She came into limelight 13 years ago with her hit single Oyigiyigi. Since then, Bukola Olubona’s career has evolved through phases. A Pastor in her own rights, Mrs. Olubona is the visioneer of an annual music concert, ‘Reason for Living’. She was also recently appointed into the Executive Council of the Nigerian Gospel Music Association among other positions she holds. In this interview with MERCY MICHAEL, Olubona speaks on sundry issues. Excerpts:
AS a song minister, are you restricted to just singing in the church or you have released an album?
I have albums. My first album, Oyigiyigi, was released thirteen years ago.
When are you billed to release another album after thirteen years?
My latest album was actually released two years ago, it is titled Iji Okun.
Can you tell us some of the tracks on that album?
The album has Emi ki yo beru Iji Okun as well as a praise medley. It also has so many beautiful songs in it.
Within the gospel terrain, have you done any collaboration with anyone?
My Manager has advised me to do one because to the glory of God, just last year, I was appointed one of the Executives of the Nigerian Gospel Music Association. I was appointed one
of the central working committee saddled with organising programmes. I think everything has to do with the fact that I have a programme like ‘Reason for Living’. It is an annual music concert.
The concert didn’t hold this year. Why is that?
After the last edition we just thought of taking it beyond the level where we are already, so we deemed it fit to get some companies and some big artistes to collaborate with us. That has been the cause of the delay.
How far have you gone with getting the brands to come on board?
MTN has come up among other brands. The news of their support came in sometime last week and it came as a big testimony to us. They have other traditional programmes but according to them they have never been part of any religious programme. This will be the first religious programme they will be involved in and they are going to be a major sponsor.
Why didn’t you get some churches to sponsor too?
Well, with my little experience in this few years of ministry, I don’t know why it is so difficult for churches and members to sponsor or take up projects like this. It so surprising that most of these worldly musicians and programmes out there are being sponsored by Christians. But if you are Christian and you come up with something like this, they show little or no interest. It still baffles me. I don’t have explanation for that. Like the one we held recently, the church where I held it, there was so much promise regarding taking care of people I’m bringing, but they didn’t. At the end of the day, it turned out to be a quarrel and I don’t want it. I give God the glory for great thing that happened that night. Most of the women that came out for the fruit of the womb, in fact one of them gave birth three weeks ago. It is a programme that I know is beyond man and I don’t want any flesh to come in and hinder me in anyway. God has given me the grace to handle each situation as it comes so I thank God for how he has helped me and the people he has planted around me. It’s just a fulfillment of vision so I give him all the glory.
For the years that you’ve held the programme, financially how has it been?
Financially it has been I and my husband. Over the years, most of the income from my outings, I tend to invest everything into ensuring that the programme turns out well because it is a vision that God gave me over 10years ago and I am so happy I’m alive to see the reality of the vision. That is a big testimony for me and that is what has been keeping me going.
In those ten years, how many editions have you had?
We’ve had five editions so far. The vision is actually to hold it every quarter. In the last two years, I have had twice in each year.
Looking back, it has giving birth to other things like your appointment into the Nigerian Gospel Music Association and your new position has the coordinator of the Mass Choir in your province…
In fact, even I and my husband were posted to a new area. The church dedication will be coming up December 8. You know all these activities have actually eaten deep into my time and I’m busier than before, coupled with my ministration both within and outside the country. My tight schedule is one of the reasons actually why ‘Reason for Living’ hasn’t come up this year. At least I have been out of the country on three occasions this year. I was in South Africa; I was at Benin Republic one other place.
What advice would you give to those who have a vision but do not know how to go about it?
I have given the platform with ‘Reason for Living’ for up and coming artistes and visionaries, people who have dreams and don’t just know how to go about it. Sometimes I share my experience with them. The first thing you must do when you have a vision or dream is to go back to the giver of the vision. I believe, for every heavenly vision, there is a heavenly provision. One of my father’s in the Lord use to say, “Every vision without a provision is a mere colour television”. I got hold of that word and I went into prayers and God has confirmed everything he has told me. When he gave me the vision He said He will bring me in contact with people of like minds, who will support in helping to interpret the dream. Within two years, God has done even beyond my wildest imagination considering that MTN sponsorship.
What is the best gift God has given to you this year?
My birthday came up on the 23rd of November and the news of the MTN sponsorship came to me Thursday before that. The regional Manager just called and announced to me their decision to back the project. It came as a big relief for me. Since I started ‘Reason for Living’, I have practically not had a life of my own. Everything I have had or earned in the ministry has always gone back into it. So I see this as a great relief and a confirmation of His hand in the project. It’s a big breakthrough I must tell you. By the time the call came through, the Regional Manager was even apologizing for contacting me late. It’s a big testimony but I was not really moved by it. You know how the devil works. I didn’t hesitate to tell him that well, I have shifted ‘Reason for Living’ till next year. My husband was like some other people would have gone to, pick up the cheque but I said no, there is a standard for anything I have to do. Since the Holy Spirit has been my inspiration, I can’t move ahead of God.
Are they going to be holding on for you till next year?
They have invited us for a meeting. We’ll seat on a round table and device a means of how to go about it. They are ready to be a major sponsor. When I heard that word major sponsor, it was like a dream come true. Like I said, we are moving ‘Reason for Living’ to an event centre, Balmorah come next year. Gradually we will move to the National Theatre.
Are you looking at working with some gospel musicians who cut cross secular music lovers or even inviting musicians from outside the country?
Mr. Shodairo actually mentioned that. There was a time he was actually trying to make myself and Lara George do a collaboration. Although, I don’t have anything against Lara George but like I said, any step, I must take have to be ordained by God. If my spirit is not releasing me to do anything with anybody, if I do it, I will regret it.
What about Tope Alabi?
Tope Alabi, no o. I have tried doing something with her and I was kind of restricted so I stopped at that point. I have her contact, in fact one of my boys is her Manager presently, so it’s not a difficult thing to get to her, but I don’t want to move ahead of God