My Regrets for Nigeria @ 75—Ebenezer Obey + How Nigerians can stop corruption

Professor Emeritus Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi (MFR)

Legendary musician and Juju music
icon, Professor Emeritus, Evangelist
Olasupo Remilekun Obey
(MFR) will be 75 on Monday, April 3, 2017. Series of events has been
lined up in readiness for the celebration of the graceful life of the elder statesman
which will take place in Idogo his
home town, Abeokuta and Lagos. The very gifted Juju music icon
who has released uncountable numbers of albums in the last 50 years with his
first album at age 23 in 1965, was born on April 3, 1942 at Mercy Hospital Lagos (Now known as
Island Maternity Hospital). Famously known as Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey, he gave his life to JESUS many years
ago and later founded Decross Mininstry
with branches in Lagos, London and Ogun State. In this first
part of a rare encounter we had with him in the afternoon of Monday, March 27,
2017 inside his Ikeja-Lagos home,  the
elder statesman shared his greatest regret with your Africa’s number 1
Celebrity Encounter blog, Asabeafrika.
Referring to one of his old songs titled ‘Formular
we took the music philosopher king down memory lane and he spoke of
his fears for a country that is blessed with much yet impoverished with nothing.
Enjoy the excerpts.

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Congratulations for your upcoming 75th
birthday celebration next Monday, April 3, 2017. We pray God add more years of
healthy living and happiness to your age.

The Professor Emeritus Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi welcomes the GDA to his Lagos home

Amen. Thank
you and you are welcome.
Let me start by asking that how do
you feel anytime you tune in the radio stations, YouTube channels or find yourself in a place where your work is
being played. What crosses your mind on such instances?

Professor Ebenezer Obey to Asabeafrika…’Listening to my music anywhere touches me like it touches other people’

Well, my feelings
to the reaction of people all over the world to my music especially the various
renditions and philosophical songs that I have released through my single
records, Albums and videos are simple. Firstly, I attribute everything that I
am today to nothing but the Almighty God. God is the source of my creativity.
He is the one who created me, send me here and He is the one who decided how He
wanted the journey of my life to be. So I cannot talk about my feelings without
reference to God. I thank Him and appreciate Him.

Professor Emeritus Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi (MFR)

I will forever be grateful to
God. Talking about my reaction when I listen to my works, well, it makes me
feel happy. When I listen to my music either on radio or being played out-door
it helps me to see how the music touches people. When I sit down and I am
listening, I am touched by the message of the music; I am touched by the rhythm
of the music. I am moved by the music and I know that is what the music is
doing to the generality of people all over the world. It makes me happy.

The Prof receiving a call from an eminent Nigerian before the interview began

Long before you became an Evangelist,
most of the messages in your record had always been delivered in the form of
sermons either on marriage, success or good conducts. Where do you get your
inspiration to create such melodious and inspiring songs?

The GDA meets the Professor Emeritus & Juju Music Legend, Dr. Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi (MFR)

Another good
question, I don’t have alternative preference, other than to say it is to the
glory of God. All the inspiration of those songs can never come from a man. It
is not me; it is not by my own power. It is God. If I recorded ‘Olomi
Gbo Temi’
in the year 1965 and we are talking of 2017 and the record I
released in 1965 is still much more relevant till today, it is not my wisdom.
It is the wisdom of God. So, my music and the messages in them are inspired by
God not me.

The Prof’s album ‘Formula 0-1-0’ album released many years ago but very relevant till date

Let me come in sir, I was listening
to a song you did more than three decades ago, Formular 0-1-0, where you sang
‘Eledumare, Jowo ba wa
tun Nigeria se o’
. There you made mention of Nigerians
working without getting their salary, and going back home without getting
transportation and the issue of low price of petrol per barrel. That song is
prophetic. Are you saying at 75, the Nigeria of the time you released that
record has not changed?

Professor Ebenezer Obey to Asabeafrika…’All hands must be on deck to rebuild Nigeria’

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talking about Nigeria and referring
to that my record, even at that particular time that I recorded that record, it
was bad but it was even much more better than what is obtainable now. And like
I said in that record, which you have equally confirmed, we all need to look
into the issue, into the case, into the matter of our nation Nigeria in another
way. Yes, our past leaders have their own blame.

Professor Ebenezer Obey to Asabeafrika…’Yes, the era of my Formula 0-1-0 album was bad but not as bad as now’

But we cannot apportion the
blames to our leaders alone. If we are talking about corruption, if somebody is
corrupt and that person want to extend the corruption to another person. The
person who receive bribe is an accomplice of bribery. So when you want to talk
about corruption, yes, it is higher, bigger, heavier when you hear billions,
trillion and all those monies we are hearing today. But truly, truly, it is a
sickness, an illness that needs to be cured.

