Whenever the month of March approaches every year, it’s been a harvest of celebration around Deaconess Deborah Adebola Fasoyin, the living icon of gospel music in Nigeria and even africa. The celebration this year 2020 comes with a difference. On Sunday March 1, 2020 the one popularly known as Mama Fasoyin clocks 80 solid years. She was born on March 1, 1940 in Oyo town, now Oyo State. She is the leader of the famous CAC Good Women Choir, Ibadan. The group which God has used to bless this generation with evergreen gospel music of prayers, deliverance, praise and breakthrough, Nigerians especially ministers of God across gospel, ministry of the word and different walks of life have been pouring encomiums on the one also known as the grandmother of gospel music in Nigeria.
Along this line a cream of foremost gospel singers in Nigeria was hosted by Pastor Tunde Kajogbola and his amiable wife Olamide at their GraceWay Chapel International in Igando on Wednesday February 26, 2020 to kickstart the land mark celebration.
The list of gospel singers in attendance included the convener Apostle Timi Orokoya, a past president of Gospel Musicians Association of Nigeria, and the host of the annual all Nigeria Gospel Music Congress (ANGOMREC), the national Vice President of GOMAN South West Pastor Oluwaseun Oluwatunmibi, the present and past Governors of the music body in Lagos State, Evangelist Philip Olayiwola Pholat and Apostle Raphael Babalola.
Others included front row gospel singerlike Foluke Awoleye of O ti di Testimony fame, Dr, Dunni Olanrewaju of Opelope Anointing, Evang Esther Igbekele the United States based Evang Kingsley Ogunde David, Pastor Kingsely of This Kind God song, Prince Debo Ojugbuji and a host of others.
They were not only singing to the delight of the mammoth crowd but also to praise God for what He has done in the life of Mama Fasoyin, bearing testimonies of how her music and life have been inspiration to them, in their ministries and journey in life.
According to Prince Debo, the famous Ilaje gospel crooner Mama’s music under the auspices of Good Women Association changed him from singing hiphop to gospel music. “I am highly honoured to be in the presence of mama today, not only to sing gospel music but to appreciate and testify to how God used her music to bring me from hip hop to gospel music.
“After my secondary school in Warri, I decided to go into music and my choice was hip hop, we would dress anyhow with dreadlocks and all that, one day as I was going and I heard one of their albums played in a music shop, it was the one titled Halleluya Lo Mu Mi Goke. Immediately I heard that what came out of my mouth was gospel tunes, and that was how I left hip hop for gospel,” explained Prince Debo.
Also available to testify was Mama Testimony Evang (Mrs) Foluke Awoleye who became a mother after a record waiting of 25years. According to her many of their songs like Mo Nwoju Re and several others gave her hope in God and she was not disappointed.
And to the host Pastor Tunde Kajogbola he had been listening to Mama Fasoyin’s ageless lyrics until he came in contact with her few years ago. “We were to hold a programme for the elderly in our church, those above 70 years, and our choice was Sisi Mi, what Mama liked to be called. We invited her, she came, she ministered and she never disappointed us. We see her as a role model, very humble, loving, God fearing and interesting to be with.”
Of course there have been several testimonies all over the world of what the Lord had done through the works of Mama Fasoyin and her CAC Good Women group.
Before they had a break they had recorded 25 albums. The group came together as a choir in 1977 to fill a gap in the annual convention of Christ Apostolic Church. She explained “Good Women Choir started way back with the Christ Apostolic Church Ibadan prior to 1975, as part of Good Women Association which was a gathering of women in the church.
In the CAC then the problem we always had at the convention was that it was always difficult to get a choir to sing and make the people relax. When we came back from Kano in 1975, the Good Women Association decided to have a choir of our own and we assembled volunteers and gifted members with two from each branch of the church to make the central choir, about 100 interested members were gathered and we began to practise. I was one of the members sent to the central choir.” They came together, began to sing and God took control, and since then they have been making impacts worldwide. All their works were hits, most especially the recurring evergreen numbers Odun lo so pin, and Odun yi a tura, they come to the gospel music market every year at the end and the beginning of each year, which has taken her fame to the length and the breadth of the whole world.
Even with this, Mama remains her humble loving godly, accessible and amiable singer who has become a role model to many people, little wonder that God has blessed her with good and long life, peace of mind and a source of blessings in all its ramifications. Many others would have loved to take the glory for the success of her group to herself, being the arrow head and the one popularly known among the members, but she would not. Mama has this to say in one of her interviews,”Let me start by saying it is Christ that leads the choir, not me, it is just a privilege that I am the leader”
In another breath she revealed that before they went to the studio “We would tell our members to read the Bible, pray and bring songs. We’ll look through and as led by the Spirit, choose from the compositions.
Apart from her choice as a leader, she remained caring and kind to other members of her group. When asked again about the other members of the group and how they share their rewards, she was very quick to answer on behalf of the others.
“We receive royalties for our songs and we share it among members, even among the deceased members’ families because they worked for it, we were scared of collecting it initially because of what God had told us and said we didn’t want to collect it still. When Odun Nlo Sopin started bringing in money, we told our manager to help us use the money to buy instruments and a bus when we needed it”
It is along this line that she offered her golden advice to the young and up coming artistes who place money over and above ministrations.
“These days those who go into gospel music expect quick money. I often tell people who come to me for advice that if you know that you want to propagate the gospel don’t think about the money first, (as) your album may do well in the market but it won’t last and that is the truth, but if you have the mindset of spreading the gospel in your heart, things will work. Seek the anointing first, then money will follow. But the youth of today want quick money and rush to the studio to record albums. When it comes out, it doesn’t even have substance and it would not last long”
Another sterling quality of Mama Fasoyin which has clearly stood her out is her sensitive nature and obedience to the voice of God. In many of her testimonies, it was clear that she would not do anything without being led by God. She once said that they were not allowed by God to take money or charge for their performance and ministrations, and they lived by it.
And when they had a very serious challenge that threatened the existence of the group “We went to God in prayers, on the mountains and told Him that if what happened was His will, He should help the other group to continue because the ultimate is to change lives but if their mission was to bring us down. He should intervene, and He did intervene.
Perhaps they would have continued to wax more albums and release new songs but for the voice of the Lord again. “There was a time I was encouraged by my children to sing new songs which made me go to the studio to release two singles- Ogo Ikehin and Ibere Otun, when some of our old colleagues heard about it they requested we all come back together again. Ten of us gathered in my house, but God said we shouldn’t release new materials but rather we should churn out the video CD of what we had done before and that led us to release the video version of Odun Nlo Sopin, and Odun yi a tura”
At 80, Mama Fasoyin has been celebrated across the world, honoured with awards and many have chosen her as role model. We join all her well wishers to wish her more impactful life in good and sound health to enjoy the fruits of her labour.
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