By sola Lebile
The day had ripped but the dull weather gave it a morning colour. It was a wet Monday and still another rain was approaching. Everywhere anywhere, the rain was showing its watering presence.
And as I was waddling through the numerous posts on that chilly day when the news propped up, announcing that he had gone. I kept wrestling with the veracity of the shattering news. His mercurial photo repeatedly popped upon Facebook and Whatsapp pages
Soon a brother from Lagos wrote a terse remark, asking if it was true. And I promptly responded Uncle Malato was alive and that God would spare him,relying heavily on an earlier post that denied the story. In my confusion, i thought the social media had come again with its peculiar mess- fake news.
But I was dead wrong. The news came up menacingly and accompanying shock. I called here and there and I was told Malato had dropped death.
Malato ti ku (died)! His demise astounded and hit me like a tornado. Both the timing and manner of his passing were just mysterious and my total being completely smitten into pieces momentarily .
We all are aware Malato was a multi- talented individual, churning out songs, singing, mentoring, coaching, preaching,mediating, teaching the Word with a rare passion and commitment. He was a humble, charming, straightforward, simple, smart and brunt but not aggressive, not bossy fellow.
He was one of the few veteran Zion singers whose angelic flavors during prsises, worship, crusades attracted wandering souls to Christ. His soul inspiring songs are deep and attesting.
As an evangelist, Malato was seen crisscrossing the length and breath of the South West states and outside our Atlantic propagating the gospel of Christ in songs and sermons. He was organizing prayer meetings, seminars, crusades. His zeal for the gospel cut the picture of the Biblical Brother Comenius.
He berthed in Shagamu, Ogun State and set up a sprawling arm of the C& S church and within a few years, the church recorded a large following of devoted worshipers largely because of his penetrating, undiluted messages of love, eternity, repentance and hope.
For Malato Ikuesan, the church should be the place where discrimination doesn’t exist. He pursued this biblical doctrine with vigor appearing within and outside the white garment churches to mouth and matched it in word and action.
The unification of the church and I presumed he was stamping (sending signals) by his appearance in different garments associated with certain denominations, to erase the trait of some for Paul and some for Apollo doctrine of division in the land.
I remembered when the spiritual leader of C& S, Ugbonla Zion, Saint Elisha Lene passed away, it was Malato and the like who rallied round and assembled a consternation of star gospel singers – Prince Debo Ojubuyi, Sir Cliff Sama, Sola Korolo- to mention a few and waxed record/ songs in honour of Lene.
Also when some branded to wall out theC& S church into various divisions, we saw Malato and others preventing such unwarranted bifurcation.
The other day, he was in Akure where the ace broadcaster and culture activist, Henry Ojagbohunmi marked his 60th birthday, Malato was the chairman of the event and he spoke inspiring. I walked down and saluted him.in his humble, moderate manner chatted with me and did ask me: ati- mike.( what about my aunty, referring to my mother). That was Malato never severing the family tie in any way. It was my last time of seeing and hearing from him.
Death couldn’t allow Malato to ripe and reap the multiple fruits of his labour before snatching him away. Death has been notorious and cheap especially in this nation when harbingers of death like kidnapping, robbery, killings ran the quick errands of death with no restraining hands from the government.
Death lurks around and hovers around us and often turning life into a colourless and tasteless phenomenon. Since his death, I heard conversations of shining life of Pastor Malato, of a man o the people who had touched many lives with care and love.
I also heard uncontrollable loud wailing among family, friends and lived ones . I read lamentations over lamentations over an irreparable loss of a gifted child.I see the enduring works and worthy lifestyle of Malato
Death is not an end but a transition to another life. Malato’s life here was a remarkable and enduring one.His legacy remained evergreen and his art(the songs he dropped here) will continuously drum in our hearts. It won’t die out: so death be not proud.