HIS EARLY LIFE
Idowu Animasawun was born into a Muslim family, at a remote village called Igbinrin near Ota in Ogun State of Nigeria. Although his parents were from Abeokuta, his father was a peasant farmer whilst his mother helped him on the farms and still found time to engage in petty trading. It was a family of four children of which he is the third and by providence he happened to be the only child that attended a Christian mission school. St. James Anglican School, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria, starting school at age of 11 years.
He was a very brilliant primary school pupil and was an active member of the school musical band and also in sports particularly football and athletics. There is no trait of music in both his paternal and maternal family lineage, but his keen interest in music made it easy for him to play virtually all types of drums available then. At the end of his primary education he was offered a teaching appointment in his school with
a salary of ₤6.7s.6d (an equivalent of N12.75k) a month. That was a huge sum of money then but declined the offer. In 1957 he gained admission to National College of Commerce, Idi-Oro, Lagos but had to leave after two years due to financial reasons. Nevertheless through private studies he qualified as a stenographer in 1959 and worked with some companies in Lagos between 1961 and 1963.
HIS CAREER IN MUSIC
Towards the end of 1962 he became interested in drama and joined a drama group under the leadership of Folaranmi Arogundade. His contemporaries among others were Afolabi Afolayan (Ade Love), Friday Jombo, Laja George, Idowu Salami, Martin Birns etc., as a trainee. Later, he became so much interested in music that he gave up drama for music, learning how to play the guitar as a first step. Between 1963 and the first half of 1966 he performed with Adeolu Akinsanya, King Kennytone (both of them late) and some other local bands as a singer or a guitarist. Also during that period he trained the Nigeria Army dance Band, Abeokuta (andlatter at Ikeja cantonment).
THRICE PRESERVED FROM DEATH
As a youth in the early sixties, he had his portion of youthful exuberance one of which standing at the bus entrance whenever he had cause to enter one was his habit because of the breeze he enjoyed in the practice. On that particular day, as he was traveling in a bus on Carter bridge, Lagos standing in his usual position he narrowly escaped smashing his head against the pillar
of the bridge but he unconsciously pulled in his head a few seconds before the bus got to the pillar. To his greatest surprise another young man did the same thing a day after and smashed his head against the same pillar breaking his skull and his brain littered the highway. “The Lord delivered me from every evil work and preserved me unto His heavenly Kingdom to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 2 Tim. 4: 18.
Though he could not comprehend what was happening, he now realized that Satan wanted
to suck blood at that particular spot, but God preserved him for this hour so that he will be a blessing to his generation. Fulfilling God’s word: For I knew the thoughts that I think towards you, sayeth the Lord, thought of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Since thou was precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee……. therefore will I give men for thee and people for thy life”. Jer. 29: 11 and Isa. 43: 4.
The second incident was during the military coup in Nigeria on the 15th January, 1966. As a music instructor for the then 2nd battalion of the Nigerian Army dance band (which started in Abeokuta in 1964 and later moved to Ikeja cantonment in 1965). He used to accompany the band to perform on special occasions. One of such performances was at the Apapa barracks when the then Lt. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu was being transferred to Kano. Another one was during the military tattoo at the Abalti barracks (Mosalasi, Lagos) where Gen. Agui Ironsi and Brigadier Maimalari (both late) were present, Brigadier Maimalari was to hold a party in his official residence on Saturday 15th January, 1966 and he officially invited the band to perform. But as the Lord would have it the information did not get to him until the afternoon of Friday 14th January, 1966 after he had closed for the day. He remembered it was Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo (then a Col. And the army chief of staff) that sent the message to the commanding officer of the 2nd battalion at the Ikeja cantonment. Lt. Col. H.M.V. Njoku, who later joined the Biafran Army during the Nigerian Civil war.
The message got to him late and because he was not a soldier and therefore not under any military rule. He had the right to accept or decline any engagement after his official hours and on that particular day he declined.
