“I HELD MY PEACE AND GOD STEPPED IN!” – TOPE ALABI
Who is Tope Alabi?
Tope Alabi? Hmm! She is a woman, a minister of the gospel, a mother, a wife, and a daughter. That’s all.
I was born into the family of Mr and Mrs Obayomi from Yewa Egbado, Ogun State, Nigeria. Some children were born with silver spoon, some with ‘golden’ spoon, probably some other with ‘bronze’ spoon but we were born with no spoon at all, we had it very rough growing up but here we are today, God has been very good to us. I’m the only girl in the family- we used to be eleven children now reduced to three- my elder brother who is a lawyer (SAN), my humble self- a gospel minister, and my younger brother who is a chartered accountant. I had both my primary and secondary school education in Ibadan and higher education at The Polytechnic, also in Ibadan where I studied Mass communication.
I started singing at the age of eight as a member of St. Cyprian Catholic Church choir, in Oke-Afa, Ibadan, I was also a member of the cultural group in my secondary school days.
When I was very young, my mother told me that some men of God- in those days, some prophets would go round neighbourhoods to deliver messages to people. They were the ones who told my mother that there was a little girl in our house that would work for God and that they should take very good care of that little girl, and that God created the girl to work for Him as a minister; she said they were about seven of them who gave her such message and at different times.
The kind of life I lived before was not the type that was convincing enough that I would someday be a minster of God. It was a life of hopelessness with nothing tangible to point at and if anyone had asked me then what the next six months held for me, I would have simply said, “well, as long as I’m still alive, I will just keep enjoying myself, there isn’t much than to keep rocking life.”
I was a catholic; a good one at that but I didn’t know Jesus personally. I didn’t have a relationship with Him because I didn’t know I needed to have one with Him, and I didn’t know much about God until I met my husband.
I met him about twenty-one years ago. He would say to me, “Aunty Tope, you don’t have to dress like this, you don’t have to talk like this…” I used to love wearing nets that would reveal my body and when I talked, it was always off anything normal- so he started cautioning me, he really helped me.
I met him at the studio where I used to go and record sound tracks for home movies; he was the one who used to produce for me.
I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ when I attended a crusade organized by The Apostolic church where I responded to the altar call, that was about nineteen years ago.
And here I am today! I was called at about 17 years ago.
I had plans of being an actress so I’ve been following Jesters int’l, I-sho pepper, Baba Eda, Jayesimi, Ogunde, and the likes everywhere since I was in Form three- you would always find me in their locations even if I wasn’t invited, I would invite myself and appear there.
Then it got to a stage when they discovered that I could sing very well because even if they were talking to me, I would turn every word they say into songs and they would teasingly tell me to leave their midst and that I was not meant to be with them; they would tell me to go to the music industry but I did not know how that was going to happen until I met Alade Aromire of blessed memory- he was the one that told me categorically to go to the studio and make an album to which I told him I didn’t have money to do so and he promised to help me. He called some marketers to assist me but all of them felt I was a theatre girl- I was actually working with NTA Channel seven then but I resigned and joined Alade Aromire to pursue this my career, he was the one who named me Tope Jesus- I wasn’t married then. While I was trying to put things together, one of the marketers at Idumota (Lagos) died and everything just went off like that; we just couldn’t do anything again.
After then, I met with Kush of High Waves video mart, Idumota.
When I explained to him, he asked me to get my songs together and then go to the studio to ask how much it would cost. I met with the producer – Clement Akinwole who told me it would cost about one hundred and eighty thousand naira. The money was paid and the job was done but it was not well done so the man who paid for the album rejected it. Then I went back to look for Soji Alabi to help me re-produce it. It was the re-produced one that the man accepted and we dubbed about 2,000 copies.
What is the title of that album?
TOPE: The very first one! It was called ‘Baba Iwo lakepe’. It was in 1998.
SOJI: That was before we got married. She did ‘Oore ti o common’ after we got married. It was during our courtship that the revelation for ‘Oore ti o common’ came and we forced ourselves to go to the studio to make it to come to a reality.
TOPE: I had a dream sometime after our wedding in which I saw myself ministering to a multitude. The setting was like a stadium- there were many people there and somebody introduced me, he said, “We are now going to call up a worshipper, a wonderful woman of God, a minstrel…” then I saw myself coming in a very long garment, I mounted the stage but what surprised me was that I was not singing but ministering in the word- I had that dream about three different times and I would tell my husband about it every time it comes again then he would tell me to prepare myself for God’s use.
