+ Why I dedicated an album to Mike Adenuga
PARAMOUNT King of Music, Alhaji Abass Akande a.k.a Obesere, has dissociated himself from the Facebook scam that he is issuing American, Holland and Turkish visas. This he said when we had an interview with him in his Okota, Lagos residence on Thursday, August 1, 2013. He also opened up on the reason he dedicated an album, The Great Warrior to Globacom Telecommunication Nigeria Limited’s Otunba Mike Adenuga and much more…
What’s the situation of things at the moment concerning your career?
I thank God, everything is moving according to plan. I also give thanks to God that Fuji is still very much alive and relevant. I am equally grateful to God for making me relevant all the time. At the moment, I am in the studio for my new album, which is the hip-hop version of Jaforie, that is still selling. Very soon, we will complete it. I need to put enough effort because I can’t afford to disappoint those who made me Paramount King of Music and my fans, home and abroad. Also, I just completed work on another album, The Great Warrior which is dedicated to Otunba Mike Adenuga, chairman, Globacom Telecommunication Company.
Why haven’t you released Jaforie VCD apart from the audio?
We have started work on that. Very soon, it will be out.
What informed dedicating an album to Mike Adenuga?
It’s meant to show appreciation for what he has done in the entertainment industry. The man has really done a lot for us. If we have up to three or four people like him, the industry would have developed more than it has today. Left to me, Adenuga has no equal. He has really encouraged and supported the industry. I discovered that no fuji artiste has done anything to celebrate and eulogise him, that’s why I came up with the idea of dedicating the album to him, which is not a bad idea to me. As FUMAN National Chairman, I want him to know that we all Fuji artistes love and appreciate him for endorsing one of us, which is Pasuma. Left to me, by endorsing Pasuma, he has endorsed Fuji. It gives Fuji more recognition, that has also ranked it among corporate music all over the world. I believe not until he dies that we need to celebrate him. That should be done right in his lifetime. Apart from King Sunny Ade and Chief Ebenezer Obey, no artiste has eulogized or praised the man for his kind gestures to the entertainment industry. Therefore, the album, The Great Warrior, is dedicated to Dr. Mike Adenuga, Jnr, as a token of my appreciation, especially for what he has done in my genre. And I believe it will be well accepted by the public.
What’s your assessment of Fuji circuit now that it seems peace has returned?
We thank God for everything. Peace has returned and everything is working fine during my time as National Chairman of Fuji Musicians Association of Nigeria (FUMAN). I am happy for the development. I believe everything was made possible because I am also a peace loving and cool headed person. If by now we discover that anyone among us wants to make trouble or cause crisis, we will all know that such a person is an enemy of progress.
But some people believe that Fuji is more or less fading out because of the way hip-hop is spreading its tentacles all over the country?
That’s not true. Fuji is a traditional music. But we’re trying to make it global, which has not been all that easy. Unlike hip-hop which is mainly of foreign origin. Even at that, there is no way they say hip-hop without adding some flavours of traditional music to it. However, no matter how hip-hop grows, it can’t suffocate fuji. Fuji has come to stay as the most acceptable and danceable music.
What is the position of Alhaji Abass Akande Obesere in the Fuji genre?
By the special grace of God, I am in the forefront, I will never be at the back. I am number one as it pleases God and my dancing fans. The reason is that I am a unique entertainer. I do my things differently. I am not like any other person in the genre. And since I started out, I have never seen my kind in the industry. It is not possible for any Fuji artiste to sing or dance the way I do. Above all, I have always been adjudged very humble and respectful to both old and young ones. So, God has blessed me with enviable qualities, difficult to imitate. That’s why I said I am the number one Fuji artiste, and I will forever be.
A lot of people believe you are not energetic as before…
(Cuts in) That’s not true. I still remain myself, very agile on stage. No one shares my identity in the industry concerning that. But one thing people don’t understand is that, the kind of dance and your performance on stage depends on the situation you find yourself. How you perform when you play at a wedding, naming or burial ceremony is different from the one for a concert. They are two different things. But I blend with whatever I am invited to do as an entertainer.
What do you think can make Fuji better than you met it?
First, we must all be united. Then, we can now be thinking of innovation that can draw people back home, so that they will all realize that there is no music like Fuji. Fuji is not a momentary music, it will reign forever. Although, most of the young ones are now into hip-hop, the point still remains that they are still coming back to Fuji because it’s the only music that will never die. I am not saying they are not successful in their career as hip-hop artistes, even I will continue to bless and wish them well. But what’s sure is that they are coming to identify with us later no matter how successful they are now.
Its long you travelled abroad for a musical tour or social engagement, why?
It’s because I believe I have to play my role as a leader, and ensure that everything is alright before thinking of going abroad to perform. They have been calling from abroad, they all want to see me. Even today, as we are here, somebody called from Turkey that they are willing to see me there. But I told him, they must be ready to pay me heavily. And he said there is no problem. It’s not easy to take me out of Nigeria, unless the person is ready to fulfill all the financial responsibilities attached to it because I know how much I will realize in Nigeria in a week. But by the special grace of God, I will pay attention to foreign engagements before this year runs out.
How much do you charge now if it’s a local engagement?
I don’t have any fixed amount. It depends on distance and how close the person is to me. But the summary of it all is that I don’t disappoint my customers and my fans. I always make sure I satisfy everybody.
Let’s digress a little, months back there was this tale that you erected a multi-million naira hotel in Ekiti, what’s the truth about it?
It’s not my style to be making noise about whatever God has done for me. Everybody knows me for that. How many blessings of God can I count? For instance, can I account for how I sleep and wake up every morning or the food I eat and all? A lot of people want to have such opportunities but they don’t. So, I don’t know how many of God’s blessings you want me to be mentioning. But anyone people link you with or they are aware you own is what they will be talking about even when you don’t tell them anything about it. I believe it’s about being famous. That’s’ the reason everything about me becomes a topical issue.
What’s the truth about the story flying that some scammers hacked your Facebook account for fraudulent practices?
It’s true that some people hacked my Facebook account to smear my image but I am sure God is above them. They lied that I said people should be paying so that I can take them to United States of America, Holland and Turkey. There is nothing like that, no iota of truth in their claim. I don’t know how to issue visa. Anybody who wants to travel to America should go to American Embassy. Some are even saying I said they should apply as truck drivers that I am importing some trucks which I will soon employ drivers. They said they have been asked to register with some amount. I don’t know anything about that, they only want to dupe people. They are all scammers. I am using this medium to inform the public that there is nothing like that. I, Alhaji Abass Akande Obesere is not importing any truck nor did I send people out to collect money in respect of that.
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, August 6, 2013