It happens that i couldn’t stay in the hostel because my uncle felt it was too crowded, so I moved off campus. naturally this should have denied me the comfort of my friends in a strange land, but weirdly it drew me closer to them! I spent more and more time at the FCS secretariat, I joined the drama unit because of one pretty lady (pyeik) who invited. One day the usually drab choir carried a different zing…they were doing a song in salsa
“I love to sing songs of praise
for my heart is full of joy
from the wells of salvation i have drawn so much joy
and in times like these
we must lift Jesus up
something something something something
blah blah blah blah blah blah
Hallelujah (to the King of Kings)
Hallelujah (to the Lord of Lords)”
And to my greatest surprise, there was a drummer who was not only keeping to time but giving some incredible drumrolls! I rushed out to see what was going on. Seated on the throne (that’s what drummers call the chair they sit on) was one thin boy in a blue polo shirt, sporting an afro that was losing color on the edges. I found out his name, monday.
I didn’t need much persuasion to join the choir. I watched that choir grow from a virtual nobody, to one of the strongest choirs on campus. We moved from doing Don Moen songs to a few Hezekiah Walkers and Micah Stampleys. We moved from being a motley crew of merry singers (making a “joyful noise” unto the lord) to actually doing songs that were pleasing to the ear.
“shi ne rai, Yesu Ne gaskiya
Shi ne rai, Shi ne hanyar sama
Yesu ne rai, yesu ne gaskiya
shi ne hanyar rai”
I remember Ufyem Bana Moses taught that song, but Monday and the other instrumentalists arranged the music and taught the parts. I remember how this young man avoided the limelight and refused to be choir director, even when it was obvious he was having a powerful influence on the choir. I remember when we entered into a choir rehearsal on July 17 2010….it was supposed to end by 9pm but we we finished grudgingly by 6am the next day!!!!!
I remember monday was teaching that song by Shekinah Glory Ministries
“so we bow as we enter the throne room
and we cast ourselves down at your feet
we cry holy, thou art holy
there is none like thee
in your presence is where we must be”
Blessing Idakwo was the lead vocalist that day, and I remember the chills when she started singing (i still have the video on my hard drive). that day saw a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and that began a revival on campus, starting from the choir, a fire that swept the fellowship and the entire christian community. Hundreds if not thousands of people returned to Christ during that period; people were healed, addictions were smashed, the oppressed were delivered.
That is the effect of a Yielded life, a life dedicated to God. I remember when we lived together- i’d wake up and meet Monday in the middle of morning devotion, lost in the worship…sometimes an unseen hand might pick him up and fling him to the other end of the room! I remember once when Seun Oloruntowoju (Papa!) spent a weekend with us- he witnessed such an event!
I remember when I was learning to play the guitar. Monday would lend his voice to my ugly chords at first. later it became good enough to write walking jazz compositions with. I remember we were walking home (after seeing Michael Ogah off), and we passed a woman selling Kush n’ Dush night; a song came from that! And the other time,
“you don’t have to smoke Igbo
You don’t have to smoke ganja
You don’t have to smoke cigar, no more
Forget about shine-shine bobo
bone that bottle of small stout
you don’t have to smoke igbo no more!!!”
I can’t begin to detail all the musical moments this dude contributed. those days when me and the band went out (we had quite a few gigs…we opened the first FCS concert, the Voice of Hope called us severally to play…hmmm we played at their opening service, lol), monday was our drummer cos we never could hold down a steady drummer. I knew he didn’t really like rock….but he helped out anyway!
And i remember when he wanted to do a song by Smokie Norful and he asked me to back him up. Hmmm….that was a huge honour. Before i Joined the FCS choir i had a HORRIBLE voice… if the great Monday could invite me to join him on stage…mehn!!!!
There were those times we’d both be broke and invent a new meal (rice and eggsauce was quite new to us. Or that time we made stew and dunked the vegetables we mistakenly bought….it turned out quite nice!). I remember the time monday’s mom gave him a food warmer full of fried meat. I jokingly taped the whole thing shut so that no one would eat from it before 9pm. We forgot all about it and found it later around 4 days later…don;t ask me, it was already mouldy. what a waste!
And that time we were doing “the struggle is over” and the stage collapsed with all 80 choir members on it. We just stepped down and continued the song as though nothing happened!!!! Guess who was leading the song? Monday Egamana!
How about the day Ope and I missed a Legal System Test? Monday returned from Lokoja that morning…and we figured we still had some time to kill. I took out my guitar, we sang some songs…and got to the class 13 minutes late. Ope and I had “E”s in legal system, praise God, Hallelujah 🙂
And all those my 2 million crushes i must have had while i was in my teenage years…guess who listened to my whining and back-and-forths? Monday (okay well if you add Ema, Blessing Idakwo and Blessing Attah my whining committee may look less mondaycentric). But I also remember all the times we made life miserable for him and Ema, (Ujenyu, gimme a high-five) and all the times he teased me about B-Wizzle.
I remember when we needed someone to house-sit for us (we were travelling for 2 weeks). Monday faithfully took care of the place, even when we overstayed our trip.
And I remember the times he tried to get me to learn solfa notation (and sing it correctly).I’m not perfect yet, but I’ve learned a lot.
I’ll cut down the number of memories because I know he is a man of few words (and many paradiddles, triplets and ghostnotes). I just wish to celebrate the great man I was privileged to watch grow from boyhood, who handled family issues, girl issues, fellowship issues and drum issues with the same skill and precision as one would handle a surgical blade in a room full of children. His positive encouragement gave me courage to keep learning, even when mean people like Uche (lol) made me feel i’d never be able to play any instrument well. Today, i’m a better bassist and singer (I hope) because I listened to the likes of Sam Emeka JOhn, Ken Ogueji, Uche ENyioha, Emma Yanni (forgot his last name), Pato, Keno, Allen, Okala, Gabestrokes and Monday Egamana.
In closing, I sing the song monday sang most passionately when we were at the University of Abuja
Our father who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy name”
Happy Birthday Monday. May your days be filled with laughter, and may your path continually shine brighter. You will never waste any space on earth, but your life, your ministry and your talents will spawn greater people. I hope we will be neighbours in heaven oooo!!!!!
PS: Egamana-Cletus was just to make him sound like an Igbo guy. Egamana is pronounced Ay-go-mo-no.