Vows to recover 14 years salary owed him by the pastor.
Can we meet you sir?
My name is Ofieodo Edafeyeiabo popularly known as Dafee. I worked Rev. Chris Okotie for 14years and somehow things got really bad. A few things transpired and at the end of the day I lost my apartment, my things were thrown out and l was left broke. Now because everybody knew that l was working for Rev.Chris, it was difficult to help me, since they did not really expect me to come asking them for money either for house rent or food. The assumption was that I was supposed to have saved a lot. So I called my brother up to discuss and he told me to meet him up in Abuja. He bought my flight tickets and l went to Abuja to meet him. Somehow, when he realized that my life seem not to be moving forward, he decided to retain me in Abuja, but somehow within me l just wanted to get some money and return back to Lagos, because my whole adult life have been here in Lagos.You know once you get use to the hustle and bustle of Lagos, Abujawould seem like a dull place for anyone. So l had been with him for like one week when pastor called me, when l say pastor now l mean Rev.Chris, so he called and asked where I was and l told him l was at Abuja and he asked what I was doing in Abuja and l told him what l was doing, he was like, he understand l have problems and am running helter shelter, l should remember he has always told me that he is going to take care of me. My response was that I wasn’t getting any younger (as at that time l was approaching 40 years dangerously and there was nothing to my life) and since my brother was in the country, I just felt he should get me something and he was like, he understood me, then the next day he called me again because l had missed the Sunday and Wednesday service, the first call was on Thursday and the next one was on Friday. And he said, well he has made up his mind, he does not want me working with him anymore and that I was fired from the household of God. He went further and said that the church was grateful to me for all l have done and all of that. Well, haven spoken to pastor Chris Okotie; the fact that I had no job again in Lagosand going by my brother’s insistence that I stayed back in Abuja, I decided to remain in Abuja and work for my brother.Now along the line, things went sour between my brother and me. I wanted more money because I felt I deserved more, but he refused and after much arguments, he was like you know l have done so much for you in two years that you have been with me, than your whole life that you have spent with Rev. Chris Okotie, can you compare what you have gotten here and this really got to me. So l called pastor and told him Sir, you fired me, but we had a deal when we started before you fired me so you should pay me
What was the job that you were doing for Rev.Chris Okotie?
I was a keyboardist
What do you mean by a keyboardist?
I am a musician, I played keyboard for the church.
Do you have a contract with him on that which says that he should be paying you because l know some keyboardist who just come to the church to play and go, hoping to be discovered. So do you have that contract?
We did not have a contract from the very beginning, but with the Rev.
How did you meet him, I mean Rev. Chris Okotie
Now, I use to work in Christ Embassy. At a point Christ Embassy told me they don’t want to employ musicians so l looked for another church, but l would attend Christ Embassy as a member but go to another church to play were they were paying me. So they use to have night vigil every day in household of God than and as a Christian you would want to pray, so since they have it every day,you can always choose the day you want to go and pray so within that period l got to meet people and we became friend, then when they found out that l could play keyboard,they now told me that we needed a keyboardist in church. So l was like well how do l apply? They said when pastor comes you just walk up to him and tell him. But l did not think it was that easy like that to just work up to him, a legend we all grow up to know, and beside when l first came to Lagos he had just released his sisters album Lorain Okotie at least that was what we thought and l wanted to go into gospel music and if you want to get in gospel music who will naturally come to your mind, but somebody who have made it as a secular singer and now he is a pastor, and he started a gospel label, Lorain Okotie was like something different for gospel music as at that time, but when l met him, he was not interested in doing gospel music and again l realized that he was not interested in me, there are many people in that church at that time with the same dream,so why will he be interested in me just coming from Delta state and this was in 1990. But then l realized this in1995, I am not asking him for a favour right now so l am applying for the job. Eventually l was planning to come to the church to come ask him for the job, then he did not have the kind of security that he had now. He still had bodyguards but not as ferocious as now. Fortunately for me, he came to church not for the vigil but just to check on something and l walked up to him, the security man tried to stop me, but l said pastor l can play keyboard, l hear you are look for somebody who can play.l guess that was my password, So he told the security men to let me come close and he was like well,there is a guy who plays for me so l want you to meet with him and if he thinks you are good enough well that will be it. So l saw the guy (his name was Tony Odiase, his father was the Police Officer who wrote the National anthem) and he auditioned me and said that l was good and that he will tell pastor. Now l didn’t know the deal he had with Tony, but he now told pastor and I was asked to start coming for rehearsals, I now realize that what he wanted is to have two keyboardists on stage instead of one. So that was why he needed another keyboardist. Now l was just coming for rehearsal for two months nothing was said about salary and other thing, but one day tony got sick and they needed me to cover up for him. That was how l now started and after another two months, l went to meet pastor and then ask him what was the deal now going to be like and before this time l had a church l was playing in and they were paying me N4,000. When l now saw him we agreed that he was going to pay me N10,000 and provide an apartment and this was a huge lift for me considering where l was coming from, N4,000 without a house, and within a week he got me a house a boy’s quarter. He later told me that this is just the starting point because according to him l needed to show him so faithfulness, so that was our starting point so he got me this place at Allen. l did get the salary a few time because the system there is very informal.
