A Lagos-based Anglican vicar was transferred after the (secular) shoot of the video for ‘Able God’, a hit song by Chinko Ekun, Nigerian rapper-songwriter, featuring Zlatan Ibile, an Afropop musician.
Chinko Ekun, whose real name is Oladipo Olamide, had put out the video in October 2018. The project became an instant hit and rose exponentially on the streets and on charts. The song is also believed to have increased the singer’s popularity in the country’s music landscape.
But in a tip-off sent to TheCable Lifestyle, it was revealed that Venerable Odusanya, a Lagos-based clergyman, was transferred from St. John Anglican in Aroloya after an “uproar” followed the approval granted to the videomakers to shoot the visuals within the church building.
TheCable Lifestyle understands that the officials at the church involved had “wrongly” assumed that ‘Able God’ was a gospel song only to be alarmed after finding out that the song was secular following the video’s release.
“The video of ‘Able God’ was shot in St John’s Aroloya. The Vicar thought it was a gospel song so he allowed them. That’s how someone saw the video and sent it to the bishop. The vicar was transferred immediately,” the source said.
In Nigeria’s church community, secular music and the fashion ideals that accompany them are often frowned at.
Odusanya’s transfer not due to secular shoot, new vicar hedges
To ascertain the veracity of the source’s claim, TheCable Lifestyle contacted Williams Mehisan, the vicar-in-charge at St. John. While the clergyman confirmed that Odusanya was transferred, he, however, denied a connection to the video shoot.
“I know a film (music video) was shot here some time ago. I just spoke with one of those youths who enlightened me this morning (May 15) on the issue. The reason for the transfer is not on the condition of the video shoot,” he stated.
“The bishop has the prerogative to make changes to the ministers. And it was in 2018 that the new bishop came. After understudying his ministers, he decided to move whoever to wherever.
“What I learned about the video is that the kind of dress those people were putting on didn’t portray church. I didn’t watch it but I heard the insinuations when our youth gathered.
“When they gathered sometime in 2020, the issue came up. By the way, who gave you the info when it is supposed to be an in-house thing? If a case is not reported, then it’s not treated as a case. It’s an in-house thing.
“It’s not because of that that a priest is transferred. Transfers are based on the bishop’s prerogative. The music that was played and the dress those people wore didn’t portray Christian tenets. That was the reason for the uproar.”
When prodded further to reveal what exactly transpired around the time of Odusanya’s transfer, the priest said: “Somebody else wanted to shoot a film last year. I never knew such a case had existed. So someone approached me.
“I saw his dress and hairstyle and braided hair. He said he wanted to use the church for a film shoot. I asked, ‘With this your appearance?’ That was before the [Covid] lockdown. If you want to shoot, you should be decent.
“Your appearance should appeal to me. So I didn’t give him such a chance. I told him if it’s a secular thing, there are secular places, shops, and halls. There are event places. If you need a church environment, then be decent.
“Only then will you be allowed. That was what led to the youth gathering and reviewing the past. If a church would allow a film, it must be with church music and those involved must be compliant with the environment they’re in.
“It’s not that there was an issue leading to a fracas. Nobody threw chairs at each other. It’s about this kind of music is good and the other not being good. We need to stratify what comes in to filter what we do from what we don’t.”
‘I’m a simple man… I want no trouble’ — ex-vicar denies knowledge of 2018 shoot
After many failed attempts at reaching Odusanya, it was said that he had been transferred to a church within the Epe axis of Lagos. In a phone conversation with TheCable Lifestyle, he denied knowledge of the shoot while quoting excerpts from the Bible.
“In Anglican communion… what Jesus Christ said in Mathew 28, from verse 19 downwards is that, ‘go into the world and preach the gospel’. When transfer comes like that, we believe that our oga are the ones on it,” he said.
“So you go and report and start your ministry there. When the time comes, you’re moved to another place. I was not transferred in 2018 but in 2019. I don’t know anything about any video. I’m not too sure. I can’t remember at all.”
When called the next day, Odusanya, who appeared to be apprehensive, pointed out that he’s a simple man who wanted no trouble.
“I don’t want anybody to put me into trouble. I’m a simple man. I don’t want any trouble. Go to the headquarters if you want to find out my details. I know what I’m facing. I know my challenges. Forget about it, please,” he added.
While other officials of the church, one of whom blocked our reporter, refused to give any information on the issue, Humphrey Bamisebi Olumakaiye, bishop-elect of the Anglican church’s Lagos province, didn’t answer calls when contacted.
A source with Chinko Ekun’s management also failed to respond to a text seeking his comment on the matter.
In ‘Able God’, which also enlisted Lil Kesh, Chinko Ekun sang about the thrill of financial liberation, the perquisites of hustle, the place of love, and the extent to which hard-earned wealth should be splurged in rewarding hard work.
The music video opens with the lead singer — who dressed in a white suit and wore a gold chain — standing along a church aisle interspaced by pews. He then called on what he termed “angel of wealth” (in Yoruba) not to slumber.
Chinko Ekun backed his dance moves with leg work typical of Nigerian hip hop while a fog machine puts the church in a haze. Thereafter, Lil Kesh takes over with an analogy of a man who spent above his means until bankruptcy.
Watch the video below:
On his part, Zlatan showed off a wad of dollar bills, charging the youth to connect with those who would put them in the game. He then ended his Yoruba lines with the theme of the song, reechoing: “No more insufficient fund.”
‘Able God’ got Chinko Ekun his first Headies as ‘Best Street Hop Artiste’ in 2019. Nominated for ‘Popular Song of the Year’ at the 2019 City People Music Awards, it would later win the ‘Street Song of the Year’ at the award event.
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