Wednesday, February 27, 2019
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Lagos, Nigeria

Pa. Pastor Samuel Olajide Aina (1939-2019)

o you know the composer of and have you ever watched on the TV screen, the flamboyant '3000' (figure mine) or more choir of the Redeemed Christian Church (RCCG), sing beautifully and dramatically "Jesu yi o Iwo, L'oologo Didan, Iwo l'oologo Pipe, Iwo ma l'oologo julo" accompanied with 'Bata' and all other kinds of musical instruments, with the ageless momo Fasanyin, the leader of one time 'Good Women Choir" at the centre stage? That is his face. He was recalled home on January 24 2019.

There is no argument about it, Pa Samuel Aina is one of the greatest Pentecostal music composer and guitarist of our time. But he was not one that sought fame, otherwise he could have waxed many records and made good money.

Each time I watch the flamboyant '3000' or more (figure mine) choir of the Redeemed Christian Church (RCCG), sing beautifully and dramatically on TV screen "Jesu yi o Iwo, L'oologo Didan, Iwo l'oologo Pipe, Iwo ma l'oologo julo" accompanied with 'Bata' and all other kinds of musical instruments, with the ageless momo Fasanyin, the leader of one time 'Good Women Choir" at the centre stage, I cannot but thank God for pa Pastor Samuel Aina, who composed it and many other inspirational Praise Songs, which we sing today.

One other popular Praise Song he wrote and composed is "Alpha, Omega, Iwo ni mo fi'yin fun o Baba, Iwo ni mo fi'yin fun o Baba" (Alpha, Omega, it is You I give all the praises).

This one became very popular and widely spread abroad after he sang it at a large conference organized by the Fellowship of Christian Students' (FCS) of St Clares Grammar School, Offa, held between March 30 & April 02 1973. I taught in the school briefly at the time and I was one of the School FCS advisers.

Another of his Praise Songs, which I enjoy so much is "So fun mi o/2ce, Gbolohun oro kan, Baba o ire" meaning "Baba, just tell me one word "Goodness"

As can be observed, the wordings of his Praise Songs are usually short and snappy but inspirational. And this reflects very much his personality. He spoke very little. He was a man of few words. I am not going to be wrong if I describe him as either shy or timid but very confident. He always carried within him an infectious smiling face even in times of adversary. He was one person who faced terrible vicissitudes of life; types that could wreck, blow off and discourage the greatest standing Christian. Yet he carried smiling face all through. He was very humble and amiable.

Pa Aina was not a house hold name in the Pentecostal and Gospel Music Industry, but someone who he taught how to play the Guitar was; in the person of that Mathematician, the late Dr. Henry Jackson Bello (Both eventually studied Mathematics). He taught Dr. Jackson how to play Guitar at the famous Titcombe College Egbe, formerly in Kwara state, now in Kogi State in the very early sixties. Jackson was junior to him at the School. Unfortunately Dr. Henry Jackson Bello too did not live long. He was recalled home as early as 1990. So, not many of todays' Christian Musicians would know him. Those who know him will however, undoubtedly testify to it that we had no other one like him during his life time. Pa Aina himself testified to Dr. Bello's mastery of the Guitar but he was not surprised. He said when many of them at the starting point pulled only one cord, Jackson pulled three, right from the on-set.

I met Pa Aina in 1971 when he taught at Ajesse-po Grammar School, Kwara State. My friends; Prof. Jacob Gbadeyan, a mathematician, the late Femi Agboola and others were in the sixth form at Ilorin. For no reason other than enthusiasm for the spread of the Gospel, we took it upon ourselves to be visiting the young Christian Students in the then newly established High schools along Ajassepo, Omupo & Idofian -Ilorin axis. Jacob and Femi did their High School at Oro, so we extended our visits to Oro. In fact it is to the credit of Jacob and Femi that the Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS) was established at Notredame Girls Secondary School, Oro. Notredame was a Catholic Church School and had its own organization for her Christian girls other than FCS. We were young, ignorant and did not know we needed the permission of the authority of the FCS administration for what we were doing. But Bro. Emmanuel Oladipo, the then FCS Travelling secretary of the area understood our passion and accommodated us.

It was at one of those meetings at Ajassepo Comprehensive School, I met Pa. Samuel Aina who was a teacher in the school and the School FCS senior adviser with another elderly person, Mr. Aiyeloja. We from then on became very friendly.

