By Eric Elezuo and Promise Oshewa
She is a combination of many things; youth mentor, on air personality, prolific gospel artist, accountant and many more. She is Elizabeth Ngozi Ehigamuose. In this interview, the strong woman of many parts revealed those things that make her thick as well as the vision of her next destination among others. Excerpts:
Can we please meet you
I am Elizabeth Ngozi Ehigamuose popularly called Ehiliz. I am a gospel artiste and also a TV personality. I run a show on MITV at 5pm every Sunday called Vivid-view with Ehiliz and it is programmed to sensitise the youths. I feel that by the special grace of God, if we get our youth right; all will be well and we will be happy.
Why the youth
The youths have energy; they have the power to do everything they want to do and sometimes, somehow they are faced with problems. They are generally the problems and solution of the society.
They are the problems because they are ones hired to do any kind of dirty job such as kidnapping, killing among others. If they have the ability and will power to say no, that business will not take place and that is one of the areas they are the solution. They should therefore, say no to any of these when approached because among other things, the children of those who hire them are not part of it.
Can you trace a bit of your origin
I am married to an Edo man called Godwin and I am Igbo from Anambra state, and by the special grace of God, we are blessed with 5 children and a grandson. I am the Managing Director of Micro Investment Support Services limited and we are into leasing. I do quite a number of things aside what we mentioned. I have my first Degree in Accounting and second in Finance, both from the University of Benin, Edo State. I have attended a number of training within and outside the country and have receive awards as you can see. Ehiliz is coined from Ehigamuose and Elizabeth.
Ok, from your explanation, you are an on-air personality, finance expert, gospel musician and of course a business woman, how do you marry all these as one individual
First and foremost, I attribute the glory to God, because he gave me the strength but more importantly, I am propelled by this philosophy, “plan your work and work your plan” and it has worked for me over the years. Whatever I want to do I plan ahead and face it. For instance if I am to go and minister outside, mostly weekend so that it does not conflict with my job, I plan it in the sense that if I need to go to market to do some cooking as a woman at home, I do that on time and make good use of my refrigerator; my children can easily pick and warm their food and that is settled. Secondly, my husband has been very supportive. More so, now, my children are grown up so I am not encumbered with the stress of looking after babies. I have maximum freedom to face all the careers I have chosen.
This is my 24th year in the music industry and I just released an album. My first album was in 1994. So that is how God have been helping me. I tried as much as I could not to clash my programmes with my job and other activities.
Of all these functions which of them can you comfortably say is a passion
Music! Long ago in 1977, when I gave my life to Christ through the Scripture Union (SU) of those days, our leader had asked us to pray for our desired gift. I took it seriously, and prayed fervently. That particular night, I dreamt I saw the heaven opened and something descended and said ‘Sing unto me three times’. Then it went back. It was the image of a man with a ring around his head wearing white cloth like Aladura garment. I woke up terrified and when I checked the time, it was about 3am. I didn’t need a soothsayer to interpret the dream to me.
Casting my mind back, I remembered how I use to nod and dance to every bit when I was much younger. My mother will refer to me as someone who dances to whatever he hears. I love music whether it is secular or gospel. Sometimes, on my way back from school, I will stop over at the church and watch to choristers rehearsing. On two occasions, my mother beat me back to the house. At that time, I was sure I have found a passion. And today, after 24 years now, I have released 12 albums.
There’s a difference between the energy of 24 years ago and today. How do you cope now, especially when performing on stage
Well, when it comes to dancing, the energy is still there. I give God all the glory. Whenever I want to do anything, I do it but still conscious that age is telling on me. I know I cannot do exactly what I used to do those years, but God has been faithful, especially during performances.
What exactly is the message of your music
My music is praise oriented, and all my songs give praises God and invite [people to God. For instance, some of the titles are: Give your life to Christ; Too late; Come back to Jesus; I just called you to come back then few of them I say come into praises. One or two tracks are worship songs,.
So from what you said now, your message is a matter of salvation
Yes to draw people to Christ
Then at what stage did you choose to divert to youth mentoring
Sometime in 2011, I had the idea. It started as a mere thought. A friend of mine who works with AIT came to my office one day, and I was just telling her I wish I could talk to the youth so they will understand that what they are doing in the name of looking for money is not right. I mentioned that I wish I could have an avenue of speaking to them. There and then, we developed a concept, and the modalities involved.
Is the programme live?
