Nigerians mourn the death of Fatai Olagunji, otherwise known as Rolling Dollar at 85
| By Vincent Nzemeke |
FATAI Olagunju, a renowned highlife musician whose stage name is Fatai Rolling Dollar, has passed on. He died in the early hours of Wednesday, June 12, at Marritol Hospital in Surulere, Lagos, after a brief illness. He was 85 years old.
The octogenarian was said to have been on a musical tour of the United States when he took ill and had to return home. He was initially receiving treatment at Ahmadiya Hospital in Abule-Egba area of Lagos but was later transferred to Marritol Hospital two days before his death.
Since his demise, tributes have been pouring in for the highlife crooner from various parts of the country. President Goodluck Jonathan, in a statement signed Ruben Abati, his spokesman, said the demise of the guitarist and singer has created a vacuum that will be hard to fill in the Nigerian entertainment industry. He added that Rolling Dollar would be sorely missed because he “enthralled his teeming followers” throughout his career.
Rauf Aregbesola, governor of Osun State, described Rolling Dollar’s career as a “testimony in perseverance and hope.” Aregbesola added that the highlife legend “shone at his old age when nobody ever thought of musical success for him again after his initial popularity at the beginning of his career”.
Ebenezer Obey, one of the late musician’s protégé, described him as a decent and talented musician. Obey, who is now a pastor, said: “I’ve lost my boss, my friend and my mentor. And I know the country has lost a talented singer.” Orits Wiliki, a reggae artiste, said Rolling Dollar lived a good life and would be glad to see the younger generation continue from where he stopped. “Even though his death remains a big loss to the industry, he would be happy that members of the young generation are taking highlife music to the next level. We should be praying to live up to his age and still be strong the way he was.”
Rolling Dollar was born July 22, 1926, in Lagos as a prince of the royal family of Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju. He started his musical career in 1953 and had mentored other great musicians like Ebenezer Obey and the late Orlando Owoh. Known for his dexterity at playing the guitar, his last major hit was “Won Kere Si Number Wa’’. Olagunju was buried at his building site in Ikorodu on Thursday, June 13, according to Muslim tradition.
Odiase Bows Out
Benedict Odiase, author of the current national anthem, dies in Benin
BENEDICT Odiase, the composer of Nigeria’s National Anthem, is dead. Odiase died in his sleep early on Tuesday June 11 2013 at his home in Benin. Odiase who holds a national honour of Member of the Order of the Niger, OON, was a former director of music, Nigerian Police Band. He composed the current national anthem whose first stanza starts with “Arise O compatriots” in May 1978, to replace the famous “Nigeria we hail thee” version. Odiase retired in 1992 as a deputy commissioner of police.
Although, his family is yet to make any statement about his demise and burial arrangements, tributes have been flowing in from various quarters. President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday commiserated with the family, colleagues, associates and friends of the late police officer. In a statement signed by Reuben Abati, special adviser on Media and Publicity, Jonathan said Odiase would be remembered for many generations every time the Nigerian national anthem is played. The president urged the family of the deceased to take solace in the knowledge that he lived an exemplary life.
“In passing on, he bequeathed an indelible legacy to the nation which will continue to inspire present and future generations of Nigerians to greater heights of accomplishment. As he is mourned, the President urges Pa Odiase’s family, former colleagues in the police and friends across the country, to be consoled by the knowledge that the late police officer lived an exemplary life.”
Mike Omeri, director-general, National Orientation Agency, also commiserated with the bereaved family. Omeri described Odiase, as an icon of patriotism and nationalism who lived a fulfilled life in the service of his fatherland. He noted that the deceased contributed immensely to nation building by giving Nigeria one of its unique national symbols.
— Jun. 24, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT