Foluke Shem-Obafiaye is the wife of Shem Obafaiye, whose “Oga At The Top” saga went viral some time last year. Shem is now the Oyo State (formerly Lagos State) Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Foluke is a gospel singer and daughter of the respected Late Prophet Timothy O. Obadare. She recently granted an interview, and she revealed that she will be releasing her album soon, and one of the songs is titled “Oga At The Top”. She also disclosed how her family was able to make it through that difficult period. Read excerpts of her chat with Joan Omionawele below:
When exactly did you start your singing career?
I started when I was 13 years old.
Was your father a singer?
No. My father, the late Prophet Timothy O. Obadare, also had a band called Wosem International Band. We used to go from one place to another; even when Baba Obadare used to go for crusades, I used to go with him to sing and minister.
You are set to release an album this Saturday.
I decided to release the album the last Saturday of March, at the Genesis Hall in Ibadan because March means a lot to me. It’s a very peculiar month for me. This is the month Baba Obadare died, and March too was the month my husband’s issue of ‘Oga at the top’ started. In fact, it is a special month.
It sounds like an emotional month for you
Yes, it is.
What are the tracks on the album about?
The first track is entitled Meet me at the top. In fact, when Baba Obadare died, I wanted to release an album as a tribute to him, but I couldn’t. I just pulled myself together, knowing fully well that a lot of people will release albums and I wasn’t myself till after his burial. So, I said to myself that I would release an album after a year.
But after two months, I started having dreams and seeing myself singing to multitudes and the song had to do with the ‘Oga at the top’ issue. The last time I dreamt about this, I woke up. I could remember the chorus of what I was singing in my dream, but I couldn’t remember the body. I quickly picked up my pen and wrote it down.
Did you discuss releasing an album about ‘Oga at the top’ with your husband?
Yes I did.
What was his reaction?
He did not say anything. He said he was not a singer, and it was my ministry; that I should go ahead and do whatever I want to do and he would give me all the support I needed.
During that period (Oga at the top), what were the things you did as a wife to take your husband’s mind away from the media outburst?
I was praying fervently for him. That was the only thing I did because I knew that it was only prayer that could help. I know that when you find yourself in any situation you don’t like, it is only prayer that can uphold you.
How was he able to overcome the setback?
He overcame it through words of encouragement from people – ranging from our fathers in the Lord to friends and family. A lot of people stood up for him that time. Men of God were also interceding for him, because it was a set-up. I’m not saying it was a set up from anybody, but from the pit of hell, because before anything happens physically, it has been settled spiritually. We all know that. We are not holding anybody responsible. I am even thanking them for bringing it out. We appreciate those who sent us prayers and even thank those who abused us. This nation would be at the top soon. We thank them for uplifting my husband. April 16 last year, they said I went to Channels television to make trouble with them, saying my children could not go to school and I had requested for a transfer for them – but it was all lies.
Didn’t you go there?
That very day that they said I went to Channels, I was in the village; I was in my husband’s village with my husband for his father’s burial, and that village is a remote village where the network transmission was bad. They call the place Ayetoro Kiri in Kogi State; but it was on air. People started calling me from all over the world, asking me why I went there. I was shocked. I started explaining where I was to the people who called me.
What about the reports of you not being able to go to the market out of fear?
They were all lies. We were staying at UNILAG Estate in Magodo then. At times, in the evening, I would put on my shorts, baseball cap and go to the market. Sometimes I would not even go in my car. I would see lots of people discussing about my husband, but it did not bother me. I would buy whatever I wanted to buy and go back home. In fact, we were very free. My husband would go out and come back without any disturbance. So we did not feel bad because we knew that it was from the pit of hell. We did not even hold anyone responsible for it. That is one thing I want you to emphasise. The only thing we did then was to pray and hold onto God and the Lord God Almighty was able to intervene.
But he was eventually able to recognise his mistake?
Not knowing the NSCDC website.
Oh. When he said ww.nscdc, it was not that he did not know it. That day, someone was saying that it was God that saved my husband; that if he had opened his mouth to disclose the website, it would have caused him his job and that was what my husband was trying to avoid. You know it was a live programme; it was unfortunate that they did not play it from the beginning. They just started the airplay from that point. It was not that he did not know the website. How can a grown up person not know such details? He is well educated; he has three Masters degrees. How could he not have known the website of the Civil Defence? He did not want to mention it and that was why he tried to push himself; but he knew it was a live programme. I’m telling you the truth.
How did you meet your husband?
Oh my God! Please (laughs). We met in Benin when we went for a crusade.
And how long have you been married?
We got married in 1998.
When you wanted to get married to your husband, what was Baba Obadare’s reaction?
He asked me to wait while he went to enquire from God. He prayed for three days and on the third day, we were in Abuja for a crusade and that was where he ended the prayer. It was the following day he called me and said God had given me the go-ahead. He then asked me to call the young man (my husband now) to meet him in Akure.
What advice do you have for both married and unmarried women?
To the unmarried women, I would advise them to be patient and to be faithful to the Lord. Do not look at material things. That is the basic thing destroying marriages today. And they should not compromise. They should not base their life on another person’s own. Wait for God patiently because God’s time is the best. Don’t say because you are 33 or 42 years old and you are getting old, so you should rush into marriage. Even if you are 50, God’s time is the best. For the married ones, I would still advise them to be patient, because no marriage is free from problems. Even the so-called strong men of God, when you go to them, they will tell you that the only weapon they have is patience and prayer. When you have any problem, go on your knees. People’s marriages are suffering major setbacks because they cannot take everything to God in prayer. They have no time to pray; they don’t take their case to God. They would rather take their cases to their father, mothers and friends who are giving them wrong solutions to their problems.