Women of African Origin in Music Ministry (WAOMM) has made a debut appearance in Nigeria. The outfit with the aim of supporting female gospel artistes of African origin was founded by Isabella Ogo-Uzodike, a Nigerian gospel artiste based in the United Kingdom. Speaking in Lagos at the inaugural seminar titled, ‘Step Up and Stand Up,’ President of the group, Isabella Ogo-Uzodike, told participants that the organisation was established with a divine passion to provide support for gospel artistes in terms of providing needed encouragement and mentorship.

mentorship. “My husband and I are pastors in the UK, I am a minister and gospel artiste. I had my first album in 2009. At the initial period in my career, I needed to connect with someone to mentor and encourage me. I yearned for a woman of African origin, I couldn’t find where I was,” she explained, stating further that, “Not that there were no good people around, but I just needed someone of African origin who I can always relate with. This developed a passion in me and later, God helped us to start this organisation which is designed to answer such questions,” she explained. “The spirit of WAOMM is that we want to support ministers, we want to empower them for ministry and that is the whole essence of the ministry,” she said. According to Ugo-Uzodike, President of the organisation, the group has made an inaugural appearance in various countries. “We were in America, Scotland, Canada and in July, we are going to Italy and by October we would be in Kenya. It is all to equip women in African gospel music. It doesn’t matter where they live, we want them equipped and encouraged. In Nigeria, our national coordinator is Onos Ariyo. We want a team of people who understand the terrain to coordinate,” she said. Facilitating a session, Chief Responsibility Officer, X2D, a Christian entertainment channel, Deji Irawo, spoke on bridging the gap between the ministry and the industry. He enjoined the participants to have a connect between who they are and what they do. Irawo also enjoined gospel artistes in Nigeria to develop a relationship with God which would distinguish them and make them God’s oracles. “How can God send you on a message when you are not on same page with him?” he asked. In his own submission, gospel artiste, music director and trainer, Segun Obe, told the participants to always be the best they can be. Obe, whose career has spanned through two decades, agreed that, “Gospel music in Nigeria is growing, it can be better. I don’t compare, but I want to say that gospel music definitely has its own place. Spiritual singers are rising, we now have more music making meaning.” Another facilitator, Wilson Joel, told participating gospel artistes to be original. “Don’t copy someone else’s lyrics,” he said. Joel, a seasoned producer also said, “Gospel music has more opportunities than the secular music and therefore, you as gospel artistes must promote your work. There are now bloggers, online radio stations and the social media available to promote your work.” Also the event, award winning gospel artiste, Nikki Laoye, enjoined upcoming artistes to be original and identify their styles. “You have to be original and identify your styles,” she said. Encouraging artistes further on professionalism, she said, “Ensure you have a good press kit which should comprise of your short and well written bio,a website where people can find you, good shots and a good press release written in third person mode.” The event culminated in an evening concert tagged, “Women of Worship Concert,” featuring: Onos Ariyo, Emmy Kosgei, Isabella Ogo-Uzodike, Efe Nathan, Glowreeyah, Nene Uko, Ighosa, Enkay, Ayo Vincent, Joan Paul, Chee, Toluwanimee, Blerisa, Rejoice.