Not really, it is recorded. We tried to avoid getting stuck in mistakes and overshooting paid hours. My friend advised that getting my own studio would be the best option. We did a cost analysis of the venture, and forgot the whole thing until 2014 precisely January 2, when I had another dream: a giant of a man in white appeared to me. He said ‘I gave you assignment to do and you are not doing it, if you don’t do it, I will give it to someone else and you will face the consequences’.
I woke up in fright and my husband, who was lying beside me, asked me what the problem was, and I told him all I saw, adding that I don’t know what assignment the person gave to me. He led us in prayer, and encouraged me to go back to sleep that by the next day I would remember. In the morning while my husband answering a call, I had a spontaneous flashback and everything I discussed with my AIT friend flew back to me, and I shouted ‘Ah Vivid View’.
I’d thought it was my idea, not knowing that it is God all along. I was not ready to face the consequences because the bible says it is a dangerous thing to fall into the hands of the living God, so whatever it is, I will do it, and that is how I started. I told my husband and we found a space in February and we started building the studio and on June 7 of the same year, we opened it officially and operation started.
I started with TVC, until fee was increased beyond my capacity. God took me down to Alhaji Muri of MITV, who opened his arms to embrace me. I have been with them for a while. God will bless him.
Can I conveniently say that everything you are doing is a function of the revelation
Yes, that is true
Also, how can you say the journey so far has been
Splendid, the reports we are getting are heartwarming. Everything that has happened so far shows that people are deeply following the programme.
Testimonies, have you really have any practical testimonies like changes in life style?
Any plans to own your own TV house in the nearest future
Oh yes, it will be called Vivid Television. I promised myself that before my 10th year anniversary, I will build my own TV house. In fact, as we speak now, we have already started the process and somebody is working on it. There is also Vivid Magazine, among other things we are doing.
They say charity begins at home; how are you using your own children as a mirror to teach other children
Though my children are trained abroad, not because we have the money, but because of the incessant crises in the educational sector, they return home to help develop Nigeria. Three of them are back even now while one is serving. They are part of my audience during my shows as they are still within the age bracket of 18 to 30. By the grace of God, they are the epitome of what I am trying of other youths. I’m proud of them.
With all your acquired experiences, do you see yourself delving into politics sometime
I wouldn’t say yes or no for now because I teach others to. I am not a politician now, but I have little knowledge of politics. I once told my husband that politics needs someone like him to turn things around, and he answered me that he alone cannot because the majority of them there are tilted to the same way of doing things.
You have been doing most things based on the revelation of God, if he reveals that kind of thing to you again, would you do it?
Now let’s go back to your personal life, can you just relate to us how you met your husband
(Laughing) it’s very funny. I learnt from that experience that when God has planned something, he has a way of making it come to pass. Many years before I met my husband, I told myself that I must marry latest at 25 years. I was 19 then working with the defunct New Nigeria Bank now Unity bank. A cashier in the office overpaid his own cashier and the guy decided to keep the money. In the quest to recover the money, our path crossed and one thing led to another, today we are man and wife. We actually met in the bank
But the resistance was not too much, I think, you know women and their resistance.
No, I was very lenient then, because I told God that I need 5 things in a man before I marry him: he must be a Christian: he must be more educated than I am: he must be too tall because I am ‘tall’ so that we don’t give birth to tortoise; he must be someone that is ready to start life with me and not anybody that have made it already; and finally he must be an Ibo person. My husband had everything except the last one; he was not Igbo, so he scored 4 over 5 and that wasn’t bad (Laughing)
So where do we see you in the next couple of years
Oh, Ehiliz is going to blow. I am going to have my TV station, release two more albums, brand my recent album and take Gospel Life with Ehiliz to higher level. The next of the series comes up on October 1.
So, how do you relax and what food gives you pleasure
Well, First and foremost, when I get back from work, I watch some Christian movies on Africa Magic and laugh it off. Sometimes, I gain few things from the drama. I am not the type that carries work home; work ends with the office and whatever I can’t finish, I leave it for tomorrow I love anything swallow; like wheat flour, amala etc.
Do you do sports?
Yes, I run
No medal, but I have gifts like buckets, pillowcases, bedspread etc
Ma, what can you say is your greatest regret in life
(Sighs) can I place my hand on any particular thing now? Once I would have been drowned but a boy saved me. My marriage has been great and my children are doing great, and they are not giving me problems. Okay, before I met my husband, I was jilted once, and again the loss of my dad, which made me stronger.
Thanks for your time ma