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Friday, 4 March 2016

Interview with ASU EKIYE – PRINCE OF THE NIGER DELTA



It has been a lovely interview with Mr. ASU EKIYE – PRINCE OF THE NIGER DELTA, he is the  President of FOGMMON (Fellowship of Gospel Music Ministers of Nigeria) and here’s what he has to say to the public though it’s inspirational than you can imagine. FOGMMON is a national organization of Gospel Music Ministers in Nigeria but with me here is the newly elected president of FOGMMON. Below where some questions he was asked,
Question: Congratulations on your election as the President of FOGMMON . What does FOGMMON stand for?
Answer: FOGMMON is an acronym for the Fellowship of Gospel Music Ministers of Nigeria. We are a congregation of both upcoming and established gospel musicians all over Nigeria , who have come together to seek a common cause. And that is to restore credibility dignity and a sense of worth to gospel music and musicians in d country and in diaspora.
Question: Does it mean Gospel Musicians don’t have dignity or credibility?
Answer: we have individual gospel artist that have hit a mark in popularity and in its train have acquired some wealth which comparatively is pea nut. There are also others who have some form of individual reputation and credibility. But gospel music as a sector is undermined by its constituency. In global music, gospel music being religious, is discriminated. In church circles which is actually the domain of gospel musicians, gospel music is used rather than being empowered to soar beyound a denomination . So gospel music is a threatened genre. And that is not truer than in the body of Christ.
Question:What do you mean by the statement “Gospel Music is used”?
Answer: I said that because the primary constituency of our trade is the church but incidentally, the church is the singular most devastating disaster to the music minister. The church likes music, and uses music daily for its services and worship. But the single cause of backwardness of gospel music in our land is the discrimination, disparagement and utter neglect that gospel musicians suffer in Church. When we go to secular corporate organizations, they reject us, when we come back home to our base, the church, they also reject us. So the gospel musician remains a survivalist. If he is lucky to spring a hit, Waoo! He moves from there. So it’s a survivalist thing.
Question: So how does  FOGMMON seek to achieve the above  objective?
Answer:  FOGMMON is a non profit, non governmental, non political advocacy group conceptualized by a group of individuals with like minds interested in advocating for the advancement of  gospel music, realignment of  the spiritual value, elimination of all forms of exploitation of the rights of its members and affiliates including and not limited to all categories of marginalization of gospel music in Nigeria. This we have done and will continue to do through education, spiritual and professional awareness, campaign, networking, lobbying mediation, conciliation, litigation when the need arises and information dissemination. FOGMMON will provide support network for its members through effective mobilization of all available network to protect them from undue exploitation from individuals, corporate organizations, and governments.
Question: Is every gospel musician a member of FOGMMON ?
Answer:  FOGMMON is for all gospel musicians. The issue of involving all artist is our primary concern. We have reached out to our colleagues all over the country and the response has been highly overwhelming. We have state chapters in a dozen states in Nigeria and many more are opening. We believe that all gospel musicians are interested in what we do and more are keying in.  We are not yet aware of any gospel musician who has said that he or she will not be involved. But the issue is still a factor of choice. But we remain optimistic that this will over flood the country in no time.
Question: how do u intend to address the issue of credibility hitting a lot of your colleagues?
Answer:  What kind of credibility sir?
Question: like womanizing , using charms, and being fraudulent?
Answer: it’s possible to make a mistake. But when vices become habitual, then they are product of a degenerate and vile individual  who either does not know God or is using the name of God to survive.  If we notice such people in our midst, we have our internal reclamation mechanism set out to help. So we are on course. In every trade there are counterfeits. And some how the counterfeits may even be more prominent, but it doesn’t change the  fact that the trade or profession has originals.
Gospel music is beyound a Rythm and a melodic scale. Gospel music is a life pattern. Any body who lives contrary to the dictate of the gospel is a mercenary and FOGMMON will not condone such a person.
Question: what is your view about using Christian choruses for political campaign.
Answer: I saw some mercenaries, who call themselves Gospel artist converting every church song to sing the praise of Politicians.  That to me, is the greatest sacrilege any body has committed to the name of God. Those who did and are doing it are depraved and immoral. They have desecrated the sanctity of our melody that was meant for divine worship. In fact they contributed to the failure of Good luck Jonathan. That was an affront to God.  How dare u convert a song that is dedicated to the worship of our mighty God and use it to praise  a man? That is the greatest insult to divinity. And those who did it and are doing it are all an embarrassment, disgrace and a disservice to the kingdom. FOGMMON condemns and will take some deliberate action against such people in the nearest future . If you are gifted enough to write a song ask somebody to write it for u.
Question: What is your view on Piracy?
Answer: Piracy is an endemic malady that has eaten into the fabric of our national life. No government has regarded piracy of intellectual property as a national crisis, so they have handled the issue with kids gloves. Until agencies  of government are empowered like NAFDAC for fake  drugs, we will still have no solution. Because law enforcement has been our tragedy in this country. However the greatest  abusers of copyright are gospel musicians. They are all over the churches.  It is criminal to pick a song belonging to someone else, and rush to the studio and record same song without permission. And this happenes every day among church people. FOGMMON will fight it to a stand still.
Question: Waoooo! So what’s the journey so far and what do u have in focus.
Response: this whole journey started a year ago, when myself and a few dogged music ministers instigated by Solomon Lange, collaborated to give gospel musicians a new face and fire. With several monthly meetings, executive board meetings, prayers, fasting  and in clear approval from the chairman of the Board of Trustees,Dr Panam Percy Paul,  FOGMMON was born on the 18th of August 2014.  And I can confidently say that the fellowship has come to stay.  To this end we had To God’s Glory a Grand and colorful inauguration and anniversary on the 12 th of September, 2015 in Abuja. With Papa Ayo Oritsejafor as guest Speaker.  Musicians from all  over the nation converging to make a grand statement. We have Our Branches Springing up -Nasarawa, Ibadan, Edo, Port-Harcourt, Kogi etc and even internationally- USA, Germany

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