Veteran Juju musician, Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi, who turns 81 tomorrow, talks to FAITH AJAYI about his career, desires and other issues
What are you most thankful for?
I’m so thankful for everything that God has done for me. When I look back, I just see that God has been so good to me and there is no better way than to continue to appreciate Him for all his goodness, kindness and mercy towards me. Also, I thank Him for helping me to achieve success in my career and to have been able to come this far. I became a professional musician at the age of 15, which is about 66 years now. For the Lord to have kept me for 66 years in music and I am still relevant, one has to thank God and continue to appreciate Him.
What advice do you have for young musicians who are known to live wild lifestyles?
Musicians generally pass through different times and seasons. When one is young, just like Paul said in the Bible, he behaved like a younger person, but when he was grown, he left all those old behaviours. Everyone in life will pass through that stage of youthful exuberance. I thank God for everything that happened in my life. God had always been there to help me.
I know that when I’m going wrong, not by myself, God will give me the conscience to know that it is not right and will give me the opportunity to quickly make amends. So, every young one will pass through that stage and nobody can escape it, but they should know. I will advise that they should be closer to God. I see God as the one who sent me out on the journey and the journey of our life can be greatly managed by God Himself.
God is the best manager that can manage one’s life but if one shuns Him and doesn’t move closer to Him, there is no way one can know Him. One should also be humble and wise in whatever one does. When one is wise, one will know how to manage the resources that God has given to one. I believe that it will not be rosy at the beginning. They (musicians) must be dedicated and committed to the music and how it goes in life. With that, I think they will achieve great success.
What are the things you look forward to at this stage of your life? Do you still have some unfulfilled dreams that you would like to come to reality?
There are no more rivers to cross. God has been good to me and because of that, I know that he will be good to me till the time he wants me to leave this world. For me, it is to move closer to God and for me to beg God that I do not do anything that will tarnish my reputation. I believe that if He has any other good thing for me, He will deliver it, but I do not have any more aspiration I want to achieve.
As one who has been in the music industry for a while, what are some of the changes you would like to see in the industry?
We thank God that things have changed. The present world is a digital one. The kind of life that we were living in the past can be said to be an analogue one. Digital technology has brought a lot of progress and a lot of things have been simplified. That is a very good thing that digital tech does but piracy is now in another form. I want the government to continue to assist the industry so that most of the dividends that are supposed to go to artistes will not go to those pirating their works. The artistes should be able to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
You lost your son last year. How were you able to deal with the issue, stay strong and overcome it?
Every situation that comes to man on earth, man should be able to handle it when one has God. When complacency comes into one’s life, one should deal with it, accept it and continue with life. It is part of the experience that can or may happen. I thank God and I’m marching forward.
What are your plans for your birthday this year?
This year’s birthday is a very quiet one unlike my past birthdays, which were celebrated in a very loud way. This year, I just want to visit orphanages. I will choose three orphanages that I can visit and make them happy. They include Hope Orphanage Home, Ilorin, Kwara State; Stella Obasanjo Orphanage Home, Abeokuta, Ogun State; and Lepers’ Colony, Abeokuta, Ogun State. I will go there myself, sing for them and be a blessing to them.
Since you started the Prayer for Alcoholics Ministry about a year ago, what has been your experience so far?
It opens our eyes to know that quite a lot of people all over the world are passing through that problem. It is now a department in my church. There are pastors in charge. We have done a lot and we have been able to rescue people. For instance, there is a female lecturer who has a son that was troubling her. When she came to us, we were constantly monitoring, counselling and praying. The boy is now in Canada. We were with the mother, who was having that problem, and we saw them through it. I have plans to get a rehabilitation centre, but I haven’t been able to do that. I have quite a lot of things in my hands to do and they are giving my team and I fulfilment.