. Now is the time to keep track of campaign promises that were made, and see if they're delivered on. The reason Nigeria keeps recycling the same problems and issues with no end insight, decade after decade, is because of failed leadership and citizen apathy. Our leaders were corrupt and we just didn't care. Let's hope that change, indeed, has come.

To those of us that voted, whether your candidate won or lost, thank you for playing a very significant and important role in our Nation's Democracy and History. Thank you for letting your voice be heard. Thank you for braving the inconvenient, tense, and sometimes harsh, conditions to make sure you voted and that those votes were counted. We laughed together and we fought; we stood in line together under the burning sun, then the rain, then the sun again; we discussed and we argued... but we voted.

Nigeria has a current population of about 182+ Million people; only 29+ million of which voted in the recent elections. The winner of the elections had 15+ million votes. That means, only 8% of our population chose the direction of our country for the next 4 years. That's not good enough. I was watching the elections coverage, and it was sad to see that state by state, the eligible, registered voter turnout was less than 50%. That's not good enough. Some people will say that we voted along tribal lines; I say that most young people, who do not have the tribal prejudices that older generations have, simply didn't show up. Time and again, I'd be among groups of young people and ask who has picked up their PVC. 9 times out of 10, I'd be the only one. We have to do better. We seem to be content with tweeting, and instagram-ing, and arguing and pointing fingers... but when it comes to the most basic of our civic responsibilities... when it comes to actually playing a part in bringing about a better Nigeria that we all seek, we're nowhere to be found. Social Media activism is simply not enough.

Some young people tried, but were frustrated by the inefficiencies in the PVC collection process. My heart goes out to you if you truly tried, but for some reason couldn't get your card. Others were just "too busy" to go through what was required. To these ones, I say this: We saw pictures of Billionaires such as Aliko Dangote and Wale Tinubu voting. You are not busier than Dangote. If these ones could put their affairs on hold to register and vote, then clearly, we all need to get our priorities straight.

Some may say that elections here are rigged... well, you make it incredibly easy for someone to rig elections by not showing up. All the unused ballot papers can very easily be stamped for whoever they feel like. It becomes increasingly hard to rig when we show up en-masse. I pray, and work towards the day, when all the young people who are eligible, actually care enough to get up, go out and register to vote... and in that day, when we all actually do vote, we will truly be in charge of our Nation's destiny. We'll see a Nigeria that has a chance to cast away the burdens, problems and prejudices of times past, and finally live up to our potential.

- Banky Wellington

PS: Here's to General Buhari's daughter, Zahra... in the immortal words of FahlzTheBadGuy...  'Ello Bae :-)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My birthday wish...

By the time most people read this, I will probably be somewhere, 30 thousand feet above sea level, en route my hometown of Lagos, Nigeria. I'm thanking God in advance for journey mercies. I also want to say a very big thank you to everyone who posts/sends a happy birthday comment, an IG picture, a tweet, a facebook message, an email, a whatsapp, a text... etc. I'm really REALLY grateful. Unfortunately, as I'm sure you can imagine, it's not humanly possible for me to individually reply every single one. However, please know that I've read everything and I'm very, very grateful.

With that being said, as the birthday boy, I have one tinyyyy little request, if y'all would be so kind as to oblige me. Here it is...

I've made manyyy music videos in my life. Some great, some okay. Mostly, I try to make music & videos that are a little different; art that inspires or entertains or whatever. It just... causes you to feel something. A lot of times, I've been asked what my favorite video that I've ever done is... and I've never really been able to pick. That's because they all mean something to me, and I know exactly what I was thinking when we created them, and because they're all special to me, and different, I've never had a favorite. Until now.

Late last year, I attended a filmmaking class at NYFA, to hone my directing skills. My goal was to be able to at least have the option of directing videos myself when I felt like it (not that I wanted to become a full time video director, but still). My long term goal is to get into Directing, writing and producing films. In any case, I wrote, produced, and directed 3 videos while I was in film school. "Mercy" is my favorite of the three, and absolutely my favorite video that I've ever done.

