I was poisoned and hit several times – an evangelical musician. Ojo Ade tells his story
Isaac Ojo Adegunna, renowned evangelist and revival evangelist, commonly known as Ojo Ade, is the leader of the evangelical singers of Ebun Hesu and the acting pastor of the Gift of God Evangelical Church, Alagbado, Lagos.
In this chat, the Osun singer talks about his difficult beginnings, fame and how he went through many tragic events.
Tell us briefly about your experience
My name is Isaac Ojo Adegunna. I am from Ikeji Ile in Osun State. Due to the rural conditions and the economic situation at the time, my education was limited to what my peasant parents could afford. That is why I came to Lagos to be with my mother’s brother. In Lagos, I studied electrical / electronics for three years.
As an apprentice, did you have anything to do with music?
I came to Lagos in 1975, but before that I started to demonstrate my musical talent. From the age of 12 I have been a member of the choir of the Anglican Church of St. Jude, Ikeji Il. I wrote songs and taught others even at a young age. While training as an electrician with Mr. Ajani, commonly known as Mighty Joe in the Ogba area of Lagos, I continued to receive my musical gift as a choir at the Oril Agej New Apostolic Church (now the Church of the New Creation). ). I’ve been in the church choir for fifteen years.
Ok, at what point did you start your gospel band?
Even though I was a member of the choir, I formed my first musical group called The Redemption Gospel Singers. It was with this group that I recorded my first album, Okan Eniyan (Human Heart). Thanks to my gift, the church allowed me to perform for parishioners after Sunday school as a solo artist.
Did Heart of Man mark the beginning of your gospel career?
Not. After the first album, there were several incidents that almost made me give up gospel. To make ends meet, I started working for Nigerian Textile Mills (NTM), Ikeja for about five years.
The accordion has become your cult instrument, how did you come up with it?
Around 1979 I went to visit an elderly friend at Agege in Lagos and saw an accordion on his table. I looked at it and it occurred to me that I could play it. I asked this man to lend me an accordion and he agreed. That’s how I took it home and started learning to play it. Gradually I picked up the notes and melodies and after a few weeks started playing them very well. The man who gave me the accordion was very surprised at my skill. He began to confront Pastor Cholet Rotimi, one of our fathers of gospel music, who was also a master accordionist. Later he introduced me to him in Ibadan.
What happened after the release of Heart of Man?
Later I released Jesu Tofunmi (Jesus is enough for me) for Ogunsola Happy Records located in Ebut Meta, Lagos. It was 1981. The record was almost a failure. The lyrics were associated with Christmas and New Years, but the album was not released until February 1982. In 1983, after a long struggle, I released another album called Satani Kosimi (Satan Does Not Rest). But the record labels rejected this at the time, so I became the sole distributor and seller of the album. I went to great lengths to release an album with my meager financial resources.
Did it stop you from continuing to sing? So what supported you?
As I struggled to survive, I realized that this was not just a talent or a gift at work, but a ministry. Despite the ups and downs, it was difficult for me to come back. This led me to work for Nigerian Textile Mills, Ikeja, Lagos. You need courage, holiness, and perseverance to lead a ministry. Leading the divine ministry is like meeting face to face with Satan, who will do anything to stop, hinder, or destroy you or the ministry if you are not spiritually stubborn. This is why most of the musicians who came from the church ended up singing worldly music.
Which of your writing has opened the door to your success?
It was the Ojo Ola Mi Adara song that I released in 1987 (“My tomorrow will be good”). All the songs on the album testified to the fire and thunder that I went through in my ministry. The songs are composed of difficult situations in which I went through. In general, I spent N2000 on the recording of the album. I originally wanted to sell the master class to Gospel Choral Records, but the company talked me out of it. Rather, they asked me to print some jackets and bring them with some copies of the album, which I did. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary based on my previous experience, but after a few weeks I was invited to their office and they gave me the amount of 3600. I could not believe it. For me, money was like N1 million. Since then, all of my recordings have been widely recognized and to this day this particular album is still on sale.
It is reported that you once worked with the prophet Abiara of the Apostolic Church of Christ Agbala Itura. Could you please shed some light on this?
I have never been a member of the Aviara Prophet’s ministerial team. It so happened that in 1984 I was on the TV show “Aria” in Ibadan, where the Prophet saw me and became interested in my style of music. This led me to regularly appear on his crusades. At some point, he asked me to be a permanent member of his team and start serving only in churches. But today I am a pastor of a church, and most of my ministry is related to crusades and revivals.
You are an evangelist, how could you get past the pastor?
As I said earlier, I never intended to start a church. The Holy Spirit brought me into this. Since I am a servant, I obeyed. So, I studied for two years at the International College of Bible Calvary, Ibadan. This inspired me to serve as shepherd. As pleasing to God, it has never interfered with my musical ministry. I have pastors who work with me in the day-to-day work of the church, Gift of Christ Revival Ministries (CGRM).
How was the beginning?
I started with my group members and a few people, around 21 in total. Since then, God has expanded our coastline and we now have our own building (church) and branches outside of Lagos.
What makes your gospel music different from others?
I think these are my songs. They are inspired by my sermons, counseling, prayers, and Bible studies. I don’t write songs to please anyone or commercial value. I am not only a singer, but also a servant of God, I use music as a channel.
How would you describe your style of music?
Where you do not serve to teach, correct and scold, but all you do is make people laugh and dance, you do not lead people to heaven. I play my part depending on the kind of music I play. This is why most Pentecostal churches don’t like my ministry. They decided to forgive all the characters, behaviors and lifestyles that the Bible requires of us to be removed from our lives as Christians. For example, go to many Pentecostal churches today and see how they dress, it will shock you! God through my music tells heavenly believers to turn away from the world; you cannot serve God and mammon.
Are you saying that a lot of gospel singers today fall short of expectations?
Many of them really need to return to their prayer altars in order to revive them if they are truly called by God. Our calling is not for spectacle, but to show Christ to people. This is not a profitable project. If you truly follow God, he has a plan for your prosperity. You are not doing anything for God that He would not reward. The problem is that most evangelical musicians and God’s servants are in a hurry. They cannot wait for the moment when God will be blessed; they want it now, which is contrary to the principle and character of God. God is the God of time for all his purposes.
Does this mean that you are not speaking in Pentecostal churches at all?
I am almost never invited to any of their programs. Sometimes it happens once or twice a year. No, it’s not because I sing in Yoruba more; this is because the message in my music cannot match their doctrine. Or I will sing to expose a pastor or church teaching and condemn many of their worldly activities. Pastors do not want to lose their parishioners, saying, “Ojo Ade’s music can destroy the church,” as I have heard them many times.
Has there been any incident that has upset you since you started making music?
A few years ago, I lost almost everything in Jos, Plateau. Also in Sulej, in an accident, the crowd carried weapons that threatened to destroy my life and the life of my group (s). In Ilorin, the stage I played on almost became my deathbed. And once on the Saki-Ibadan road, they shot at me several times. Then in a city in Ondo State I was poisoned; the same thing happened in my house. But all the glory to God, who was faithful.
What advice do you have for other gospel singers?
They should be careful with money and women. You can’t help but meet these two at every turning point in your life. Don’t seek fame or money on the move, seek God first. Do your best to keep Him working. At the right time, money and fame will overwhelm you. Until now. I don’t appoint a church or a pre-run ministry; I take what they give me.
Source: Sun News