Ace Islamic singer, Alhaja Rukayat Gawat-Oyefeso hosted Global Excellence magazine’s staff writer, Sheu Tijani Adegbola recently for an interview session. During the interaction, the beautiful songstress explained the uniqueness of her brand of music. Also, she spoke about her father whose whereabouts has remained a mystery for some years, her family, her opinion on Islamic song and morality, and more. Excerpt…
Do you know that a lot of people don’t know much about you?
My name is Alhaja Rukayat Gawat Abolanle Oyefeso. I was born and raised precisely in Lagos Island. I’m a graduate of Mass Communications from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye. I have married for the past seven years and blessed with two kids, a boy and a girl. My first child is five years old now and the second is two years old.
As a graduate, why did you choose music, Islamic music for that matter. Why not other professions?
Well, number one is that I love music naturally. I want you to understand that no profession in this life gives more sense of fulfillment to what you love doing naturally. What you need to do is just to find a way to develop it and you are set. All over the world, you will find out that those who stand out in their chosen professions are often those who pursued their dreams based on their natural talents. Music is that thing that gives me joy and fulfillment and coupled with the fact that I come from a strong music background, I feel like riding on. And this is the secret.
After you graduated, you decided to become a singer, when did you discover that music is your calling?
Like I said, I’m from a very strong music background, my dad is also into music. I have been singing right since childhood. When I was in school; I was only well known for one thing. That is music.
What is your motivation being an Islamic singer?
Like I told you earlier, nothing in this life gives more fulfillment like what you do naturally. I love God, I’m a Muslim and again I come from a music background because my dad also sang when he was around. I was brought up with it. I must also add that it gives me joy to sing for the glory of Allah, it gives me joy to do the kind of music that motivates people to worship Allah. It gives me joy to know that my kind of music does not promote immorality in the society or turn people away from Allah. I’m a good Muslim, I have to practise and preach what my Quran is saying. I’m not just singing simply because I want to sing.
Could you tell us a little about your family?
I come from a strong Muslim background, my parents are Muslims, we are all Muslims in my family. My dad was also a singer, he had about four albums before his disappearance.
Your dad is still missing, what really happened?
My dad has been missing for the past five years now, he left home, saying he was going to Ikeja and has not been seen since then. We have done everything we could but we’ve not found him.
What efforts have the family made to really find him till date?
We have done practically everything necessary to find him and that is why I do host prayer meeting for him every 10th of July because 10th of July was the date he got missing.
What was the effort of the security agencies?
They have also tried their best, even the Lagos State government. I can remember then that Governor Fashola announced a price for anyone who could find Alhaji Gawat but unfortunately for us, we did not hear the positive news we expected.
Has the family given up hope of finding him?
No, we have not given up hope. There is nothing Allah cannot do because there were people that got missed for like 15 to 20 years and later came back home. I still have hope and I know every member of the family still has hope of finding him.
Have you ever thought that he might have left with another woman?
No, he is not the type. Even if he wants to leave with another woman, would he have left all his family for five years?
Do you think he was kidnapped?
I honestly don’t know because that was what we were thinking, and even at that time we expected whoever or the people that kidnapped him to reach out to the family to demand for ransom but that was not the case.
What are you asking from Nigerians, the security agencies, the government and to whom it may concern?
My appeal is that Nigerians should keep praying for him because I really don’t know how I’m going to feel the very moment I set my two eyes on him again, I just can’t imagine it.
You are a wife, mother and singer, how do you combine them?
Well, my husband knows that I’m a singer. However, he has been a pillar of support. He has always been there for me. In fact, he has been a blessing to me and my music career.
You have series of songs and albums in the market, which song would you say is the song that actually shot you to the limelight?
I have about seven albums in the market and I think the song that really brought me out was “Aiyele Gawat” and it was released in 2012. It was actually my first record.
Let’s also look at your new album, “Obanla” in the market
My latest album in the market is titled “Obanla”. It talks about God who is the greatest. The album was released on Monday 9th October 2017. I urge my fans to keep listening to the great work that has lots of artistes on it. The LP featured Alhaji Sulaimon Alao Malaika, Alhaji Kabir Alayande, Alhaji Basit Katibi Bello. The female singers on the project are Alhaja Aishat Adeleke and Alhaja Mariam Akiki.
The album is marketed and distributed by Okiki Music. My last album was “Ijo Ope”. It is also doing well. Also, “Temitope” is doing fantastically well in the market.
You won Best Islamic artiste at the just recently held City People Music awards. How do you feel?
I feel great winning the award. It gives me joy that my fans out there appreciate my efforts. It shows that people are following me. This gives me more courage and determination to succeed.