BY FOLU OLAMITI
The drums of fame and glory have never stopped beating for music legend and minister of the gospel, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi since he stormed the centre stage of the Nigerian music industry over 60 years ago. From humble beginnings in Idogo town near Ilaro in Ogun State, he rose to become a celebrity musician in the cosmopolitan city of Lagos, and his fame spread around the world.
Playing the juju brand of music with creative lyrics and melody, under the stage name Chief Commander, he ruled the entertainment and social circles for decades. His popularity soared with the unique messages in his songs promoting social virtues, God-ordained values in the scriptures, and life’s lessons which greatly endeared him to his fans and lots of people across the social strata.
He remained a celebrity even after shifting to the gospel music genre following his call to ministry as he continued to use music to promote a better society and to draw people to the knowledge of God and service to Him and humanity. To this day, Evangelist Obey Fabiyi is an evergreen and constant star in the music world, excelling in both secular and gospel music even as he gracefully advanced in age
For these remarkable achievements, the whole world celebrates him as he attains the octogenarian age of 80 years, a great milestone in life that many of his contemporaries did not live to see.
While commenting on his 80th birthday anniversary in an interaction with some journalists, Evangelist Obey Fabiyi expressed deep gratitude to the Almighty God not only for preserving him thus far 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 bareness 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.
Then a dramatic incident happened that changed the course of her life. Obey Fabiyi narrates the heart-touching incident below.
“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 in 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 forever. ‘ 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 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.”
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