Thursday, 30 March 2017

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


By on 02:55
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Professor Emeritus Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi (MFR)

Legendary musician and Juju music icon, Professor Emeritus, Evangelist Ebenezer Olasupo Remilekun Obey Fabiyi (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 International 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 0-1-0’, 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.

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'

Well, 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 fascinating.
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
(Looking 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)

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

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