On Friday 17th July 2020, Rev. Sola Rotimi the iconic master of gospel accordion turned the platinum year of 70. His ministry also turned 50years in April 2020. The celebrations could not come with the expected pomp and pageantry for the state of the global pandemic across the world, but the celebrant made the best of the opportunity to thank God.
At 70 the Kwara state born man of God is not only a spiritual father but a living inspiration to many, ministers in the word and in music.
PTL News was with Rev. Sola Rotimi last year when he was in Nigeria to launch his latest work then titled Eternity. He spoke on various issues bothering his music and views on the trend of gospel music in Nigeria and other parts of the world.
Many people are interested in your ministry, they want to know how frequent you would be around in Nigeria.
As a minister, our commission is to go into the world, and preach the gospel. In recent times I based in the US. As an evangelist and pastor we preach the message of the Great Commission. We also prepare men for the Church. More of my ministrations are in the US. I live in Milwaukee Winsconsin, in the United States of America.
With the new work mine is to pray, plan and move to where Holy Spirit wants us to go. Anywhere I am wanted, I will go with this new work. It would be marketed by Gospel Choral Records, they now have an office in Akowonjo Road, in Lagos. When invited, I am prepared to be anywhere, this is my home to complete their work.
Doing these things what is the level of your satisfaction?
I am fulfilled, ministering in the world, waking up in the morning, singing and ministering even with tracts. Sometimes I embark on one to one evangelism so that I can reach people, in the bus, and sometimes in the plane.
What are the challenges like?
Sometimes as a human being, except when we have challenges like finance there are lots of challenges but our God is faithful. God always sees us through. There was a time I traveled to London without visa. The practice was that every Commonwealth member country was free to enter Britiain without visa. I did not know what Nigeria did for the privilege to be withdrawn. At the airport when I arrived they asked for my entry visa and I told them I was a member of the Commonwealth. It became an issue. When I got to London they interrogated me and when they looked into my bag they saw my accordion and one of them asked what I was doing with, I told them I was a musician, they asked if I could play it and I said yes. When I began to sing they were all excited, one of them began to tap his head, the officer spoke to his colleague and I was granted entry.
There was a time I was ministering and the Muslim attacked me and warned me not to play it there again. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all. Of course there are challenges about recording, traffic problem, financial challenges, but God is above them all.
As a father in gospel music how will you like to rate modern gospel music and artistes?
Gospel music is no more what it used to be, it’s not been encouraging, I can see it as part of the signs of the last days. Though human beings try to do things their own way it takes the Holy Spirit to lead us aright.
Then as the National President of GOMAN, we used to hold seminars for members, many of such are lacking today. What is important is to carry the Holy Spirit along and then they must take time to read the word of God for illumination and revelations.
What about the issue of commercialization of gospel gifts?
Even as pastors, there is a way we should handle money, it is not a sin to have money but our attention should not be centered on money, Many do it because of fame and then run into trouble. If the Holy Spirit is not with them, they can easily be misled.
What about remuneration for gospel ministers?
It is acceptable if it is done in the right way. For instance when a gospel artiste is invited to play at a wedding, we need to consider the cost of bringing them. They may charge for events like marriage, naming, burial and I don’t blame anyone. But for Church anniversary, a reasonable prophet offering must follow, during revival and church anniversary, but if they want me to be bring my band they must pay for it like they would pay our secular artistes.
Some people also abuse the privilege extended to them not to pay, or freedom to decide what to pay. They may not give enough appreciation; mostly Christians believe ministrations have to be done free. Well, some churches are paying enough, these are those who know the value of what we do. They give quality things to appreciate; the work of God is going. Some wanted to do but do not have the means, we can understand. The artistes should be told of what to do before rather than at the end of their ministration.
What advice do you have for both artistes and the Church in this regard?
When it comes to church anniversary, revivals, musicians should know that such programmes are for the promotion of the gospel but when it comes to ceremonies they should consider the remunerations. Some artistes are still growing, they need to be assisted, let us work together to lift the work of God. I know how many years I did it for people without paying me.
There was a day went for a ministration. I had spent all I had on fuel thinking I would be remunerated, only to discover I was given nothing, They gave me food and prayed for me. The whites know how to appreciate artistes with special package unlike we blacks.
In the late 90s to early 20s another practice by our people overseas especially in America was to convert honorarium to local currency and this is the best. It is because of this that some of us charge. Ironically many Churches and ministries prefer to go after those collecting money. Gospel artistes need money too to take care of themselves and their band. Many Churches are getting this understanding now.
Any other thing sir?
I want to encourage our artistes to give themselves to bible study, fasting and live a holy life, and their songs should be in tune with God. If they can do this heaven will be happy. I want to pray for Nigeria that God should be merciful to us. I want to thank all our fans all over the world.
The Man Shola Rotimi
He was born on July 17, 1950 in Odo-Owa, Kwara State. He had his early education at Baptist Primary School, Aboabo, Kumasi, Ghana; and later at African Primary School, Ogidiri Ofa, Kwara State and St James CAC School, Ilorin, Kwara State. He also attended Esie-Iludun Grammar School, Oro, Kwara State.
As a minister of God Rev. Sola Rotimi attended Morris Cerullo School of Evangelism, Ojoo, Ibadan, Oyo State; and Christ Apostolic Church Theological Seminary, Ile Ife Osun State.
Before he took up full time ministerial work he worked at the Nigerian Paper Mills Ltd., Jebba 1968-1976. He is a former National President of the Gospel Musicians Association of Nigeria (GOMAN), and member Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Performing and Mechanical Rights Society (PMRS). He bears the Triple S, meaning Saved to Serve Singers as his Stage Name.
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