UNWANA UKEME Setting Lagos Ablaze with Gospel Music

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SATURDAY POLSCOPE 

From obscurity in Uyo where his music career kicked off 17 years ago to Lagos where he was tutored under the leadership of The Realm of Glory International Church, the dynamic and energetic Unwana Ukeme, CEO of De Voltage Nation, has metamorphosed into one of Nigeria’s respected gospel artistes. As he plans to set Lagos ‘ablaze’ through musical concert tomorrow (Sunday), Ukems tells Funke Olaode why he is passionate about God and soul-winning

One thing stands him out from the crowd. It is sonorous, scintillating, and soul-saving. That unique possession is his voice. For at least 17 years, he has been using that one-of-a-kind voice to sing and win souls for the Christ. Welcome to the world of Unwana Ukeme, a young Nigerian gospel singer and songwriter. Again, his name Unwana means ‘God’s light or the light that makes you’. The dynamic gospel singer hails from Ikot Oku Ikono, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Besides being suave and simple, Ukeme is energetic and humorous. He has a down-to-earth personality that easily endears others to him. He began his music career as a young believer serving as a drummer in a church – the Chosen Generation Chapel. With grace and ingenuity, he later became the assistant music director of his local church. After some time, he became the music director and praise worship leader while serving in the ministry of Rev Ethel Odungide of His Fireplace Ministries.
As he grew in his music ministry so was his thirst for God blossomed. He would later receive a call for vision while serving under Rev. Odungide, seeking the face of God for the right timing. Thereafter, in 2005, he launched his music ministry, called The Worship Ablaze.

Since 2015, he has organised music programmes and seminars with the attendant result of many lives being changed, destiny restored, and other numerous testimonies.
“I have always been passionate about music and God and by the time I gave my life to Jesus Christ I started taking music as a career at the age of 18. I went into it in 2004 while serving under the CEO of His Fireplace Concert Music Ministry where I served for four years – between 2003 and 2006. While serving the vision came to establish my music ministry which was initially named Worship Ablaze; with it we had hosted concerts for three years in 2005, 2006, 2007,” he says.
Like every young man, Ukeme sought greener pasture in Lagos. Upon his relocation to Lagos from Uyo in 2007, he joined the music ministry of Realm of Glory International Church, under the leadership of Pastor Sam and Rev. Grace Aiyedogbon. There, he further developed himself in songwriting, discipleship, capacity building, kingdom manifestation, and expansion. From 2015 to 2017, he served as the music director of Realm of Glory, Ipaja branch, where he was saddled with the responsibility of assisting the local pastor in the development of an upfront music ministry.

Speaking further on his foray into the vineyard, he relates, “When I came to Lagos I went through process of mentoring and capacity building which took the next ten years under the tutelage of Rev. and Pastor Sam and Grace Aiyedogbon – the founder of Realm of Glory International. I have served in that ministry for ten years. I was transferred in 2015 to serve in a new branch church where I was sent to go and do music serving under Pastor Toni Akintara, a passionate and energetic woman of God. It has been a fulfilling moment for me as I am doing it full-time and currently getting set to release singles before launching out fully. My church is a church that prepares you to make sure that you are well-grounded before you are launched out. I have the full backing of my church.”
No doubt, Ukeme has been making music to the delight of the congregation in his church. But this time, he feels it is time to launch out in a big way through concerts tagged ‘Worship Ablaze’. What inspired the theme? He explains, “For the Bible says I am the refiner’s fire so that whosoever you contact, the fire will entangle them and set them ablaze; destroy whatever that is not of God and ignite the purpose of God for them to run with the purpose. Really, the purpose is still about passion and soul-winning for the Christ. People go about doing music. We believe we can do music in another dimension where people will come and sit down – not only to listen to the music but the art of music which I believe will touch people. It is like reforming the music in which people will get better. That is what inspires this concert. The most important thing is the presence of the Holy Spirit because if we create an atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to come down – definitely – the people who attend the programme will have unforgettable experience.”
According to him, some of guest artistes expected at the concert are Tim Godfre, Yemi Levite, Rev. Ethel Odungide, Pastor Aity Dennis, Minister Naomi Classik, Raptureman Minister Joshua Bassey, Minister Sam, Pastor Stephen Elbuba, Worshippers and De Awesome crew.

It has almost been 20 years of music, does he find fulfilment and how rewarding in terms of making money? With a chuckle, he responds, “Well, I believe in the God who provides. The main essence of me going into the music ministry is not just to make money but to win souls for the Kingdom. The Bible says, if you seek the Kingdom of God first every other thing will be added. If we are able to touch lives and destinies are restored, – which is part of our vision – He will take care of us. The vision is to set men ablaze for the kingdom expansion because when they receive the touch of the Holy Spirit – it leads to self-discovery.”
Cute and energetic with a smile that can light a dark room and a firebrand choir master, Ukeme is not immune to the opposite sex who constantly crave for his attention. How does he handle the daughters of Eve? Amused, he gives another chuckle and says, “The guardian angel has been the holy spirit who told me since I came to The Realm of Glory to hold on because He wants to take me through a process. Those periods were time of re-branding and realigning myself with the right people that would be able to coach me, put me through the word of God because there is no man that is rooted in the word of God that the fear for God will not be in Him. And when your spirit is in tune with the Holy Spirit, there is this signal that the Holy Spirit will always give you when you are in a position where the devil wants you to fall. Self-discipline and self-control have helped and sometimes God sends those people not to make you fall but to be an agent of change in their lives.”

Having a positive of his many female admirers and fans is one thing being in love with somebody is another. When asked who is his ideal woman? The dynamic singer points out, “For me, she doesn’t have to be a singer like me. But I like a woman who encourages, motivates, prays and supports my vision, most especially my music ministry; and (she must be) ready to go with me every step of the way.”
As he and his team are getting set to set Lagos ‘ablaze’ through his concert slated for the evening of Sunday, April 22, at The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Corner Stone Parish, My Father’s House, Okota, Lagos, Ukeme reiterated his commitment to draw more souls to Christ just as he urged people should look out for an unusual touch from God, music in another dimension like never seen before.
“We are putting things together to make it – the outing – successful. This is my first outing since I came to Lagos ten years ago. We trust God for Open Heaven, unusual experience that will live with them forever.”
Ukeme sees his star rising beyond the shore of Nigeria because in everything he does, the talented gospel singer said he doesn’t think small, citing Proverbs 22:29 which says, “A man diligent in his business shall appear before kings and not mean men.”