If you meet Rev. Folarin Obey-Fabiyi for the first time, you need not be told that he is Chief Commander, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi’s son. This is because he resembles his dad. In fact, he is a chip off the old block. He is not the eldest son, but one of the successful sons of the grand old man of music.
The big news is that he has just been made deputy G.O of Decross Gospel Mission. He is set to succeed his dad, who is planning to retire. A while back, City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE, met with this Minister of God who runs his fathers Decross Ministry. Pastor Folarin told City People that he would forever be grateful to his dad for changing his life for good when he was young. ‘But for him, I would not have been where I am today”, he explained.
Pastor Folarin runs Decross Gospel Mission, an arm of Ebenezer Obey Evangelistic Ministries located at 13/15 Oyewole Road, Mulero Bus Stop, Agege in Lagos. The church, over the years, has grown in leaps and bounds.
Who is Folarin Obey Fabiyi?
Folarin Obey Fabiyi is the son of Evangelist Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi. I am one of the sons of this music legend. I am the Senior Pastor of Decross Gospel Headquarters, taking charge of all the branches of the church. My father is the General Overseer of the church and I assist him.
How do you see the ongoing 75 birthday celebration of your dad?
It is a thing that must be done. And it must be done. We need to celebrate Evangelist Ebenezer Obey. We need to celebrate my father. He has tried for all of us. In this environment, great men are usually celebrated after they are gone, but it is important to change all these. Let’s begin to celebrate our icons when they are alive. You will agree with me that Evangelist Ebenezer Obey is not an ordinary human being. He is a man, who is backed by God and God has helped him and he is a global symbol of Music, Humility and Love. Such a life needs to be celebrated. And you will agree with me that daddy is a legend. God has blessed me so we need to celebrate him.
How do you see your dad?
That is a big question. Daddy is so many things to so many people. To me, my daddy is an angel in human form. He is an angel that God has given to the world to preach the love of God and encouragement through music. He is always encouraging people. He does not give up on you. He did not give up on me. When I was young, my father refused to give up on me. I am grateful to God and I will be forever grateful to him, for what he represents in my life. But for him, the enemy would have spoilt the glory. He is a great father, and a father indeed.
Let’s talk about you. Where were you born? And where did you grow up?
We were fortunate to have been brought up with a silver spoon in the mouth. We went to private schools, St. Johns Nursery/Primary School, next door to Laraday, on Ikorodu Road. At some points, Alhaji Jakande said if you went to Nursery School, you wouldn’t go to University or have access to Federal Schools. So they took us to public school in Ikeja Local Government. It was far, far below the standards of private institutions. It wasn’t easy and at some point, they had to take us back to the private school and we completed our education there. They took us to another private school, Estate Grammar School in Ilupeju. From there I went to the Bible College. I went to Life Bible College. It belongs to Foursquare Church. It is called Life Theological Seminary. And I attended a few courses here and there, within and outside Nigeria.
Right now, I am just starting with Rockbridge College for my Masters in Theology and also to keep my PhD in view. I have my hands in one or two professional courses as well.
How did you find yourself working in the VineYard of the Lord?
The most wonderful thing is that the Lord has used our parents to give us a very glorious background in the way of the Lord. So, we knew God at a very early age. At some points, we gave our lives to Christ. They gave us that platform to know the Lord. Despite the affluence and the wealth available in the family, they still made sure that the discipline, virtues of holiness, were all imbibed in us.
Our parents led a very good life, a very exemplary life. So, it was easy for us to follow in their steps. You see the ministry thing is a calling. You just don’t say I want to be a Pastor because you just like it. But some people do that, but the truth is that, it has to be a calling. I am happy and grateful to the Almighty God to have called me to His Vineyard to serve Him.
What year were you called?
I remember that when I was 8 years old, they asked me what I wanted to be, I told them I wanted to be a Pastor. That was just my wishful thinking then. I never knew it will eventually happen or come to pass. But even as at when I was 8 years old I used to pray for people and they got healed.
I can remember very vividly in this house, in that office there (he pointed at it ), my father was seated there and he was looking disturbed When I asked him what was wrong he said he had headache and I told him sorry and that I wanted to pray for him. I told him I wanted to lay my hands on him. It was funny but that is what he used to do to us too. Whenever we say we are sick, he would lay his hand on us and pray for us.
I said to him: Daddy, can I pray for you? I laid my hand on his head and I prayed for him and he said immediately I prayed the headache eased away. I was 8 years old then. So, I had been showing some signs.
In fact, there had been prophecies made before I was born that I would be a man of God. And that the first thing I would do when I was born would be to say Hallelujah. It finally came to pass because the first thing I said was hallelujah. The prophet also told them that on my naming ceremony, the rain was going to be so heavy that people will catch cold. Truly, 8 people were taken to hospital because they caught cod .
