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Late Dr. Fredrick Fasheun and Yinka Odumakin Tutored me on the rudiments of Activism- Comrade Aghedo Kehinde Stephen

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Passionate about activism and freedom fighting, Comrade Aghedo Kehinde Stephen has dedicated all his life to humanitarian works. After playing an integral part in several protests across the country which include; the June 12, Endsars protest, 2012 Subsidy protest among others, his doggedness and tenacity have singled him out from the crowd among his peers. Despite being a product of several arrests, police brutality, assault and threats to life, he has never relented in his quest for an egalitarian society. The Edo State-born activist who believes in upholding and fighting for the fundamental human right of every Nigerian believes in the power of the masses which serves as his source of inspiration and his muse.

 

In this interview, the father of two who is also an Agric-businessman and a real estate mogul, divulged the low times he faced in his 15 years of sojourn in fighting against injustices being an activist and a freedom fight among other salient political issues he spoke on. Excerpts

 

Who is Comrade Aghedo Stephen?

 

I’m the last child from a family of 10, out of 7 surviving children now. I grew in Lagos-Island and my parents are from Edo state in Benin. My father was a civil servant before his demise and my mother is a trader.

 

In your sojourn as an activist, who were your mentors?

One of those who mentored me was Late Dr. Fredrick Fasheun, founder of the Oodua People’s Congress, he taught me many things I know today. During the 2012 subsidy protest, I was opportune to get close with former Afenifere Spokesperson; Comrade Yinka Odumakin, I also learned a lot from him. I was with Odumakin for years before I came in contact with Omoyele Sowore, who I am currently learning from now. Sowore gave me big leverage in activism. Those were the people who affected my life positively in the area of activism and human rights advocacy.

 

Since when have you been actively involved In activism??

 

I started activism over 15 years ago as a student. I played a pivotal role at the 2012 subsidy protest. I teamed up with many people and we fought against the Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration hike over the removal of fuel subsidy which led to the increase in fuel price.

 

Comrade Aghedo During a protest

 

Why did you choose activism as a path to thread?

 

Activism is not a choice for me, it’s a calling. Activism is risk and I am ready to bear every risk that comes with fighting for human rights. It’s in-born, for me and I am so passionate about it.

 

Many are of the opinion that activists are working elements of politicians how true is this claim?

 

In every disciple, there must be a Judas; in every family, there is likely a black ship. There are traitors everywhere even in activism. Politicians will find a way to lure you into believing in their evil agenda. I can categorically say that no politician can use me as an element of destruction. I stand by what I believe in. I do not doubt that many who claim to be activists are not working for politicians but I am different.

 

Are you scared of being arrested?

I am never scared of arrest from any security personnel or operatives. I now have a thick skin for stuff like that. Activism is a calling for me. It’s flowing in my veins. I have faced several brutality and threat to life but I remain unperturbed. If I see any situation that does not favour my people, I will come out and agitate against it. An arrest does not get to me. I am a prophet anointed to deliver the masses from the oppressor. You call for a protest today; you will see me at the forefront.

 

 

 

Activists like you are endangered species how do you walk around without fear of the unknown?

There are so many issues I have encountered. I have been castigated by lots of people who ask why am I too frequent when it comes to protest. They forget that when you are passionate about something you will be ready to take every risk. Our problem in Nigeria is fear. I am not scared of anything and I only fear God. I just put everything behind me and follow my heart. We are endangered species but we can die for a good cause.

 

At the June 12 Buhari Must Go protest, despite warnings from the police that no protest should hold in Lagos, you all came out, why did you go out despite the tight presence of security forces?

 

There is a lot of risk in activism. I have been harassed by hoodlums and the likes. At the last June 12 protest. The head of Team Lagos, with the nickname Zulu Adebayo Adeyinka; S.A Youth and Sports encouraged hoodlums to attack peaceful protesters. I never allowed that to bring me down. Walking on the street to get appreciation from well-meaning Nigerians is enough to get me going. We are also fighting for the right of that security personnel. They need a better welfare package so they can discharge their duties wholeheartedly. I have been harassed severally but I will never back down regardless of the threat.

