‘Why I Focus on True Life Stories’

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INSPAYA, a new TV documentary in Nigeria, is a show with a rich repertoire of life changing and thought provoking testimonies delivered directly in the words of the testifiers, with a clear message of hope and encouragement. In this interview with Mary Ekah, the proponent of the show, Mr. Banji Adesanmi, an entrepreneur and evangelist, talks about his inspiration, passion and objective of the show

What inspired INSPAYA?
I have been a believer for like well over three decade, that was right from my university days and one of the things I have always loved when I listen to preachers, is when they can communicate the gospel clearly using true-life experience. I have discovered that when you share true-life stories to support a scriptural principle or even a life principle, there is a way you resonate with almost everybody. So I have over the years found out that there is power in people’s testimonies from deliverance from what life throws at them– testimonies that are in form of stories.

And so every time I go to church or listen to a programme or even meet people, or I have not seen someone for a very long time or I meet someone that says something like “I was sick and I almost died” and for like 30 minutes they are telling me their stories of what they went through, the challenges they faced, how they almost died and so on, some times when I leave those people, I ask questions like who is documenting these sort of stories because these are kind of stories that will benefit other people, these are stories other people can listen to and they are affected positively.

I have carried that assumption for like over 10 years now and a few days after I have heard such testimonies, I will carry them in my thought and I’m excited about them and feel good. After a while, I felt that there would be need to start documenting these stories and putting these stories in clear record so that people who even don’t know these people, can listen to their testimonies so that they can have hope and be encouraged when life hit them so hard that they want to give up on life. I believe that if you hear someone story whose leg was amputated, whose marriage almost failed and who got a baby after 25 years and all

I have carried that assumption for like over 10 years now and a few days after I have heard such testimonies, I will carry them in my thought and I’m excited about them and feel good. After a while, I felt that there would be need to start documenting these stories and putting these stories in clear record so that people who even don’t know these people, can listen to their testimonies so that they can have hope and be encouraged when life hit them so hard that they want to give up on life. I believe that if you hear someone story whose leg was amputated, whose marriage almost failed and who got a baby after 25 years and all

I have carried that assumption for like over 10 years now and a few days after I have heard such testimonies, I will carry them in my thought and I’m excited about them and feel good. After a while, I felt that there would be need to start documenting these stories and putting these stories in clear record so that people who even don’t know these people, can listen to their testimonies so that they can have hope and be encouraged when life hit them so hard that they want to give up on life. I believe that if you hear someone story whose leg was amputated, whose marriage almost failed and who got a baby after 25 years and all

I believe that if you hear someone story whose leg was amputated, whose marriage almost failed and who got a baby after 25 years and all that, if you find yourself in such situation, you would not think of going to commit suicide. The Bible says they overcame by the blood of the lamp and by the word of their testimony. So I believe that INSPAYA is being born as a vision to document real people and real testimonies. It is not scripted or pre-written. And by the time we listen to these testimonies, we really want to be motivated and encouraged that indeed there is a God that helps man and that indeed it does not matter what life throws at us, we have a future. If God can do it for others, sure He can do it for us too.

I believe that if you hear someone story whose leg was amputated, whose marriage almost failed and who got a baby after 25 years and all that, if you find yourself in such situation, you would not think of going to commit suicide. The Bible says they overcame by the blood of the lamp and by the word of their testimony. So I believe that INSPAYA is being born as a vision to document real people and real testimonies. It is not scripted or pre-written. And by the time we listen to these testimonies, we really want to be motivated and encouraged that indeed there is a God that helps man and that indeed it does not matter what life throws at us, we have a future. If God can do it for others, sure He can do it for us too.

I believe that if you hear someone story whose leg was amputated, whose marriage almost failed and who got a baby after 25 years and all that, if you find yourself in such situation, you would not think of going to commit suicide. The Bible says they overcame by the blood of the lamp and by the word of their testimony. So I believe that INSPAYA is being born as a vision to document real people and real testimonies. It is not scripted or pre-written. And by the time we listen to these testimonies, we really want to be motivated and encouraged that indeed there is a God that helps man and that indeed it does not matter what life throws at us, we have a future. If God can do it for others, sure He can do it for us too.

And so every time I go to church or listen to a programme or even meet people, or I have not seen someone for a very long time or I meet someone that says something like “I was sick and I almost died” and for like 30 minutes they are telling me their stories of what they went through, the challenges they faced, how they almost died and so on, some times when I leave those people, I ask questions like who is documenting these sort of stories because these are kind of stories that will benefit other people, these are stories other people can listen to and they are affected positively.

