The Benue State-born Davies Ojeka Ogah, aka Lege, has become a household name in the Igede gospel music terrain. In this interview with Editorial Director, James Ibechi, Lege shares a compelling story of his experience in the hands of politicians. He also speaks on the challenges of gospel music industry in Igedeland, among other issues.
Who is Lege?
My name is Apostle Ogah Ojeka Davies, popularly known as Lege. I am an indigene of Benue State, from Oju LGA, Igede Central, to be precise. And I hail from Ikachi, Ukpa. My parents are Mr/Mrs James Ogah. I am a member of Methodist Church Nigeria, Ihiejwo, Ikachi Road and I worship with Dunamis International Centre. I am an entertainer and soul winner. I have sang in many occasions such as birthday parties, wedding, naming and in funeral ceremonies, where people have watched my live performance. I have done four albums so far. The first is titled ‘I know the reason I serve God’; the second, ‘Jesus is coming; the third is, ‘Ohe ka wela ham’, while the latest is ‘I lean on God’
The best so far was recorded in 2012 and done in Igede language as ‘Ohe ka wela ham’ meaning, God will speak for me. Yet, I have received reports that the latest album, ‘I lean on you God’ has mass appeal and or the most popular.The two albums can never be forgotten in my life because they speak to me directly and they spread the Word in general and people have been calling me saying good things about it, telling me how the album has been saving their souls. When they are depressed,some would just slot it in and play and right there in their rooms,they call me and I hear the sound. Testimonies have been flowing these too albums that i have mentiond testimonies come from other albums but not as much as the ones I have talked about.
What really inspired you into gospel singing?
From time immemorial when I was born, I discovered when I was in nursery school that whenever they took us out on social days, I usually found myself leading others in singing songs of praise. And gradually, I found myself in choir in the church where people were praying me into singing further. While I was doing all of the singing at infancy without much knowledge of the word of God, one day, God called me saying, “Dave, Dave, my son, I choose you to sing songs to win souls for me; Go and sing songs of victory, preach the word through songs and win souls for me.” And I have held onto to that voice. Today, I am a gospel singer. I was like going to secular world but could not make it and I said to myself that was not my calling. That was why I returned to gospel.
There is no doubt that you are making waves in Igedeland, despite this, why is it you are hardly known outside despite your popularity here?
Really, I have a large following here, yet the few people that listen to my music who are non-Igede seem to value it more than even the Igede listeners in whose language I sing. It’s just a language barrier.
Are you thinking of doing subsequent releases in English language, and do you think you can do better or as much as you have done in Igede language?
Yes, I will. Like the recent one, I chipped in some tracks that I sang in English. Some of the verses of the songs and the subtitles were done in English, though they are not enough. I am thinking of doing a full English album, so I can be know afar and have a rave review on ration and TV.
Do you collaborate with other artistes?
I do collabo with up and coming artistes that I train; my wife and others. I have sang alongside Adikpe Eje Gabriel and many other artistes who are mostly up and coming. I have also sang with one woman, Mrs Elizabeth Eche. She is still up and coming. Yet she is well exposed. I have as well performed on the stage in a crusade with other artistes like Chris Morgan, Owie Abutu, etc. We also performed together at a show called by former Governor Gabriel Suswam but I have never done a collabo with any of them anyway.
Does it mean that you also sing for politics?
Yes, sometimes politicians call me to do political jingles for them, of which I perform very well. In the end, however, politicians use and dump me. For that reason, I want to go back and concentrate on the gospel.
Can you be specific about instances where politicians have used and dumped you?
I sang for Hon. Bright Igodo Ogaji in his two campaign jingles and all efforts I made to reach him after his election victory proved abortive. I also sang for Amb. (Dr.) Adoga Onah during his campaign and after his election he became elusive. I even sang for Hon. Nick Eworo and the same thing happened. After Nick’s victory he became unreachable. However, in every bad class of politicians, you must find one that is good at least. It is only Barr. Jacob Obande Ajene, the man who brought me into limelight that stands out. It is not just about me, he takes care of gospel artistes in Igedeland.
Could it not be that those politicians abandoned you because your work did not satisfy them or their taste?
Not at all. I used to satisfy them. And I am always proud of whatever job I do for them that aired on radio and in their campaign vans, as they play the jingles up and down the roads. But they feel maybe they had paid for the services whenever they gave money meant for payment of the studio used to produce the jingles. I only took tokens from them to pay the studio owners because I am not the owner of the studio. There is always that joy in me that I have sang for a particular politician and after he had won election, at least, it is honorable that I am remembered even in kind. It goes without a saying that such a political victory is supposed to rub up people who worked for you. It is not as if they were not satisfied with the quality of job I did for them. The problem with them is that after victory they soon abandoned people they used to achieved their victory. And the irony of it all is that, the one among the politicians who lost an election is the one who rather values me. I mean BOJACO.
In your music career, do you have some role models or mentors?
My mentor is late Iyanya Job. I sing in line with his music. He mentored me. I still remember and pay tribute to him because some of those things he did are what I continue on. Another artiste that I follow is from the east. His name is Ifanyi Chukwu who sang ‘Meme’. He is a role model to me.
Kudos to my colleague in the music industry. I am talking about Andyson Iji Egbodo. Even though he does not sing gospel genre, his songs are a moral compass that is of great benefits to the youths. And trying to follow his step, to say the truth, the problem of Igede music industry is that very many up and coming singers who daily spring up in the industry devalue themselves to the extent that when a death occurs you see them going out hunting out for clients and begging them to perform in the funerals instead of waiting for the clients to come for them. By so doing, the denigrate the industry some of us are well established in the industry, we have our sophisticated instruments and we cannot stoop so low to beg clients and collect just peanuts. It is not all about money. Money certainly is important. But beyond that, self- value and respect is equally important….to be contd.