WHY MY FIRST MARRIAGE CRASHED
Even at the age of 50, notable gospel musician, Skid Ikemefuna, does not hesitate to show off his athletic physique. He believes it is one edge he has over his age mates, so he has no apologies putting on wears that display his muscles.
“Look at me, look at my body; how many men of my age have this kind of great body? It is by the grace of God, it is anointing, it is renewal,” he boasted to Spectacles.
Skid is a gospel music crooner whose dancing steps and stagecraft have been called to question by many Christians. But the notable former nightclub manager told Spectacles that those who do that are mixing things up.
“Yes, let me take you to the Book of Samuel,” he volunteered. “There is a place where King David had to dance like a mad man; he danced naked. Let me tell you, the problem with our society is too much hypocrisy. We have too many hypocrites in the church today, and that is very unfortunate.
“The only thing we can give the Lord is praise. Do you observe the way a little child runs to welcome his parents who had long gone somewhere? That is what is called agape love, which God expects from us; undiluted love. So when I move (dance) like that, it is the glory of God. God has so many children imbued with different talents.”
He maintained that the number of souls he had won for Christ were far more than some pastors have done in their churches.
He said, “There was a time we used to stage concerts at Lekki, which were always jam-packed. After I had danced vigorously with the fun-seekers, they were shocked that I could come back to share the word of God with them. They marvelled that I could know Jesus. From those concerts, the kind of people that have come to God are people who had never bothered to go to church. My dancing helps a lot.”
Skid who is now the General Manager in charge of special duties in Silverbird, the company associated with beauty pageants, said that being a Christian would not blind him to appreciating beauty.
“It is of the mind. What you see at those beauty pageants cannot compare with what is going on in the Galleria here. In the first place, I am an artiste and I appreciate beauty in any ramification. If I see a beautiful queen, I appreciate; if I see a beautiful man, I appreciate. But beyond that, physicality is of the mind. Of course, you get tempted but immediately that happens, you control your momentary slip and say stop that.”
The gospel artiste, who claimed to be the first employee to be recruited by Silverbird, said his association with the big boss of the company, Mr Ben Bruce, dated back to the early 70s when they met as school boys.
“My relationship with Ben Bruce dates back to 1974. That was the first time we met,” he said. “He was the senior prefect at St Gregory (College). When I arrived Gregs for my HSC, the first band I personally formed was a three-man band made up of myself on drums, Ben Bruce on base guitar and Martina Amechi. The band was called War Head Construction. We played rock music.
“The band did not last long, and we eventually formed the Grotto, which was the band that hit the road. We used to go and rehearse at Fela's place, Kalakuta Republic then.
“When we all left Gregs, Bruce left for the United States. When he came back, we met at Hotel Bobby. Look at Ben today, he is all about showbiz. That is one good thing about St Gregory. The school has produced a lot of people who have taken entertainment to the next level.
“When we met, we got talking and eventually, Silverbird evolved from there. I was the first employee of Silverbird. In those days, we had nothing except a desk at Domino Stores in Yaba. With Siverbird Productions, we were able to bring in foreign music groups like Shalama, Cool and the Gang and Dynasty. All these groups came in, and we had concerts in Lagos. Then, the (National) Arts Theatre was still functioning. It was wonderful. We took some of the shows to Ibadan, Ife and Port Harcourt.”
“We set up Fantasy Nightclub, which I managed. We had talent shows where people like Ras Kimono and Majek Fashek were discovered. We moved from promoting concerts to beauty pageants. At a point in time, I had to leave Silverbird to pursue other things.”
Despite all these activities, Skid kept on recording music until he plunged into gospel after he claimed he received a divine call to minister to souls.
But how was it possible for someone who was so deep in showbiz to embrace Jesus?
“It is a long story,” he said. You see, when God is after you, you can only run, you cannot hide. The first time I had an encounter with God, I went to Christ Chapel. A friend actually invited me. I said let me go and see what the guys were doing there. Don't get me wrong, I was born a Catholic and was very versed in the Bible, but I wasn't born again. When the pastor was making the altar call, he said some people were still left and that he gave them two minutes to come forward. I stood up and was heading towards the altar, but halfway, I made a u-turn and headed straight into my car and drove off.
“When I got home, I started asking myself what I wanted to achieve by getting out of the church. The second time was at my friend, Chris Okotie's church. I promised to see him in his office, but I never did. Another time was when I went to see one of our friends, Anslem Madubuko. When I was running Fantasy Nightclub, he used to come there. Then, he was an architect. I went there but I never gave my life to Christ.”
But what could not happen to Skid in the church happened to him in his own house where he found it difficult to 'escape' God. He said he was restless and had to pray and fast for three days when he encountered Christ.
He said, “That day, the room suddenly became charged. My head was swelling. I felt a presence which I could not explain, I got scared. I fell down and the force was very awesome. I died physically because everywhere was quiet and dark. I still remember I said so it is this peaceful to die. I heard God's voice who said I should work for him.”
And that became the turning point in the life of the former Voice of Nigeria's music producer. Since then, Skid has not looked back. He recounted his days when he had to preach the word of God on foot round the whole Ikeja area of Lagos for three months. Apart from that, he has a couple of gospel hits to show for his long years of working in the Lord's vineyard.
Skid told Spectacles that before he became born again, there was nothing a young man would do that he did not do.
“I did everything you can imagine in this world. I was a rocker, we were always hanging out with girls at clubs. Then my entertainment job did not help matters,” he said.
The gospel act did not find it smooth in marriage until about three years ago when he met the love of his life. Although he first got married in 1996, the marriage collapsed irredeemably.
“I got married in 1996 but the marriage did not last. My wife was, and she still is, agreat person. But she had some problems which she could not deal with. She couldn't deal with the problem here in Nigeria, having lived all her life in America.
She eventually left for America and asked me to go with her, but I was not ready to go and live there. That was the problem between us. She left for America and never came back. We kept talking on the phone until the whole thing fizzled out. At thirty-something, I could not imagine myself going to live in another person's country.”
His resolve not to live in a foreign land was borne out of a nasty experience he had in the hands of a small white boy who abused and disgraced him in London simply because he (Skid) mistakenly tripped on his legs. Then he was enjoying himself in London and decided to have a train ride when he stepped on the foot of the small white boy that dressed him down.
“This boy abused me, calling me nigger, bastard, bla bla. And I was the only black in the coach. All the elderly white people were just looking at me as if they were saying 'go back to your country, what are you looking for here?' When I got off the train, I cried and vowed that I was going home and would never live in any other place but Nigeria.