Though I initially wrote that Pa. Aina was relatively unknown in the Christian Music Industry, he actually was among his contemporaries. Bro. Emmanuel Oladipo referred to him as "Aina Guitar"

I understood that in those days, he frequently featured at conferences of the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) Church later changed to Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA). Remember the SIM owned the Titcombe College, which he attended. Otherwise his background was Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), which is the popular Church at Odo-Owa, where he hailed from, which is close to Iloffa, the home town of Apostle Ayo Babalola, the founder of Christ Apostolic Church. Odo-Owa and Iloffa, can be taken for a single town except for people from the area.

Vicissitudes of life

He taught in several High Schools under the Kwara State Schools Board but Pa Samuel Aina was frequently touched by Satan. He went through many afflictions of the enemy. Three wives preceded him to heaven. I understood one of his children has either autism or downs syndrome.

We lost contact because of my frequent stay outside Nigeria and in the last three years, I very much wanted to know of his where about. I mentioned it to the hearing of Pa George Adeniran who set the task in motion. It yielded fruit and we located him to a house in Adewole Housing Estate in Ilorin. This was about two and half years ago. Unfortunately, he was already living with Alzheimer (memory loss). He did not recognize me but he poorly recognized Elder Adeniran, both of them educationists. He read Mathematics & Physics at the Advanced Teachers' College (ATC) Zaria and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

There stood the musical instrument he loved very much, the guitar, in one corner of his single room. I passed the guitar to him to play us a melody. He held it and did not know what to do with it. I asked him how old he was, he answered 25 years. So I asked him when he was born, he answered 1961. I reminded him that 1961 was the year he graduated at Titcombe College Egbe.

The next time I visited Nigeria, Elder George Adeniran in my company, visited the Adewole Housing Estate home, where we met him the previous time. He had been moved to an 'Old peoples Home', we were told. We made several enquiries to know the location. They yielded no positive fruit

At the Christmas Carol 2018 (2 months ago), organized by the Sarfam Medical Centre, Fate, Ilorin, the Worship leader, led us to sing "Jesu yi o/2ce Iwo L'oologo Didan, Iwo l'oologo Pipe, Iwo ma l'oologo julo" The Musicians and the Worship leader including us, the congregation were thrown up in high spirit and my spirit went again to Pa Aina, the composer. I was to lead a session of prayer immediately after the Praise Worship. I got to the stage and I asked the audience if they knew the composer of the song we just sang. No one knew. I told them that the composer, without mentioning his name does no longer know how to pull the strings of the guitar and they should join me in prayers to God that his journey to heaven should be made smooth. This was on December 22 2018. I was back to the US after Christmas and late in January, I had a call from same Pa George Adeniran that he heard a public announcement that Pastor Samuel Aina had gone to be with the Lord on Jan 24 2019, just about a month after I led a public prayer that his journey to heaven should be made smooth. Blessed be the name of our God.

Few hours before I post this article to the Publisher, I got his autobiography written in the program of Events of his final send off ceremony to the High Realm and I was delighted to read that he wrote and composed "Eese ti Olododo un jiya" (Why Does the Righteous Suffer?) and Papa un jo igbe o si run (Bush Burning but not consumed). These two songs are some of the most highly rated and famous songs of ECWA.

There are two important lessons to be learnt from the life and times of this most humble and friendly Servant of God, Pa Samuel Olajide Aina.

i. Working for God is not for monetary gain. If you become wealthy through it, blessed be the name of the Lord. But it is not Biblical to enter a Christian Ministry for the purposes of making wealth. Unfortunately, many Ministers of the Gospel today, particularly in Nigeria take to Preaching and Healing and working of miracle for monetary gain. Pa Samuel Aina and his generation did not belong to this group. The moment today's Christians observe a spiritual gift in them, may be; preaching, prayer, playing instruments, the immediate plan is to commercialize it i.e turn it into monetary gain. These are the people who the Apostle Paul spoke about in his first letter to Timothy in 6: 5 "to them the Good News is just a means of making money" And he counseled us to keep away from them.

Had Pa Aina thought of making money with his gift of guitar and composing of Spiritual songs, he would have monopolized the industry long ago. Many Gospel artists today have used his work to enrich themselves.

ii. The other lesson to learn from his life is that he corrected the error, which is made on many pulpits of today that once you are a Christian, you are immune against afflictions. Pastor Aina was severally afflicted in his life time, yet he stood his ground in the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Good night and rest on sir, remembrance of you is very sweet. Well done.