Rasta Obada Clark

Rasta Orbada Clark is a reggae music lover. His love for the reggae music began when he was born with dread locks.  He has been ardent lover of root rock reggae music for so many decades now. He is the proud owner of Bem Vindo Hotels located at KM 1, Osubi/Eku Road, Opposite Abraka Park, By Slaughter, Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State. In this interview with our crew of Tejiri Ebikeme and Francis Sadhere, Rasta Orbada, as he is popularly called, talks about how he intends to use his Hotel to revive reggae music in not only Delta State, but the country as a whole. He said reggae music preaches the message of Love. He said on May 11, 2015, all roads will lead to his Hotel for the celebration of 34 years exit of Legend Bob Marley. Excerpt:

How did you come into music?

I have been a fan of reggae music since 1982. We were there since the time of Emma Grey and the likes of him. I was born with dread locks on my head. I picked this up since I was very young and this is why ever since I have always been a root man.

What is the different between a rasta and rootman.

Root men are straight forward people who love justice and truth. We like to show love anywhere we find ourselves. You will find out that if there is love among us today in Nigeria life is just a small thing. Everybody will be very happy. But today we are experiencing what we are experiencing today in this country because there is no love among us all. Reggae music is all about preaching the message. The message we are preaching is love.

Some people believe that reggae is like a religion and you have a god that you worship which you people are referring to as Jah Rastafara. Please enlighten us more on this.

We are serving the same God that everybody is serving. We call him Jah, and if you go to the Lamb Book (the Bible) you will see the name there.

What is the different between what you are serving and Christianity?

There is no difference here because we are studying the same Lamb Book. The difference is our lifestyle. For example, if a Christian tells you he is coming to meet you in two minutes, you will not see him. But if if a Rasta man tells you he is coming in two minutes, he will keep his words. Our truth is our watchword.

Reggae music has lost its glory in Nigeria. What are some of the reasons for this decline and what are you doing to revive it?

Some times when we talk about this we usually laugh over it, but it is a very serious matter because people do not know what reggae music is all about. Reggae music can never be down. It never dies. It is still alive. It is just that we have some Babylonians who want to bring reggae music down in this country. But as far we are concerned, they can never succeed. We are trying to revive reggae music in Delta State starting from this Bem Vindo Hotel. Here we have an African hall where we play reggae music every Saturday night.

You mentioned Babylonians some minutes ago, please who are Babylonians ?

Babylonians are those people who are enemies of progress. These are people who do not know the meaning of reggae music. Reggae music is the message of the Lamb Book and the Lamb Book is the message of God Almighty. Reggae music starts from the Lamb Book, which is the message of God(Jah Almighty).

Those who still play reggae music are those in their late 40s and above, but the younger generation today doesn’t play reggae. What do you think the younger generation is missing?

They are missing a lot because they do not understand the message that is contained in reggae music . They do not listen to the message of the music. They are only interested in the beat. But reggae music is all about the message from Jah, and once they understand the message they will come to understand it. So this is why we are trying to create more awareness about reggae music. The message of reggae music is everywhere because people are playing it everywhere. They play it on  radio ,on the streets, hotels, restaurants, etc. reggae music can never die. Just that our youths  have not taken their time to understand the message it contained.

For some time now we discovered many reggae legends in Nigeria like, Raskimono, Majek Fashek, and others have been finding it difficult to survive with reggae music. What could have caused this?

The reason is very simple. Rastas do not involve themselves in politics. A lot of them started playing politics at some point in time because of what they were going to get from it. And you and I know that Rastas cannot survive when they delve into politics. Take for example the legendry Bob Marley, he preached the message of peace until his death. He exposed the fake lives of politicians in the world through his music. So this is why I used to tell them that you cannot play politics and reggae at the same time. They are two different things entirely. So I believe this is some of the reasons why reggae music is not as strong as it used to be.

Why is it that in other smaller African countries like Ghana and the rest of them, they are striving with reggae music and Nigeria is not?

