Nov 5, 2012 – Adewale Ayuba: My Wife Is A Christian, We Attend Winners Chapel’ Canaan Land Together.
Top Fuji musician, Adewale Ayuba in this recent interview with Segun Adebayo speaks at length on his career, life story and clears the air on false rumours about him. naijagists.com
The Bonsue crooner who said his wife is a still a Christian confirms he attended Winners Chapel Canaanland in Ota (2011 Shiloh) together with his Onitsha-born wife, Azukaego Kwentoh.
He also touch based on an issue that came up in Ibadan recently.
Interview Excerpts Below:
Several reports had it that you were beaten to a pulp by some mobile policemen in Ibadan during a show. What actually happened?
I have decided not to talk about that again, because the report is not true. I am a core professional. I have been singing since I was seven years old. Why would I be beaten by anybody in Ibadan? Nobody beat Ayuba. It has never happened since I have been singing. I will be 48 years old this year and I have never experienced anything like that.
But you were in Ibadan to perform that day?
I was in Ibadan to perform that Friday, but I came late to the venue, because I was held up in a traffic on the Lagos/Ibadan expressway. My band boys had arrived at the venue of the show before me though. It is unfortunate that some people went to the press to spread false tales about the event. Let me make it clear, because of my fans who have been calling me to know what actually happened in Ibadan.
As I said earlier, I was not beaten in Ibadan. I had left my house that day as early as 7.00a.m., hoping to get to Ibadan to honour the invitation but it was so unfortunate that I had to spend the better part of that day on the road because of the terrible hold-up. I felt bad that I had to go through Epe road. When I got to Epe, the road was blocked. I decided to take Abeokuta road, the road was blocked as well but I couldn’t go back so I had to face it. I got to Ibadan very late. Mr Yinka Agboola, publisher of PM Parrot magazine and other notable people in Ibadan were at the event that day.
They knew how bitter I was about the unfortunate development. I think what people need to focus more on is the ineptitude of our government as regards the condition of our roads. The traffic gridlock could have killed a sick patient, who was being transferred from Lagos to Ibadan for treatment. What happened that day could have happened to anybody. It is unfortunate that some people wanted to drag my name through the mud instead of facing the reality.
The celebrant was not too happy but he understood my plight. I have left that behind me and I have moved on since then. I love Ibadan and the people, I will always honour their calls anytime.
Adewale Ayuba Spotted At Shiloh Convention In Canaan Land
You were said to have been spotted at the last Shiloh Convention in Canaan Land. Are you now a convert?
Let me ask you this question, what do people do at Canaan Land? They go their to pray, not to worship idols. I don’t know why people are still talking about my visit to Canaan Land.
I am sure those people don’t know that my wife is a Christian and that she attends Living Faith Church, popularly known as Winners Assembly. I was at their last convention to pray to God, I don’t think there is any crime in that. I went to my wife’s church to worship, does not mean I have been converted? I think people should get busy with something else rather than talking about who goes where.
There’s no big deal in what I have done.
So, you actually started singing at the age of seven. How did that happen?
Yes, I started singing at the age of seven when most of my peers were just beginning to learn ABC in their first formal lesson of life. I started singing Do-Re-Mi at the age of seven. I know people find that hard to believe, but that is the truth.
Where exactly did this happen and what class were you then?
It happened way back in the land of my birth, Ikenne-Remo, Ogun State. I was in primary two. I could be described as the band leader, because I was holding the top spot for Mr Sunday. The man discovered my talent very early. He encouraged me by investing in me. He bought me the equipment that I started using.
Mr Sunday bought you the musical equipment at that age and your parents never raised eyebrows?
Of course they were not happy about it, particularly my father. He was very livid. It became a hard battle between me and my father but in the end, Pa Ayuba was reasonable enough to allow me a cautious entry into showbiz. All he wanted from me was to concentrate on my studies, which I agreed to.
So, between Mondays and Fridays, I obeyed my father by remaining in school. Weekends were time to honour whatever engagements Mr. Sunday had arranged for me while I was in school studying.
Talking about the engagements, was there any time school had to suffer because you had one show or the other?
