Benue State in middle belt Nigeria has been in the news this past week for the termination of a dreaded gang leader by the Nigeria Army. Olusegun Gbetoyon Amosu a young Nigerian upcoming music artiste, from Badagry, who recently concluded his national youth service in the Northern state says the people are welcoming and tells us in this interview about his education, service year, and music.
CityMood: Good day and welcome to CityMood. Can we meet you?
Psalmist: Olusegun Gbetoyon Amosu is my name but my stage name is Psalmist.
CityMood: Can you let us into educational background?
Psalmist: I am a graduate of Lagos State University where I studied Sociology and I was posted to Benue State.
CityMood: How did you feel when you were posted to Benue State?
Psalmist: Actually, I choose Benue State. It wasn’t a shock for me when the posting came because I have walked with people from Benue and I’ve always wanted to visit their place. But the only point which I began to feel bad was when I started the journey because of the distance but I had no problem immediately I settled down.
CityMood: As a Corps Member, what was your experience on camp?
Psalmist: The people of Benue, specifically the Tiv, are very accommodating. They accommodate visitors a lot. It was never difficult integrating myself into the environment. I also know how to mingle with people, so it was easy.
CityMood: Was there any point at which you felt intimidated?
Psalmist: No, there was never any intimidation. The only point at which I wished the service was over was because of the heat. The weather was hot compared to what I’ve been used to.
CityMood: Do you serve in a school, a private company or a government parastatal?
Psalmist: I served in a private school
CityMood: Serving in a private school can be demanding, how did you see it?
Psalmist: Actually, I’m gifted in teaching and at a point, my Place of Primary Assignment (PPA) had to double my allowance. Primarily, I was to teach Civic Education but at a point, I thought English and Creative & Cultural Arts. My service was a blessing to both of us.
CityMood: Did you execute any Community Development Project in the course of your service year?
Psalmist: Yes, I did. I donated Thirty (30) dual desks to a government secondary school over there and the community was happy because it was a newly founded school about to clock two years. They saw me as a Godsent.
CityMood: What motivated you towards executing the project?
Psalmist: Everything I did during my service year, I planned for them from the very onset. I was aware that corps members used to execute projects in their host communities. I had it in mind to also execute one, even though I was not sure of what project it would be or where the funds would come from.
The second motivation came from the orienation in camp on the execution of Personal CDS and the benefits attach to it. I chose not to relocate because one of the criteria states that projects executed by relocated corps members cannot be graded.
CityMood: When was the project funded?
Psalmist: I contacted some people but I was not able to get the response I was looking up to and coincidentally, Covid-19 came in and even made things worse. So, at that time I was on scholarship with Lagos State Government and the payment we were supposed to receive in final year was delayed due to the politics of Ambode returning for second term or not. So I was already in service when they paid the money and immediately they paid, I diverted it to the project and the case was settled. This is because I saw the money as educational money reinvested into education.
CityMood: Do you have any side hustle aside your educational career?
Psalmist: Yeah, I am a musician, before I gained admission into University, but immediately I got admitted, I decided to put it on a halt. This is because I have this policy of what is worth doing is worth doing well. So I concluded that, I’m in school to study and throughout my stay on campus, I didn’t live as if I was into music. Infact, I dropped from first class in my final year and it was one of the things that motivated me in my service year. I wanted to proof that, you did not graduate with first class should not limit your pursuit of excellence.
CityMood: What type of music are you into?
Psalmist: Generally, I am flexible in terms of music but I focus more on R&B and hip-hop. There was a time I traveled to Rebublic of Benin and I came in contact with some of their superstars and one of them was a fashion designer and when I came back, I told my Dad that I wanted to go and learn fashion designing. But immediately I gained admission, I had to stop everything. Along the line when I went for service, I wanted to do something that will trend in that state. So, I composed a song titled; CORPERS LOVE, and I tried to incorporate the Tiv language. When I released the song, it was everywhere in the state and it became a constant beat on the radio station. At a point, I was invited to Radio Benue for interview. I really enjoyed my stay over there.
CityMood: How were you able to cope with the demands of your PPA and yourself music?
Psalmist: That has to do with time management and one thing I’ve always nurtured over time is, the ability to beat deadline so I structured what should be done per time. Everything has its own time.
CityMood: How many singles do you have to your credit?
Psalmist: I have many singles but officially, the songs I’ve promoted and put online are two. I released those two songs as a Corps Member. The last of the two is “High Tension” and I released it on My Passing Out Parade (POP).
CityMood: What is your next point of action after service, are you thinking of venturing into music or pursuing you academic career?
Psalmist: Music is something that requires grace aside talent. This is because it requires a lot of funds but if God should send that one helper to me, I prefer to be a full time musician. This is because music is what I can do best. But pending that time, I need to find something doing.
CityMood: What can you say about your host community in terms of challenges encountered during service?
Psalmist: The people are accommodating though you can’t expect everybody to be 100% sincere or okay. I encountered challenges with some people in the course of executing my project. But generally, Tiv people are wonderful people. If I have my way and get an offer in Benue, I will go back because I’m even feeling like a stranger here. (Laughs)