It is very difficult not to like Tope Alabi. This is because the ebullient songstress' voice seems to be everywhere you turn. From loudspeakers blaring at record shops and street corners to Yoruba films, it seems Tope is everywhere trying to teach one moral lesson or the other.
Highly sought after, her calendar is usually booked year round, and even still, many more wait on the queue patiently for the time she'll be available.
Based on the interview we granted her estranged spiritual father, Prophet Ajanaku, in which he made some remarks about her, we sought to hear her side of the story. Ever since the story of a rift between them broke out, Tope Alabi has not spoken publicly concerning the matter. But in this exclusive interview with E24-7 MAGAZINE'S EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BIODUN KUPOLUYI, she bared her mind. Enjoy:
There is this disturbing news going around that you have deserted Prophet Ajanaku's church and left him unceremoniously even though he has done a lot for you?
You see, if not that it's you, I won't talk about this. The truth about the issue is that, since four years ago, God has been revealing some things to me about the church and even people have been leaving his church en-masse for the past seven years because different strange things have been happening. We have actually seen a lot of things. When I first met him, that year something happened, but because I liked him and was willing to help him, I stayed. I know how I met the ministry then and how it is today. I have made a name then but it was in 2006 that people started hearing his name in my records though he said that he has been my spiritual head for the past twelve years. He says a lot when he is on the altar and he even embellishes the story, but I just look at him without saying anything.
You mean he has not been mentoring you for the past twelve years?
It's not up to twelve years at all! I used to attend the Mountain of Fire Church, but I also visit his church once in a while and minister for free so as to attract more members to the church. My husband and I have made all our contributions to the church. Even all the concerts that have been organised in the church and the last one, it was my husband that organised it. We've been involved in bringing so many big artistes to the church. But what really pains us is that, this is a man who likes to fumble and make too much noise about himself as if he is God. He always tell the congregation that he's next to God; that he sees God everyday and that he talks to God anytime he likes. You know words like that. And if not that I really respect E24-7 MAGAZINE and like to read it often, I wouldn't have said anything about the issue because I have promised myself and my God that. Some other media houses have tried to reach me before to know my side of the story but I kept mum and never said anything to them. Some of them cajoled me to talk, saying that I ought to respond because of all the things the prophet has said about me. But since I refused to talk on the issue, they went ahead with what they heard from him. You see, one thing I know is that when God's judgment has come to prevail in any matter, it will be in the presence of everyone. I don't want to talk now and it may seem like I'm being vindictive because people may say that, after all we were together before, and why am I just talking now? But when God reveals the secret, everyone will see what is actually happening.
My new songs Agbelebu and Alagbara that I have just released; he was saying he is the one I used the album to abuse publicly but I was still in his church when I recorded the songs. He said it was because I left his church that my car was stolen. Meanwhile, my car was stolen on the 25th of December and I left his church on 1st of January so what is he talking about? Less than two years after I met him, there was a day he came to my house. Not long after he left on that day, thieves came to rob me and carted away all my belongings, but I didn't speak to anybody about it then. I believe God knows us all and knows what our thoughts are. Whoever is lying, God knows. And if truly, he was called by God, it's known to God. The time I ought to spend to better my life, I used them to serve him because I believed that I was doing it for God.
He said he's the one that composed your hit songs for you?
I thank God I got my inspirations from God even before we came in contact, and I never went to him for songs. If truly, he is the one that composes all my songs, then why will he say that Agbelebu and Alagbara hurt him and are very painful for him to listen to? I have said it severally that if it was after I knew him that things changed for good for me, or that he was the one that gave me my shine and glory, then let's leave everything to God because the almighty God is there and never dozes. If you like sir, interview him and let's hear what he's got to say again but that doesn't change anything. He has said so many things to the media; I read it when he said it was because I committed adultery that he sent me away from his church, and in another magazine he said it's because I spent the offering money. Another report said I left his church because he organised a concert and I wasn't there.
When your husband heard or read the adultery story, did he complain?
