Moses Olaiya, ace comedian, who contributed to making Nigerians some of the happiest people in the world for decades, died, and is being celebrated, with encomiums, in death.
Unknown to many, the late 82 years old entertainer tutored and guided the jùjú music maestro King Sunny Adé who was his lead guitar player in a band he ran..
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has joined in paying respects, expressing profound sadness over the death of Mr. Moses Olaiya, popularly known as ‘Baba Sala’. He is saying the death has robbed the nation of an incomparable Thespian and a colossus of his time.
His son, Emmanuel Adejumo, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that his father was a hardworking man who contributed his quota to the development of the movie industry in Nigeria.
According to him, one of the greatest mistakes that befell his father while alive and active is the misfortune of piracy that financially crippled him.
“My dad was strong till he died. He died of old age and nothing was wrong with him, health-wise.
“My dad was well known in the movie industry and I urge actors to learn from his achievements in the industry as a comedian.
“Actors should also be careful of piracy, because it is an evil menace that is stunting the growth of the industry,” he said.
Adejumo said that Baba Sala died in his house at Ilesha, Osun State, on Sunday night after his supper.
“My dad passed on out of old age and not sickness. He was a very active person, someone who loved his job so much and knew what he wanted.
“He has finally gone to rest with the Lord and I pray that he should rest in peace.”
In a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, Lai Mohammed described Baba Sala as a trail blazer, as he – along with his contemporaries – laid the foundation for the theatre and comedy that have now taken Nigeria’s creative industry by storm.
”Baba Sala’s sacrifices, contribution and commitment played a great role in launching an industry that is now a huge employer of labour and a significant contributor to the nation’s economy. Through it all, he lived a life of honesty and service that qualified him as a great role model,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed condoled with the family of the late foremost comedian, and prayed that God will grant repose to his soul and also grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the media aide to the comedian, Mr Isaac Haastrup, said the deceased had been deposited at the morgue of the Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa.
Moses Olaiya, born in 1936 in Ijesha, was Nigerian comedian, dramatist and actor.
One of his plays, Koto Orun is herewith presented as posted on Youtube
The prolific filmmaker also had a career in show business as a Highlife musician, fronting in 1964 a group known as the Federal Rhythm Dandies.
Some films generally credited to him include Orun Mooru (1982), Aare Agbaye (1983), Mosebolatan (1985), Obee Gbona (1989), Diamond (1990 Home video ), Agba Man (1992, Home Video).