Professor Emeritus Ebenezer Obey to Asabeafrika….’Our elites must stop the mad acquisition of wealth and help the poor”

How do we cure corruption? Number
one, it is very important to ask ourselves this question, ‘do we need all the
vanities of this world?’ The answer is No. God created this world for every one
of us. ‘You come, live your life, spend your time and at the time of your going
back to God, you leave’. We have never seen anybody who was buried with his
entire wealth during his funeral. No, everything will be left here on earth. So
it is madness. It is madness for few people to grab what is meant for
everybody. There is a difference between those who have the wealth and they are
thinking of others, creating employment, people who are thinking of how to
develop the nation, some are even extending their gesture abroad.

The GDA listens with rapt attention to the Professor Emeritus Ebenezer Obey

They are not
limited to Nigeria alone but to other African countries. Globally, they are
touching lives, that kind of wealth I can call a true wealth with a humane
face. And a person who uses his wealth to touch lives is the one who fears God,
who nurse God. Somebody who feels that he need to kill the mystery of wants and
poverty; and all he thinks about every day, is about other people, about
humanity, how to bless people. If we are all thinking that way, those who
engage in fraud and corruption will never find the business of corruption

Professor Ebenezer Obey to Asabeafrika….’Let us stop the blame game and start the raise game’

They will stop it. Haven said that, what do we do? If we start to
blame ourselves, you will see that there will be fighting. We will continue
fighting ourselves. We can’t get any answer from fighting. What do we do? Let
all of us come together to make Nigeria
better. Let those who are stealing stop stealing, let those who are doing all
the bad things stop doing them; and let everybody have the mind, the character
and the ability to say, NO, what you are doing is not right. Let’s fear God.
Let us help the masses. People go to America
and they see what is obtainable there. We can be like America, we can be like London.
People travel from here to Dubai to
see the wonders of Dubai. Nigeria can be another Dubai. How? It is very easy.

Professor Ebenezer Obey to Asabeafrika…’We must all work hard to pull Nigeria up from the poverty of corruption’

(Cuts in) How easy, sir?

Professor Ebenezer Obey to Asabeafrika…’A country that cannot feed her citizen is a lazy country’

The answer;
number one, a country that cannot grow the food her citizen eats is a failure.
How long are we going to depend on the rice that comes from Malaysia, from America and elsewhere? That is not it, our soil is fertile. When
you put anything in our soil, it will grow. Say you want to talk about the
graduates, a large percentage of our graduates are Okada riders (Okada Motor Cycle). Do we send our children to school
from Primary to Secondary and higher institution for them to come out and start
riding okada?

Professor Emeritus Ebenezer Obey to Asabeafrika…’Agriculture is the next available vehicle that will take us out of poverty’

No, sir
angry and silent for a while) I think agriculture is the duty of everybody. Let
our graduates invest their time and strength in agriculture. Let professionals
add agriculture to whatever they are doing now, let musicians add agriculture
to whatever they are doing. Let everybody, everybody. We cannot have too much
food. Even if we produce too much food, it will be an avenue for foreign
exchange. What we have that we supposed to spend on other areas of development,
we are busy spending the money on unnecessary things, frivolities.

Professor Emeritus Ebenezer Obey sad over the level of corruption in Nigeria

That is
number one, number two; skill acquisition is very important. If you take a
graduate into a skill room after spending 5 or 6 years in the university there
will be a remarkable achievement in output. He is a matured mind already; his
sense of belonging when it comes to learning differs. He can learn fast, six
months he is already done. Let a graduate go into bricklaying, woodwork
(furniture), electrician, air conditioning and more. Let me tell you something
today, the amount of money the foreign companies have made from road
construction and bridges alone in Nigeria….it is part of what takes the larger
part of our money away.

Professor Ebenezer Obey to Asabeafrika…’Nigerians must acquire skills to earn the bulk of their own local economy’

Why don’t we have our own people who have the technical
know-how on how to build bridges? Why can’t Nigerians build bridges? Why can’t
we do all the other works that the foreign companies are doing?. You see the Chinese; they do all those things (Road
Construction ET all) by themselves. We can do it by ourselves. Let’s find a way
to decide that we want to make our nation great. We can do it. I like the word
by ‘Moment with Mo’ which says ‘If you can think it, you can do it’. Yes, if you can think it, you can do it.
That is all we need. We are not to blame anybody but to decide on ways forward.

The GDA with the Professor Emeritus and a new 75th birthday effigy of him being presented to him by his children

(Watch out for our nest story titled ‘My Idogo Story’ on this blog shortly)


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