The soldier members of the band however went to Brigadier Maimalari’s house to honour the engagement. As the music was on, it was not coordinated and melodious as the one he listened to when he saw them performed at the Abalti barracks. He therefore dismissed the band. The coup plotters arrived in his house immediately the band left. Now if he had been there to coordinate the band the music would have been fine as usual and the coup plotters would have me them and the people dancing and more people would have been killed probably including himself. Again, during the counter coup of July, 1966, he was living at the bachelor’s quarters at the Ikeja cantonment, and on the evening of the day when the coup would take place, he was in a room they usually called “BOYS ROOM” with many soldiers. The room was called so as it was out
of bound for any female because of what they practice there: smoking India hemp and drinking Local gin (Ogogoro). He was in that room till about 8pm., when suddenly he got up and told his room mate, an Isoko man named, Isiac Omojefe, that he will not be sleeping in the barracks that night. Though persuaded not to go to the town that night, he refused and left only to hear on the following day that there was a coup last night after he had left the Ikeja cantonment. He would have been one of the target as many were killed on personal hatred and he was not in good terms with some of the soldiers. The above mentioned incidents clearly showed that once a person is ordained of God for some specific assignments, there is nothing the devil can do to stop God’s purpose. Rev. Idowu Animasawun is a living example. When the army dance band was finally disrupted after the July, 1966 coup, he formed his own almost immediately and named it Idowu Animasawun and HIS LISABI BROTHERS BAND.
The band quickly rose to fame and by 1971 when he released a record titled “Challenge Cup 1971” (in honour of the WNDC of Ibadan who won the coveted cup) it sold throughout the country. This record made his band even more popular and began to receive invitations to perform at both social and state functions. He released several other records, performed at remarkable functions and won several laurels. By 1974 he performed all over Europe. From then on the band became even more successful.
In the midst of all these, however, he entangled himself in sin – like fornication and adultery, heavy consumption of alcohol, dependence on charms and occultism even though he was a Moslem.
His audience was made up of mainly unbelievers (though some of them were bearing Christian names) some of them died in motor accidents on their way home from his parties in which he had performed. In many cases, they attended the parties with partners, which are not their spouses. This resulted in many matrimonial crises and many homes were broken this way. As a secular musician, there was a tiny object he used to put in his mouth each time he was going to perform in the circle of wealthy people. This he used in eulogizing people who in turn spray him with much money until they emptied their pockets. At times before going for any engagement he would write the amount of money he wanted to make at the party on a piece of paper and wrapped it with an amulet. Usually he made nothing less than that particular sum of money and sometimes even more. The charms were so many that on some occasions he would get confused as to which black soap to use, amulet, to wear and “Ase” (the object used for hypnotizing or placing a curse on people) to use. He got so involved with charms that there were occasions on which he would pluck the neck of a guinea fowl and then lick its blood with some other ingredients. He was a heavy drunkard until alcohol became tasteless to him.
There was also the Ifa (Oracle) soup he used to eat. It is a special soup prepared with seven big snails and some other ingredients. Eating the soup was so hard and it must be consumed at a sitting. This useless effort has made him see that if a man would divert a quarter of his energy (with which he seeks money) to face the things of God, the world would be a better place. Generally, Christians believe that money, women, alcohol and music are some of Satan’s strongest weapons. He was one of those who hold this view because he had seen the way Satan destroys the lives of those who do not believe in Jesus. Religion without Christ is Satan’s greatest weapon in this world.
HIS INVOLVEMENT IN THE OCCULT
Even though he used charms and was religious, he was not satisfied, he wanted more power and so a friend introduced him to a witch at Oja-Oba in Ibadan, who he visited regularly. One day she took him to a private room with a very small window to make a covenant with her and performed some other rituals. Things were going on well with him until he suddenly stopped visiting her. Then one day he saw the woman in a dream and she asked why he stopped consulting with her. Before he could utter a word, she hit him on the head with a big stick after which he woke up with a severe headache. That was in 1977, and got cured of that headache in 1981 after he met the Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah. In 1987, he had cause to attend a meeting to settle a rift among some unbelievers around Oja-Oba. That witch was also invited to the meeting; she sat directly opposite him at the meeting; suddenly he was in a trance and saw her trying to feed him with akara balls so he said in the trance “The Lord rebuke you”. As he became conscious, the woman got up and left the meeting immediately and she did not return.
