All is set for Evangelist Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi to formally join the octogenarian league as he turns 80 tomorrow Sunday April 3.
The celebration will also see the Chief Commander, as he is fondly called, being honoured for his immense contribution to the music industry in Nigeria and Africa at large.
According to the planning committee for the event, the leadership and members of Decross Gospel Mission will host Obey, who is also the General Overseer of the church, family, and dignitaries in a thanksgiving service on April 3, at the church headquarters, in Agege, Lagos.
In a bid to acknowledge the unprecedented role of the legend in the industry, organisers of Headies Awards have concluded plans to celebrate the music icon with a classy event on May 22, at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.
The event will feature the convergence of the young generation of artistes and others to honour the music icon, just as a new biography of Obey will be launched at the same event.
Born April 3, 1942 to an Egba-Yoruba ethnic background, Obey whose names are Ebenezer Remilekun Aremu Olasupo Fabiyi, is from Idogo Town near Ilaro.
Speaking on his 80th birthday anniversary in an interaction with a cross-section of journalists, the Juju music maestro expressed deep gratitude to the Almighty God not only for preserving his life but also for the miracle of his birth and for what God has made of his life.
According to him, no one expected his mother to ever give birth to a child having suffered barrenness for over 20 years with her first husband. Although she and her husband, who was a staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation were so much in love that they persevered in this problem without rancour, she had to endure vicious mockery from neighbours which was a source of sorrow in her heart.
However, an incident happened that changed the course of her entire life. Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi narrates the touching story of his birth.
“Eventually, after 20 years of waiting, they got separated. What led to the separation was a sudden meeting called by the man’s family and my mother’s family. They discussed at length and eventually agreed that it would be better for them to separate and try their luck in different arms.
“This arrangement, of course saddened my mother. She really loved the man whom she had spent over 20 years of her life with. My mother’s family noticed the sadness in her and advised her to return to their town Idogo and seek solace among her elder siblings thereby escaping from the mockery she suffered over her childlessness.
“My mother was a devout christian. She loved God so much and believed God for intervention. Following this incident, there was a prophecy from a pastor who said to her, ‘ they told you to go and hide your head but as you are going, be praying and tell God that they have concluded that you cannot bear children but God should help you under the grace that He has bestowed on you and not let you be barren for ever. ‘ She prayed as directed by the pastor. And it turned out that God heard her cry and answered her prayer.
“When my mother got to Idogo, as God would have it, my would-be father who was her elder brother’s friend sighted her on arrival and fell in love with her. He told his friend prophetically ‘ I will marry this your younger sister, she will bear female and male children for me.’ Eventually, the marriage was consummated and just as my father had predicted, my mother became pregnant and gave birth to my late senior sister. She was named Oreofetofunmi meaning the grace of God is sufficient for me. This was in fulfilment of the prophecy my mother received from the pastor when she was going to Idogo.
“After that my mother gave birth to a boy who is Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi that is now 80 years old. It was all by divine arrangement. First, God answered my mother’s prayer for grace to terminate the siege of bareness over her life. Then God confirmed my would be father’s wish that my mother would bear female and male children for him in that order. So, with my mother”s experience and what God subsequently made of my life, you can describe me as a child of destiny.
“I feel happy and grateful to God for allowing me to witness my 80th birthday anniversary. Everything we do here on earth is in the hands of God. My choice of music where God made me to excel was heavenly ordained . My mother told me that as a baby, I was always crawling to the Choir stand in the church touching the musical instruments. I will continue to thank God for my life. To Him alone be all the glory,” Ebenezer Obey said.
Several dignitaries have been pouring encomiums on Obey, including President Muhammadu Buhari, who described the profilic singer as a worthy role model and a virtuoso whose music albums have remained evergreen.