I have carried that assumption for like over 10 years now and a few days after I have heard such testimonies, I will carry them in my thought and I’m excited about them and feel good. After a while, I felt that there would be need to start documenting these stories and putting these stories in clear record so that people who even don’t know these people, can listen to their testimonies so that they can have hope and be encouraged when life hit them so hard that they want to give up on life.

I believe that if you hear someone story whose leg was amputated, whose marriage almost failed and who got a baby after 25 years and all that, if you find yourself in such situation, you would not think of going to commit suicide. The Bible says they overcame by the blood of the lamp and by the word of their testimony. So I believe that INSPAYA is being born as a vision to document real people and real testimonies. It is not scripted or pre-written. And by the time we listen to these testimonies, we really want to be motivated and encouraged that indeed there is a God that helps man and that indeed it does not matter what life throws at us, we have a future. If God can do it for others, sure He can do it for us too.

And so every time I go to church or listen to a programme or even meet people, or I have not seen someone for a very long time or I meet someone that says something like “I was sick and I almost died” and for like 30 minutes they are telling me their stories of what they went through, the challenges they faced, how they almost died and so on, some times when I leave those people, I ask questions like who is documenting these sort of stories because these are kind of stories that will benefit other people, these are stories other people can listen to and they are affected positively.

I have carried that assumption for like over 10 years now and a few days after I have heard such testimonies, I will carry them in my thought and I’m excited about them and feel good. After a while, I felt that there would be need to start documenting these stories and putting these stories in clear record so that people who even don’t know these people, can listen to their testimonies so that they can have hope and be encouraged when life hit them so hard that they want to give up on life.

I believe that if you hear someone story whose leg was amputated, whose marriage almost failed and who got a baby after 25 years and all that, if you find yourself in such situation, you would not think of going to commit suicide. The Bible says they overcame by the blood of the lamp and by the word of their testimony. So I believe that INSPAYA is being born as a vision to document real people and real testimonies. It is not scripted or pre-written. And by the time we listen to these testimonies, we really want to be motivated and encouraged that indeed there is a God that helps man and that indeed it does not matter what life throws at us, we have a future. If God can do it for others, sure He can do it for us too.

How do you get people to come up to give real life testimonies?
Naturally, you know in our culture, people will say something like in parable in Yoruba that says, “If your yam is very big, you cover it and eat it”, but I have discovered that the testimony you cover is a function that it is not big enough. If you experience the hand of God big enough, you would not cover it; you will be excited to talk about it. And when we started, because it is a new show, people were naturally skeptical thinking that we had other motives behind it but by the time they now get to know the ministry and knew much about me from the social media, they knew that I meant well and that was when we had people who were willing to talk. And some of them now see it as an avenue to share their testimonies to the world. The programme, I must say is not just intended to showcase testimonies, it is also to bring out stories of survival despite all odds. So what INSPAYA is to do, is not just the case of deliverance, it is also to encourage younger people going through one difficulty or the other to have faith in God.

You said people were skeptical about this sort of programme at the beginning, so how and when were you able to start off?
The issue we have is not about people not wanting to share; it is about trust, who you were sharing your experience with and what the person is going to do with it. So we had to take time to explain to people that this was a ministry and nobody was going to go to the street and start hawking your story in a CD and all that. This is a purely a ministry, it is a calling and a passion for me. Talking about passion, I must have to tell you how far I went. When I knew that this was what I was going to do and that I did not have any experience in the media, I had to go all the way to London for training as a presenter at the London Academy of Film, Media and TV in January this year and at the end I had to do a project on something similar to INSPAYA. And when I came back home in February, I started looking for a production team while I talked to people about it, and over the years, I started reading stories of people’s testimonies. By March we started the shooting and by

And when I came back home in February, I started looking for a production team while I talked to people about it, and over the years, I started reading stories of people’s testimonies. By March we started the shooting and by first week in April we were done with shooting and we started with post production and then plan for the formal launch, which held on June 19 and from first week of July, we are going to start airing on the TV. We are starting with MITV on Saturdays by 8.30am
and LTV –on Saturdays by 10.30pm.Things actually moved faster than expected. These are things God used to convinced me that He had a hand in INSPAYA because we were not just using ordinary people, but God sent to me award-winning people in their different fields and some of them collected as low as 15 – 20 per cent of what their standard pay was because they believed in the vision.