My brother, you see me, see the mess o. Let's just wait and watch. God knows about everything, but for us, we do not have anything to say. We don't want it to seem like it was when we left his church that things scattered in the church. He can't be behaving childish and then we also join him in his childish ways. We won't trade words with him. Leaving one church to another shouldn't be a big deal.
But he said he will welcome you back to the church if you wish to return, that he didn't send you away?
Not in my life will I return to that church in Jesus name. I made the mistake of my life by attending that church before, and now that I have left, I can never go back again. I tell you, when people heard that I have left his church, they were just congratulating me. Well known men of God have called me on this issue we are discussing my brother, they really congratulated me for leaving the church. Some even confessed that whenever I came to minister in their churches, the spirit of God directs them to me on the matter, but they did not know how to broach it with me because of the love I had for his ministry. During my stay with him, he never showed me anything other than prayers and fasting that we believed in. He never showed anything fetish to me so I wouldn't know if he's got any secret.
And you really projected him and the church especially in your songs?
I tried my best and did what I ought to do. Even if it happened that I committed adultery as he claimed, and that was why he sent me away from his church, why should he go to the press to nag and rubbish me, not minding all that I have done for him in my life. If I was broke but he needed money, I would suppress my own needs and see to his own without thinking twice.
But he said you've never helped him financially before?
Ahh! But I tell you, I cared and catered for him and his family. Even all the rich men I knew and introduced to him turned their backs on me. It was when all these issues came out in the open that they started calling me back and some of them told me a lot of what he told them about me, tarnishing and rubbishing my image, but I told them to leave everything to God to judge.
You've decided not to talk, but there are many insinuations and they are damaging?
He didn't damage anything my brother; since everything belongs to God, he didn't damage anything.
IF A LIE TRAVELS FOR 20YEARS, TRUTH WILL CATCH UP WITH IT ONE DAY - SOJI ALABI
E24-7 MAGAZINE also spoke to Soji Alabi, Tope's husband and producer. Read on:
What do you have to say about these allegations against your family by Prophet Ajanaku?
Sir, is there any big deal that someone leaves a church for another? But since Tope left his church, it's as though he's doomed and it's not supposed to be like that. Everyone has got his or her own ministry and Tope Alabi has got hers too. I believe anyone that is called by God should face his ministry squarely without looking up to humans, but God. People go to churches to serve God, and not because of any artiste. We left him because of our own ministry, and I think if truly, he has got God's calling then he shouldn't be shouting Tope Alabi's name to the world claiming she left his church unceremoniously and stuffs like that. God doesn't fail his own people, so I believe truly if he was called by God, it is God also that will stand by him without fear or expecting any favor from man. Since January 1st, 2013, that Tope Alabi left his church, he hasn't stopped saying it to the world, an action which I count to be joblessness. Since the news has been going round, we just decided that we won't talk to any media about it. The Yorubas say, if a lie travels for 20 years, one day the truth will surface and the world will see it for what it is. We've done what we can for his ministry and if he doesn't appreciate everything we've done, then its fine and okay, but we've done ours for God.
But he said you took that decision because he has raised another artiste?
How can Tope Alabi be jealous of an artiste who nobody even knows yet? Everybody has his or her own time to shine, and they all differ in glory. At this stage of her fame and career, Tope Alabi cannot obstruct anybody from shining.
He said you don't allow other artistes come to the church?
It's a lie! We've taken many artistes to him like Biyi Samuel, Paul Play Dairo and others. And do we even disturb any artiste not to make it? In our own little capacity, we've helped many artistes. I even have many artistes under my record label and sometimes, Tope sings part of the songs in their albums so that they can be popular. As for me, I feel all those magazines have collected money from him to write all those negative things about us and I believe one day, their eyes will open and they will see the truth. We've done many things for the church; we served that ministry with our lives. If not that it's you, we have decided not to talk to any press man at all. I'm sure that all those journalists writing trash about my wife have collected money from him, but I'm consoled by the fact that their eyes will be opened to the truth soon.
So which church do you attend now because people will want to follow you?
We are yet to be members of any particular church, but we are always busy ministering from one church to another. We left his church to face our own ministry and not because he raised another artiste. Nothing like that! We are not fighting him, because one should not fight Ministers of God.