Death sting once again in the Nollywood world, as the call for spiritual cleansing of the industry re-echoes
By Akinwale Kasali
According to William Shakespeare, ‘Life is a stage’. This is certainly the lot of some Nollywood actors and actress who have failed to cheat death.
No doubt, 2017 has been a year of emotional turbulence in the Nollywood industry. In less than a month, three of the industries finest actors and actress bid the world farewell.
When the news of the death of Moji Olaiya, the daughter of veteran highlife musician, Victor Olaiya, went viral, it came as a shock to many lovers of the entertainment industry. The 42-year old mother of two was said to have died of cardiac arrest in far away Canada, just two months after giving birth to her second daughter in her second marriage.
The news which many thought was an illusion and a fragment of imagination from mischief maker and rumour mongers. But when it became a reality that the versatile actress has died, many of her fans took to various social media platform to share their pain over the demise of the lovely actress.
For the Nollywood family, this was a death too many. The industry is yet to recover from the death of veteran actors, Olumide Bakare and Samuel Adesanya, who both died recently from kidney failure.
Earlier in January, Tope Majekodunmi, wife of Solomon Majekodunmi, popularly known as ‘Baba Kekere’ died after a brief illness. Few weeks after her demise, another veteran actor in the Nollywood, Prince James Uche also died of kidney failure.
Plans were already in top gear for the late James Uche to be flown abroad for proper and adequate treatment. Sadly, he died few days he was to be flown abroad for the treatment. Colleagues in the industry had rally around him, contributing their widows’ mite for him to be flown abroad. Not left out in the fund raising was the governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, who donated towards the health of James Uche.
No doubt, death is a necessary end as said by William Shakespeare, but it certainly reminds one of its own mortality
In 2016, the industry lost lots of colleagues to the cold hand of death. Veteran actress and great grand-mother, Bukky Ajayi, died few months after she won the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMCVA). She lost the battle to death after an unsuccessful battle with heart related issues.
That same year, veteran actors, Festus Aguebor and Martins Njubuigbo, popularly known as ‘Elder Maya’ died after months of battling with a liver illness.
Fred Ebhoria Ekata, another actor who had been able to carve a niche for himself in the industry was bedridden after been diagnosed of a kidney related disease, which has plagued him for a year. The young man, who usually plays elderly roles in Nollywood films succumbed to death.
Jide Kosoko, Nollywood veteran actor never saw it coming. His wife, an actress in the industry, Henrietta Kosoko, died at R-Jolad Hospital, Gbagada, Lagos. The actress came to limelight and became famous after starring in a film produced by her husband, title ‘Omolade’.
Her death left a vacuum in the life of her husband, who was off the screen for some time.
Just as the industry was mourning her death, another Yoruba Nollywood actor, Abdul-Lateef Titilope Ashimiyu, popularly known as ‘Alfa Lateef’, was known for his roles in Odunlade Adekola’s movies. He died as a result of malaria. He was immediately buried at his family house in Egabunta, Agunpopo area of Oyo town according to Islamic rites.
Not too long, few weeks after the death of Alfa Lateef, anoter actor, Isiaka Adewale Najeem died at a church in Lagos. The cause of his death still remains a mystery.
Colleagues in the industry have expressed shock over the demise of Olaiya and others who left their mark in the industry.
Veteran actor, Yinka Quadri, could not hold back tears as he eulogises the late actress. Quadri said that death have robbed the industry of a talented actress. He expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased.
“What is really happening, why are our dearest ones going too soon? It so sad to hear Moji Olaiya is no more. May her soul rest in perfect peace. May God be with those she left behind,’’ he said.
Actor Femi Branch recalled, “We were just mere colleagues until the day we had a certain discussion in Sagamu with Aunty `Fali Werepe` and she rose in my defence.
“I have recounted this tale to more people than I can recall and in every instance, the mention of your sincere intervention was the highlight of my tale.
“That day, I knew the good hearted Moji Olaiya and for as long as I have the gift of memory, Mojisola Olaiya will remain embedded in my heart.
“Sleep well `Mj’. May God erect a canopy of protection over your children and the family you left behind. Lord, please stay this hand of death moving over our industry and please open our eyes to know that life belongs to you and only you can give it in abundance,” he said.
The social media is presently awash with the sad tales in the industry. Many of the Nollywood fans have posited that there is urgent need for members of the industry to come together to pray and fast to cast away the sting of death.
Though, Moji Olaiya and her other colleagues that died are being remembered, but certainly, death remains a companion of the living. Perhaps, going spiritual could be the next option.
Many Nigerians has however called for a spiritual rebirth of the industry.