Tears, Tributes As Welu Welu Master, Sammie Okposo, Bows Out
In the early hours of yesterday, the Internet went agog following the death of renowned gospel singer, Sammie Okposo at 51. The psalmist and music producer hailed from Ivori-Irri, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta.
Okposo was the CEO of Zamar Entertainment and collaborated with many gospel artistes. His first album, Unconditional Love (Welu Welu Reloaded) was released in 2000, followed by Addicted, which was released in 2004, then No More Drama (2006) and most recently The Statement produced by a Grammy Award winner, Kevin Bond.
The 17-track album has songs like ‘He Is Worthy ‘Big God’, ‘God Is Good, ‘Wave and Sing’, ‘Bless His Holy Name’, ‘You Are Wonderful’, ‘Jawa Chineke’ (feat. Dubby and Ambi Mossi) and ‘Praise Party’, among others.
In 1992, Sammie became a soundtrack producer in the Nigerian Movie industry. This was the official start of his career as a producer before he switched to making music. Okposo has since become a popular gospel artiste not just across the country but also all over the world. He has performed regularly in Africa, Europe and North America and curates a series of concerts called SOPP (Sammie Okposo Praise Party).
On November 17, the late singer posted a flyer that shows he will be performing at the ‘Sinach and Friends Live in Concert scheduled to take place on Sunday, December 11 at the Expo Hall, Eko Hotel with Frank Edwards, Buchi, Judikay, Joe Praise, Eben and a host of others.
Some of his hit songs, which has continuously held his fans bound include Welu Welu, Jump and Shout, Naija Praise, Lift Him High, Na Only You I Know and Jehovah Idi Ebube.
Okposo performed on stage with top international artistes including Donnie Mcclurkin, Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Israel Houghton, Deitrick Haddon, Jonathan Nelson, Micah Stampley, Maxi Priest, Shaggy, Missy Elliot, Benjamin Dube, Judith Sephuma, Sonnie Badu, Uche Double-Double, Lionel Peterson, Angelique Kidjo, Koffi Olomide, Awilo Logomba, John Legend, Kirk Franklin, Don Moen, Jessy Dickson, Ron Kenoly, Cece Winans and Nicole Mullen.
Sammie also performed in notable events like the Martin Luther King Day celebration and July 4th Independence Day Celebration. He is a United Nations Peace Ambassador.
The multiple award-winning artiste was married to Ozioma for over a decade.
A family statement released by Hector Okposo to announce his death, it read in part: “It is with a heavy heart but with total submission to God that I announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, brother, uncle, Minister of God. More details about the burial will be communicated soon.
“We are consoled because we know that he is with Jesus singing with angels. We kindly request that the family is allowed to grieve peacefully at this time.”
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja sympathised with his family, friends and professional associates over his death.
In a condolence message issued by his media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari said the demise of the singer has left many in Nigeria and across the world severely shocked.
Buhari commiserated with the Christian community, particularly Okposo’s colleagues in gospel music and the younger generation, who had over the years identified with his elevating style of praise and worship.
The president noted the unique platform of worship created by Okposo, Okposo Praise Party, his creative contributions to the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood, and the inspiring role he played in grooming talents and mentoring them to stardom. He prayed for the repose of the musician’s soul, urging the family to find solace in his investments of love.
Also paying tribute to the deceased on his Instagram handle, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, wrote: “The news of the death of Sammie Okposo today came to me as a rude shock. Sammie was full of life, distinguished himself in the entertainment industry and, by extension, gave his best to bring smiles to our people.
On behalf of my family and team, I extend my deepest condolences to Sammie’s immediate family, friends and the fraternity of gospel artistes. I pray that God will grant his soul eternal rest.”
Governor of Delta state, Ifeanyi Okowa, has also commiserated with the Okposo family and people of Isoko in the state over the passing of Sammie.
In a condolence statement made available to newsmen by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, yesterday, in Asaba, he described Okposo’s death as a big loss to his family, Delta State and lovers of gospel music across the world.
“His passing was particularly painful, considering his immense talent and outstanding contributions to the growth of gospel music locally and globally,” the governor said.
He described the late Sammie as a gentleman gospel artiste, who contributed to the growth and development of the modern entertainment industry in Nigeria.
He said that as one of the scions of the gospel genre of the music industry, he would be greatly missed by his colleagues and fans.
“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I mourn the passing of an illustrious son of our state and a great minister in gospel music,” he added.
Sharing a picture of the deceased singer on Instagram, publisher of Ovation magazine, Dele Momodu, in his post wrote: “It is always so sad to hear the sad news about a loved one. Sammie Okposo and I have come a long way and we shared many fond memories. I’m still too devastated to say much for now. He was one of the greatest gospel singers on planet earth. Now, I have lost a very dear brother who endlessly showered me with love.”
Meanwhile, colleagues have gone on social media to eulogise the late Welu welu crooner. Veteran actor, Richard Mofe Damijo on his social media handle, posted a picture of him and the late singer with a caption, which reads in part, “This was exactly a month ago in the U.S. We spent two weeks together and fellowshipped as men. Made plans for the New Year… yet here I’m struggling and looking for words to capture our relationship. Sam Okpoooo as only me can call you; this was not the plan o. This one pains me to enter the blood. My Prayers are with your family as you rest in power, peace and praise.”
Gospel artiste, Ada Ehi wrote: “This afternoon we were hit by the sad news that Bro. Sammie Okposo has transitioned. Shocked but we are consoled in the hope that he is alive in the presence of his Maker and God. We pray for the comfort of the Holy Ghost for his family, and everyone directly affected by his passing.”
Another gospel singer, Osinachi Egbu, popularly known as Sinach, posted: “Praying for Ozzy and the entire family. Sammy Rest In Jesus.”
Mary Akpobome said: “The choir in heaven welcomes you. You planned and executed the praise night for my 50th, and stayed on your feet through it all. You’ve been there with us at all times rejoicing and celebrating – I’m numb at your transition then I remember whose you are. Rest in peace bro!”
Renowned vocalist, Yinka Davies in her tribute wrote: “Dear Sammie, you loved to make music every time. Whoever can tickle your senses in sound, you don’t look away from. Now you can finally get some bad goosebumps from angels. In fact ehn, you won’t be able to sit na so you go just dey jump! Rest now dear brother.”