There are some names you call God in your songs which cannot be found in the bible. How do you come about those names?
God calls Himself those names to me. Anytime I want to release an album, I will take myself somewhere for about five to seven days and God will be talking to me by Himself. God tells me those names by Himself then I would put the tune. Like in ‘Oruko tuntun’–New Name, He told me what the talking drummer played and I instructed the man. I do the lyrics, I put the tune but my husband does the production though he sometimes invites other producers to work with him.
I believe you get feedbacks from your listeners. Can you share some of the testimonies that people have had because of your songs?
TOPE: King Sunny Ade said when he listened to ‘Oore ti o common’, he cried because it was like the song was talking about him, and that it really ministered to him. Just last night, a lady called from Canada and testified that she was set free from a bondage she has been in since she was four months old because she listened to one of my songs titled ‘Ji ji ji, irawo.’ We ministered somewhere in Victoria Island, Lagos and after the ministration, the pastor testified that it was after he listened to one of my songs that he got born again and today, he is a pastor.
So many people have testified that they became born again after listening to one of our different songs. Once at a motor park, ‘Kokoro Igbala’ was playing at a record stand, and the owner of the store told us that one of the touts at that park came and sat in front of his shop, listening to the song that was playing and afterwards, dropped the Indian hemp he was smoking, crushed it with his legs and he just sat down with his head in his hands, motionlessly. A black American woman in Atlanta testified that while I was singing, she felt something lifted from my head; it was a pain she had had for over seven years, she had been on medication for seven years and had been wearing low cut for because of that pain. She testified that when her church announced to them that they would be bringing a guest minister to Atlanta from Nigeria, she had told herself that she would not be able to understand the music since the said ‘Tope Alabi’ sings in her local dialect but that the Holy Spirit said to her, “You don’t need to understand what she is saying, you are not walking with the language, you are walking with the spirit.” And she said, “Anything she sings today Lord, I release myself to You.” She testified that about eight minutes after I started singing, she just felt something lifted from her head and that was how she got her healing.
And personally, what testimonies do you have from the songs you sing?
‘Oore ti o common’ changed my life. When I released ‘Baba Iwo lakepe’, I discovered that God listened to me. It was because He did that I was able to bring out ‘Oore ti o common’, and when I did, I discovered that my life changed because I was the stone that the builders rejected, it was God’s uncommon grace that was at work in my life then and God changed my story. After ‘Oore ti o common’, we released ‘Agbara Olorun’ and I could see the power of God at work in my life. Even my latest album ‘Oruko tuntun’ is changing my name.
There was a day I said to God, “People have been calling to testify about how one track or the other from my album set them free, what about me Lord?” And God reminded me that when I sang ‘Baba Iwo la ke pe’, He heard me, and He answered me. That even at the time of ‘Oore ti o common’, the things that happened to me at that time were not common, and He reminded me of how everyone of my albums has worked wonders in my own life too; God has been really faithful to me.
At times I would be sitting down and God will just talk to me, He would just poke me, you know, I see God in everything, at times, I will want to be human, totally human, I would not want to be in the spirit but I would feel God strongly around me; just like somebody living in my house. There was a time an arrow was shot at me in the dream, and when I woke up in the morning, I saw physical marks on my chest like bullets marks. After the third day, I said to God, “God! If indeed you called me, and you sent me on this assignment, I want this marks cleared from my body now.”
By the next day, I couldn’t see the marks again. On my own, I have tested this God and I can tell you He is real. Jesus says, “… in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”
I love to listen to Tope Alabi and I take every name you mention in your album to be God’s name. Often times, you will sing “Olorun Ajanaku” and so i thought the name is for God until the death of the prophet and the stories that followed but while the matter lingered, you refused to make comments about it claiming your husband has asked you not to talk…
TOPE: Yes, he did.
Okay. So you are here and he is here with us too. Do you have the permission to talk about it now?
I want to ask now…
(Cuts in) Oh! You want to ask me the question?
Maybe you will have to ask him o.
SOJI ALABI: The bible says, “You will hold your peace and I will fight for you.” Our steps in life are ordered by God, and there is nothing that would happen to a child of God that God doesn’t know about. When the Israelites were in Pharaoh’s hands, God knew about it, and when it was time for them to leave, God knew about it.
How we went to that church was known to God and when it was time to leave, God also knew about it.
