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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: “DRUGS MADE HIM RUN MAD IN MY PRESENCE” – I.UK

Born out of the passion to tackle the spread of the menace called “Drug Abuse”, I.Uk, puts his artistic skills to play with the release of a single titled “Say No To Hard Drugs”.

In this exclusive interview, the Abia-born music genius, reveals the reasons behind this campaign including a personal experience that spurred his interests and put him in the front line in the war against Hard drugs and drug abuse.

Read on as Tolulope Ayileka of Artourey had a one-to-one with the artiste, I.Uk also known as The Transfortainer, a recording artist and songwriter, to discover his motivation towards the fight against drug abuse. He is the composer of the song “SAY NO TO HARD DRUGS”.

Question: The campaign against drug abuse in the past few years has become a growing movement in our society. What motivated you to join this cause?

Response: Last year in Lagos, I witnessed a particular heart-breaking scenario where a young guy in his twenties suddenly went nuts and began to display and act violently openly in the streets. He was so restless and violent that no one around could calm him. He tore off his clothes and even harmed himself with broken glass. Then, he ran into the streets and could have been knocked down by moving vehicles. It was confirmed later that the young man had indulged in the abuse of a hard drug with the street name “Colorado”.
Prior to that unfortunate incident, campaigns against drug abuse never really captivated much of my attention. Perhaps because I don’t do drugs.
But, after witnessing the misery of that young man; I also discovered more that revealed a certain trend of indulgence in the abuse of illicit substances and that it was spreading quite swiftly and wrecking a lot of havoc among Nigerian youths. I became deeply moved and felt I had to do something. Also, last year there was a reported sad incident of a 400 level student who jumped from a 3-story building and died after indulging in the use of the same “Colorado”.

There are also several amateur videos on various online platforms of people in drug-induced mental disorder scenarios in addition to many more that are neither recorded nor reported on the news.

The pain and concern I felt from these was what drove me to joining the campaign against drug abuse. I deployed my creativity to help tackle this deadly and self-destructive trend, hence that’s how this song came to be.

Question: What message do you hope to pass across through this song?

Response: The message I intend to spread is that of abstinence from Drug Abuse. Drug or substance abuse is a suicide mission. It leads to mental health issues, brain damage, damage of other vital organs like the kidney, heart, lungs, and several other harmful effects. It has destroyed the lives of many. That is why we preach “No To Drug Abuse”

Question: There are several songs on Drug abuse and abstinence. What makes your music different from others?
Is there a particular element that makes it stand out?

Response: The song was envisioned beyond just a piece of music for partying or merriment, it was supposed to rather evoke sober reflection and provoke positive thoughts in the mind of the audience. Honestly, a lot of rational thinking and creative energy was prayerfully deployed to create the lyrics, rhythm, beat, and everything to come up with something suiting.

Question: Did you encounter any challenge putting this Music out there or was it all smooth sails?

Response: To be very candid, several occurrences impeded the earlier plans to release this song. Permit me to say, it was as if some dark forces didn’t want the message to be put out there. The release date was rescheduled many times. I was wrongfully blocked from all my social media accounts and couldn’t access the official social media pages for the campaign (Nigerian Youths Against Drug Abuse). This affected our social media campaigns against drug abuse from September 2021 till the third week of January 2022 when we finally gained access.

Question: How has the feedback and response been so far since the release?

Response: The responses have been gratifying, especially from musical experts, media personalities, and rational-thinking people.
The vision was beyond just creating a normal song for partying or merriment. I wanted to craft a song that would bring the audience to a point of sober reflection, provoke positive thoughts, or change of mindset. From the reviews already gotten, I think the song is achieving that. So, I thank GOD.

Question: There is currently a bill to legalize marijuana in the country, what are your thoughts about this?

Response: Yes, Marijuana has medical benefits. Yet, if used wrongly or abused, it could do far more damage than good; leading to serious health problems, especially mental disorders. I suggest that if the government will eventually legalize it, there must be a very strict monitoring and licensing procedure for those who would grow and trade it. More importantly, self-medication must never be allowed. It must be strictly sold and administered with the prescription of medical experts to ensure it is never abused.

Question: Despite several campaigns and warnings of the effect of drug abuse, there is still a fraction of people who indulge in this menace. What do you think is the cause of this?

Response: There are a couple of reasons for this. Most of them are ignorance-motivated. Such as; Attempt to fight frustration or depression; To wind down and feel good or feel high; Youthful exuberance or unguided quest for adventure and other factors. However, it’s important to note that the devastating consequences of drug abuse far outweigh whatsoever benefit or reason to indulge in the act.

Question: What do you think is the way out of this current reality?

Response: I believe that continuous sensitization and awareness of the self-destructive consequences of drug abuse is an ideal way to tackle the evil trend. Many people are ignorant and might not abuse drugs if they clearly understood the true damning consequences of it.

Question: Apart from your music, what other avenues have you taken to preach this gospel of saying “No to hard drugs”?

Response: I have plans to shoot and release a targeted and creatively enlightened advocacy music video of the song soon. The music video is designed to further elaborate and spread this critical sensitization message via creative visuals. I’m also part of a team working on a special advocacy movie project against drug abuse. The title of the movie is “Getting High”.

Question: Sounds interesting, can you tell us more about that?

Response: For now, I can only assure you that it will be a vital tool that will take the campaign against drug abuse to a whole new level. It’s still in process but I assure you that more detailed information will be released on the movie when it is appropriate.

Question: As a young man actively involved in this sensitization, do you have any advice for the youths?

Response: I advise youths to rise and fight for their destinies by saying “No” to drug abuse. Indiscriminate use of drugs cuts lives and dreams short.
Life can take you higher than drugs! Remember That.

Question: Away from this topic, what are your other plans for the future?

Response: By the grace of GOD, I have many creative works that should bless humanity, impact our universe positively and glorify the highest GOD. I plan to record and release many singles this year including my debut album. So, please anticipate!

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