No doubt, Gospel music has indeed come of age in Nigeria. But one of its exponent, Mr. Bigger Ibekwe believes it is not getting the attention it deserves. Ibekwe who is a trained theatre artiste and set release his third album, titled ‘With Jesus Adim Ok’, blamed promoters and the society for it.
“The truth is that a lot of the people who are into Gospel music in Nigeria are doing so for playing sake. They are not rooted in it. It is not enough to come and sing Gospel, there should be more commitment.
Also, the society is not actually giving enough space to the preaching of the Gospel. If I was singing secular music, by now my name would have known all over the country. The promoters are not giving enough attention to Gospel music as they should.
What they want you to talk about is love, buttocks, boobs and so on,” he said in an interview with New Telegraph. Last year, Ibekwe released a single One Nigeria to promote unity in the country. “Promoting untiy was my reason for the album, that is for a united Nigeria, because I saw the handwriting on the wall. Prophetically I saw the handwriting on the wall, and the Lord asked me to ask for one Nigeria – one United single Nigeria.
One Nigeria was a single I purposely created for Nigerians. “I expected the government of Nigeria to key in to this kind of project. I wanted the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to key in into it, and other persons who are interested in the unity of Nigeria to key into it and cause it to be a crusade, to be preached all over the country, but Nigeria as I can see it is everybody to himself.
A lot of persons are only interested in what directedly comes to them; they are not so much interested in actually propagating the gospel of one Nigerianess,” he said.
On his third album which set for release soon. Titled ‘With Jesus Adim Ok’, the album is a rich blend of pop and gospel. According to him, the fusion of pop is deliberate. “I call it Gospel pop. I want the youths to get involved into this business of Jesus, that is preaching the Gospel. You can see the vibrancy of the work. I want the youths to talk about Jesus.
And when they dance and they are talking about Jesus, it will make them to be asking in their mind: ‘Who is this Jesus?’ So, I have a target audience, and that is the youths.
That is why I created that vibrancy; they are the target. I want to catch those who like pop, which mainly are the youths.” He explain that the title track, ‘With Jesus Adim Ok’ simply says that “with Jesus I am okay. Adim in Igbo language means I am. For instance, when you say, adim hungry, it means I am hungry. So ‘adim ok’ means I am ok, or I am good or satisfied or I am alright. It means with Jesus I am fulfilled.”
Significantly, it is a blend of English, Igbo and Yoruba languages, which he says is deliberate. “It is because I really want to go beyond the Igbos. I want to communicate with everybody – any person who can understand Igbo language, any person who can understand the Yoruba language and any person who can understand the English language. I want them to get involved.”
Other tracks include ‘In The Presence of Jesus’, ‘Daddy’, ‘Onyinye Ekwensu’ and ‘Amen!’ The track ‘Daddy’ is a worship song but with infused with reggae beats. It is a song God gave to me in the church. If you listen to it you will notice that it is three songs fused into one track.
It starts with ‘I have a God that does not change’, and it gradually goes into ‘Daddy Oh Daddy’, calling onto God that we are here again; and then it says ‘a broken and contrite heart thou shall not overlook, which is taken from Psalms 51.
It is a song you can play very early in the morning, and it connects to heaven. It is a direct address to God. It says: We have come again, come and heal us; come and hear your children. You are our creator; we are your creation. Daddy come and heal us.’ So it is a prayerful song.
The Lord gave me that song while I was in the church. “’In the Presence of Jesus’ says, when I’m in the presence of Jesus I am happy and alive. If you are a spiritual person when I’m in the presence of Jesus I am happy and alive.
That song came as a result of my missing physical church service during the lock down due the Covid-19 pandemic. When I’m in the presence of Jesus in the church with other members of the church, I am happy and alive. But during the lock down were doing virtual services at home, and for some of us, we missed it. So, when we returned into physical service in the church, we started again.
“The track, Onyinye Ekwensu draws attention to the fact that Satan does not give people for nothing. “The gift of Satan is never in vain. There is a reason Satan gives people something. He gives to take another thing.
It only Jesus who will give you something free. When you go to the babalawos (native doctors) they will tell you to go and bring one goat or one sheep and so on, before they will give you anything or do anything for you.
But when you go to the church you pray: ‘Father please I want this’. You see your self having it, God gives you free. So we are warning people. All that glitters is not gold. When Satan is enticing you with all those things bear in mind that is not for nothing; it is not free.”
According to him, the overall message of this album is for people to come to Jesus Jesus Christ. “I want people to come to Him, because time is running out, rapture is fast approaching. So my target is for people to start discussing about Jesus Christ.”