But the Lord really, really beckoned me that He wanted to use me. And He revealed the things that would happen to me and the events, and the grace that was available to me at a very young age and even the miracles that did happen.
At a very young age, we started the House Fellowship here, we had the grace of anointing and deliverance. This house was agog with a lot of people coming here, signs and wonders were happening. But like it usually happens at some points in life, the devil came and there was this crisis in my life as a young man, in my adolescent years. But the good thing was that the Lord never left us, my parents too never gave up on me. My father was persistent, my mother too. And in the process of all these, the call came.
And about the time the call came, Daddy too was having his own call. He struggled for 11 years before he eventually accepted Yes Lord. So, as he was going for a course in America, I was going to the Bible School in Nigeria. When I even got there some people didn’t know what I was doing there, and they kept teasing me by saying: What are you doing here? You, Ebenezer Obey’s son. You think because your father has become an Evangelist you too can become one?
So, that when he dies you can inherit the church. The Ministry is not an industry. But with time they saw the proof that this was a calling.
How did your dad take your decision to go to the Bible School?
He supported me. The period I spent in the Bible School helped me. He prayed for me. At that time it was like I had no choice. I was condemned to a Bible School. He asked me what do I really want to do and I told him, I want to go and serve the Lord that is what the Lord was telling me just go to the Bible School and receive. His knowledge. In the Bible School, they teach you principles of how to access God, the gifts and the callings of God. The Lord has helped my father, he is a navigator. The compass and the direction to my life to fulfill my destiny and to achieve the work of God have been from my father and my mother. My father is a very spiritual man. I can say a lot about my dad and his importance on my life. He is a very spiritual man. Forget all those Miliki Melody, party thing.
He has a big relationship with the Holy Spirit and that has helped all his children and family. I am grateful to the Lord. I am grateful to my father for giving me a sense of direction, led by the Holy Spirit. He told me that is the way you should go. And he always tells us that any child that listens to God and follows what I say can’t go wrong. Your life will be good. And it is so. That is why I am always around him. Some people can’t understand why I have my own family, I have my own home, I have my own house, but I choose to live here with my family. It is because when my mother died, this house was too big for him. They were so close and we didn’t want to live him all alone to be by himself. Me, my wife and my children had to move back here to live with him.
So, we are always around him and this has helped. In return, we have been blessed. We have had the opportunity of ministering to him to serve him, to cheer him up, to help him and that has brought his own blessings.
That has taken me all over the world, going with him. That has also brought me huge blessings. I like to take care of him with pleasure. Not for anything, but just to make sure he is happy. I am just doing it from my heart because of what he means to me. I can never repay what he did for me. I enjoy taking care of him and I can do it my own life. And I got more blessing doing that. I can remember so many examples. People will stop us at the airports and commend me. One man commended us in the plane the other day. And my dad had to explain to him that despite my son’s busy schedule as the most sought after preacher all over the world, especially in America and UK, that he travels almost every month, he still has time to take care of me.
What do you miss about your mum?
Haa! My mum! Haa! Don’t let’s go there. I miss every single thing about her. If she were to be alive, all these running round that we are doing for Daddy’s birthday would have been handled by her.
Mummy is a one-man machine. She has her machinery in place. Everybody would just go to sleep and everything will be ready in a jiffy. By the time you wake up, everything is done. My mum was irreplaceable. My mum was a pillar of support and a rock of encouragement to everybody, including daddy.
When mummy was around, everybody behaved. When mummy was alive everybody could not just have access to daddy just like that. She shielded him. She protected him, whenever she was at home the whole house would be calm. I know she would be happy where she is to see how the family has continued to bind together, how Daddy has been making progress and we the children and grandchildren are doing well. It is a pity that she has gone to be with the Lord. We really, really miss her. The vacuum she left is a really big one that cannot be easily filled. And it is one that only God can fill.
Tell us about your siblings.
Oh! I have very good siblings, I have wonderful siblings. In our house, the Lord has helped our family, he has taught us to love one another. We are all very loving. Of course, as human beings, we have our ways of doing things, but we are all close. We see our dad as a rallying point. All of them, the Lord has blessed them. Daddy has always encouraged us to be our brother’s keeper. We are all wonderful people, with different characters, we are all a handful, and we thank God.
Tell us about your own little family and your wife.
I have a lovely wife. She has very great spiritual gift. She has the grace upon her. She is also a pastor by virtue of her status, the office and privilege of being my wife. We have grown up kids, lovely kids. My wife is Bukky. She bares Bukky Folarin. We have been married for about 20 years now. The Lord has helped us.