 

How many times have you been arrested?

 

I have been arrested several times. Sometimes the media will be aware and some I was whisked away. I have a reoccurring name in the archives of the Lagos state police command due to frequent arrest relating to protest and activism. I have been arrested and detained severally. The one that remained prominent was the #OccupyLekki toll gate at last year’s #Endsars protest, February 2021. I was arrested and taken to Adeniji Adele Central police station where I was brutalized and beaten. I was cuffed and stripped naked as several policemen took turns to beat me. I was later transferred to the state CID Panti when my lawyer Barr. Femi Falana SAN, Barr Adeshina Ogunlana came for my bail. I was simply arrested for going against the wish of the government. They saw me as a threat. They felt I was going against their illegal rules. They want us to keep mute and not challenge their excesses. it’s a democracy we have the right to complain.

 

Talking of the #Endsars protest, you were active, how did the journey start?

 

I played an active role at the subsidy protest, as at then, I was very young. I was given a template by late Yinka Odumakin, who advised me to start my protest from my rural area by telling people to move against the removal of subsidy. I worked on the template and I also welcomed dignities and also served as a member of the logistics committee. I also played a part in the End sars protest which started originally in 2017 by Omoyele Sowore at Gani Fawhemi Park. We agitated for the ending of Sars you can quote me anywhere that Sowore started it before it became a movement in 2020. In 2017 at the protest, Femi Adeyeye was arrested. The matter died with the stopping of the protest but still continued on Twitter after 2017. I came into Endsars agitation in 2020 again at Alausa, Ikeja, where everything was peaceful. I alongside Kunle Ajayi, Adewunmi Ade, Profficience, Rinu Oduala, Tope Majekodunmi and the rest before the protest abruptly came to an end. After that, the government became hostile to us. We came out again on June 12 to protest against bad governance amidst other issues. The day was supposed to be for celebration but we came out to agitate against bad governance.  They attacked us with street urchins and members of the transport union which made many protesters retreat. I also protested alongside actor Yomi Fabiyi against the unwarranted detention of actor Baba Ijesha. I was involved because Baba Ijesha deserved to be bailed. I am not in any way in support of the act but as a Nigerian, he deserved to be bailed. The Lagos state C.P disclosed that his offense is a bailable one but he was still detained. I visited Baba Ijesha and interrogated him in detention and found out that he was just oppressed. I don’t know him before but I had to join hands with Yomi Fabiyi so he could be released. Our agitation was not to avert judgment; if found guilty but we only protested for his bail. If the court finds him guilty of the said offense, he should face the music. Human rights must not be trampled on in Nigeria. You don’t detain someone who should be granted bail. I say no to rape, child molestation and the rest. If he is found guilty, I will escort him to the jail gate.

 

Would you say our fundamental human right is being honored in Nigeria?

 

 

The fundamental human right has never been honored ever since Nigeria came into existence. No Government has honored that part of the law. We Africans do not believe in human rights. In Nigeria, it’s nothing to write home about. Go to the prison you will see how they are violating that right constantly. We are suffering in Nigeria. El’ Zakazay and his wife have been in detention for years without release this is a breach of their fundamental human right so in Nigeria we don’t honour it.

 

What’s your take on the agitation on restructuring and the country breaking into the parts??

 

I believe in restructuring. I will champion a protest on restructuring across the country and all state assembly. Let’s restructure. Let us return to true federalism. Let us revert to what we used to have in the past. I don’t want Nigeria to break up we are better as one. The unity of this country is oxygen to all African countries. Let us all go and manage our resources for the betterment of our lives. Breaking up will wreak more havoc. Let not breakup cause no country will break up without bloodshed. Restructuring is the best. We have inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic marriages. The Buhari’s Government promised to restructure they should fulfill their promise. The Confab in 2014 should be incorporated. I respect Chief Sunday Igboho but I don’t buy his breakup and secession plans. This government needs to step up on the oath they swore while taking office.

