- EBENEZER OBEY Reveals How He Stopped Playing Music In 1992
+How He Was Converted By Rev. IDAHOSA On His 50th Birthday
Not many Nigerians know how Evangelist Ebenezer Obey gave his life to Christ 26 years ago on his 50th Birthday Only a few people know the battles he went through before he accepted to serve God. We can tell you.
In his biography, History on Record by Oluwole Osunmakinde, Ebenezer Obey recollected how he got converted. He called his decision to serve Christ, A Tough Decision. “I kept on sensing in me the Call of God.” He explained. “I started getting involved indirectly with missionary and evangelistic works by giving financial and moral support to such. For instance, in 1982, when Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor brought Rev. R.W. Schamback to Nigeria, for a citywide crusade at Tafawa
Balewa Square in Lagos, I was fully involved. Again, I was assisting a Bible publishing company in their logistics and transactions. I felt that would take care of it but God’s voice persisted. I was struggling with God because I was making a lot of money in music, perhaps than any other musician in the country and I was scared of what life would be for me if I walked away from stardom. Besides, I enjoyed singing.
God started sending His ministers to me to confirm His calling and warning me of the consequences of my disobedience. The late Archbishop Benson Idahosa, sent for me to deliver God’s message on this issue to me and he asked me not to rush into it but I should take my time to pray. Other servants of God including Prophet S.K. Abiara, Bishop (Mrs) Odeleke and Evangelist (Mrs) Aragbaye, also delivered God’s messages to me about the call.
I also remember the Lord said to me, “If you sleep and do not wake up, will you still sing Juju? That really got to me. Therefore, I made up my mind to surrender all to Him after over 30 years of successful musical career and about 12 years struggling with the Lord. It was a tough decision, largely because I was giving up all I was known for to take up what I was not known for. Many of my friends instantly kicked against it because they felt they would miss my Juju music and entertainments, and some felt I was making too much sacrifice for it.
I Obeyed God. During my 50th birthday celebration, late Arch-Bishop Benson Idahosa ordained me into ministry in 1992, in the company of many great men of God such as Bishop David Oyedepo at Rock New Life Centre, Abeokuta. Thus, the journey began.”
The name of his gospel ministry is Ebenezer Obey Evangelistic Ministry and it incorporates the church arm of the ministry, Decross Gospel Mission with her headquarters at 13/15 Oyewole Street, Agege, Lagos. Since inception, the Ministry has been conducting crusades, revivals and outreaches in and outside Nigeria.
One of his happiest days was when he saw over 1,000 people give their lives to christ at one of his crusades to the glory of the Lord.
City People can tell you more about this man of God that is truly blessed. If you look at the totality of his life, it is not only awesome, it is remarkable. He has not only seen it all in music, he has also accomplished a lot in the Ministry. He is a Professor of Music, and he teaches a course titled Ebenezer Obey’s Music at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye in Ogun State. He is also fully into Gods work travelling round the world to take part in revivals and ministrations. Musically, he is also fully booked round the year. At 76, Baba Obey still plays back to back. Everyone wants Baba Obey to play at his or her event and God has enabled him with the energy to cope with all the demands on his time.
What many also don’t know is that unlike many artistes in his generation, Baba Obey is one of the most organised musical artistes. He is prim and proper in his lifestyle. He is a perfectionist. He is also time conscious. And his word is his bond. If Baba Obey gives you an appointment for 2pm, he will be seated by 1.30pm waiting for you. That is the quintessential Ebenezer Obey who got his Obey name from school when he used to chide his classmates that they should Obey first before complain.
He has a team of professionals managing him 24/7, from an Admin Manager, his Accountant, Band Manager, to 2 or 3 P.A.s, to his band boys. He also has consultants who offer him quality advice. No wonder the quality of his music has not dropped. His voice and music remain evergreen. Can you believe this? At 76, Chief Commander (another favourite alias) still rehearses every week at the ground floor of his house. He also wakes up at night to compose soul lifting songs. Good composition is his area of strength. That is why he is called The Master Composer. That is also why many artistes want to sing like him and want to compose like him. But unfortunately, there is only one Ebenezer Obey worldwide.
A few weeks back, City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE spent an afternoon with the man popularly called Obey Commander by his musical fans, at his Lagos home. He was very relaxed and happy, and for 2 hours, we spoke about his life in music and ministry. Below are excerpts.
Lets talk about Ebenezer Obey and music. Its been a long relationship, isn’t it?
Yes. Music raised me to where I am. Music brought me fame. God ordered my steps in such a way that I took to music very early and made a huge success of it. There is the hand of God in my entire career since when I was in the womb of my mother. The hand of the Lord was upon me, until that day that I was born on the 3rd of April. And he has never ceased till then, uptil now. He is the one who directed my path to music, from when my mother was carrying me to the church. One thing led to the other, from joining the choir, I became band member, I became band leader and then I formed my 1st band in the year 1957. It was called Royal Mambo Orchestra in Idogo 1957. I have been on stage for 61 years. That can only be God, whereas, I am 76 years old, which means at the age of 15, I became a star. I have been a star from when I was in school. When I became a star, I saw myself as that, and I started calling myself Future Star. Everything that I saw, that I said came to pass in my life.
Decades ago when the Lord called me to the Ministry, I thank God for acceding to the call of God. I thank God that we started in a humble way.
Sir there is a young generation which does not know how you got called by God. Can you tell us the story?
Okay. After a successful musical career that spanned over 30 something years, the Lord then called me into the Ministry. I struggled with the Lord for 11 years. I didn’t want to yield to the call. I didn’t want to do that but God has his own ways to make sure that we follow whatever he wants us to do. Finally, it was on my 50th birthday in 1992 that I took the decision to announce to the world that I am going into the Ministry. That was 26 years ago. I thank God that 26 years ago I accepted the call of God. Out of that 76 years for 17 years I was just doing that having revivals, going to different programmes and having crusades, until the time that the lord gave me a direction to serve an outreach. That gave me an opportunity to win souls.
When I heeded the call, a lot of people were angry. Some people were not even greeting me but I didn’t mind that. But God allowed me and he spoke through a man of God, Myles Munroe. We were in a programme together in London. Once he saw the church concert, how people were reacting, he said Pastor Obey, can I tell you something? This is your calling don’t leave music but, keep winning souls. He told me that he has been going all over the world, teaching Leadership and he has been doing that. He says what he teaches is Leadership principles based on the word of God but he does not go there to preach the Bible. He preaches Leadership. So every good thing that the Bible has taught is what he was teaching. He said you can use this also for your Ministry. And I prayed about it and that is how I came up with The Special Appearance Outreach. And it worked like Myles Mumoe told me. We thank God the work of God was going on fine. We give thanks to almighty God.
When I came into the Ministry, we had a lot of young men as the larger percentage in the Ministry. But the youth of those days have become the great men today. The Lord has made great men out of them.