Gospel music maestro, Ebenezer Obey, has said the so-called rivalry fans claimed existed between himself and Juju music legend, King Sunny Ade, was untrue.
Both men ruled the Juju music scene for decades since the 1960s before Obey crossed over to Gospel music.
Obey said this at the media launch of ‘Ariya Eko Music Festival’ which was held at the National Stadium, Lagos on Wednesday.
“The competition between myself and KSA was projected by fans and media. It almost turned our music into politics. I thank God it never happened.
“Every time, it was “Obey this, Sunny that”, we both always ensured that we neutralised all that fake rivalry. This was why I said that in one-word musicians should not see themselves as competitors but as contributors to the growth of the Nigerian music industry.”
The septuagenarian also called on Nigerian musicians to eschew envy and competition in other to build a long-lasting career.
“Musicians must not see themselves as competitors. I won’t ever stop saying this because it’s a piece of priceless advice,” he said.
“Musicians must appreciate one another because God has given every one of them a gift and talent. These talents can never be the same no matter how hard they try. Even if we play the same kind of music and or sound, it can never be the same.”
The 77-year-old singer, who is the headliner at the ‘Ariya Eko’ concert, cited examples using his immediate family members.
“For instance, my son, Tolu Obey plays Juju music, my grandson also plays Juju music, yet they play like me but at the same time, they do not sound exactly like me. This just goes to show that so we must not see ourselves as competitors but as contributors. We are using our gifts and our talents to make people happy,” he added.
He also thanked the organiser of the ‘Ariya Eko’ music festival, Bimbo Esho, for promoting indigenous music genres, like Juju, Fuji, Afro-beat and Apala.
Responding to the musician, Esho explained that the festival will feature renowned musicians like Shina Peters, Jimi Solanke and Obesere.
Esho, who is the daughter of highlife music enthusiast, Femi Esho, added that proceeds from the concert will be used to set up Evergreen Music Hall of Fame.
According to her, the Hall of Fame will serve as a museum space where the story of every Nigerian musician home and abroad will be told in pictures, relics, and audiovisuals.
She noted, “Sir Peters will be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award and 30 years celebration of his ACE album. The likes of Tee Mac, Uwaifo, Yinka Davies, Buga, Ibitayo Jeje, Segun Blessing, Omileyan, Vector, Sola Vibrator, Ibe, Dollarz, Wasiu Oseni Ejire, Eko Brass Band and others will also perform at the concert.”
Ariya Eko Musical Festival will take place at Lagos City Hall on December 15.