Restless feet tapped impatiently. Eyes roved toward wristwatches every third minute, while necks were stretched almost to the limit, craned in the direction of the main gate of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT). Why? The Coke Studio Concert had come to town! 

The red double- decker Coke Studio bus had already been sighted along the expressway and the news had spread to the school almost instantly, resulting in a sudden dash for the Abuja car park. 

Chants of "the bus is here, the bus is here" went from mouth to mouth as the usually laid-back students suddenly lost their facade of coolness and began jumping up and down to catch a glimpse of the bus and maybe one of the rave- of-the-moment music stars on parade.

The impatient students however stayed on tenterhooks for a while, as the Coke Studio bus moved round the campus first, causing a stir among the already excited students.

A rousing welcome greeted the bus when it finally pulled up at the Abuja car park and DJ Lambo, one of only a handful of female DJs in Nigeria, began to spin the wheels of steel, dishing out hits such as "Pull over", "Story for the gods" and "Shoki". 

She interrupted the display of artistry only to invite the crowd to visit the Coke Studio bus, take a tour of its facilities, take "selfies" with their friends and a bottle of Coca-Cola and post their pictures on Instagram.

An anti-Ebola screening session was however carried out first, with students forming an orderly queue to have their temperatures checked and their hands sanitized. Then came the selfie spree -different poses, funny gestures, and of course the free bottles of Coke.

The fun really began when ten aspiring artistes from the campus mounted the stage to compete for an opportunity to perform with Patoranking and Tekno. Boos, jeers, taunts and cheers greeted their performances. One particularly lifeless performer was persuaded to get off the stage in a hurry, when harmless objects began to fly in his direction! Clearly, UNIPORT had high expectations and would not settle for less. 

Israel Ighofose, a 26 year old 200 level student of theatre arts and Suni Eke, another 200 level student, however won the hearts of the mammoth crowd and got the chance to sing alongside the super stars.

After an interlude for comedy and dance performances, local favorite, Jumabee opened the night’s innings with "Cassava” and "Oshomo" to the great delight of the foot stamping crowd. The sight of Selebobo's blue hair got the audience screaming, as he took the microphone next, and got the students singing along to his hits "Selfie" and "Oroma baby". 

Thoroughly warmed up now, the throng went wild when the "collabos of life” began with Tekno and Israel Ighofose jointly performing "Holiday " and "Dance". Then the MC sent the crowd into a frenzy as he introduced dancehall King, Patoranking. The “Baby O “crooner was unable to perform for a few minutes, overshadowed by the roar of the hyper- excited students.

Thanking them for the warm welcome and their enthusiasm, Patoranking advised the students not to give up on their dreams, reminding them that perseverance and tenacity are essential for personal success.

"I'm sure you look at me now and think things are perfect. It wasn't always this way" he said.

"I have had to hustle hard all my life. I actually sold rat poison on the streets of Lagos. Yes o, I did. So do not focus on your circumstances today. Look at the big picture and for those of you who want to become musicians like my guy Suni here, don't miss the opportunity provided by the Coke Studio Concerts “Patoranking concluded.

He tossed his jacket into the crowd and then delivered a stirring rendition of his tracks "Alubarika" and "Murda", before being joined on stage by four female students who danced with him, as he brought the curtain down on the show, with “Girlie O".

Brand Manager, Colas, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Olufemi Ashipa, who also doubles as the Project Manager, Coke Studio Concerts was excited by the gripping performances of all the artistes and was also impressed with the enthusiastic response of UNIPORT.  

“Port Harcourt has a lot of amazing musical talents, so we decided to route our musical concert platform here to bring established and upcoming artistes together on stage to create amazing music." Ashipa commented.

"We are also pleased that the Coke Studio bus, which is fitted with top-notch recording equipment, was used by the aspiring artistes today to master their lyrics. This will prepare them for the demands and pressures of the music industry “he added.

The Vice President of the Students' Union, UNIPORT, Obele Wokoma, also described the Coke Studio Concert as an inspiration for all students.

"I think the Coke Studio concert is a welcome initiative for the Nigerian youth." Wokoma declared.

"It not only excites students but triggers something in their minds, making them more ambitious and encouraging them to aspire for more. Thank you very much Coca-Cola for bringing this to the University of Port Harcourt." he grinned.

Frances Peterside, the 100 level student of Biochemistry, who caught Patoranking's jacket, and danced with him on stage, was still slightly breathless with excitement at the end of the show. 

“I had a lot of fun when I toured the fantastic Coke Studio bus. It literally took my breath away. I was also very lucky to dance with the one and only Patoranking. I couldn’t just believe my luck." she giggled. 

The students of UNIPORT have gone back to being hip and cool, but there is a twinkle in their eyes, a spring in their step and a twitch around their lips as they gather in cliques and crews to rehash the best moments of an unforgettable evening with Coca-Cola.

The Coke Studio Concert would be touring   six more tertiary institutions in Nigeria after successful outings at OAU, Ile-Ife; Unilag; ABSU, UNIBEN and Laspotech. The next Coke Studio concert will hold at the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) on October 31.



About Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited

Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited (CCNL), a subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company, was established in 1990 to provide technical and market development support to Nigerian Bottling Company Limited (NBC) which has operated as Coca-Cola’s franchise bottler in Nigeria since 1951 and is responsible for the manufacture, sales and distribution of Coca-Cola products in Nigeria. 

Although separate entities with separate structures, boards and management teams, both organizations work collaboratively to deliver common business goals, with CCNL focusing on technical stewardship, product innovation, market development and brand and reputation building. Globally, we refer to this framework of shared goals, mutual interdependence and seamless collaboration between TCCC and its bottling partners as “the Coca-Cola System”.


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