Isoko musicians are the poorest in Nigeria-Evang Odanibe

Evang.Moses Odanibe is the President of Milk and Honey band, a motivational speaker, a speaker of Irri Political Source Forum and Master of Ceremonies. In this interview with Isoko Today, he spoke extensively on the need for Isoko rich people to encourage Isoko musicians in Nigeria and other salient issues.

Can we meet you sir?
I am Evang.Moses Odanibe,the President of Milk and Honey band international. I am from both Ada-Irri and Uzere communities but residing in Irri. I attended Ozoro Polytechnic. I have been in Isoko gospel music for over 15years aside as a motivational preacher with integrity. Gospel music has been my passion in life especially the Isoko gospel native music.

Why did you decide to reside in Isoko than Lagos where your parents presently reside after your education?

It is not compulsory you must live with your parents in the same city or state. God destined me to live in Isoko for a purpose. I have a creative passion for Isoko gospel music which I was trained under my mentor, Evang.Paul Odhegba,a Lagos-based Isoko gospel musician.Isokoland is the selling point of Isoko gospel music.

Why did you say Isoko musicians are the poorest in Nigeria?

In fact, it is annoying to see Isoko talented musicians singing and still living in object poverty. Our Isoko rich people are not ready to assist our musicians rather than giving them stipends to keep body and soul going. It is sad that most of our Isoko acclaimed wealthy people can pay non- Isoko artists for millions of naira for the same musical performances in a party but prefer to give Isoko musicians stipends and nothing else. If you meet any Isoko politician in a party for assistance, the only word is” I will see what I will do”. That is, such promises end in that party. Most of these Isoko musicians do not have musical equipment and buses of their own. The rich Isoko people are not ready to assist Isoko musicians. We thank God for Chief Immanuel Emoefe,Okpugo 1 of Irri kingdom for providing a new bus for our father of gospel music,Evang. Emma Ofano.If we have such silent philanthropist in Isoko, Isoko musicians will not cry for help. They should change their mindsets to help Isoko musicians to grow from their pitiable state and to make people happy in Isokoland.

Is there any unity among Isoko musicians?
To some extent, there is unity. Most of the old generational musicians are not ready to help the younger ones except few ones who have passion for Isoko Christian music.

Aside as a gospel artist, you still preach in churches and anchor programmes, how do you cope with it?

It is God's doing. I am a multi- talented person. I have been a pastor in some churches in Lagos before I came to Isokoland.I have able to manage the profession. I am a trained gospel artist from Lagos.I am also a speaker of Irri Political Source Forum too. I must commend my father, Evang.Israel Uyeh.

Can you say Isoko politicians have fulfilled their electoral promises?

Well, to some extent, Hon.Benjamin Okiemute Essien has done well to empower some people in his constituency. We still urge him to do more before his tenure expires in 2015. He is a grassroots politician to the core. We want politicians that will represent the interest of the people not their pockets.

In three years to come, where do you see yourself as a gospel musician in Isokoland?

I have been crying for my musical sponsorship over the years, yet nobody is ready to assist me. I know, I would release my VCD and Audio CD into the market soon.

What is your advice for Isoko musicians?
They should not relent their efforts. As far we continue to sing, our sponsors will locate us by fire. God will never forsake us.

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