FORMER veteran juju musician, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi has debunked the rumour that he is critically ill. In a phone interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Thursday, August 8, 2013, Obey who is currently on a musical tour in USA said he is hale and hearty.
The septuagenarian even told ENCOMIUM Weekly that he would be performing in USA, that weekend. Similarly, his son, Tolu also assured that all is well with his dad. Tolu, who is also a juju musician, wondered why people expect a 71 year-old man to be as active as a teenager.
He equally corroborated the true state of his father’s health. He used the opportunity to talk about his fledging music career…
‘I’m hale and hearty,’ says EBENEZER OBEY
What is the state of your father’s health?
My father’s health is okay. He is hale and hearty. There is nothing wrong with him.
What is the health issue he is currently facing?
He is not facing any health issue, he is okay.
When people attain certain age, ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes come in. Is he currently facing any of these age related illnesses?
He is very okay, that is all I can tell you.
So, where is he presently?
He is on an international tour to USA. The tour should end on August 28. After the tour he should be coming back home. I should be joining him on August 12.
The rumour in town is that he has Parkinson Disease. Some even said he is going blind?
(Laughs) A lot of people forget the fact that my father is now 71. They want him to start running around like an 18 year-old teenager. For the kind of his personality, from the outset, he takes his time to do everything. I know a lot of his fans love him, and they don’t want him to grow old. He is fine, he doesn’t have any ailment. I don’t know where they got their stories and I don’t know which doctor diagnosed that for them. He is very okay. His sight is okay. From the outset, he uses glasses and for God’s sake the old man uses a walking stick. We don’t expect him to run around like a young boy. Those that have older people at home will know what I am talking about. I understand the love they have for Obey, they don’t want him to grow old, they still want him to keep running around. He is okay, there is nothing wrong with him. He uses glasses and walking stick as a result of old age and he can do without the walking stick. Like the adage in Yorubaland that says, Aso igba ni a n da fun igba meaning, you go with the trend of time. And I also understand when a man is old enough not to have a tooth in his mouth. He’s not going to be shy about it, but when a young man loses his front tooth, he covers it. He is very okay, not to talk of now that he has recorded over nine to twelve albums in CDs. If he has any disease, how could he have achieved that? He is fit. Even before going to America and when he returns, he is going back to the studio. So, he is fine by all ramifications.
How supportive has the family been in clearing this rumour?
A lot of people will call to ask you questions about his health status, so you just have to really explain to them that he is okay. Just few days ago, someone called me that my father is now blind. I just laughed over it and told the person his exact state of health. People have been calling from America, Europe, from all over the world. The family is just explaining to everyone that he is fine and healthy.
What’s new from Tolu Obey? Any new album?
Right now, I am in the studio working out, believing and trusting God that my new album would be out any moment from now.
How long have you been in music?
Since 1987 or thereabout.
How is your career?
I have been enjoying every bit of this profession, though there are little challenges here and there. I think it’s worth my while. Now, I go out with my father, we sing together. Atimes, after a few performances by my father, I come on stage as well to perform, which is nice. He is an icon, a super star, which is really a nice opportunity to perform with him on stage. Though I perform in my own personal shows too, so it has been the grace and mercy of God. Some of my colleagues who have a legend as a father don’t have that opportunity of performing with their fathers and even if they did, it wasn’t for a long time. But we have been doing this for a long time now. I am enjoying every bit of it. I believe by the grace of God, we will have a duet and a video together.
How far have you gone in the industry, how many albums do you have now?
I am about to release my first album. I have made five to seven singles which did not really see the light of the day. This time, with the help of my father, I know this will be a trendy one by the special grace of God.
In what way did your father influence you?
In everything. He is my mentor. He is my father, he is like a textbook I read every day. I fashioned my life after him and the opportunity of talking to him. After God, he is the next on the line for me. He has implored his children to move closer to God, and to make sure their lifestyle is fashioned after the Bible, so as to prosper in all their doings. He is really my role model and motivator.
What other profession would you have gone for if not music?
I would have been a pastor.
Let’s get to know your family?
Just like I said, my father is my mentor. You hardly read anything about my father’s family in the papers. So, we keep our family out of our business, that is the only thing we have to fall back on. Like my father will do, he protects us from the media. Those of us that took to the media line or social sector, we have to keep our family out of it.
Most juju, Apala and Afrobeat musicians, are now doing collaboration with hip-hop artistes. Any collaboration on the way?
For now, I wouldn’t let the cat out of the bag. But Femi Kuti is a big brother and I like his courage. Just watch out for the new album.
How have you been able to stay off scandals?
As my father would say, if you work with God, then your ways shall be pure. So, God has been the one doing it all.
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, August 13, 2013