Nigerians from all walks of life have started paying tributes to the Nigerian Highlife music legend, Sir. Victor Olaiya, who passed on Wednesday in Lagos. Olaiya, who was aged 89, was said to have died this afternoon at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, where he was admitted after a brief illness.
In a statement confirming his death, the Managing Director of the Evergreen Music Company Limited, Bimbo Esho, said: “The entire music world wish to announce the death of a legend of highlife music – one of the last man standing, the last of the originals, Dr Victor Olaiya, OON. “This untimely incident happened at LUTH at exactly 12noon on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.
“We pray that the doyen of highlife music finds repose with the creator while wishing the family and entire music community the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss.”
Also paying tribute to the late highlife legend, veteran Nigerian musician, Chief Ebenezer Obey, popularly called “Obey Commander” described Olaiya as one of the African fathers of highlife music, a great entertainer par excellence who had contributed meaningfully to the growth of music across the African continent and Nigeria in particular. Obey added that Olaiya had laid good examples for other African musicians to emulate, having projected good morals in his musical works. “Nigeria has lost one of the African fathers of highlife music; he has contributed his quota to the development of the entertainment industry and I pray his soul rests in peace and God comforts his family. “Olaiya was a very serious-minded person who projected the highlife music throughout the entire world. “He is indeed a man to emulate. He later diverted to do business and he was a successful businessman also,” Obey said.
Similarly, the Mayegun of Yorubaland, Dr Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, popularly called KWAM 1, has condoled with the family and fans of Dr Olaiya. The Fuji music icon, in a statement released by his media office, said Olaiya has bequeathed posterity through his music to Nigerians and Africans in general. “Indeed, Sir Victor Olaiya’s death, though at the advanced age of 89, is a profound loss to the Yoruba race and global music industry; we are nonetheless comforted by the fact that he used his talent to bless humanity in general. “The world would forever be grateful to him for the joy he propagated and has bequeathed posterity through his music. “The thoughts and prayers of Yorubas across the world are with the Olaiya family at home and abroad,” he stated. Born on December 31, 1930, in Calabar, Cross River state, though his parents were from Ijesha-Iju in Ekiti State, Olaiya was extremely famous in Nigeria between the 1950s and early 1980s. His hit songs and albums include ‘Baby Jowo’, ‘Feso J’aiye’, ‘Ilu Le O’, ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Omopupa,’ ‘Jemila,’ ‘So fun mi,’ ‘Tina Meta,’ ‘Pambotoriboto,’ ‘Aigana,’ ‘Odale Ore,’ ‘Mo Fe Muyan,’ Opataritius,’ ‘Fami Mora O’, and ‘Omolanke,’ among others.