I went through hell growing up in Oshodi – Tope Alabi’s grass to grace story

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Few weeks ago, popular Nigerian gospel music icon, Tope Alabi buried her father, Pa Joseph Akinyele Obayomi who died at the age of 89 on December 16, 2019.

At the burial, Tope Alabi heaped praises on her late father for praying for her despite their differences while she was growing up. She noted that she was a thorn on her father’s flesh because of her interest in Theater Art but her father kept praying for her to succeed.

“I remember how receptively slow people thought I was; how overbearing I was. I remember how stubborn I was too. Despite my receptive attitude, I didn’t project the character of decency when I was growing up.

I would jump at any available ‘bolekaja’ and off I would go. I remember becoming a thorn in your flesh Daddy, when I chose to join a theatre group. Your expectation was that I would start working after college but I joined the Nigerian Theatre Practitioners as an itinerant actor, going from one film location to another with or without invitation.

I remember how it was almost impossible to believe that I would be a source of blessings to my parents…But I can’t forget that despite your chastisement and frustrations, you still prayed for me anytime you wanted to pray, telling God what you wanted me to become…”

Also speaking at her concert “Praise the Almighty 2020” Tope Alabi recounted her life and talked briefly on many things she has passed through while growing up “I know some people are here who cannot point to any meaningful thing they have achieved in life. I know some people are here, even the worst slippers on their leg right now was borrowed. I know some people are here, they borrowed the cloth, the shoe, everything they wore to this place from friends.

I know some people are here who cannot remove the cap or scarf because of the condition of their hair, full of scalp and dandruff. That was exactly my story years back. I went through hell in Oshodi. Even before I can buy second hand cloth under Oshodi Bridge, I will have saved for months. In our house, whenever we make corn mill (Ogi), we will have to dry the waste from the corn mill (Eeri), we would dry it and blend it again to make Amala.

I hawked raw eggs. I must hawk rice and stew before going to school in Ewutu. It was in Ibadan that I sold boiled eggs. There were so many temptations while I was growing up as well, but I thank God for my mother who kept me on the right path.

I would like to advise parents as well to instill discipline into their children so that they would be able to flee from temptation. My mother did a wonderful job on me because the fear of what my mother would do to me if I was caught doing the wrong thing was always there to deter me from doing anything silly. If at all you tried anything stupid and you got caught, just consider yourself dead. We need parents to take care of these children because temptations come in different forms.

Excellency premiere (photos)
There was a time my mother sent me on an errand around 7.30pm and I was almost ambushed by some boys who wanted to rape me. Immediately I sighted them, I began to shout because I remembered my mother’s advice about situations like that. I thank God because as I began to scream, those boys ran away and that was what saved me.

If it were another girl, they would have had their way with her. Despite the fact that we were struggling, my mother made sure she reserved some money for our upkeep like making our hair or buying necessary things. She did not want a situation whereby a man would tempt us with money”.

But today, the story has changed. I pray for everyone here tonight, facing one challenge or the other that, by this time next year the Lord will give them testimonies in Jesus name.

Tope is married to Soji Alabi who is also her Manager and Producer. They are blessed with children.