Nigerian music producer, Cobhams Asuquo has recounted how Banky W refused to get paid for an advert he produced many years ago.
See what he wrote below…
The first time I met Banky was in 2008. I was writing an Etisalat commercial and I needed a certain style of voice on the song. I thought of the fresh new artist who sang the song “Ebutemetta” – BankyW. He was quite fresh on the naija music scene at that time, so I didn’t know anything about him. After a few calls, I was able to track him down only to learn he wasn’t in the country, but because I was determined to get his voice on the track, I stalled the project.
When we finally got into the studio to voice the commercial, we worked through the night and I was struck by how professional, hard working and good natured he was. He left quite an impression on me, but the biggest surprise was yet to come.
A few weeks later, I called him to confirm that the client had paid for the job and I had a cheque for him, but instead he flat out refused the cheque and didn’t want to be paid! He said he was just happy to have done the job. I was shocked. Why would an artist, especially a new one refuse good money for a major campaign for a big brand? I was absolutely blown away! But I was glad about how the story eventually turned out. The client loved the 0809ja song and wanted to meet the artist who sang on it to see him and know if he would be interested in also appearing in the TV commercial. One thing led to another and that’s how BankyW, a brand new artist on the naija scene, became an Etisalat ambassador and went on to perform all over the country that year for the brand. I would later learn that one of the ogas at the advertising agency believed so strongly that Banky would deliver on the commercial that he staked his salary on it. .
Fast forward to the present, Banky and I have developed one of the most treasured friendships I have in my life. With him I am able to have tough conversations. Nothing is off limits. He’s not ashamed or afraid to express brotherly love in a way that others may consider to be “uncool”. We became neighbours at a point and it wasn’t uncommon for Banky to pop in just to make sure that I and my family were doing OK, or to invite me to his house to listen to music. We have worked on several projects together and each time, Banky would always in addition to his own tasks, place it upon himself to make sure I was doing fine. It’s become such that when I have to work with a bunch of people in an unfamiliar space professionally or geographically speaking, just knowing Banky is there fills me with reassurance that I will be OK. I recall a friend’s wedding we traveled for. I didn’t travel with an aide. Banky was the Bestman and in the middle of his best man duties, he would always come check on me to make sure I was OK. Now, at this point you’ll probably think, “well, it’s because he’s your friend”, but the truth is that he is this same way with everyone, not just myself. It is just second nature to him to look out for others. He is one of the most naturally consistent people I know and there are many others who would testify to this.
It’s a special kind of person (especially in a time where corruption, selfishness and greed have practically become cultural “values”), that can start with practically nothing as he did, and over the years grow it into the successful brand and string of businesses we see today without tarnishing his image; while also maintaining the same stellar work ethic and positive attitude that anyone who has worked with him can attest to. I know because it all happened right in front of me. He has become an ambassador to many brands since we first met, and one thing anyone who has worked with him will tell you is that he is always professional, good spirited, conscientious and always ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work. At work or play, he will always arrive a few minutes early or exactly on time, and give his heart completely to whatever he had to do. In an industry that’s very …”interesting” to say the least, he is remarkably selfless and truly believes in love, service, friendship, togetherness and the power of community over the power of one. He is and has always been all these things and more, not because of any agenda. It is just the way he is.
In a time where originality is hard to find and is often called to question, Banky is one person I know to be authentic. I think that all of this makes him an ideal candidate for the position he’s trying to occupy. It’s not only about how I have seen him behave with me, but about how I have seen him behave with others. I see no reason to trust any one other than one who has shown themselves to be who they truly are; and who they are across the board has proven to always inspire. This is one of the few times in our National history, that a truly good person has taken that brave, political step forward to try to do some collective good. He is a testament to what you can do with a little hope. So I’m hoping that this time, we will not let ourselves down. Yes, ourselves. Not him. Because we finally have someone who is not in this race for himself, but for you and me. We finally have a real chance here, one we have long waited for. We can give this position to someone who not only truly deserves it, but who WE also deserve to have look out for US and OUR interests for once as Nigerians. I support @BankyW as he runs for the Lagos Eti Osa Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representatives in 2019