My education was not affected at all and my father was very happy with me, because I concentrated more on studies despite other engagements. Mr. Sunday did not regret investing in me at that age but for me, it didn’t even matter then. I loved what I was doing and I kept at it.
Can you remember how much you were given in those days and what you did with the money?
I was satisfied with whatever amount I was given. At that time, money meant nothing to me. All I wanted to do was just sing. The additional fame that followed put my head in the cloud. What I enjoyed mostly then was my popularity in school. Suddenly, I became the talk of the town, especially among young ones like me. Naturally, the band took the first names of the two frontliners, Mr. Sunday and I became known as the Sunny Ayuba Band.
Did you release any album then?
It took me six years before my first album was released.
Can you remember the moment that signalled your arrival in the entertainment scene?
I guess that was when I released an album the year that Dele Giwa was killed via a parcel bomb. My song might not have captured that momentous happenings then, but it was earth-shaking enough to make me remember that something big was coming my way as far as music is concerned. The album became an instant hit and it was recorded under Success Records owned by Tijani Akinlaja.
I’ve since moved to many labels, including my memorable stay at Ivory Music through the years, I’ve not forgotten my mentor. I try as much as possible to keep in touch with him. I’ve recorded 15 albums in Nigeria and four albums abroad. I have also worked with some great companies over the years such as Premier Music, Corporate Records, Joat Records and Lati Alagbada Records.
The journey till date has been smooth and challenging, but thank God that I am enjoying every moment. This is unconnected with the hard work and perseverance I have put in my work over the years.
Is it true that you almost relocated to Ikenne from Lagos when things were not going the way you had planned?
When I look back to those heady days, I always give thanks to God for giving me the talent that has taken me from grass to grace. It has been a long and eventful road from Ikenne. My first stop on the way to stardom was in Lagos where I arrived for the first time in 1980. Before I decided to move to Lagos finally, I used to come to Lagos every Sunday, but I finally moved to Lagos in 1983.
You moved to Lagos with 20 band boys, how did you pull through?
It was a very difficult decision. We went through a lot of challenges together. My boys had nowhere to live in Lagos. I slept in a friend’s shop at Lagos Island. He was a fashion designer. My boys went around during the day to work and at night we all slept inside my friend’s shop.
Did your band members not threaten to leave you at any time?
We all came to Lagos for one reason; to take our trade to a meaningful level. But, unfortunately, what we expected didn’t materialise immediately. For a while, all we survived on was to play at children’s naming ceremonies and house warming. One day, at one of those events, Akinlaja, owner of Success Records, met with us and that relationship ended up in the production of five albums between 1985 and 1989.
From that point, the story changed for good.
From 1989 till date, your career has witnessed a huge transformation and you have managed to remain relevant. Do you believe that Ayuba is getting tired as said by fans?
That’s a funny question. Before I got to this level I knew I was going to be famous because I had a different approach to music and it paid off. In 1990, the tide of my life changed for good when I joined CBS. It was also the time I took a studious look at the music scene.
Since then, I had refused to be rushed into the studio to record any album again.
How do you mean ‘rushed’?
I was worried that Fuji was not being patronised as I wanted it to be, especially by the university community and the elite. I was tired of that kind of style. I believed I could do a project that would take me to another level. Fuji, to me then, was kind of sluggish. It was sung 100 percent in Yoruba or Arabic. I translated my thoughts with the line in the song Bonsue and it was widely appreciated. I infused traditional music with modern dance. The album was entitled “Bubble”.
What I had then was a project, not an album. I wanted to produce something everybody from any part of the country could listen to and enjoy. I wanted to launch myself to another level. The video was something else. It was a serious dance video. With the release of “Bubble”, we got invitations to perform in universities. Over 80 per cent of our shows were done on campuses.
I had achieved what I wanted to for Fuji. Today, when people talk about their contributions to Fuji music, I know where I stand. I cannot be denied my place.
Talking about acceptance, a large percentage of Fuji musicians believe that King Wasiu Ayinde gave Fuji a facelift.
I am the one who gained acceptance for Fuji among university communities. I don’t know about anybody else. I respect everybody singing Fuji music in the country. I am not trying to create enmity among Fuji artistes, I am just trying to set the records straight.
