•As Nollywood mourns Victor Olaotan, Ifeanyi Dike
By Olu James
It was triple tragedy for the Nigerian entertainment industry as three legendary entertainers died in a week. They included Victor Olaotan, Ifeanyi Dike and Victor Uwaifo.
The tragic news of the death of veteran actor, Victor Olaotan first hit the industry like a thunderbolt on Thursday August 26.
The sector was yet to recover when another sad tale of the passage of iconic actor, Ifeanyi Dike filtered in on Friday. The following day, Saturday August 28, highlife maestro, Sir Victor Uwaifo also passed away. He was aged 80.
Olaotan had a ghastly motor accident about four years ago. He was flown to Turkey for prompt medical attention after he became incapacitated following the car crash he had along the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway in Lagos.
Some well meaning Nigerians including billionaire Femi Otedola, his colleagues and fans had come to his rescue financially. He was reported to have recovered only for him to pass away on Thursday.
Born in Lagos in the early 1950s, Victor Olaotan studied Drama at University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, and Rockets University, United States of America.
An accomplished stage and screen actor, he warmed his way into the consciousness of television viewers, playing the lead role of Fred Ade Williams on the Mnet’s flagship soap, Tinsel.
Veteran actor and chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Prince Ifeanyi Dike, has been down with kidney ailment since 2011. He underwent a successful kidney transplant in India but he died after his sickness reportedly relapsed. According to family sources, his burial plans would soon be announced.
Sir Victor Uwaifo’s ‘son’, Peter de Rock, broke the news of the demise of the legendary guitarist on his Facebook page on Sunday evening. Peter, himself a musician, did not disclose the cause of his father’s death. He, however, expressed sadness at the passing of the music star.
“Daddy. Why did you leave us now? Prof. Sir Victor Uwaifo has gone to rest. Black Saturday for me now,” Peter wrote with 34 sad Emojis arranged in pair of 17 lines, adding, “One week now after collaborating with me”.
However, the rumour that Uwaifo died of COVID-19 has been debunked. According to one of the musician’s sons, Goodman Osarentin Uwaifo, his dad died from complications arising from pneumonia and not COVID-19.
“I want to use this opportunity to clear this misinformation. We have heard rumours going around that our father, Sir Victor Uwaifo died of COVID-19. It is not true.
“He died of pneumonia and not COVID-19. He was rushed to the hospital on Friday and passed on the following day on Saturday, August 28. We did the necessary tests. He was treated for pneumonia,” he explained.
Renowned for his hit albums like Joromi and Mammy Water released in the early ‘60s, Sir Victor Uwaifo was dexterous on the guitar and he displayed kinetic dancing steps in his heydays.
The iconic musicologist served as Commissioner for Arts and Culture in the administration of Lucky Igbinedion in Edo State.. A first class graduate of Visual Arts from the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Uwaifo’s undergraduate project of a ‘king on a horse’ is a signature art poster at the Ekenwan Campus of the university.