Aboru Aboye Controversy: Pastors React To Tope Alabi’s Use Of Traditional Phrase In New Song

Several Nigerian pastors have shared their opinions on the use of ‘Aboru Aboye’ in a popular gospel song by Tope Alabi. While some pastors believe there is nothing inappropriate about the lyrics, others disagree and argue that traditional language should not be included in gospel music. Last Friday, Alabi gained attention for her latest song, which consists of the phrase ‘Aboru Aboye,’ commonly used by Ifa worshippers to greet initiates, also known as ‘Babalawo.’ Her choice of lyrics has sparked discussions both online and offline.

Aboru Aboye Controversy: Pastors React To Tope Alabi’s Use Of Traditional Phrase In New Song, Yours Truly, News, March 2, 2024

In the viral video, Alabi can be heard singing the lyrics.;

‘Emi ni aboru, aboye… abiye ni mi, Oruko mi ni yen. Mo de bo, mo ru, mo ye,” (I am a sacrifice, that’s my name. I am a sacrifice accepted by God, that’s my name).

In response to the widely circulated video, Pastor Lanre Kayode, Senior Pastor of the Christ Apostolic Church in Shibiri, Lagos, stated that any controversy surrounding the video may be attributed to certain individuals’ inadequate comprehension of the Yoruba language. Pastor Kayode expressed his opinion that,

“It’s a language thing. I see nothing wrong with what she said. She was simply praising God.”

During a discussion, Pastor Kayode pointed out that Dunsin Oyekan, a gospel singer, used similar words in one of his songs. Still, it was only sung in English without any controversy.

“Oyekan, in the song ” More than a Song, ” sang the words: ”I am more than a song today, I am a sacrifice…” similar to Alabi’s but conveyed in a different language. ”Why are people not complaining about that? Is it because he sang in English? “Why do people not have issues with this? Is it because Tope sang in Yoruba?”

He emphasized that Tope Alabi’s choice of words is perfectly acceptable.

“It’s simply a language thing. Not many people understand Yoruba that well, and that’s why they are criticizing the song,”

During an interview with our correspondent, Pastor Tunde Afolabi from the Christ Redemption Church in Ogba, Lagos, he disagreed with the criticism aimed towards Tope Alabi for her song ‘Aboru Aboye.’ He believes there may have been a misunderstanding regarding Alabi’s views on using the phrase and that some may wrongly associate it with traditional beliefs.

”People believe she is referring to Ifa, but I feel she is worshipping her God the best way she knows how. We all have the best ways to worship God.”

A statement of support for the use of the phrase ‘Aboru Aboye’ in the viral video was given by Prophet Akinyele Timothy of the Celestial Church Of Christ’s El Morijah Olubukun parish in Ikorodu. Prophet Timothy expressed his agreement with Alabi’s use of the phrase.,

”Tope Alabi was simply praising God. Even the Muslims say, ‘Oba Ajoke aye, Asake Orun’. They are also simply praising God. Tope was simply acknowledging God’s might, not in any way affirming that she is an Ifa worshipper. I do not see anything wrong in the phrases she used.”

During a recent interview, Pastor (Mrs.) P.S. Otitolaiye from the Mount of Fire Ministries in Ijanikin expressed her disapproval of using the phrase ‘Aboru Aboye’ in a gospel song by Alabi. According to the pastor, traditional phrases should not be included in gospel songs as they do not align with the message of light and darkness.

”Tope Alabi should endeavor not to bring any traditional phrase into her song because there is no relationship between light and darkness.”

According to Pastor Otitolaiye, the discussion surrounding the relationship between religion and culture in Nigeria is ongoing.

Aboru Aboye Controversy: Pastors React To Tope Alabi’s Use Of Traditional Phrase In New Song, Yours Truly, News, March 2, 2024

In a similar tone, Pastor Ifeoluwa Fatoki of Divine Grace Baptist Church Ogbomosho, who holds a degree in African Traditional Religion and World Religion from the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary Ogbomoso, expressed his disagreement with the use of ‘Aboru Aboye.’

”I do not think those words are appropriate in the worship of God because they are not original to Christianity and already have roots in the worship of Ifa. I think there are better words that can be used. To refer to the believer as a sacrifice is okay. But those three words have different connotations. It’s like saying, Eriwo ya… No matter how we paint it, it is not acceptable. More so, hallelujah, the Jewish word for ‘praise Yahweh’ as a word is known in Christianity. It’s like saying, Ifa worshippers now also say hallelujah in their worship.”

According to General Superintendent Apostle Adeboye Ajakaiye (JP) of Ile Adura Mose Orimolade Tunolase Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Festac Town, Tope Alabi is simply performing as a singer to please her fans.

”Romans 12:2 shows that we live out God’s will when we change our thoughts to God’s thoughts rather than living as the world dictates. The world will always pressure us to live sinfully and selfishly, but to live the good life God wants from us requires changing how we behave—by changing our thoughts. Tope Alabi is an entertainer. From my observations over the years, her performances have always been to please her audience, whether intentionally or not, I can’t say. She’s also human that can also make mistakes. From the video I watched, she was trying to use the word ‘Aboru, Aboye, Abiye’ positively.

”I know the devil twists the things of God for his own use, but should or can we as children of God, in the light of Romans 12:2 do the same? I think you know the answer. Such thinking has made the Church conform to the world. These days, you can’t distinguish a Christian from the world in all ways, from dressing, talking, using worldly vibes in Christian songs, dancing, etc. I remember in times past, a word of commitment from a Christian was seen as a bond; now, when you call yourself a Pastor, that’s when people become extra careful in dealing with you.

”Why? It is because we have refused to conform to the instructions of the Lord by allowing such little compromises in the body of Christ. It’s sad, but it’s the current reality. The Church needs to wake up. However, Luke 18:8 says that when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? The choice is yours.”

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