Before I took Bubbles to universities, people in the academic environment believed Fuji was for the butchers and commercial drivers. University students preferred foreign music then. The truth is that a lot of shows were organised then on the university campuses but we were never invited. It was “Bubble” that opened the door for all other Fuji acts in our universities. I changed the beat, I added some lines in English. Since then, I have taken up the task of preaching Fuji to the world.
The experiment was so successful that I emerged “Artiste of The Year” 1992. Throughout my stay in the USA, I was privileged to play in some of the popular concerts. The best concert in New York is Summer Stage and many other places. I have contributed immensely to the development of Fuji music both at home and abroad. I played at United Nations’ 50th anniversary in the US.
No Fuji artiste has ever done that. The records are there. I don’t want to sound like am bragging or raising unnecessary dust about this issue. I want the people to see this interview from a different angle.
But you appear to have distanced yourself from the leadership tussle rocking Fuji industry in the country. Why?
I don’t want to talk about the leadership problems. That’s why you will never see me fight or join issues with anybody on who is the King or Otunba. I am sincerely less concerned.
Are you saying this because you have not been approached with one?
A lot of people call me king of funky Fuji. Others call me Bonsue Fuji king. The fact is that I am not interested in any of these titles. If you call me a king, I will accept it. Inasmuch as you don’t call me a slave. Let us face it, Fuji needs to develop. We should endeavour to use our position to promote Fuji not to create unnecessary rivalry. If you go to the United Kingdom or United States and ask the white people, what do you understand about Fuji, you will be shocked to hear that they don’t know anything about it.
But the impression some of your colleagues who visit these foreign countries give is that Fuji is widely acceptable. They even shoot videos to back their claims when they travel. Are you saying all these are lies?
I know they shoot videos when they travel but have you asked yourself if any of those videos is real. Have you seen any of Nigerian Fuji artistes perform at major gigs abroad. They don’t reckon with us because we don’t promote what we have. We only go there to show off. I was very mad one day when a particular radio station in Nigeria celebrated Puff Daddy for over one hour. What I am saying basically is that we should learn how to promote our own people. We keep copying the white people while our brands continue to suffer.
How did it feel being the first Fuji artist to win the KORA award?
It felt good. I give glory to God once again that Fuji music is doing well now. If you see what these hip hop artistes are doing now, you will know it is Fuji music. We should try to support our own music and culture. I am so happy with what I have done for Fuji music. I still pray to do more. I am happy also that my dad saw the fame that came with the release of “Bubble” album. Honour has come my way from my home town which is very unusual. First Saturday in the month of November is time to celebrate Ikenne day. They don’t use any other artiste but Ayuba. That is to let you know the kind of love they have for me, even at home.
You were quoted to have said sometime ago that the late military Head of State, General Sani Abacha’s regime in Nigeria was a blessing in disguise for you, how?
Between 1995 and 1998, I lived in New York. It wasn’t something I planned for. My extended stay in the US was not unconnected with the reign of the late General Abacha. The country was tensed then that I had to stay back. I returned to Nigeria the next day Abacha was announced dead. We left Nigeria to perform at a show but we couldn’t come back due to the situation on ground in the country.
What did you actually benefit from the experience?
To me, I didn’t regret the experience because many good things happened to me during that period. I took time out to go to school. I attended Queens Borough Community College where I studied Banking and Finance.
Tell us about your wife. Is it true that you met her in the United States during that period?
Yes. She is from Onitsha. I met her in New York. Her name is Azukaego Kwentoh.
Did you plan to marry from that region all along?
No I did not. I just prayed to have my wife and I got her.
How rich is Adewale Ayuba?
I live in my own house. I drive my own cars. I am happy with my wife and children. Are these not some of the things people pray for in life? I’m also putting my Banking and Finance into good use. Apart from music, I’ve put together one of the best business teams along with my wife. There are 25 band members in the Bonsue Fuji Organisation. The arrowhead of my enterprise has over 35 Nigerians in its employment. I thank God for the success I have recorded. This is just the beginning; I have not got to the top of my game at all. (Interview culled from Tribune)