Gospel music kept me going during darkest moments of my life – AdaZion
Mrs Adaeze Onyeakpa Oshi, an Italy-based gospel singer, says inspirations from gospel music and faith in God helped her overcome the hurdles she faced as a girl child and her two-year journey through the Sahara Desert to Europe en route Libya. Oshi, who arrived Italy in May 2011, after 11 hours on a migrant boat across the Mediterranean Sea, says she is grateful to God for guiding her through the darkest moments of her chequered life and blessing her with a wonderful husband and two children in her adopted country.
This is the concluding part of her interview with LAWRENCE NWIMO.
In Houn, God used a Muslim man from Niger, Ismail, who operated a pizza shop nearby to rescue me from the slavery.
The man saw me and took pity on me because I was sick and dying from too much beating, starvation and stress they had subjected me to. Then, they would continue beating me until I passed out, vomiting blood. He approached them and asked how much I was indebted to them and the woman said $6,000. He paid them $1,000 for them to release me to him, promising to pay the $5,000 balance by instalment. That was how I regained my freedom and subsequently stayed at the man’s house. He equally employed me to sell at his pizza shop and he was paying me and saving the money for me. That was how we raised the money to pay that woman off after six months in June 2010.
How did you eventually find your way to Italy?
It was when they decided to open the Mediterranean Sea so that people who wished to escape political violence in Libya could use the sea route that Ismail called me and told me to get ready to use the opportunity to travel to Europe. Then, my goal was to save enough money that would enable me travel back to Nigeria. I had lost interest in travelling to Europe. But, he said he would support me with whatever I had with me to make the journey as the country was no longer safe for me. Honestly, I never considered that guy as a human being but an angel sent by God to rescue and help me and he really played that role well. By this time, I had managed to re-establish contact with my friend, who was taken to Tripoli. I was overjoyed when she also told me that she had regained her freedom as well and we started planning the journey to Italy together. By the time I reached Tripoli, everything needed for the trip was ready. We spent longer time at the base camp because of bad weather. Then, I started fasting and prayers, asking God to make a way for us to pass through. And it came to pass that God successfully led us through the Mediterranean seas safely. Since I left Nigeria till date, God has never let me down and will never abandon me. So, when it was time for us to make the journey and we came down to the port, I became afraid. It was my first time of seeing that kind of sea that has no beginning and end in sight. I was scared because I don’t know how to swim. But Ismail told me not to be afraid that I could make it. That was how I entered the boat. From Libya coast to Italy, my eyes were closed and I kept telling God in prayers: “I cannot open the eyes till I reached my destination – Italy. And I know you will prove yourself worthy again. You have done it last year and you will do it again. Last year was battle. This year would be victory.” We spent over 11 hours on the sea. It was when they started saying that we had reached Italy and rescuers were coming to take us that I
eventually opened my eyes.
What happened when you people reached Italy?
We landed at Italian Island of Lampedusa around May 26, 2011 where we spent about three days. After that, we sailed to Genoa on a bigger vessel and were taken to a migrant camp where they started processing our documents. Ismail and I were in the same camp. At the end of the day, I was given one-year Italian document and later 10-year residence permit. They asked me what I wanted to do and I said I wanted to learn Italian language and then start schooling. That was how I was enrolled in a language school and when I got a diploma in Italian language, I decided to go for primary and later, high school. I studied social sanitary between 2014 and 2019. I took my final year exam in July 2019. I was planning for my further studies in medicine or nursing before the coronavirus pandemic came and I decided to wait. I will continue after the pandemic.
Why did you decided to go into gospel ministration?
Music has always been my first love and something I enjoy doing. I recall one particular day when my late brother called me and told me that I would be musician. Although, he did not tell me whether it was as a gospel artist or secular musician, he prophesied that people would be hailing me on stage. I was laughing then because I never envisaged that I would become an artiste someday. As a girl-child who was forced to part ways early in life with her mother and faced with maltreatment in far-away Lagos, music provided me with consolation. Then, I was too much addicted to gospel songs of people like Rosemary Chukwu, Chinyere Udoma etc. I remember then, that whenever my aunt played songs in the morning, I would be happy and singing it in my heart as well. Those songs inspired me to be a gospel artiste so I can share my story and all the things God had done in my life through music. I want to let people understand, through my songs, that if you believe, trust and obey God, you will
conquer because God will never let you down. It’s just a matter of time.
What brand of gospel music do you represent?
I chose to sing through the heart, what I believe and what I am in the sight of God and humanity. As far as I am concerned, I represent light, purity and God’s favour and unfailing love. If God saw me through one of the deadliest journeys and, by His grace, I am about to become an Italian citizen because I believe and trust in him, then He will do the same for others who believe in him. That is my message and brand of gospel ministration. I am channelling my music to Nigeria because the messages in my songs are mostly needed by my fellow Igbo brothers and sisters. My predicament started from Nigeria and so many people are passing through what is worse than I went through. So, my goal is to share my story and testimonies with them so that they can, as well, achieve breakthrough. The only means where I can easily reach them is through songs. In as much as I cannot see them, interact with them and possibly offer my help, I believe that my songs will go a long way in channelling their minds back to God and in living the right life as true children of God. I want to tell through my songs that God sees our heart, knows our problems and is committed to tackling them at his right time. That is basically why am devoting my time, energy and resources into this project.
How many songs have you recorded so far and future plans?
I have recorded about six songs so far with over 20 songs waiting to be recorded. My plan is to be able to produce the video for the songs as well as start work on other songs. It’s my desire to use my songs to reach as many people that I may not be able to reach physically and to inspire them to place their trust in God. If, I am able to achieve that, I will be eternally grateful to God because I believe that God let me live so that people will learn more about his wonders through me. That is why I consider myself as Adaeze, daughter of Zion.