Help! Tope Alabi’s Career is dying
When Tope Alabi started her gospel music career professionally in the early 2000s, year 2001 to be precise, it was crystal clear that she would become one of the greatest exports of that genre. Her debut album titled ‘Ore ti o Common’, released same year was a monster hit.Still basking in the euphoria of the success recorded by the debut album, Tope Alabi continued tosoar, as her follow-up albums garnered global recognition, making her one of the most travelled gospel musicians in Nigeria. Her second album, ‘Iwe Eri’, released in 2003, was followed by ‘Agbara Re Ni’ (2005), Agbara Olorun (2006), Angeli Mi (2007), Kokoro Igbala (2008), Kabiosi(2010), Alagbara (2012), Agbelebu (2013) and Oruko Tuntun (2015). Aside this consistent feat, Tope Alabi also gained prominence as a soundtrack artiste, having featured in that capacity in more than 400 films. She is no doubt a household name, but her fame and influence have continued to diminish by the day. She was so influential to the extent that her voice is behind virtually every Yoruba movie soundtrack. She was the most sought-after. But the tide has changed drastically. Besides, after many attempts to put her career back on track, Tope has failed to produce another hit, unlike before. Without mincing words, Tope’s career began nose-dive shortly after her controversial faceoff with Pastor Elijah Ola Ajanaku, the General Overseer of Christ Victory Chapel International, Ayobo, Lagos, a church where she was also a full member. Tope was very close to the now late Ajanaku, to the extent that she hardly sings (even in her albums) without giving credit to the Prophet as the man God used to give her breakthrough. However, the hitherto sweet relationship between the singer and her spiritual father became frosty during the crossover night service of the church on 31 December, 2012. It was a day Ajanaku publicly announced another singer, Ifemide as Tope’s replacement. During an interview, Ajanaku claimed that “There are many things concerning her (Tope Alabi) and the husband that I will never tell anyone, never ever. And if I say what God has used me to do in their lives, with proofs and medical test records in their hands, they will be ashamed of themselves. I’m wondering if she’s being foolish or just stupid. I remember when she was putting pressure on me to have sex with her. She did not hide her urge to have sexual relationshipwith me. At a point she could not control her urge to do that but I declined, I said never, not me.”Also, while speaking with some selected journalists shortly before his death, Ajanaku said “You know that when you switch off a fan, it doesn’t stop immediately. It stops gradually, and that is how Tope’s career is going to be because I just switched her off.” To say that the statement has come to fruition is like stating the obvious. Ever since, Tope’s career has continued to dim day by day. She has ceased to be that most sought-after doyen of gospel music and movie soundtrack. But in a swift reaction, Tope Alabi’s husband explained that “this trouble started when we stopped attending Prophet Ajanaku’s church because he was beginning to see himself as a god in our lives. All he has said to the media are bunch of lies, just to look for a way to bring us down. Iknow there is a God in heaven who will judge everything we do on earth and reward all of us accordingly. I intentionally told my wife not to say anything and leave God to judge everything but I am using this medium to tell everyone out there that Tope Alabi never asked Prophet Ajanaku to sleep with her.” Meanwhile, Ajanaku died in August 2013 at Gbongan, Osun State, southwest Nigeria. Until his death, the cleric lived at Folarin Williams Close, Ikola Odunsi in Agbado/Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area.
Ajanaku, known for his flamboyance and elegance, was said to have been sick for almost two months and was taken to his home town for treatment. During the period he was sick, members of his church were told that he had travelled abroad to rest.Tope was formerly a member of the Jesters International comedy group. She later worked with other stage theatre groups in both Ibadan and Lagos.