That is a very good question. The reason for this is very simple. If you check all these smaller African countries where reggae music is thriving,  , you discover that they do not mix reggae music with politics. They believe in the truth and they are straightforward people. This is why you can see different people from different background and ages in those countries that they are all playing reggae music. Reggae music is one music that brings everybody together as one. So this is why we are trying to bring back reggae music into the conscience of our people in Nigeria.

So what are you doing to revive reggae music in Nigeria?

What we are doing now is that why are trying to spread the message of love all around Delta State. Before now, nobody has been celebrating Marley Night or Lucky Dube Night. On May 11, we are going to celebrate Marley Night here in Bem Vindo Hotel, Osubi and that day is going to be a night to remember. We are going to spread the message of love all round the nook and cranny of Warri that day. But before then, on May 10th we are going to go on a procession from Bem Vindo Hotel to strategic locations in Warri and its environs. The event is going to be very colourful as there is going to be display of reggae “Outer Colours” as we move on the procession, and thereafter we will come back to Bem Vindo Hotel to continue the celebration. Then on May 11 is going to be Marley Night proper where we are going to play his music all through the day  and into the night. So that night all reggae music lovers will gather at Bem Vindo Hotel, Osubi to celebrate Marley with the rest of the world. We are sending the message through  radio and television stations that we are celebrating Marley Night at Bem Vindo Hotel.

Bob Marley transcended to the great beyond exactly 34 years ago, why are you still remembering him?

Bob Marley is a great legend to be remembered. All through his life, he  preached the message of love and peace. All over the world, if you mention his name almost everybody knows who Bob Marley was. Apart from the football he played, the other thing he did was  carrying  the Lamb Book (Bible) and reading the message of God Almighty. We call people like that prophets. People like Bob Marley, Marcus Gavey, Lucky Dube are messengers of the most High God Jah. And we respect them a lot. These people that I have just mentioned, to us, they are never dead, they just translated to Zion, the great beyond.

A lot of people associate reggae music with smoking of Indian hemp (Cannabis), can you please enlighten us on this perspective?

No, no, no, no. Reggae music has not nothing to do with smoking of Indian hemp. Reggae music has to do with your heart. It is something that involve your  whole soul. You must not smoke ganja or grow dreadlock before you become a Rasta man. A lot of people mix Rasta with Rastafarians. Rastas are people who talk about the truth because they are the messengers from Jah. So smoking Indian hemp has nothing to do with Rasta. Rastas are people who preach the message of God. We do not boast  about who we are. We bring ourselves very low to all manner of people. We respect all human beings no matter your age or status in life. We show example to the world so that people will know that the kind of people we are. But Rastafarians are those people that you find on the streets fighting, raping girls, and smoking Indian hemp on the road. They commit all sorts of atrocities in the world. Being a Rasta man involves a lot of things and it is not a kid game. Before becoming a Rasta man, you have to move from Babylon to Zion. It is only when you are in Zion that you  become a root man.

When you say, Halley Silesia in reggae, what do you mean? Is he some kind of god that you worship? And secondly, is because you see reggae legends as prophets that is why most of them die before their time? Because I see the like of Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Lucky Dube and the rest, all died untimely deaths.

Halley Silesia to us is like Christ. He is our black Jesus because he was the one that made Rastas know the true meaning of being a Rasta man. If we go back to 1976 when he went to Jamaica and introduced himself as the root legend of reggae music, we will discover that he was the one that broke the chain of slavery and released our black nations from slavery. People who fought for the liberation of their people and those who are still fighting for the freedom of their people, we refer to them as Christ because it is the same thing that Christ did that they are doing.

Before he transcended to Zion, Bob Marley sang a song, “Africa Unite”, but today South Africans are killing their fellow black Africans, where can we say is the unity he preached?

The Babylonians are the once bringing this to Africans. If you remember one of his songs, he said there was going to be war in Africa and everywhere. So if Africans could listen to that song today, then we would have been the greatest continent in the world. When he was singing these songs people did not know that he was prophesying and he was giving a great message to us. Africans must sit down and unite because the Babylonians are ready to destroy us, but Jah Almighty will not allow that to happen. People like Nelson Mandela, Lucky Dube and others are prophets who have come to spread the message of love to us.