Its no longer news that Evangelist (Prof.) Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi (MFR) will be 75 on Monday 3rd April 2017. And he plans to celebrate it big. Activities marking his birthday will start this week Thursday 23rd March, a week before his birthday date, at Idogo, where he grew up. The birthday programme will commence on Thurs. March 23, 2017 with the official commissioning of the new Idogo Police Post built by Evangelist Prof. Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi (MFR). Idogo town means a lot to him. That is the place of his birth. That is where he grew up. So the commissioning is one of his giving back intervention projects to the Idogo community in Yewa South Local Government area of Ogun State.
That date also marks the post humous birthday of his wife, Evangelist Juliana Olaide Obey-Fabiyi who passed on to higher glory in 2011.
Evangelist (Prof) Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi (MFR) was in Idogo town, Yewa South Local Government area a few weeks back to inspect the state of readiness of the new Idogo Police Post, a Community Give Back Intervention Project he embarked on. It will be officially commissioned that Thursday 23rd March 2017.
The Commissioning will kick-start the commencement of activities lined up for his 75th birthday.
The Police Commissioner in Ogun State is to commission the Police post. Also the Idogo Progressive Union will make Ebenezer Obey and Kabiyeesi Oba Saheed Olubiyi, the Onidogo of Idogo, patrons of the club.
A major highlight of the Idogo event is the fact that the children of late Senator S.O.S. Sogbein, the former Minister of Works and Transport in the old Western region, will be around for the ceremony. Their late father constructed the popular Yewa bridge as a former Minister. What many don’t know is that the father of Senator Sogbein and Obeys father are brothers. They both left Abeokuta for Idogo, years back (over 75 years ago) before Ebenezer was born. The father of the Minister was a Carpenter. He it was who taught Obeys father Carpentry. Capentry runs through Obeys family as many of them took up the trade years back.
One of the Senators daughter, Hon. Yetunde Sogbein-Adekanbi is a lawmaker at the Ogun State House of Assembly. So it will be a happy reunion. All the Sogbein children will see all the good work their father did in his lifetime.
It is now certain that Evangelist Ebenezer Obey’s birthday reception will be in Abeokuta. Already, two worthy sons of Egba, Ogun governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo will be playing key roles at the grand event. All the South West governors have been invited. Many more prominent Nigerians will be storming Abeokuta for the event. The Invitation Cards are out already. Special letters have also been sent out to 250 VVIPs. The IV which is now in hot demand was done in Gold and Purple. It is a 4 page IV. The envelope is in Gold with a Purple foil print. A life size photo of the celebrant is on Page 2.
City People can confirm that his birthday reception programme which will also incorporate the official fund-raising for the long overdue Ebenezer Obey Music Foundation will take place at Abeokuta, his town of origin.
We reliably gathered that the Reception will be preceded by a Church Service.
His actual birthday is on 3rd April 2017. On that day, a 3-in-1 programme has been lined up to take place. They are as follows: Interdenominational Church Service, Reception and Official Launching of Ebenezer Obey Music Foundation, all at the same Obasanjo Presidential Library venue. The Interdenominational Church Serive will hold at Chapel of Christ The Glorious King (CCGK) inside Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta at 10am.
Reception and Official Launching of Ebenezer Obey Music Foundation follows at OOPL Marquee Events Centre also inside the Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, immediately after Church Service.
Chief Host is Governor Ibikunle Amosun, while former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo will be the Father of the Day.
What is certain is that its going to be a 2-location birthday celebration that will hold at Idogo and Abeokuta on 2 different dates. Other birthday activities are also being packaged by some friends and associates which will be held in Lagos but the dates are yet to be disclosed.
The Planning Committee for the Birthday Reception and Music Foundation has been meeting. They include Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa the SSG of Ogun State, Senator Dr. Lanre Tejuoso, Shina Obey-Fabiyi and Rev. Folarin Obey Fabiyi to mention a few members.
No doubt, the birthday celebration will draw a large crowd of dignitaries, elderstatesmen, great men of God captains of industry, politicians, and socialites to Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Already Idogo Area Progressive Union has honoured the music icon with the new title of Chief Patron, along with HRM, Oba Saheed Olubiyi, Onidogo of Idogoland. He is a prominent founding member. It is in appreciation of his immense contribution to its formation, growth and development.
According to the Planning Committee, part of the activities towards celebrating Evangelist Ebenezer Obey’s 75th will also hold in Lagos in the course of the year. There will still be a book launch on Obeys Music. And the launching of a comprehensive collection of all of Obeys major works in CD form by Femi Esho’s Evergreen Music Company.
