‘Obasanjo is my best friend and my mugu’
‘How I bought KCPresh form to contest Star Quest’
Ahead of the February 2015 Presidential elections, frontline Nigerian rapper, Eedris Abdulkareem is one of the notable music acts openly campaigning for the return of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Kano born controversial rapper told ENCOMIUM Weekly’s RASHEED ABUBAKAR, in an exclusive interview, why he believes the PDP Presidential candidate is the right choice for Nigeria.
Also, the Jaga-Jaga crooner, whose 7th album, Spirit of Naija, is set for April, 2015, spoke about many controversial issues, including his current relationship with former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and former label mate, Tony Tetuila and Eddy Montana, among others…
Let’s start with your new single, Shine Your Eyes. What inspired it?
Basically, I am trying to tell Nigerians to Shine their eyes in the upcoming elections. Remember, the first one I did was Godfather, Godson, where I was talking about the letters Obasanjo wrote to Jonathan. This time, I’m talking about Shine Your Eyes, where I try to educate Nigerians about the forthcoming elections. I want Nigerians to vote for Jonathan because he’s a good man. I believe in his dream, that’s why I stand by Goodluck Jonathan, and I call on the youths of Nigeria to vote for him. That’s basically what Shine Your Eyes is all about.
First, everybody has a choice, but for me, Jonathan is my choice. For goodness sake, Buhari has ruled us before. He was the governor of North Eastern State (presently Yobe and Borno). He was also the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources when he was 32. He was also Chairman of NNPC at 36, and at 41, he became the head of state. What else does he want? We are tired of him. We want to move on. We want a young man like Jonathan. To me, the whole Boko Haram saga was created by some people to humiliate Jonathan so as to make him look like a fool. This propaganda doesn’t work anywhere. It’s only Jonathan that can save Nigeria if allowed for the second time.
There is speculation that you have collected huge sum of money from Jonathan to campaign for him, how true is it?
Collected? Do I need to collect money before showing support for president that meant good for this country? I didn’t collect any money, I have not even met the president. If I’m opportuned to meet him, I have one question to ask him, “Why did you say you don’t want to jail anybody, including the corrupt politicians?”
But it seemed you didn’t show more support when one of your friends, Tony Tetuila declared to contest, the way you’re showing support for Jonathan?
Tony is my good friend. I visited and showed my support during his campaign before he lost at the primary. I don’t have plans to go into politics, but I’m ready to support my personal persons. I did the same thing I’m doing for Jonathan for Tony. We were together, alongside Eddy Remedies during Daar Communication event recently.
What’s your current relationship with former President, Olusegun Obasanjo?
Obasanjo is my best friend and my mugu.
Can you expatiate more on what you meant by mugu?
What I’m saying is that when I came back from raising the Olympic touch, God inspired me to sing Nigeria JagaJaga. Luckily for me, the then president (Obasanjo) came on a national television, insulted my family and all sorts. Some people said the President might kill me, but I told them, “I’m not scared of anybody. I’m a muslim, I fear no one except Allah. I read my Quran.” So, I was happy that Obasanjo replied because his response brought food to my table. He made a superstar and elevated me above all my colleagues with his reactions to my song. That’s why I said he’s my mugu.
Back to your latest album, Spirit of Naija. Tell us more about it?
I don’t really drop albums every year. My last album was five years ago, and come April this year, I’ll drop another classic album, The Spirit of Naija. The album speaks about a lot of intricate and sensitive national issues.
It’s about re-awakening the Spirit of Naija to make change. We should be ready to add values to our communities. That’s what I’m trying to preach. I have a couple of collaborations with established artistes but I don’t want to mention names. I have a select artistes from old and new schools, including some of my boys, that worked under me, like Timaya and few other people on the album. It’s going to be released under my label, La Cream Music, but I’m still doing business with Kennis Music.
You said Timaya is you boy. How? Can you explain what you mean?
He is my boy. I brought him from the street. My label, La Cream Music did everything for him, I showed him how to become successful, after living in a room (apartment) for four years. I told him to go back to Bayelsa, read the history and do a song for his people, which he did. Even though he tries to praise himself in most of his songs now, he’s still my boy.
What do you mean by “praising himself”. Is there anything wrong in that?
No. You don’t praise yourself. What I’m trying to say is that Timaya is a social crusader like me, whether you like it not, even though he never told people he worked for me, as an artiste. Also, Kcee and Presh are my boys too. I remember how I took them to Baba Keke for promotion of their songs. I bought their form to contest for Star Quest, which they eventually won. A lot of things have happened, which I don’t I want blow up. It’s high time for a lot of people to know some of these things.
Let’s talk about your relationship with former label mates. How is it now?
It’s great. We were together at Daar Communication event recently where we received warm reception. We’re currently recording an album. For Remedies, my take is life is all about forget, forgive and move on.
What exactly was the problem with Remedies that led to their break-up?
There was a problem and at the same time, there was no problem. We did 29 shows during the Rothmans Groove Tour. When we were about to share money we questioned individual contributions to the group. Apparently not from me, but one of my crew asked the third person, Wetin u dey contribute sef? Then, I said, “I don’t know oo.” The next thing, attitude changed. One day, Tony told me, “I don’t really like what’s happening in this crew. I thought we are family.” I told him, “I know the problem, but sooner of later, everybody will go solo. Be prepared!”
I knew that the break-up would definitely happen, I advised him to team up with Plantashun Boyz, which he did immediately. He created a good relationship with them while on tour. When we all returned to Lagos, he dropped his first solo single, Omode Metta. When Eddy heard it, he came to me, and I told him, No be so you want am. That was the beginning until we finally announced the break-up.
Plantashun Boyz tried to stage a comeback but it failed. What are you guys doing not to let that happen?
Plantashun Boyz weren’t prepared, that was why they failed. The comeback should be true love, it wouldn’t have disturbed your solo career. The love between them is not real. But, for Remedies, we all sat and talked about our differences, accept our faults and moved on.