Born 60 years ago, not many people would have seen Kris Okotie exchange the secular music stage for the pulpit.
Once upon a time known as Kris, the now Reverend Chris Okotie has crafted a niche for himself in the Christian setting in Nigeria. His style of preaching is also such that listeners may be forced to consult their dictionaries anytime he mounts the pulpit.
“It was not an arbitrary whimsical or capricious act it was based on the claims justice being meant before the dispensation of grace could be released unto you. Are you still here?” are the words of Reverend Chris Okotie in his sermon on a Sunday in 2016.
Aside being a pastor, Okotie made the headlines on Sunday, June 24, 2012 when he decided it was time for him and his ex-wife, Stephanie, to say goodbye. His decision was met with heavy criticism as some questioned why a pastor would part ways with his wife.
He is also known as one of the Nigerians who have attempted to rule the country, having contested three times for the office of the President of Nigeria. In 2003, Okotie contested as the presidential candidate of Justice Party (JP), but lost to Olusegun Obasanjo. Again, in the May 2007 general election, he contested on the platform of Fresh Democratic Party, a party he founded. However, he lost to the late Umaru Yar’Adua. Not wanting to give up on his dreams, he tried his luck in 2011 when he contested against Goodluck Jonathan. He lost. On Sunday, July 16, he declared his intention to run for presidency in 2019 general election.
However, Okotie has not always been known as a 'master' of the English language on the pulpit. “When he was in the world” — as they say — his voice found its way into the heart of music enthusiasts for his pop style of music that brought freshness to the music scene of the 80’s.
Although he had been singing since he was younger, the big break came for him in 1980 when he met Odion Iruoje, a producer in Lagos. And so, the road to his stardom became a reality.
Here are a lists of some songs in his catalogue:
Show Me Your Backside: The song which eulogies a woman’s behind sees Kris Okotie trying to woo a woman by telling her to dance to the rhythm of his song. The song was recorded at EMI studios, Lagos and was produced by Odion Iruoje. It was released in 1981.
I Need Someone: This Funk/Soul/Pop rock song was released in 1980. The track was arranged by Odion Iruoje with the help of other co-producers like Berley Jones.
Carolina: Kris Okotie uses poetry in telling a story of a city in America, North Carolina where his mind resides. “I can feel the sun shine hit me from behind and I got North Carolina in my mind,” so goes the lyrics of the song.
Fine Mama: If all other songs have failed to get your attention, this pop song by Kris Okotie will definitely get you off your seat. In this song, Okotie skilfully praises the beauty of his mother. Some part of the lyrics are also rendered in his local dialect. “Fine mama loves me 1,2,3,4,5. My mama too fine,” the lyrics read.
Today, Chris Okotie, as he now refers to himself, spends his time spreading the gospel of Christ, as well as nurturing his dream of becoming Nigeria’s president.