I told my wife it was time to leave that church because she had been seeing so many revelations before we left and she was becoming troubled in her spirit.
She would wake me up and say to me, “I’ve been seeing some things that I can’t explain, and I’m not sure about them.” There were times that we went there to tell him some things we had seen but there was no unity of purpose between us. In January 2013, we decided it was time to leave and that made him angry. The first three months after we left ushered in severe spiritual battles that people didn’t know about and by April, he had started going to media houses to invite them and he was paying them to publish image-tarnishing interviews to destroy Tope Alabi. When it got to that point, we realised that if we wanted to win the battle, then we had to leave it all in God’s hands so we kept quiet and allowed God to fight for us. We challenged God that if indeed He is the One we are serving, He should fight the battle and we would hold our peace. And we kept on doing what we do best- singing praises to God. We just give all the glory to God because He alone knows how the journey began and ended.
TOPE ALABI: About a week before he died, God asked me to testify that I have overcome. I was ministering in North Carolina, USA at that time and I said to God, “God! What testimony!? What do I tell people when the battle with this man is getting fiercer back home in Nigeria?” But God answered and said to me, “I have finished the battle, before you minister today, testify!”
God told me to share the testimony so that He could finish what He had started.
I couldn’t do it the first day and the second day but on the third day, God impressed it strongly in my spirit and as I held the microphone that day, I said, “I have a testimony! I went into trouble ten years ago and today, God has brought me out safe and sound. A dog that strayed into the lion’s den and came out unhurt did not do it by itself; it was God that saved it.”
And like my husband said, I’ve dreamt about this man severally, and there was a time I even went to meet him, and I told him what God told me about him but he said to me, “Between me and you, who is the prophet?” So I kept quiet and went back home. Through it all, we bless God.
In your latest album ‘Oruko tuntun’, I observed that you neither mentioned ‘Olorun Ajanaku nor any other prophet of God…
(Cuts in) I am now carrying a new name. People knew me for ‘Olorun Ajanaku’ before now but this is a new name. Moreover, Ajanaku is the name of God, only God can shake the forest- ‘Ajanaku ti n mi igbo kijikiji’, even most of our names – Oluwasegun (God has overcome). Is it you or God that has overcome? It is God now! They are not our names- ‘Temitope’- it was when God did something for you that you would turn around and declared ‘Mine is worth giving thanks’. They are all God’s names.
I must commend the fact that your husband asked you not to talk during the crisis and you obeyed. For one, it was your name that was all over the place and you could have insisted you needed to clarify your name rather than keeping quiet. What is it about your marriage?
It’s God. It’s just God. No one can receive anything if it is not given from heaven, it’s just God. I just see God in everything because it’s not easy, it’s not easy at all but it has been so easy for me because it’s been by God that we have sustained our marriage. When you see something that is normally not normal and you find out that it is normal for you, then you must be wise enough to know that it is God that is making it normal for you.
I see it clearly that this is God at work because we have had issues that should have led to separation but we overcame. As a matter of fact, both of us will not even allow it to happen, to stay till next morning, we settle every score that night, we don’t sleep with it and if we mistakenly sleep with it, the next morning, either of us will speak to each other and that normally would be simultaneously.
So it’s just been God, it’s just God.
What should we expect from Tope Alabi now? What should we be looking forward to?
TOPE ALABI: I want to encourage people to get my lastest album-‘Oruko Tuntun’ (New name)
There are messages in that album that people need to listen to. I am not saying this because it is my album; I am just a tool in God’s hands, I am a trumpet that is being blown by God. People have not listened enough to this album and there are messages that will transform lives in the album if only people would take their time to listen to it.
So many people were eager to hear it before it was released. Some quarters were curious as to what the content would be because there were rumours that I was getting music from Late Prophet Ajanaku; some people wanted to find out if I would talk about my encounter with the man, but I want people to know that God is still at work and what He has settled is settled; no going back again.
Her closing Remark
I want to seize this opportunity to appreciate my husband. I want to thank him for his support, may God always be with him, may his days be long, may his endeavours continually prosper, may his ministry keep flourishing and may his life be sweet till the end. I want Soji Alabi to know that I, Tope Alabi appreciate him so much.
I also want to appreciate my children- Ayomiku and Deborah Alabi for their endurance; for those times when we were away, I want to thank them for never making us worry or sorrow over their attitudes. I will also like to appreciate the members of Gospel vibes for their love, and support, may God be with them all. May we all make heaven in Jesus’ name!