Why is the celebration of Obeys 75th birthday cutting across many many towns and cities he was asked last week by City People. “It is because my entire music career has taken me to so many countries and cities of the world. I am a Nigerian. As a Nigerian, God has given me the breakthrough to reach out to the entire world as my territory, because I have taken my music to every part of the world. I cover Africa and the whole of Nigeria with my music and they form part of the areas where I perform.”
“I also perform and entertain across the entire South West”. Idogo means a lot to me. It’s part of my history. Abeokuta also means a lot to me. Its part of my history. Of course as you know, Lagos has been my base for decades. So, I need to give back to these 3 towns and cities”.
“My story is an interesting one”, he explained. “Many don’t know that I was conceived in Idogo, but born here in Lagos at the popular Massey Street Hospital in Lagos and taken back immediately after delivery to Idogo”.
“I was bred in Idogo even though my both parents are from Abeokuta. So, you can see that apart from being resident in Lagos, I am a Lagosian by birth”.
“I am very happy that I have had a good career as I have been accepted all over the world and I have had breakthroughs all over. That is why the entire world has been my territory where my music has been accepted”.
“It is in a bid to give back to society that I am building a Museum in Idogo, Abeokuta and Lagos”, he explained. “Why I am building a Museum in Idogo is because I was born in Idogo, though my parents are from Abeokuta in Ogun State. My father is an Egba man from Keesi. My mum is Owu, also from Egbaland. So I am an Egbaman. But everything about me started in Idogo. The Museum will be in the first upstairs in Idogo. My father happened to have been the Carpenter that constructed the house for the original owner. And my father then rented a room in the house after completion. That is where my senior sister and myself were born. By the time my father left Idogo for Lagos, my mum still stayed on in Idogo. She later went on to build her own house.”
“But the original home where I was born was later sold to me. Though I have built and modernised the place to accommodate my Idogo residence and a branch of my church, Decross Ministry, I decided to keep that 1st upstairs the way it is”.
“All my old guitars, old uniforms, costumes, shoes and personal effect and some good discs will be there for people to see. So, whenever anybody goes to Idogo they can go there to see the Museum. It has become a historical archive in Idogo. It will make Idogo become a tourist centre or toursim site. People can see the school I went too. It is a form of attraction for that community”.
“I am also going to do one in Abeokuta. The one in Abeokuta is because that is the origin of my parents. That is where my music foundation will be based”.
“The 3rd Museum will be in Lagos because I reside in Lagos. Lagos has a history for me. Do you know that the first recording company that I signed my recording with was Decca West Africa? Because I was a nobody, musically, I was not allowed to be auditioned inside the studio. I was auditioned outside the studio, under a tree because I was not known, I was not yet a star. As a beginner I had to be auditioned under a tree at Decca in Akoka, Abule Oja, in Lagos. Decca is the studio where many great musicians had recorded their music”.
“But has God would have it, I not only came out big from Decca, I later became the owner of Decca, because I bought the company over after I hit it big. It happened like this. From an unknown upcoming act, I was signed on, I became a shareholder, then, I became a Director, and then the Chairman. And I then rose to become the owner of that company and the company exists till today.”
The Lagos Museum will be located there. All the old equipments are still there. I bought the place over. That is where I still record. I am perhaps the only recording artiste of my generation that did not move from one recording company to the other. All my career I have always been with Decca. Even when people were bringing money to lure me out of Decca, I did not move.
“I knew I was a future star. When I first approached Decca they did not answer me. They didn’t want me to see the MD, a white man. When I finally saw him, I told him I know I am a future star. I trekked all the way from Mushin there and they now told me I can’t see the MD. I created a scene there ooo. I insisted I must see him that I won’t leave. There was commotion. They said I should go back I said no, I will not. That was in September 1964. Eventually I was signed on with Decca. The studio is at No 30, Lawani Street, Akoka, Abule Oja”.
“So you can see that I have a rich history. My Idogo house is Ile Itan. The Decca studio is Ile Itan. The Abeokuta studio will be home to the Ebenezer Obey Music Foundation and the Music School I plan to set up. It is to be affliated to Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), where I am currently an emeritus Professor of Music.”
“I plan to endow chairs in other universities for music studies, Music Training and Youth Empowerment. That is why I can’t ignore Idogo, Abeokuta where I hail from and Lagos where I have been for years”.
– SEYE KEHINDE