 

 

 

What’s your take on the 2023 election; do you think Nigeria will still remain as one?

 

Nigeria would still exist devoid of war. Next year, things will fall in place as usual. No big deal in 2023. Nigeria is like the scrotum of a ram it can’t cut but will on keep dangling. Things will normalize and politicians will cross the carpet from one party to the other. The election will takeoff and a new President will emerge. Heaven will not fall.

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Entertainment

“I see Nothing Wrong in a Preacher owning Private Jets”- Gospel Artiste Sola Adedeji

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Pastor Sola Adedeji is a Nigerian-born Gospel singer who is based in the United States of America. Despite being miles away from Nigeria, she has devoted all her life to propagating the word of God through her music. Blessed with a very soothing vocal prowess her songs strike a chord in the heart of anyone who listens to it. In this interview, she addressed some salient issues affecting gospel music and how far she has gone in promoting christ across the world.

Excerpts:

 

Good afternoon ma, can you tell us about yourself?

 

Good afternoon. My name is Pastor Sola Adedeji. I’m a Nigerian by the grace of God. I am a singer, a gospel artiste, and also I am a minister of the word. Also, I have a non-profit organization that will help people. I’m based in the US. My family and I live there. I love Nigeria and I’ve been around to promote my music to see what God can bring out of it.

 

 Let’s go into details, ma. What motivated you to go into the ministry?

 

Ehm, I’ll say you know sometimes, there’s a purpose God has destined us for. I believe there is a calling upon my life. It’s not something I just woke up one day and I said I want to go into the ministry. When God wants to instill something into your life, you just see that all things you do are things of God. You want to be in His presence. You want to help other people especially with the music ministry. God keeps giving me songs, ideas keep coming. So, I now went before God in prayer and received like my confirmation or conviction that God really wants me to go here and propagate his word around the world. These are what motivated me that gave me that boldness and strength I’m using today.

 

How often do you travel from Nigeria to other African countries and Europe?

 

Thank you. For now, I’ve been going to the African parts of the world like Nigeria, South Africa at least maybe 5 to 6 times a year. I travel on ministerial assignment. I also have a women’s ministry. It is called Women of Virtue International. We have our headquarters in New Jersey whereby we empower women, we motivate them and we do like transformational programmes that will transform their lives for women to discover themselves. How can they know who they are even after getting married, having children? What are the things they can do to be who the Lord destines them to be, so I travel a lot for this programme.

Sola Adedeji

In the humanitarian service, who are the people you assist?

 

With the humanitarian service, we’ve been empowering widows, old people or we call them senior citizens. Even, in the US, I’m the director that facilitates our food pantry whereby we give our food to the community. We give our food, we give our clothes, and we also give out school supplies to the kids. In Nigeria, we’ve been having a lot of empowerment programmes for the youths, the younger ones and also for the elderly. We have a situation that a lot of people that came for the empowerment programs are teachers, and we discovered that can also do something else apart from teaching. So we empower them into even decoration, how to become an MC at programmes, how to make soaps and other things like that.
So we actually have different programmes for different gender of people. For example, men. There was a time we went to the grassroots somewhere in Ibadan, we gather full men who need bikes like okada to be able to support their families. Even though we didn’t buy a whole okada for them but we were able to support them a little bit so that they can hire purchase the okada and continue to pay.

 

Some people say preachers should not own private jets, what’s your take on this?

