By Eric Elezuo
He is smooth talking. He is fast paced. He is a delightsome entertainer and above all, he is a veritable vessel in the hands of God, using the instrumentality of music. His name is Salau Aliu Olayiwola, better known as Testimony (Mr Jaga).
My life is a testimony, and that informs the origin of my name, Testimony, he told Bashorun Dele Momodu during a live interview on Instagram, where he also featured his life band to the admiration of his teeming supporters.
As a man’s life experiences turnaround through God, using a human vessel, Testimony told, with gusto, admiration and respect, how his life was lifted from the doldrum through the General Overseer of Christ Embassy Church, Pastor Oyakhilome, simply known in all circle as Pastor Chris.
He told the story of his first break in the music world when on a particular day, during a church programme, he was privileged to climb the stage against all all odds because he was not earmarked for performance on the said day. Fate responded to his hard work and launched him on stage on a day Pastor Chris made an entry.
“The stage was kind of dull that day, and someone was like, why don’t we call on Testimony to go up and perform. I saw it as a dream come true much as he felt jittery. I went, and to the glory of God, delivered a performance that got the crowd on their feet. Seeing Pastor dancing that day practically made my day,” he said.
That performance was to change Testimony’s life and perspective, as a whole new thing instantly began to happen to him.
In the first instance, he narrated, that Christ Embassy took him in, gave him a place to live at Omole Estate, trained him to perfection without changing his type of music. Not only that, he was taken to South Africa for tutorial brush up. That was not luck. That was God in action. Overnight, a music loner had a total make over, and began a jolly ride to stardom.
But the Holy Spirit in Pastor Chris was not done with him.
“My hit, I must say can be tied to another performance, which Pastor somehow missed. But he managed to hear the last part of my song as he was coming in. He requested that I repeat my performance. It was open heaven; no one has ever been privileged to perform twice on Pastor Chris’ altar in one event. That day, I must say, I broke all protocol and wore agbada instead of suit, which was the norm. Of course, I performed again, and the standing ovation was beyond me… over 30 thousand persons were on their feet cheering.
“Pastor Chris was thrilled and he didn’t hide it as he danced his heart out. Afterwards, he took the mic and explained to the congregation the message I was trying to put across. He was thrilled at the use of ‘Jehovah ginger’ particular. And then he said, ‘I will give you N5 million’. I almost fainted. My life changed. From a squatter, I rented a three bedroom apartment. Not only that, I got equipment and instrument for the journey. Pastor Chris just made me to ride ahead.
“My encounter with Pastor Chris did not end there, in fact, it was the beginning. I had concluded performing one day when he asked me, ‘how much did I give you the last time?’ I told him five million. His next question threw me completely off balance. ‘What if I place you on a N5 million salary every month?’ In fact, I fainted.
“To cut a long story short, I became a landlord within the next three months, and it has been from favour to favour ever since. Now even, my mum is in Georgia, USA, cooling off.
A surprised Momodu had to intone that the Nigerian nation needs more of the likes of Pastor Chris and his no holds barred generosity.
It must be known that Testimony struggled his way through life to get to his position today. In his quest to get sponsors for his musical career, he was unfortunate to fall into the wrong hands, and had to be thrown inside prison where for months, he lost touch with the world.
The pathetic story he told bordered on mistaken identify as he was jailed for offence he knew nothing about. But providence was on his side as the real offender was miraculously caught. He left prison in 2011, proving that anyone can become whatever he wishes to be irrespective of setbacks.
While sending a message to the society, Testimony told stories of intimidation in the prison, outright allegations, barefaced lies told against individuals and how people are brought to prison, who knows nothing of the so called offences for which they are charged.
Testimony’s roller coaster journey continues to roll unabated. He has been privileged to perform on high calibre stages including the prestigious yearly Ovation Carol.
If Testimony can, from prison become a celebrity, the door of success is certainly open to anyone, background notwithstanding.
Testimony is not the prodigy of Pastor Chris. There are innumerably more. The wonderful teacher is constantly in the business of producing musical talents, who have been able to hold their own anywhere in the world. Kudos Pastor Chris!