And so by March we started doing post production. For example, one of our first testifier is going to be Julius Agwu whom I read his testimony on the papers and my producer contacted him and explained to him what the vision was all about and he was so wonderfully kind enough to accept. He saw it from the perspective that God delivered him and if he shares his story somebody who is going through what he had gone through will be encouraged. So at the beginning, we got our testifiers by word of mouth and later on people started contacting us so that we had so much that we started turning down a few people.

What impact will this programme have on the nation as a whole?
I will answer that with scenerio that happened when we were shooting. We were in the studio, taking one of the testifiers and we needed to take a break of five minutes. And the sound engineer suddenly stood up in the studio and started speaking in tongues and that is what God showed me that INSPAYA would do. He has not heard anybody preach, he has not heard a sermon nor did not go a crusade but he was touched by the testimony he listened to. That is what INSPAYA would do in a land where there is despondency, where people have lost hope – and where everything there is evil. Part of what INSPAYA will do is also to educate on how to handle evil. We have wonderful stories of people who were abused as early as age 6 and 8 and today they are surviving despite what they went through. One was abused in such a way

That is what INSPAYA would do in a land where there is despondency, where people have lost hope – and where everything there is evil. Part of what INSPAYA will do is also to educate on how to handle evil. We have wonderful stories of people who were abused as early as age 6 and 8 and today they are surviving despite what they went through. One was abused in such a way the she had to run away from her guardians and was living on the streets for years and yet she finished at Backok University. When you hear these stories on INSPAYA, it has a way of encouraging you that if God can work for this person, He can also work on me. So apart from giving hope and encouragement, INSPAYA will also educate. It will encourage people that despite where we are in the country now, despite the fact that evil seems to be thriving left, right and centre, there is hope for good things to come. Everybody needs to watch this because everybody needs hope for the future and that is what INSPAYA brings.

This is a Christian-based programme, so is it also capable of impacting on non-Christians?
INSPAYA will inspire anybody that has a need and needs hope and encouragement. Everybody can relate with deliverance no matter your religion or tribe. But one thing we must also understand is that, this is faith-based and if along the line, you are getting your hope and encouragement, and in course of listening you realise that what gave someone salvation was because she surrendered herself to the saving grace of Lord Jesus Christ, if you have tried the other sides, and then you want to try what these other person that shared his/her testimony has tried, nobody will stop you.

How do you intend to sustain this in terms of quality of production?
Now, one of the fist questions I asked myself when I was embarking on this was: Are you into this for a short term or long term? With my experience in business, I did a business plan and to tell you how serious we took this, now we have a full fledged INSPAYA studio that we have done in less than two months, so that shows how bullish we are for a long term plan. Again, there are three main components of Inspaya that I have resolved that we will never compromise. One is original content, two delivery and packaging must be clear and third, the production must high-level HP quality.

In fact, to feature it in some TV stations in Nigeria, we need to downgrade it. And like I said, we have an award-winning team and they know what they are doing and beyond money, they are committed to the project. Another area we would look at for sustainability is that we would be appealing for support even during the programme because airing on TV is not cheap, production is not cheap especially when you talk about high quality production.

For now, God has provided me with some very supportive friends and we have been doing it more like an in-house thing but now that we are taking it to a higher level, we will really require support, so anyone that believes in the vision is free to come in and support us in whatever way they can. Now we have the flagship programme called “INSPAYA with Evangelistbee”,but the vision for future is to have things like INSPAYA retreat, INSPAYA events and anything we can do to document stories that would inspire people and so we need sponsors.

Is INSPAYA an acronym?
This is where it came from; the first thing that came to my spirit mind was to look for one word that inspires people. Then I thought of the English word: “Inspire” but I actually wanted something unique because I believe this programme is a unique programme and then thought I could coin the word INSPAYA from Inspire. I just wanted a word that sounded unique but has the same meaning as the English word ‘Inspire’ and so I came up with “INSPAYA”.

Beyond Inspaya, what else do you do?
I am a businessman. I have been in business for a while. I trade in cell phones but before now I have been a Chartered Quantity Surveyor and also construction manager. I did that for a while before I became a trader. Principally, I’m a general evangelist, I have an independent ministry, Banji Adesanmi Ministry, so I travel around the world, go across churches for various conferences and also to establish churches and parishes, once that is done, we handover to the respective churches.

What word do you have for Nigerians, especially at this trying period?
We are going through the worst now in Nigeria but I believe the tide for Nigeria will change for better. The problem with Nigeria before now has been direction. Direction is better than speed. If you are speeding so fast and you are going towards the river, you are going to sink but if your direction is good and you are not moving too fast, sooner than later, you will get there. I want to tell Nigerians that the same way INSPAYA is going to bring hope; hope is coming to Nigeria.