That’s a tough question. But to me as a servant of God and as a preacher, the first thing we need to think about when God blesses you, is that He wants you to bless others. The people around you, are they comfortable enough before you decided to go and buy a jet? I don’t have any problem honestly speaking if a preacher has a private jet. But with the situation of things going on around the world today, what is the purpose of having a jet when people are suffering around you. The Bible says we should go yee into the world to preach, it doesn’t say if you don’t have a jet you cannot preach the gospel. To me, if God blesses me the first thing I want to do instead of buying a jet is to make sure that the people that God has placed under me are comfortable. So, it’s not about a jet as long as I can get to where I’m going comfortably with other means. We need to help other people. There was an instance I heard on the internet. A well-known preacher said that he was able to acquire 3 jets or whatever during the COVID and was boastful about it. I don’t think that’s good. If you have a jet you should not be boastful about it and you have to make sure that the people around you are comfortable. I think that is the most important thing. Thank you. Did I answer that question?

 (Yes, sure) How do you balance your music ministry with other responsibilities?

 

For a very long time, it has been a little bit difficult. I’m not gonna lie to you because of family, church, raising kids, taking care of things. But, by the grace of God, I just continue to ask God for wisdom and for direction. And what I do is to make sure that my family is okay. I make sure they are comfortable before taking any steps so that I will have to make sure of taking care of my responsibilities. So, first it is my primary responsibility before going out to take care of other people’s problems so I try as much as I can to work things around my family schedule to make sure that we are all in good terms and conditions before embarking on any project.

 

 This should be the last but not the least, do you think your music is unique?

I believe that my music is unique because God has given everybody a unique gift or unique grace. When I’m ministering in songs, the atmosphere changes, the spiritual gift and the presence of God come down. It is not about the singing, but it is about the power that backs up the song. It is about the power of God that is behind that ministration and that is what makes it to be unique and different. And, it’s just the grace of God. The Bible makes us to understand that that the gift of a man maketh room for that man. So, it’s the gift, the power of God, the spiritual gift, the presence of God that comes down and all these changes the atmosphere and that’s what makes it unique I believe.

 

Can you tell me ma, what’s the title of your music coming up soon?

 

It’s called Dawn of New Glory.

How did it come out?

 

Thank you. I’m going to thank God in the life of our mummy, mummy Tope Alabi. Because when we composed the song, it was New Glory but by the inspiration of God when we came into the studio, she was like why don’t you go this way? Why don’t you sing the song this way? So, God used her to change some of the lyrics and that was how we came up with it. Though, we had New Glory before, so it was New Dawn of Glory.

Sola Adedeji

This is the last, how do you think gospel songs can inspire the earth?

Gospel song I believe is not like a secular song. So, as a gospel artiste, I have to continue to ask God for the grace to be unique. So, when you are unique, your song comes from God. So, it is the inspiration you receive from God that will help you to be able to touch the lives of your fans because it is not just singing. It is not just about the song, but it is about the power of God behind your ministration. I believe as gospel artistes, we have to continue to ask God every day for the strength for the enablement that we need because there is no other way to it. The anointing doesn’t come from the East nor from the West but it comes from God Almighty. When the backing of God is with you, then God will begin to move because the most important thing is when your fans listen to your song, and it brings a change in their lives, that’s what make the difference. This is what makes the song to be different from any other song. Unfortunately, things have already changed now because of what is going in the world. But, I believe that when we continue to ask God for divine inspiration, for the Rhema, I believe the fans’ lives will continue to change. That is what matters most

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Entertainment

CREATING MUSICAL MAGIC FOR PEOPLE’S ENJOYMENT MAKES ME HAPPY- IBADIN EXPENSIVE

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Promising Nigerian artiste Ibadin expensive says his ability to create happiness through his songs give him joy and will directly impact positively in the life’s of many, Recently this Auchi Polytechnic ND graduate in a chat with the media explain why he venture into the industry, his kind of music and other sundry issues about him and the industry, enjoy the chat……………………….

 

 

How are you, can we meet you?

Yes you are welcome my name is Ibadin Expensive.

 

Tell us about yourself?

I went to Auchi polytechnic Auchi in Edo state, I studied computer science and graduated with OND in 2016.

 

How was your early life like?

