VICTOR OLAIYA: This Is What Nigerian Legend Did In His Lifetime
Feb. 13, 2020
Source: TheDrum Online
Late Popular Nigerian Highlife King, Victor Olaiya, gained national recognition when his band was selected to play at the state ball, which highlighted major activities of Queen Elizabeth of England's visit to Nigeria in 1956.
His Cool Cats band was also the sole band chosen to play at Nigeria’s Miss Independence zonal competitions in 16 centers nationwide. On the independence D-day, his band also emerged as the sole band to perform at the state ball to mark the day, attended by Princess Alexandria, who represented the Queen.
Source: Nigerian Global News
The band was also on hand to perform at the state banquet when Nigeria adopted a republican constitution in 1963. The band was again there to share the stage with the great jazzist, Satchmo Armstrong of blessed memory.
Olaiyas band was in hot demand, essentially for its discipline, high sense of commitment and outstanding performances. Dr. Olaiya played during the first-ever Miss Nigeria Competition.
Quite unbelievably, Olaiya rose to the rank of a lieutenant colonel (honorary) in the Nigerian Army when his band was commissioned to play at the various war fronts, during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-70. He was also drafted to perform for the troops on the United Nations mission to the Congo (now Zaire) crisis.
He was awarded the honorary doctorate degree in African music when he led his band, which he eventually changed from Cool Cats to All-Stars Band, to represent Africa at an International Jazz Festival in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He has not only shared the same stage with highlife music giant, E. T. Mensah of Ghana, but he also released a joint album with him, which was a best seller with the Ghanaian highlife idol.
A talented sportsman and lover of pets, Olaiya was in 1990 conferred with the fellowship of the Institute of Administrative Management of Nigeria and another doctorate degree (honorary) by the City University of Los Angeles, California, USA. He was a former president of the Nigerian Union of Musicians (NUM) and still played his highlife gigs to thrill at his Stadium Hotel complex.