By Uju James
Gospel music artistes in Nigeria are seriously bothered about their relegation by secular musicians and are poised to change the story. As part of measures to make the music genre thick, the Fellowship of Gospel Music Ministers of Nigeria (FOGMMON) would this month host a convention in Abuja to draw a roadmap for the eventual repositioning.
A gospel artiste, Asu Ekiye, who is the national president of FOGMMON said the event would bring together gospel artistes from about 30 states. FOGMMON’s mission and vision is to build and coordinate an effective gospel music movement through partnership, mobilization, capacity building, advocacy, public information, dissemination and participatory programming for effective administration.
He said the whole journey started two years ago when he was doggedly supported by Dr. Panan Percy Paul, the board chairman and other artistes like Kingsley Ike, Samsong, Solomon Lange, Chris Morgan, Bidemi Treasure, Ann Inyang, Madmo, Jay R, Six Foot Plus, Jazz Asari, Fred Williams and many others.
According to him, their collaboration is to give gospel music a new face and fire, stressing that this was the product of several monthly meetings, executive board meetings, deliberations, prayers and fasting:
“We started two years ago and right now, we have branches in almost 30 states of Nigeria; four states in the United States of America and different countries that have been calling us to come and establish our branches.
“What we are doing is a convention, which we also call a congress. It is the gathering of all the chapters that brings together music ministers from all over the nation to gather in Abuja for one or two days of convention and that’s exactly what we are heading towards right now.
“It is the first time that the musicians will come together to forge a way forward in line with the tenets of the organization. The organization has, as its major objectives: to preach the gospel of Christ through music; establish a platform that brings together gospel music artistes, ministers for bonding and mutual encouragement.
“It is also aimed at protecting the rights and interest of all members of the fellowship and to chart a new course in the gospel music scenery. This will establish a community of people sincerely committed to the promotion of gospel music to promote gospel music in every sphere including and not limited to radio, television, social media and all other forms to train and develop; and promote budding talents and establish gospel music talent as well as increase the spiritual, moral and social value of gospel music.
“Our convention is basically to bring together our members and chapters together in Abuja to emphasize these core tenets which are the basic foundation of our establishment; and that is exactly what we will be prompting when we come to together.
“It is a two-day event. The first day, which is on September 17, is going to be a confab where the chapters of the association, which we call a fellowship comes together to discuss a way forward for musicians who sing gospel music in Nigeria.
“The second day is an unveiling where we bring the community of stakeholders and interested parties, including the general public to come, see and enjoy the beauty of what our association would look like, and what our fellowship represent and does.
“The basic challenge that we have had is the fact that gospel music still plays second fiddle to secular music. To enhance gospel music from being a church centre activity where the practitioners are marginalized by virtue of the misconception of the basic practitioners of gospel music and that is why we have come together to remove gospel music from that dungeon of playing second fiddle and put it on the front.”