By Oluwatope Lawanson

Nigerian Fuji Musician, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, popularly known as K1 De Ultimate has debunked allegations levelled against him by his former drummer, Ayankunle Ayanlowo.

Ayanlowo, who played the talking drum for K1 for 32 years, from 1990 to 2022, made some allegations against Kwam 1 in an interview with Agbaletu TV posted on YouTube on March 15.

In the interview, Ayanlowo relayed his experiences working with K1 and accused him of maltreatment, likening their relationship to that of a master and a slave.

Speaking with Journalists at his Ijebu-Ode Mayegun Resort, KI said Ayanlowo was actually one of his drummers in the past who was a trouble shooter.

“Ayankunle has been a former member of the band who is a consistent trouble shooter, he has gone and returned several times.

“I would tell you that of all the members of my band, Ayankunle is the only one that has gone and whenever he wants to return, he would get people or close associates to beg me and I would accept him back, over seven times now.

“There is one association called ABDAN, their leader at a time was the former drummer for Lagbaja, it was because of Ayankunle that I met the man, when he left the band and got the man to meet with me to plead on his behalf to return to the band.

“Ayankunle complains a lot,” he said.

On the allegation of Ayankunle’s passport being withheld by K1, the Fuji Musician said “Ayankunle complained that his passport is being withheld, let me tell you the story.

“He ran away from the band in England while we were on tour with his passport, alongside two other members of the band. And the remaining members of the band and I returned to Nigeria.

“This was many years ago and one of the many times he ran away. After he ran away, he took his passport along. We were later told that in the course of him overstaying his visa, he gave his passport to somebody to present at the embassy for a renewal, those were the years when visas don’t come with pictures.

“They took the passport there and the British High Commission detected the fraud and seized the passport requesting him to come in person and he could not go because his passport remains at the British High Commision and not in my hands.

“This is a man that I got the passport for when he joined my band, he is one who can’t write or read and I told him I don’t have his passport because in the first place, you ran away with that same passport.”

KI revealed several sacrifices he had to make in the past, to be responsible for his band members’ travel expenses when they had to go with him on performance tours.

He disclosed that there were instances when some of the band memebers will travel with him and decide to elope.

He noted that at times he would have to borrow money to be able to foot the travel bills, sell his properties or acquire loan.

He said “Do you know how many times I have had to sell many of my properties and belongings just to develop and provide for my band?

“I have been a recording artiste under late Olubadan, Baba Adetunji, and do you know how many times I had to beg him to sponsor us to record and have our names on the vinyl, do you know how many things I have had to overlook in my life to keep the band working?

“I can not say in specifics how many times I have had to borrow money to finance my band’s trip because it is countless.

“When I borrowed money to keep my band going, who did I tell? When I collected thrift contributions to keep my band, do you know how many times I have had to borrow funds to buy tickets for my band members?

“A lot of my old time friends would always support and contribute funds. Mine would not be the first time that a drummer would leave the band and go about saying what not.

“From late Fela to King Sunny Ade, Sir Shina Peters, Chief Ebenezer Obey, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and many more have had to contend with drummers issues, band members eloping on foreign trips and mine is not the first.”

Expressing his love for his band members, KI said whenever he goes for foreign performance, he always ensure his band members lodge in the same hotel as his, regardless of the cost.

He said even when he knew quite well that most of his band members steal from the money he was usually sprayed during performances, he had never tried to maltreat any of them.

“Let me shock you again, if I travel out of Nigeria for performances and I am staying at World of Astoria, that is the same hotel my band members will stay.

“I am not a leader that would stay at an expensive hotel and ask people to help accommodate my band members in twos or threes in their houses.

“I do this because I want to do everything to discourage them from running away. Even when I stay at London Hilton in Parklane, I would get an apartment for my boys there too, they would stay with me so we can do a lot together and I can keep an eye on everyone but again, you know people, someone can lie to you and abscond.

“However, the fact is that I love my band, I love myself, I established my band and wanted the best for myself so if overlooking people’s shortcomings is what will keep my band moving, I would rather do that than firing band members at will because of little mistakes or errors.

“And when band members err, once they realise their mistake and return to apologise, it is fine and we move on and that is not a bad thing to do as humans because I offend God and people, who forgive me when I appeal to them genuinely,” he said.

K1 noted that he started his career as a little 8-year-old boy in a community on Lagos Island.

He said it was interesting to note that his oldest band member, Fatai Olupesi had been with him since he was a young 13-year-old boy.

According to him, Olupesi who was still currently with him plays the Sakara and he had been doing that for over 40 years.

Speaking on how his band members were paid, he said “The current sharing formula is 40 for me and 60 for the band of 28 members and out of the 60 of the band and my own 40, we take out 10 each to make 20 and that is what we use to pay the management, so I end up taking 30 while they take 50.

“It is very wrong and misleading for anyone to say or assume that I enslave my band members. It is a statutory order in my band to continue to pay members of my band that died in active service.

“We always pay their families whenever we have a show. Now when we travel abroad, we pay the 11 remaining members of the band and the ones that are late the same amount we pay those that travelled and we won’t pay them in any other currency aside the currency clients paid us.

“So, if we perform and we are paid in dollars, we pay everyone in dollars and when we are paid in Naira, we pay everyone in Naira.

“Before now, we used to rent and pay for musical equipment for each show, and it goes as much as N2.5 or N4 million per show, but all these I have acquired and we no longer rent to pay.”

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