11-year-old Tony Ohekwuru-Iji is an artiste, and a member of Nnenna and Friends Club who is passionate about impacting the lives of those around him particularly the younger generation. He exudes promise and hope as he exemplifies Nigeria’s future in all his activities. In this interview with SAMUEL ABULUDE, he speaks about his passion and the Cleaner Lagos Initiative project.
How many songs have you recorded so far?
So far, I’ve recorded 3 songs, “Smile,” “Nigeria we are one” and “Celebration.”
Are you working on any song?
I am currently working on my “Peace Album” and it will have like eight to ten tracks.
Why Peace album?
I got transfered to a new school and was in primary one. My mum was driving me to school one morning and I saw some children hawking sweet and other things. When I asked my mum why they are not in school, she said, there are ghettos in Nigeria and we are facing so many problems in the country, people don’t have houses, no food and shelter, I felt for them on hearing this. So my mum said, instead of me being unhappy, why don’t I reach out to them and be a voice to the voiceless. When I entered primary 3, I was in choir and there was Christmas carol coming up, they were looking for people who could play instrument, I knew how to play the base drum.
Are you looking at collaboration for the Peace album?
We are looking forward to featuring Timi Dakolo, Demilade and Praizhm
What are you aspiring to become?
I want to be a multi talented, multi tasking person.
What do you mean by multi tasking?
Being able to do different things. I can play football, basketball, piano, I can knead. I was taught that when I was in primary 3. My role model in football is Christiano Ronaldo.
So you have a Peace project, you have a concert in view, the Cleaner Lagos Campaign. How prepared are you to accomplish them?
I’m fully prepared.
Do you have a band?
Yes. We are called “End stars”.
What is your function in the band?
I sing. We are 3, we were more than that before.
How many man-band?
Seven. Four instrumentalist and three vocalist. Praizhm plays the drum while Demilade plays the saxophone .
When does the band perform?
We do skits for WAP TV and national theater three times a year, we perform in end of the year parties, democracy day, Christmas parties, mothers day and children’s day parties. We have also performed with the Grammy award winner Cilkuverp.
How does it feel being part of the band?
It is fun. I joined them in 2016. I met Demilade and Praizhm early 2017.
So what are your plans for end of session?
I just finished my exams for this session. It’s now time to face my music and other projects like my road show “CHILDREN FOR CLEANER LAGOS” coming up on Thursday 26th July 2018.
What inspired the cleaner Lagos initiative?
Going to school every morning, I see heaps of refuse and gutters filled with bottles and filth, I asked my mum why Nigeria is dirty and she said I can do something to create a cleaner environment by first sensitizing children like me to imbibe cleanliness culture.
What other plans do you have in the coming months?
I will be having an independence “CHILDREN FOR PEACE CONCERT” coming up in September and my extended playlist [EP]
What else does your brand stand for?
My brand stands for Peace, Entrepreneurship, Eco friendly practices, and violence against children.
Why do you plan to gather less privileged children in your upcoming concert?
If you look at the concerts going on in the country, you would notice that less privileged children are not given the opportunity to watch concerts. Every concert should not be about money all the time. So this project is to put a smile on less privileged children and let them know that, they are free to witness what other people benefit from.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I want to be the voice to the voiceless not just in Nigeria but all over the world.
Do you think the government is doing enough to support less privileged children?
No. Right now the government is not doing enough. I want them to take the children off the street and provide for them.
How do you think the government can support the youth in talent development?
The government should sponsor youths by sponsoring great ideas and giving scholarships to talented youths for them to develop their talent and stay out if crime.
How much of support have you gotten from your school?
I’ve gotten a lot of support from my mum, my dad, my manager,my friends and my relatives.
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