I grow up as an ordinary child and manage to go through school it wasn’t easy but I had to survive.

How did you venture into the music industry?

Well music for me started in school I use to follow my friend to his studio sections to record and he started encouraging me to start making music with him and that was how it started we actually made a couple of songs together back then but I never took it seriously until 2018 when I went to visit another friend of mine OHB and he had a studio in his house and he told me I could come and record for free and that was it.

 

Are you with any record label now?

I’m currently not in any record label but the journey has been great so far and I just hope for the best.

 

Are you consulting to join any record label soon?
I’m just getting started and I only hope and pray for the best.

 

Tell us the experience and journey so far in the industry?
I have always known the journey won’t be easy but as I said earlier the journey has been great and I only hope and pray for the best.

 

Is the government doing enough to encourage upcoming artists like you in the industry?

Well, I think the government is doing their best and it all depends on us to work hard so we can achieve our goals.

 

Are you satisfied with the level of creativity in the industry?
Yes, I am very satisfied with Nigeria’s music content and I believe with time our music will be everywhere.

 

Is the industry there yet?
Not yet but with time we’ll get there.

 

Which major artiste did you wish to work with within Nigeria?
I will say Wizkid, Davido, Burnaboy.

 

What of any International collaboration?
Internationally I will prefer Drake, Young thug and Future.

 

You did not tell us your marital status?
I’m single.

 

How do you relax?
I spend most time with myself and sometimes with friends and family.

 

 

Tell me the kind of friends or opposite sex you like to be with?

I will say different, simple and straightforward.

 

How will you best describe your kind of music?

I will describe my music as a unique sound a mix of afro-fusion and afro soul.

 

What is your unique selling point?

My vibes and flow.

 

How?

I just want it to develop and evolve in whatever direction it found.

 

Who and who among the top players in the music industry inspired you?

Wizkid, Burnaboy, Popcaan and Drake. Fela, 2face, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Rihanna
They really inspire me each time I listen to their music, they are geniuses.

 

Tell me some of other artiste songs that gives you more inspiration aside from your own music?

Diced pineapple by Rick Ross
Mirror by Lil Wayne
Blessings by Big Sean
Ambition by Wale
Blue notes by meek mill
Each time I listen to these songs it reminds me a lot about me.

 

Can we say you are born with music?

I have always been interested in music ever since I was very young.

 

What gives you joy about the kind of music you sing?

The ability to create something that doesn’t exist into existence for people to play it and enjoy it is a thing of joy for me. My music says a lot about me as a person, my experience, things going on around me, relationships, friends and so on.

 

Which project are you working on now?

I’m working on a project called Timeless but for now I will be droppings until is done.

 

Words for your fans outside there?

I just want to say a thank you to everyone supporting me out there and I promise never to let you down

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Entertainment

Talented Thespian, Deyemi Okanlawon Speaks About His Depths And Shades In The Latest Digital Of Simple Magazine

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Probably one of the greatest understatements ever uttered is to say Nigeria, the most populous nation on earth, is blessed with some of the best talents the world has ever witnessed. Savvy, Smart and Talented, Deyemi Okanlawon, an even more special breed – is proof of this.

 

 

The actor who is famous for his “Femi Stone” role in a popular feature film, “Omo Ghetto the saga”, rose through the ranks for close to a decade to evolve into one of present-day Nigeria’s most favoured faces on television and films. 

 

He sat down with Muni Bello for the July digital issue of SIMPLE magazine and discussed his incredible range, his evidently well-gripped touch with his craft as well as the perks that comes with it, especially working as a thespian and an entrepreneur in Nigeria.

 

In the interview, which was also served purposed for the maiden episode for SIMPLE TV’s new film-related segment, “SCREEN TALK”, Deyemi took viewers through his growth from a recluse childhood to attaining inevitable fame, the Nollywood industry and family life.

 

Deyemi-Simple Magazine

For more, check out the full interview here http://bit.ly/DeyemiTheActor

 

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