It was my final film project in film school.. it was a lot of work, and I tried to push myself and the actors, like never before, to create something special; to tell a story that could speak to different people in different walks of life, and help make someone's journey a little better.

The problem with doing a video that's more inspirational, is, that it invariably never gets the attention/airplay in today's media space that say... a party video, or a love song, would get. I understand that... I love partying as much as anyone, and I've made a career of singing love songs... but I think there's room for something that's a little deeper, more thought provoking, and more powerful.

The "Mercy" video, in my mind, is my greatest work thus far. It's most powerful story I've ever told in a video, and it would mean a lot to me if more people just got to see it. It may never have the views of "Yes/No" or "Jasi" or whatever, but it's just as important.

So please... do this birthday boy a tiny favour of watching and sharing the "mercy" video. If I get it to 250,000 views, I'll be happy. If I get to 500,000 I'll be besides myself. Anything above that? God knows what I will do. Please watch it, share it, and let me know what you think about it in the comments here or on youtube. Here's the link:

~ B.W. 

Grateful, but never satisfied...

It's a few hours before my birthday, and I'm sitting in the lounge of another airport, waiting to catch a flight back to Nigeria. Birthdays are a great time to celebrate, but also a great time to reflect; on where you are, where you're coming from, and where you're headed. And that's precisely what I'm doing... sitting here, sipping on peppermint tea, and just reflecting.

God has been very, very good to me. I'm blessed with a great family that loves and supports me, friends that I will cherish forever, business partners that are more like brothers, and a fan base that is crazy and kind enough to allow me to do what I want, and still appreciate me for it. In the immortal words of Jay-Z... "only thing missing is a Mrs.." lol... but I'm confident, that even that will work out sooner or later.

Not many people wake up every day and are happy to go to work. I'm very blessed to be able to make a living off doing exactly what I want to do. I do not take it for granted at all. Sometimes it gets tough, and stressful... but in the long run, I can't/won't complain. I've had an incredible run... I started "doing music/entertainment" full time in Nigeria, on Valentine's Day 2008. That means it's been 7+ years, and I'm still going strong. I'm grateful for every fan and every critic.. for every song I've been able to release... for every video I've put out, and every album I've been able to drop. For every deal I've closed, and even for the opportunities I've lost. For all the flights I've been on, every road trip, every tour... in this day and age, simply coming and going in safety is not something we can take for granted.

It's been an incredible learning experience, and the memories are countless; too many to sum up in one column. At the end of the day, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to God, to my fans, family and friends. To my business partners, to my artists and staff, to my peers, colleagues and everyone I've ever crossed paths with. Everyone we meet, and everything we go through, plays a part in shaping who we become. I wouldn't be the man I am today, without the experiences I've had. I'm extremely grateful.

For anyone that I've ever wronged, or hurt, or disappointed... I pray that you find it in your heart to forgive me. I always mean well, even if I'm not always able to live up to it.

I hope to continue along this path... I pray that I grow to become a wiser, better, stronger, more successful and fulfilled man.  These days, I have more job descriptions than I can count. Singer/Rapper/Songwriter, Record Label Exec, Chef-in-Training, Actor & Filmmaker, Advertising/Marketing Mogul-in-progress, Events Planner, Promoter & much more. The reason being, I'm never really satisfied with where I am. I'm always reaching for more... Trying to grow and expand my horizons. Trying to set goals, conquer them, and then set new ones. Success is not a destination, they say... it's a journey. I believe that, and thus far, mine has been incredible. I pray that it continues.

For anyone that reads this.... I'm a living testimony to the fact that if you dream it, and work hard, and never take no for an answer, and believe in God and yourself... nothing is impossible, and dreams do come true.

Love always,
 ~ B.W.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


I've been thinking... I've been thinking... #BeyonceVoice.

Okay no seriously, I've been thinking about how I could, in my own small way, show some gratitude to my biggest fans. I'm the luckiest guy in the world because y'all put me here. I would be nothing without the grace of God and the love that my fans show me, and for that I'm eternally grateful. 

