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Baba Sala: Family and friends remember late icon

Baba Sala thrilled audiences across Nigeria with his epic comedy performances, for over 50 years. The theatre icon died on October 7, 2018. Family and…

Baba Sala thrilled audiences across Nigeria with his epic comedy performances, for over 50 years. The theatre icon died on October 7, 2018. Family and friends remember the dramatist and actor.

 

For more than five decades, Pa Moses Olaiya Adejumo, popularly known as Lamidi Baba Sala held the Nigerian theatre stage spellbound with his very interesting and super comedy. His works include ‘Mooru’ (1982), ‘Aare Agbaye’ (1983), ‘Mosebolatan’ (1985), ‘Orun Obee Gbona’ (1989), ‘Diamond’ (1990) and ‘Agba Man’ (1992).

Anyone who grew up in Nigeria’s South-West, would attest to the prowess and productivity of Pa Adejumo. They would have watched some of his various television series or a celluloid production at the cinema back then. For more than 50 years, his comedy skits were the delight of every home.

The Adejumo Abogunloko family of Ijoka in Ilesa, Osun State, the people of Osun State and perhaps the entire country mourn the death of Baba Sala who died in the evening of last Sunday. Mourners besieged his residence located at Kajola Street, behind Technical College, Ilesa, to express their sympathy. His corpse was taken to morgue of Wesley Guild Hospital in Ilesa and a condolence register opened at his home.

In his lifetime, the late comedian was a minister of God at the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Idasa Number One Model Parish, Ilesa and was a recipient of the national merit award, Member of Order of Nigeria (MON).

The popular Juju musician, Sunday Adegeye also known as King Sunny Ade (KSA) learnt how to play the guitar from the late Baba Sala.

Speaking on the death of his father, Adebisi Adejumo said the entire family felt bad about his death and that they are grieving. She however expressed delighted that her late dad was loved by many people for what he was known for during his lifetime. “My dad helped many people to stay alive when they would have wanted their world to just come to an end. As a comedian, he used his talent to make people happy and forget their sorrow. He was a good father. Anywhere we went, people told us that our father was loved. This makes us very happy.”

Baba Sala’s son who is also a comedian and performing officer in the National Troupe of Nigeria, Mr Emanuel Adejumo, popularly known as Boy Sala also said he would miss his dad for his prayers. “Whenever I went to him, dad would pray. I will miss him for the prayers”, Emmanuel said.

Speaking on the death of Baba Sala in a chat with our correspondent, the popular actor, Alhaji Kareem Adepoju also known as Baba Wande said late Moses Olaiya lived fulfilled life. “Baba Sala was a fulfilled man. He lived a good life. He was successful and we cannot forget him. Nigerians would not forget him. I worked with him. I featured in his film, ‘Mosebolatan’ in which I played major roles. We will surely miss him,” Baba Wande said.

Another popular actor, Prince Jide Kosoko lamented that the death of Baba Sala was unfortunate and that the ace comedian would be missed for his hospitable and accommodating trait. Kosoko said “Baba Sala accommodated young and old, male and female. He groomed many artists in the entertainment industry. Baba Sala’s efforts in grooming the Nigerian comedy industry would not be forgotten in a hurry and he would be missed.”

Members of the community in their remarks described Baba Sala as a good man.

The community leader, Mr Moses Gbotosho, who spoke on behalf of the people of Kajola community, described the deceased in glowing terms.

He said the late comedian would be missed for many reasons. “We will miss him for his cooperation with other landlords in this community. We shall miss him for his roles as a man of God who usually prays for people and also as someone who was gifted to make other people happy.”

The Secretary of late Adejumo’s church, Mrs Monisola Akande also described Baba Sala as a nice man and lamented that his death was very painful.

She said “Baba was an icon, a loving and very kind man. He was the spiritual Moses of our time. We are pained about his death. He served God with his life and he was an exemplary man. Baba was a prayerful man when he was alive even at old age, he was a prayer warrior. We didn’t want him to go but death took him from us.”

Also, one of his church members, Mr Adeniyi Gegede, said the death of late Adejumo left a vacuum in the church and the community. “He had a free mind. He left a vacuum that would be hard to fill. Baba believed in God and he served Him diligently. We shall miss his prayers. He was a good example for us. He was a great minister of God. We really loved him. But when it was time for him to go and meet his Lord, there was nothing we could do.”

While mourning Baba Sala, Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola lamented that the death of the late comedian was a great loss which ends an era of flowing and a successful theatre career.

In a statement by Aregbesola’s Media Adviser, Mr. Sola Fasure, the Governor said the death of the comedy legend would create a huge vacuum in the thespian trade in Nigeria. Aregbesola noted that Moses Olaiya Adejumo was unarguably the greatest comedian.

The Governor said “I received the news of the death of Pa Moses Olaiya Adejumo aka Baba Sala, with a deep and irreplaceable sense of loss. He has been in our prayers since he battled with ailments arising from old age. His death is significant in that he has gone to rest with his Lord permanently.

Nevertheless, his exit signifies an end to his own brand of comedy, which no one can rival. His death has therefore left a yawning gap in the theatre arena in the country. Pa Moses Olaiya Adejumo was undoubtedly a theatre veteran, a comedian par excellence and a humour merchant of no mean feat.

“Baba Sala was a multi-talented artiste whose works straddle music, theatre and comedy. He had a travelling theatre troupe, performing in concerts, got his works recorded on vinyl and LP albums, cassettes, cartridge, celluloid, CD, video CD and DVD. He was also an entrepreneur, with significant investments in entertainment, hotels and recreation. He will forever be remembered for his creativity, dramatic simplicity, far-reaching and rib-cracking humour.

“His humour is clean, elevating, uplifting, philosophical and borne out of wisdom. You can hardly watch him without laughing and getting highly elated. He was a harbinger of good fortune: he made people forget their sorrows through his talent. His death certainly has left a gap too huge to be covered in the immediate subsequent years without him.

“On behalf of myself, the government and people of Osun, I send our heartfelt condolences to the immediate and extended family of the late dramatist, the paramount ruler of Ìjẹsà Land, His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr. Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran, and the association of theatre practitioners in the country. We pray that his gentle soul finds solace in and rest eternal with his Lord,” the Governor said.

Baba Sala who was born in 1936 died at the age of 82. He was survived by wives, children, grand children and great grand children.

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