Ebenezer Obey, ace Nigerian singer, says his late mother never believed he could succeed as a musician because of her perception of those in the industry.
The 79-year-old musician brought the revelation to light on Sunday during an interactive Zoom session with Toyin Falola, a professor of history.
Obey said her mother wanted him to either be a lawyer or doctor because she felt that was the only way he could make it in life.
“She did not want me to play music because she wanted me to be a successful person in life. As for my mother, she did not believe that it could happen through music. She wanted me to be either a lawyer or a doctor,” he said.
“She thought my success would come through either being a lawyer or a doctor. She would wake me up at midnight, praise me, and then ask me to listen to her advice. She would tell me to stop beating drums about.
“She would say, ‘don’t you want to be a successful person? If you face your studies and become a lawyer, they would be calling me Iya Lawyer’. She would ask if I would not like to drive a pleasure car. I will respond that I will like to ride a pleasure car. My mother did not know and I could not blame her. But finally, when she saw that it was music I wanted to do, she let me be.”
The juju singer also disclosed that when he eventually asked her why she was opposed to his choice of music as a career, her mother cited the unhealthy lifestyle prevalent among musicians.
Obey said her mother’s remarks helped him to stay focused in the early days of his career as he was determined to fulfill his promise of making a difference in the music landscape.
“One day, I was bold enough to ask my mother why she did not want me to be a musician. Then she told me that musicians smoke cigarette, Indian hemp, and they are drunkards. She said that she did not give birth to a drunkard or Indian hemp smoker,” he added.
“I thank God that my mother did that to me because I promised that if those were the reasons she did not want me to become a musician, I will go into music and I will be a good example.
“I was a good warning because everything that my mother said, I met them when I started music; however, I always remembered my mother’s words. By the grace of God, I thank God that I promised my mother that I would be a good example and I have been a good example.”
The singer, better known as Chief Commander, said he was happy that his mother witnessed his success before she breathed her last at 97.
“My mother was alive to see part of my success. My mother went to be with the Lord in the year 1995. She saw my success and she was very happy that her dream for me to be a successful person came through, even though it was not being through a doctor or a lawyer, as she wanted me to be; but she was a happy mother,” he added.