Stephen Adegbite, chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Lagos State chapter, has given a new ray of hope to Christians and non-Christians alike in Lagos and by extension Nigeria, that it was a new dawn for the Church amid the Coronavirus pandemic and the economic recession in the country.
Adegbite gave the assurance of hope in his New Year’s message to Christians while meeting with the leadership of the Christian Press Association of Nigeria (CPAN) at the CAN secretariat in Lagos.
“For what has happened to humanity, we are going to extend love to everybody and bring them under the umbrella, so that we can move forward,” said Adegbite, stating that there is presently a breath of fresh air in the Christian community in Lagos.
According to the CAN chairman, the leadership of the Church will continue to stand; to protect and defend the interest of every Christian, church leaders and churches in Lagos, while sustaining the existing relationship between CAN and the state government.
Adegbite stated further that with effective state administrative structure, Lagos CAN will work for the benefit of all Christians and there will be no miscarriage of justice among Christians and churches in the state.
He added that to honour and appreciate the labour of CAN past leaders, elders and fathers of faith in Lagos State, the new executive will embark on courtesy visits to past leaders and other Christian leaders who had contributed to CAN and Christianity in Lagos, irrespective of their denominations.
Adegbite assured that, sanity had already been restored into Lagos CAN and that it would be sustained. “Never again will there be wrong influence or leadership crisis in CAN Lagos State again”. According to him, healthy rotation arrangement among the major blocs in Lagos had been properly made and mutually agreed.
The CAN chair states further that CAN as the umbrella organisation of Christians must collaborate with CPAN to promote Christianity and the image of Christ; and to promote the body of Christ. “We will work together and the name of the Lord will be glorified. If we don’t do that, we have failed in our duties as ministers; officers of the body of Christ,” he said.
Speaking on the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic and the planned lockdown by government, Adegbite said, “People are yet to recover from the first one, what then could warrant the second when adequate health facilities are not put in place to guarantee people’s safety”.
According to him, government has failed the people with no adequate security of lives and other basic amenities of life. “Nigerians are fed up and should not be pushed to the wall to avoid angry reaction,” he stated.
On the New Year, Adegbite assured Nigerians that there is hope for the country. “There is hope for Nigeria; despite the pandemic, despite the #EndSARS protest and its attendant issues that we have seen, Nigeria will survive.
“Nigeria is God’s own country; it’s God’s project; Nigeria will never become an abandoned project. God is with us in this land; the name of the Lord that we have celebrated is Emmanuel: God is with us. 2021 will be a glorious year, a year of peace and joy,” he further said.
Gracious Akintayo, the president of CPAN, in response to Adegbite gave assurances that members of the association will collaborate with CAN to project the Church positively.
According to Akintayo, CPAN is ready to partner and work with maximum cooperation with CAN to achieve the mandate of the Church in Lagos.
‘Without support, most visions die before being birthed’
Bukola Adenola is a young gospel artist who started her music career as a juvenile choir at Union Baptist Church, Ado-Ekiti. In this interview with BusinessDay SUNDAY, Adenola shares her experiences in keeping her music career going. Excerpts by SEYI JOHN SALAU
You recently released your debut album, how many songs are on the album and where have you performed the songs?
My debut release titled ‘Mowa K’orin’ has three songs: Mowa K’orin, Ancient of Days, Didan Didan Orun. I have performed the songs in churches like Upper Room Baptist Church, Redeemed Christian Church of God and I am still counting.
So, which is your favourite song in the album?
Actually, I do not have a favourite song in my release. All the songs are powerful and divinely inspired. However, I choose to sing some songs to soothe my mood. When I am worshipping God, I sing Didan Didan Orun. When praising, I sing Mowa K’orin and Ancient of Days. However, feedbacks from my followers indicated that they have favourites. Notwithstanding, they love all my songs.
What inspired you to go into gospel music?
Choosing the kind of music to venture into is based on influence, background and calling. I was raised in a godly home, groomed and mentored in the church. The genre of songs I listened to were mostly Christian songs. When I realised my music talent and grace, I knew that I would be using my gift for God. My choice was consolidated when several ministers prophesied that God will make me a great gospel singer.
I understand you started off as a juvenile chorister; what was it like at that time?
My first introduction to music was when I was a juvenile chorister at Union Baptist Church, Ado-Ekiti. There, I was trained in the rudiments of music. Discipline and morals were instilled during those formative years, love for music were etched in me. You dare not come late for rehearsals. Your parent would be aware of the rehearsal time. The choir-mistress won’t release you until you sing on the right key and sing your part right. Baptist Church had these catch-them-young programmes. So, from juvenile choir, I moved to Adolescent choir, then to Dominion (Youth) choir. I never knew God was grooming me for what to come. I just reminiscence on those good old days.
What challenges have you encountered since you launched out?
Well, I will summarise my challenges into resources (human, financial, material) and support. Having understood my God’s given vision, the first challenge is getting the right and committed team members who will key into my vision
and follow me on the “journey”. Some members want immediate gratification, some lack time management, bad attitude and ethics. Managing them is a challenge. Gospel music, like other kind of music requires funding. In the circular, artiste signs into a record label who foots the bills. Here, the gospel artiste will seek to fund rehearsals, studio rehearsals, production, post-production… unilaterally, and still find time to compose songs and seek God’s face.
It’s hard finding people who want to sow into your life until they see you in limelight. Without support, most visions die before being birthed. However, God has been faithful. He gives the vision and also makes the provision.
Who would you likely collaborate with in the New Year?
It will be great collaborating with Evangelist Tope Alabi. I had always wished to work with her. I believe God will make it happen. It will be a thing of joy working with my role model. God has raised the standard and frontier of gospel music through her. I would also collaborate with Mr. Olumide Richard, who happens to be my producer. He is also a great gospel minister.
How do you balance being a wife, mother and a minister?
Being a mother alone is not an easy task, not to talk of playing the three roles altogether. It has been God that has been helping me. Some days, I feel overwhelmed or burdened with duties home front. But, God has also given me a supportive and caring husband, who wants me to succeed at all cost. Sometimes, when I go to minister and he does not accompany me, he stays at home to take care of the kids. He makes me spiritually, psychologically and emotionally prepared for my outings. I also receive huge support from my sister. I always remind myself that my home is priority and that I must find balance.
What is your message to those who follow your music?
The message I have for my followers is that they should serve and follow God wholeheartedly. We are created in His image and for His glory. What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul? I would admonish them not to lose faith in God.
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
I would still be doing my secular work, as I have professional life. God has called me into Gospel music. Meanwhile, I am working to fund my calling. As time proceeds, I would have to quit my secular work to face music squarely. That is my God-given vision. The vision is for an appointed time. I can’t wait to face my music career full time.
Which famous gospel musicians do you admire?
I admire Mummy Bola Are. She is a gospel legend. Her songs inspire me till date. I also admire Evangelist Tope Alabi and Shola Allyson. No doubt, their songs were divinely inspired and their style resonates with mine. I have a great admiration for Sinach, Pastor Nathaniel Bassey, Dunsin Oyekan. God has and is still raising gospel music generals who have raised the bars and the flag of gospel music high.
What’s next for you and what should we be looking forward to?
I look forward to releasing new songs in this year. The songs are titled: Heavenly Lord; Iba; Ite and a Praise medley. My followers should anticipate the release.