Let us now go back to Abuja.You got a call from him that you are not going to work with him again and your brother was like how, somebody that you have worked with for such a long time. Did you now come back to Lagos after that call?
I did not come back because there was nothing to come back to and beside l had nowhere to stay in Lagos. I had lost my apartment and my things had been thrown out. So l just stayed back in Abuja to work with my brother, after all that was the most convenient thing for me to do.Like l said l had a small crisis with my brother and he challenged me that was during the settlement and l am an lrobo man and words mean a lot to us and that day l made up my mind to get my dues from Rev. Chris Okotie.
What did your brother tell you?
He told me to show him what I have achieved working for Pastor Chris for 14 years. l had been with him for only two years, and he bought me a jeep, I was living well but I wanted more, because l know what we were doing to get the money . This got me to call Pastor and told him we have got unfinished business, we had a deal and you fired me. I am a professional keyboardist and there is this song “Yonder Place” which I co-produced and he used it for his political campaign, used it for the launch of his book as well as the signature to tune for the television programme” Apocalypses”. All these were professional jobs done by me and you are yet to pay me and his response was that I was working for God. I said no I am a professional musician, if you don’t pay me how do I feed, and if I am working for God,you are also working for the same God so why should you live big, drive and change cars anyhow or even take Salary since you are also working for the same God. And now it was easy for me to talk to him now because I was not staying in the house he gave anymore, then if you say anything you are threatened that you will lose the house. A car was also supposed to be part of the deal, but they wanted to see my faithfulness. After I had worked for him he told me he was going to get me car, which he also told the commissioner of police that he bought me a car. I kept calling him and he would bang the phone on me and then I sent him an inbox on Facebook, because I did not want it to look like I want to blackmail him hence the inbox, but he unfriended me and blocked me completely, so l sent an email, got a lawyer as well and also sent him a hard copy via courier. You know how these lawyersare, they write and give you an ultimatum, to go to court and all these, well l don’t have the money to fight Okotie in court, it is just not possible. I got Dr. Chris Nwokobia, we had known each other for some time, and he was like why don’t you go picket the church,I am going to stand with you. And I said okay. I spoke with some other people and they said are you sure you want to go ahead and do this and l said yes because I have read the bible and I have not seen any place that seem to confirm what pastor Chris Okotie is doing so I am ready to do anything and then we agree that the protest will happen on a Sunday but I still said no,because I was still hoping on getting on a workable solution to the whole issue. Then I suggested that we start on a Tuesday and if it did not work then we will move to Wednesday so Dr. Chris Nwokobia said okay before we go to start the protest l should give him some time so that we can alert Rev. Chris, so that we don’t take him by surprise he may want to talk and knowing Nwokobia and also since that is what I want I said okay, and that turned out to be the last time l heard from Dr. Nwokobia again. So I went to the church, but before then Rev. Okotie’s younger brother called me because I was close to the family, his sister Loraine was my close friend, the brother called me and said come you are so close to the family why are you doing this, we can always talk about these issues and I said it is not me, you talk to your brother. I don’t like it myself but it has gotten to a point that I have to do it. He then said okay he will talk to him. Later he called me and said its okay pastor said that you can come over and see him, but nothing came out of it so, I was like it’s ok I have to go ahead with the protest, because I was going along that was why on that day l put on a tee shirt which read “Pastor Chris pay me or kill me”. I then concealed the shirt and went there to see if he will now talk to me like a father to a son or otherwise. I then told the security that l wanted to see the pastor and he told me to come inside the auditorium, but before I got there he had arranged with the police who then took me to Area F police station. I got to know that even the police commissioner of Lagos then was in the know of everything. Even the area commander, whom got to know about this was like you guys can settle this, because he wrote a petition that l was blackmailing him to get money from him and that l have sworn to make trouble with him. So they said that l should write a statement and l was like write a statement for what, you have not told me why you brought me here, and that was when they showed me the petition that Rev. Chris Okotie wrote about me. They then asked me what I meant by plan B, because I had said that if he didn’t answer me I was going to go to plan B. According to them, their understanding of plan B meant violence, and l told them that there is nothing like that, you can see my tee shirt, this is my plan B. l don’t have any weapon or anything and how was l going to attack a man who has nothing less than 30 bodyguards with my hands. It was then that the police said okay and that we should find a solution to the issue and his people said they will talk to him and get back to me and the police said we should come back the next day. By the next time we got a message from Pastor Chris that he was not owing me anything and that if anything l was the one that is owning him, because l collected money from him sometime back to rent an apartment which l did not rent at the end of the day. And l was like what? You gave me money to rent house, which house? So since our negotiation broke down and since the Area Commander wanted to settle us he then said that l should write an undertaken that l will not go there again, but in my statement l wrote that l will not go there within the period of settlement and since everything had gone bad, the next Sunday l was there in the morning, the police took me in again and later released me in the afternoon, then in the evening l was there again during the evening service and again the police took me, but the police did not see any reason to hold me because there was none, they wanted to charge me to court and yet there was nothing but they needed to present something in court so they came up with these three charges against me in court, one was that l prevented the man of God from entering the church to preach, that l insulted and assaulted him before the congregation and that of breach of public peace, these were the charges they took me to court for. And when the charges were read out l was like, am l hearing well? Because l have not seen Chris Okotie with my eye for a long time in fact the last time l saw him was in 2009, so how do you assault someone you have not seen, maybe there is a new definition to that word. So l was sent to prison and the case was giving a long adjournment date
Were you coming from prison to court then?