While with the witches at Oja-Oba, he was introduced to two societies of witches at Ota, but got more involved with the one at Ijana quarters, Ota. As a rule, whoever went to these witches for consultation had to prostrate before them, with his head touching the ground. When he got saved and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit one day took him to the high heaven where he saw lots of beautiful mansions and gardens to the extent that he did not want to come back to earth; but was forced back by the angels. As he finally got down he saw himself standing in the midst of the witches at Ota and as he jumped into there midst they all fled. This made him very glad because in those days before his conversion, he used to prostrate before those women in awe but on that particular occasion they trembled and fled before him. Indeed, “Greater is He that is in him than he that is in the world (1 Jh. 4:4). Praise the Lord.
Apart from associating with witches, he was also a member of the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity (ROF) and at the same time involved with a particular occult group know as Aiyelala. Because of his popularity his promotion through the rank and files of the Ogboni Fraternity was very fast.
On Saturday the 14th February, 1981, he was relaxing with a bottle of beer when one of his uncle came from Ilorin and told him to accompany him to Owo for a funeral ceremony. It was very unusual for him to be free on Saturdays but as things were on that day, he was free and agreed to honour the uncle’s invitation on short notice.
After taking some bottle of beer, they both set out for the journey which was eventful. They got to their destination under very difficult circumstances without light both inside and out of his car. The lights in the car went bleak and it was night already. The party was on with a lot of drinking and merriment and he felt like having a lady for the night but the girl he was interested in was a christian and she did not oblige to his proposal but only made an appointment to see him in Ibadan as she also came to the party from Ibadan. They eventually met and she started talking to him about Jesus but he was not interested. One day she cajoled him into buying a bible which he bought reluctantly. However after some weeks he started reading it for reasons he did not know and he read it from Genesis through Revelation within six months. The last time he read the Bible before then was in 1956. As he continuously started reading the Bible, he stopped all his former religion practice and consultations with the powers of darkness.
He then decided to start attending fellowship at Christ Apostolic Church, Oke Iyanu, Sango, Ibadan (popularly called “Sango Obadare”) because way back in 1979 when Prophet Obadare was holding a revival there any time he appeared on the television screen, he would tune off his TV set saying, “What has this blind man got to tell us”? He never realized then that indeed he was the blind one, but glory be to Jesus, he was once blind but now he see. Hallelujah.
At C.A.C. Oke-Iyanu, he met with Brethren who helped him to grow spiritually. Some of them were understandably hesitant because they doubted his conversion. He thanked them all but he has to mention three people to whom he particularly indebted: Pastor J. O. Owoeye, the pastor of the church, who followed him to his house personally and implored him to throw away all the charms, he took his advice immediately. He was blessed and challenged by many other ministers and brethren in other churches and fellowships and he was grateful to all of them. As he joined the beliebers in Fellowship in 1981, he started working with the choristers at CAC Oke-Iyanu, Sango, Ibadan.
Sometimes in November, 1987, as he was watching a Telecast featuring egungun (masquerade) festival, where participants were flogging each other and blood oozing out of their bodies, he sensed the Holy Spirit instructing him to go and deliver the captives that were worshiping masquerades and other idols in that place.
At the end of the Television programme the TV station presenster announced the programme took place in Badeku; and on Sunday 30th January he moved to Badeku with a mat, some plastic plates, aluminum spoons and N70.00 (Two Dollars) as it were then.
Not that he did not have beds and better cutleries and plates in his house at Ibadan, but he determined to completely rely on God and God proved Himself faithful as the whole world can see today. Brethren the work is still much, the journey still far and the personnel, material and financial needs still very huge in order to reach the unreach with the gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation. Rom. 1: 16.
You are invited to come on board and join us in reaching the unreached. Shalom.