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Extended Comment: What to do With Ebuka’s Agbada of the Century

The internet broke on 19th November 2017 when #BAAD2017 happened. The traditional wedding ceremony between A-list musician/actor Banky W and AMVCA-winning actor Adesuwa Etomi was a genuinely exciting event for everyone who has followed the story of the couple post-Wedding Party.

But the shine on that Sunday was almost pinched from them by another favorite of Nigerian TV, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu. The former reality show star who, as anchor, was a main attraction for viewers of the 77-day long Big Brother Nigeria earlier in the year, absolutely dazzled in a very royal adornment of purple agbada, as part of the BAAD SQUAD. It was what may now become known as a classic Ebuka moment; he simply published the picture of himself wearing the outfit at the wedding (accessorized with a ‘wucked’ smile) on Instagram without any noise at about 2:11pm, and the rest was viewer hysteria.

Ebuka’s agbada became more of a subject when photos of musician and producer, Masterkraft showed up. We will not deliberate on that here. Judge

Master – of not every – kraft

Apart from the mastersnafu, basically every other member of the BAAD SQUAD turned out spectacularly in their various cuts of purple to honour Banky and Adesuwa. Debola Williams gave up his usual white and red without losing the Debola mien, Basketmouth went without the cap but looked every bit the part, Kemi Adetiba was the King Woman.

It surely was one of the most unifying internet days of 2017, with nearly everyone having nothing but good wishes for the couple. Banky’s story from his recent third operation for cancer made the emerging union even more of a warm and hearty event. He and the missus dashed away to the Table Mountains of South Africa, accompanied by friends, including Ebuka.

Without a second invitation, the compere’s agbada has been enlisted in the (unofficial) agbada hall of fame, to hang on the same wall as the flam attire worn by General Olusegun Obasanjo in his 1978 meeting with American president, Jimmy Carter. As civilian president, Obasanjo did not repeat any of his agbadas and it is also expected that Ebuka will not be repeating his. The designer of the now famous piece, Ugo Monye, must definitely have more where that came from if Ebuka had need for another internet-breaking moment. But what then happens to the piece now?

It’s not our duty to be bothered about what things gather dust in a man or woman’s wardrobe after just one wear, but it would be interesting to research on if there are inflationary costs to one-time attires. What is the economic effect of extraordinarily beautiful clothes designed just to be worn once? Another  cause-trouble royal purple which comes to mind is that worn by photographer and singer Toni Tones at the 2017 AMVCA, one of the major events of the year which featured as many delights as there were weird turnouts.

Ebuka and Tones are only some of many public figures who, as it were, have to wear one-time dresses. Again, President Obasanjo appeared to be particular about his non-repeat to both local and international functions. It was always intriguing to wonder what he did with the dresses he did not repeat and how much it cost to make such dazzling pieces of flamboyance. On the contrary, those who usually wear suits for work could repeat their dresses and because it is their default look, nobody bothers to be up to date on what they are wearing, except for a change in tie (Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor, wears green ties; same green?). Others who don’t wear the suit but a particular customized traditional appearance, like president Buhari’s chief of staff Abba Kyari, stir a different kind of curiosity but there is no urge to prod on the economic factors.

Obviously, the one-time wearing of certain dresses serves to promote the brand and ingenuity of many designers who rely on public figures to wear their best samples and attract wider patronage. Ugo Monye has definitely benefitted and it is good for the Buy Naija to Grow the Naira campaign; maybe Ministers and politicians should start declaring their designers (Open NASS-wardrobe, ahem). The list may well feature household names like Lanre DaSilva Ajayi and Bayo Oke-Lawal, but there will also be others who could benefit from wider attention to gain patronage.

Or maybe not. Maybe we do not need the craze of paying too much attention to what our public officials wear, hence becoming distracted from what they are being paid to do. Senator Dino Melaye does not want us to be, right? So we won’t. When leaders of the freer worlds seat in a meet, the ubiquity of the suit and simplicity of the gowns ensure focus is on the work at hand. Occasionally, stuff like “who won legsit” happens but there is no conscious effort on the part of the observed to attract it; au contraire, such attention is scorned and resented. No one over there is wearing a stole in a particular fashion so everyone identifies him that way, only to go on to build statues; they just get on with their assigned job.

No Governor, Ebuka doesn’t need a statue too

It is different for private public figures and there is absolutely no reason not to love Ebuka’s agbada. Whenever the hall of fame becomes a real thing, that piece should be first or second, at worst third. But before a future Minister of Culture creates that (Lai Mohammed’s cap too will be there), what will the iconic dress be up to?

Let’s make a rough list

  1. Ebuka wears it hosting the 2019 Presidential debate.

He anchored BBNaija and does Rubbin’ Minds every sunday. The presidential debate would be worth it if ALL the contestants show up, and in agbadas too.

  1. Ebuka wears it in (another) movie called Wedding Party

Are we tired of movies named Wedding something? Not if Ebuka will be in it with the dress.

  1. Ebuka auctions it and donates the proceeds to a Charity for the girl child.

Decent, would be a nice touch of humanity.

Or Ebuka keeps it. It’s his and maybe the memory that he still has it will be one that Nigerians call on to remember #BAAD2017 and the community, the innovation and the joy that comes with the love of two persons joined together in matrimony.


By Alexander O. Onukwue | Feature image: via @ebuka on Instagram/edited by inquizimedia
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