No l was granted bail
So where are you now on the case?
When the case started proper they were finding it difficult to prove it. And the media took the case over, because Sahara reporters did a story on it and they said l was the one that did it, so they when back to court, and charge me again this time, it is for contempt of court, that is where we are now.
At this point are you asking for you money or what?
I have not taken any matter to court. My salary matter is not in court, it is him that have taken me to court and that is why l am talking about it. I need to have my name cleared. I am a musician and no church wants to have anything to do me. Who will want anything to do with someone in court with his boss?
So the case now is that you want your money?
No, the case now is to clear me from the contempt of court to which l did not do.
Mr. Dafee by the time that you finish this case, are you still going to sue Rev.Chris Okotie over your money?
No, I am not going to court, because my Bible told me not to take a fellow Christian to court but it did not tell me not to protest…
The 14 years that you have worked for him are you willing to let it go?
I am not willing to forgo it that is why l will go on with my protest.
Will your protest get you the money?
That is why l said that it is either he pays me or he kills me, because that is where l worked. And that is where I should earn my source of living from. It is my sweat; I worked for the money so he has to pay me.
Don’t you think that it will be beneficial for you to take this issue of your salary owed you to court?
Like I have told you, to start with I am a Christian, l can only respond to a court case. Like the case we are in now, I am only there because l was taken. The Bible is very clear about that, he is a pastor and it seems he knows nothing about that, but the Bible is very clear about that, that you cannot take a fellow Christian to court.
The Sahara reporters did they mention anything about the 14 years he owed you?
Yes they did, Sahara reporters have been talking about it and following the case
Up till now?
Yes, up till now they have been following the case.
When was the last time you went to court?
The last time l was in court was on the Wednesday, December 11, 20I3
What did the court decide for that day was it an adjournment?
Yes it was an adjournment, now that all the parties are claiming ignorance, like the lawyer to the Attorney General told me, not in court that all the magistrate judges acted on their own, but to start with first, we believe that the case is between me and the Commissioner of Police, not the magistrate that is what is on the charge sheet
Do you see this as jungle justice?
The whole play, all of it is jungle justice, power play. Okotie has dropped the fact that he is a Christian. He wants to show that he has power. But l also wants to tell him something, and that I am a human being.
Mr. Dafee what do you want now, let say you are before the court and the judge ask you what do you want now in this matter?
My name cleared
Is that what you want?
My name cleared that is paramount, number two l am not against any settlement, but any settlement that does not lead to him paying me my money is not settlement, because even the Bible says that l cannot give my money to the rich.
But you have just said that the case is between you and the Commissioner of Police?
Like l said the thing has grown branches, the original case is between me and Okotie
Mr. Dafee, as media people we are fair to all the case before the court right now is between you and the Commissioner of Police, the Attorney General and the Magistrate that did not handle the other case well, Okotie’s name is out of the system?
Okotie is working in the background because, he presented the evidence that they use against me so Okotie can’t be out of it.
Are you saying that the case is still between you and Okotie?
It has always been between me and Okotie, those guys, they don’t know me, they have no business with me, they are only acting a script given to them by him. Sorry to say but they are Okotie’s puppets. This is what Okotie wants, to be taken out of the mix…
Can we be right Mr. Dafee to say Nigerians save me from jungle justice; is that what you are asking for?
No, it is save me from Okotie’s jungle justice because he is the one that is behind all these things, without him all these things will not be there.
Since the court has been sitting, has Okotie ever been to any of them?
Because for the magistrate to shield him, this is a guy that said that l assaulted him, and if l assaulted you part of the evidence is for you to show up and produce a medical report, we want to see the evidence which he has failed to do…
Why do you think your Lawyer chose to bring a case against the Commissioner of Police, two Magistrates, Attorney General, but left out Okotie, naturally, I think his name should have been there?
When these things came up, I was in jail, so my lawyer felt these was what they need to do to get me out of the prison as soon as they can. I was not with them, I did not put that, my lawyers did.
Thank you very much for talking to us.
Thank you for having me.