Aity Dennis, gospel singer, clocked 50 on Wednesday, July 13. Entertainer sat down with the Barasuene singer for a chat and she went down memory lane, reliving her experiences and the joy of joining the golden club.
How do you feel turning 50?
It is exciting to know that I have eventually joined the revered golden club. In those days when you heard someone was 50, you could not believe why they were still alive! You were like what? 50! In our minds, a 50-year-old needed the help of a walking stick to move around, so what really happened? Here I am turning 50 and feeling 30. Can someone please tell me what is going on?
What has been your happiest moment?
I have got many of them. I recall that several years back, whenever I got invitations from the United States for tours, I could not honor them because for some strange reasons, American Embassy would not just give me visa. I can’t recollect how many times I was turned down. Today, I can go to anywhere in the world. Today, I live both in the US and Nigeria. I also remember that in 2007 while trying to release my Barasuene CD, I hit a financial brick wall so, I had to sell my car to enable me produce the CD. Four years after, while singing from that same CD at a state event, without soliciting and without any premonition, I got a brand new car from my state governor. If you were the one, how would you feel? It was a sweet surprise. And then, wait for this one: after waiting for over 20 years, God navigated me from ‘Mama Nothing’ to ‘Mama Three’. Now when I see my three kids, Lovely, Awesome and Gladsome running all over my house, scattering, oh sorry, re-arranging my house, I stand in awe of the God who can do the impossible. So, over to you now, which one do you think was my happiest moment?
What has been your saddest moment?
I remember those days while trying for a child; I underwent many medical treatments including immunotherapy and IVF. Anyone who has gone through IVF knows how emotionally exacting it can be so you can imagine that after suffering under ‘Pontius Pilate’ to undergo IVF, the result came out and it was negative! What? It hit me like a ton of bricks! The pain and the disappointment were indescribable! I cried both in tongues and English. It was like that was the last option. Come to think of it, I know of people who have gone through that procedure several times. But you know, the beautiful thing with God is that even after you have exhausted all your options and have played your last card, He still shows up big time and exceeds your expectations; that is what He did for me. So, when I am ministering to people these days I tell them, ‘don’t pack your bags yet; if God is not through with you then it is not through’. Another very sad moment was the demise of Prof. Dora Akunyili. She was one lively, intelligent and daring role model I had. Wherever she met me she would scream my name with so much zest! Her departure left a yawning vacuum in Nigeria. We can’t question God because He has our times in His hands.
At 48, you had a set of twins after 24 years of marriage. Was there any time you gave up on God? Did you ever believe he would turn your story around?
No, not that I gave up completely, but at a point, like Father Abraham, I was sincerely hoping against hope because medically speaking, it was not possible any more. My monthly periods had stopped years back and I was just wondering how on earth this miracle would happen. What kept me going was that I kept receiving messages from God that He would visit me. Some of the people who gave me these messages did not even know me before and never knew what I was going through. So, I left it completely to Him, because truly speaking, I had come to my wits’ end. What gave me hope was the word of God. And now I know more than ever before that God is too God to fail.
What does turning 50 mean to you?
It is a time to re-evaluate my life, by checking through what I have done, correcting my mistakes and assumptions of the past and reinforcing the positive. It is realising that I have been privileged to spend half of a century on earth, so I must be sure I am doing what will earn me a ‘final thank you’ when I see the Big Boss. Because no matter how sophisticated and digital we have become, we will give account of our lives to the One who sent us here.
How has motherhood transformed you?
It has made me more patient and more understanding. I understand better what it means to be a child of God. When I consider how I care for my children, I get to understand better how God cares about us. I appreciate better what other people are going through. For instance, as a Pastor, before now, I used to wonder why nursing mothers and mothers with toddlers were running late to church. Why can’t they wake up on time and get their children ready for heaven’s sake! Now, my head is correct! I have come to know that you can wake up by 3.00am for all I care, and one tiny little Nigerian can just hold you to ransom by deciding whether he wants to eat or at what pace he wants to do it. He can decide to mess up all his clothes just as you are stepping out of the door and you have to go back and change his outfit. You could be at the airport, waiting to catch a flight and just as they are announcing boarding, you hear: ‘Mummy, I want to pooh pooh’. What? You want to do what? So, you have to decide what you want to do: go help your little angelpooh pooh or go catch the flight. That is just it. It is only you that will calm down by yourself and check again to really confirm if you know the spelling of love, patience and tolerance!
What advice do you have for couples waiting on the Lord for a child?
They should not give up hope. They should not turn their house into a battlefield just because babies have delayed in coming. None of us can create children, so why must we kill each other before they arrive? They should adopt children. It helps a lot. Personally, throughout my waiting years, I always had children in my house – borrowed, rented, adapted, adopted, just name it. My husband spelt all these out in details in his book, Waiting Dad. What should the man do when the babies are yet to come?
Do you have any regrets?
The only thing that could be a regret cannot really be termed a regret because it was completely out of my control. I would have loved to have children earlier but at the end of the day, it is not really our will but God’s will that is done in our lives because we live to fulfill His purpose, not ours. I am grateful to Him for my children. They arrived in His time.
After over two decades and half in marriage, how would you describe your husband? Is he still as romantic as he used to be?
My husband, the ‘Commander-In- Chief of my heart’ is still my friend-for-life and my number one fan. He is my mentor and life coach. I have discovered that he even cares for me more as the days go by. I think the love is growing with the age of the marriage.