I started the Gospotainment story two weeks ago because I felt the need to share my journey. Today Gospotainment reaches over 2 million people each year and its all started from a humble beginning. This the continuation from Part one
I was distraught and confused at the same time as a stared at the man in amazement. I just quietly walked out of their presence and went back to the cyber café where I was working with my mind racing in different directions. What will I do know? where would I go? who will I call for shelter? at least for this night. I could not concentrate on the story I was writing, so I just sauntered into the streets mopping around as if I was looking for something. I didn’t really have any friends I could easily move in with at this point. I had been in Lagos before now, in 2007, when I observed my one-year industrial attachment and during that time I played the Keyboards for a church choir.
As I walked around the streets, praying, thinking and looking for where to move my things, I noticed, few meters in front of me, a face I knew. Eno, the music director of The Overcommers Revival church, I used to play keyboards and bass guitar for them. My face lit up with smiles as I approached him. Immediately he saw he called out, “Martins, How far?, you don come back from school?” I declare, Yes, Oga mi, I just got back last week. We shook hands and started catching up, I didn’t waste time in narrating my ordeal to him, that I am stranded and don’t have a place to sleep tonight. He offered to speak to the Pastor of the church on my behalf as he was heading to church for rehearsals. I followed him. Luckily the pastor came around a few hours later to speak with the choir members and Eno spoke to him about my situation and reminded him of my service to the church. He offered to allow me to sleep in the church.
Despite the fact that the church building is a shed with zinc roofing located at the open space back yard of a dilapidated abandoned printing press, I was super grateful. I was Overjoyed. I hurriedly went and picked up my one bag and immediately joined the community of other folks who were staying in that building. Yes, there were several other young men who were staying in that church. In fact, Eno and his wife and little daughter were living there.
We had to sleep on heaps of paper waste in between the broken-down printing machines with leaking roofs on some sides of the building and broken doors and windows. I went back to the other house picked up my briefcase, thanked my friend for the short stay and bid them fair well.
The church, The Overcomers Revival International Church and her pastor were very magnanimous and I didn’t hesitate to deploy all the knowledge and skills I had gathered as NIFES (Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students) General Secretary in service to the church. With me having a place to lay my head I turned my focus again to my Work – Gospotainment. During this time, Gospotainment wasn’t earning anything, in fact, I was spending everything I had to keep the blog running. it was in this period that I wrote letters to churches and none responded. Remember that the purpose of founding GOspotainment was to help promote gospel music and showcase gospel artist because as this times, there was little or no online media platforms for gospel music and Christian entertainment.
One of the days, a friend on the streets in Surulere introduced me to Abraham. Abraham was also passionate about music and we talked, became friends and ended up working together. In fact, he ended up being a huge blessing in those days of being homeless. So on the days, I couldn’t sleep in the church, I will join him to sleep over at his workplace (He worked as a laundryman by day and promoted gospel artists in his spare time. Abraham is currently our manager at Gospotainment.
Several times, this site will go down because the subscription has expired or we have exceeded our bandwidth and for several days we won’t be able to renew or resolve it. These were very difficult days. no money, no food, my efforts at getting investments or raising capital for this Kingdom project failed. Multiple times our site with go down, be hacked, the subscription will expire and we won’t have any money to resolve it. Somehow by God’s grace, we scaled through every one of those challenges. We would go from one event to the other reporting, writing stories about gospel music, interviewing gospel artists doing all sort of journalism work for gospel music.
After about 4 months in the church shed I was exhausted, tired and discouraged. I decided to go try something else mostly on the prodding of my parents, who insisted I abandon “whatever it is I was doing in Lagos” and go join my brother-in-law in his business in Abuja. Did I tell you guys that I am of the Igbo stock, from Anambra to be precise? The first and only son? Trading is what we do and my choice of endeavour was unheard of.
After many weeks of prodding and convincing, I left Lagos for Abuja, to join my in-law’s business and for about a week I would go out to his shop. But by the next week, I abandoned the business and went into town to look for a media job. Media is my thing, not trading. At least not buying and selling, maybe some other sort of business but not that. I have had my own fair share of trading in my childhood days. That’s story for another day.
I went back to Radio Nigeria where I did my 4 months industrial attachment to see if I could get a gig, nothing came through. Went to NTA and several other media houses, nothing. Gospotainment was already going to four years old on and of, so we had some level of clout in Abuja. All the while I was in Abuja I was still working on Gospotainment blog, posting news, music and other content. Within this time, I decided to hook up with members of the gospel music community in Abuja. I met up with a few guys, like Younggod of Christ Ryders, I think I also met Unachi of Naijagospelbeats and a couple of other folks.
All this was happening between 2013 November and January 2014. Abuja is not really a place where you want to ply a music and entertainment trade. You might not get the result you will get in Lagos. So by February, I was done with Abuja, I wanted to come back to Lagos. So now I was looking for an excuse to leave Abuja, a legitimate one that would sound promising to the family. Soon enough I got a call from a man who was starting a Christian entertainment Television and needed me onboard, Viola! My perfect excuse! I told my sister and her husband that I just got a job and I was going back to Lagos. Truthfully I could not stay with them in Abuja for several reasons. They had a great house, I could worry about nothing. If I was looking for comfortable living, Abuja was perfect. The main reason I left was I felt Gospotainment was a calling and I can’t fulfil that call in Abuja. Two, I am a very independent person. I am not the type that depends on anyone for anything. I want to make it for myself by myself. Three, I love Lagos. I love the freedom, the hustle, the drive and the vibe. Lagos was my city and I wouldn’t let anyone take that from me. By February ending, I packed my bags boarded the next available bus and returned to Lagos, back to sleeping between two printing press machines.