With over 10 years experience as a career banker and part time lecturer at the Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, one cannot help but wonder why Mr. Austin Adigwe decided to join the burgeoning gospel music industry. In this interview with Chinecherem Ojiako, he explained that his foray into music is to bring a message of hope to the world, especially Nigeria, with his debut album
Why gospel music?
I want to preach the gospel of Jesus which is the ultimate because life without Jesus is useless. I have brought the message of freedom to the captives and the oppressed and love to the world. Love is what will heal the wound and my music will heal Nigeria of sorrow and tears. My music is to inspire, motivate and bring solution to issues such as reminding a woman who thinks that she would not have her own children to remember Hannah and Sarah in the Bible.
I wish to remind that man facing challenges about Job who later overcame all his own challenges. That you are having challenges does not mean that God has forsaken you. He is a great God, so you should call upon Him and challenge Him on all the promises he made concerning you. I want people to know that God honours His words because He said His words can never return to Him void.
Why did you choose the gospel genre which seemingly does not yield money like secular music?
It is just like asking me not to bear my own children because the world is overpopulated. Of course, you should know that I am not into music basically for financial gains. I am a banker with the FCMB and I have worked in other banks. I am also a part time lecturer with the Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo. The message of God cannot finish. We cannot have enough of good news. God loves and He keeps ministering to the living souls. Only the living can praise the Lord . I am only passing a message of hope as a lot of things happen daily and I draw inspiration from them. My music is inspirational, and it gives hope to the hopeless, the needy and the oppressed. My music is love and it is only love that can heal the wound.
Why did you single out Nigeria in your song?
I called on God to heal Nigeria because of what we are passing through. We are facing difficult times, but we need spiritual healing. Nigeria needs love and love is what we need to conquer all the evils and corruption in Nigeria. Love is what we need to stop kidnapping, armed robbery and killing, including assassination. Love is what the politicians need to utilise the money meant for the public. The message of Jesus is very simple: love your neighbour as you love yourself and love God with all your heart. Once there is love, people would not go into kidnapping or killing their fellow human beings as if they are killing ram.
I am reemphasising the teachings of our Lord Jesus. Secondly, I am encouraging Nigerians to be hopeful and not pessimistic. Nigeria is going through spiritual cleansing. I compare Nigeria to Israel. The children of Israel passed through difficult times . They went into slavery in Egypt, into captivity in Babylon and they fought many wars and they were confronted with many difficulties, but today, Israel is one country that the world wants to reckon with. Nigeria is like Israel; God will heal us and the world will sing a new song for Nigeria.
Who are your target fans?
My music is for everyone and not for a particular audience. It is for Christians, Muslims and unbelievers. We all believe in God and the message is a message of love and hope. The message is a wakeup call for the worship of God. It is only the living who can praise God.
Why did you delay in coming out with your music?
Music has been in me right from childhood. I am a devout Catholic, I grew up through the ranks as an altar boy, a chorister and pianist. I headed the brass band of Saint Anthony’s College in my town , Ubulu- Uku in Aniocha South Local Government of Delta State. My music is inborn, but I needed to go to school first to acquire knowledge.
I am now a PhD student at the Lagos State University, Ojo. I have a good job and I am married with children. Now I can afford to do music without being distracted. If I had gone into full time music at a tender age, perhaps I may have been distracted from my education.
What is your advice to the nation?
First, I want the youths not to be discouraged. They should have hope in God and not in drugs. The economy is bad, but God is greater than the economy. I was once a youth and I went through hell. I went through lack and frustration in life, but I held on to God and He gave me hope and inspiration. Hold on to God and He will direct you on what to do.
For our government, the authorities should do something to help the youths to come out of frustration. They should create enabling environment for the youths to engage in enterpreneurship. The government should encourage investors so that there will be employment for our youths. There should be social justice. The church should preach the message of love and not prosperity only while parents should teach their children morals and stop worshiping money. There is so much moral decadence in our society mainly because of money.
We often forget to ask ourselves, that money or position that God has given us what did we do with it? When you consider all these, you will realise that everything is vanity.