Anyway, people that know me know I'm into movies, so I've decided to treat 50 of my biggest fans to see a movie this Sunday night. Sadly this will have to be restricted to fans that are resident in Lagos only, because that's where I'm based. (For those outside of Lagos, we will figure something out for you real soon). 

In any case, if you live in Lagos, and you're a big Banky W fan, AND you're available to catch a movie this Sunday January 11th at the Genesis Deluxe Cinema in the Palms Mall, Lekki, I need you to let me know. The spaces are limited... we're only selecting 50 fans who'll get to attend, so please don't waste time. We're looking for the biggest Banky W/EME fans too... 

For each of the 50, I'd like to treat you and a friend to popcorn, drinks and a movie. I also have a special small gift to say thank you that I'd like you to have. The way to qualify is to send an email to  asap. Tell us why you're the biggest fan... prove it in your email and we'll select the 50. My good friends at Diamond Bank will be selecting some as well. 

So there you have it... this Sunday January 11th... you and a friend of your choice, can be #attheMoviesWithBanky. 

Don't delay... send an email to ASAP and tell us how/why you're a fan of Banky W's music and personality, and you can be at the movies with us. Pls also include your phone number, and twitter/instagram handle ( PLEEEEASE remember that this is only for fans that are in LAGOS and are available to come to the theater this sunday night). 

Much love, 
~ B.W. 

New Year, New Blog

Hellooooo Ladies & Gentlemen,

My name is Banky W. I used to have a blog, some of you may have been avid readers. Then Twitter happened. I stopped blogging and started tweeting. And posting on Instagram. Now while that has been fun, and while I appreciate all the followers I have, I've kinda missed blogging. And I occasionally get requests from people who enjoyed this part of me.

Soooooo I'm back. New Year, New blog. And I vow to do my best to keep this updated with my most random thoughts, points-of-view, and/or anything else that I hope would interest you. So please bookmark the page, and check back often.

In any case, a few weeks ago, I hosted an exclusive premiere of my "Music Film Experience" in the Genesis Deluxe Cinemas in Lagos. There, audience members were the first to see my work as a Director/Filmmaker; we previewed 3 Music Videos which I wrote and directed while attending the New York Film Academy ( late last year. We've just released the 1st of the videos online, for a song called "Mercy". This video (or music film, as I like to call it), was actually my Final Film Project in my 2 month class at NYFA. It was shot in-and-around NYC, and features a cast of upcoming actors, NYFA film students, and models. Some are Nigerian, all are now friends of mine, and all are incredibly talented.

In a little over 24 hours, the video has amassed close to 20,000 views online. I realize these aren't Nicki-Minaj-Anaconda-type of numbers, but then again I do not have Nicki's-type-of-ass... just kidding. But I feel like it's a great start for a musician-turned-upcoming-filmmaker like myself. I'm hoping that by God's grace and with your support, we can get the views into the millions eventually. I can't lie... I've been tempted into bribing more of y'all into watching it by lying that I have some baaaad chics twerking in it... but I have reconsidered. Hehehe. No twerking, but hopefully it's as good a piece of film/music as you have heard in a while, and hopefully something that will resonate with you and your life's journey. At the end of the day, I've always been a story teller. I enjoy writing... whether it's songs, articles, poetry.. whatever. I enjoy expressing my thoughts this way. And with this video, I tried to tell a story that was different, and unique, and inspiring. Hopefully it makes you feel.. SOMETHING.

So this is how we'll kick off the new year and new blog... please watch my #MercyMusicFilm embedded above on the youtube link. And if you like it, please share it with your friends and/or redirect 'em here to my new blog. I tried to communicate a strong message, and I realize that isn't what's popular right now, but if I can get at least 1 million views on this video, I'd be beyond happy. Here's hoping you will help me do that. And here's hoping and praying that God will have mercy on us, our families, our countries, and that 2015 will end up being our best year so far.

~ B.W.

PS: Please feel free to give me some feedback on the video... I'd love to hear your thoughts!