Monday, October 8, 2018 7:24 am
Moses Olaiya, Baba Sala for style, is dead. He was 82. According to his son, Emmanuel Biosola Adejumo, he died on Sunday 7 October 2018 in his Ilesa, country home.
He was born on 18 May 1936. A Yoruba from Ijesha, Osun State, Baba Sala, regarded as the father of modern Nigerian comedy, alongside other dramatists like Hubert Ogunde, Kola Ogunmola, Oyin Adejobi and Duro Ladipo popularized theater and television acting in Nigeria. He was a prolific filmmaker.
Significantly, Baba Sala started his career in show business as a Highlife musician, fronting in 1964 a group known as the Federal Rhythm Dandies where he tutored and guided the jùjú music maestro King Sunny Adé who was his lead guitar player.
In a tribute, Tunde Busari wrote:
“Baba Sala did not die yesterday as reported. He did not die two years ago as rumoured. Moses Olaiya died the day his precious film, ORUN MOORU, was stolen and heavily pirated, throwing him into debt. Baba Sala cried and cried and cried because the pain of the tragedy was unbearable.
“The late Ade Afolayan (Ade Love) and the late Hubert Ogunde had produced their respective films, AJANI OGUN and AYE earlier and Baba Sala felt (as he must being a big artist too) he was due for his own production. He therefore gave it all it required to make a big film that would draw audience to film houses. He had a large crew at location.
“I was privileged to have seen a few part of the production inside Osun grove. On our way back home from school located at upper region of the grove, we used to see artistes and Baba Sala doing their things with all seriousness. Baba Sala had hope that his film would also be a success like those of Ade Love and Ogunde.
“He was wrong. The wicked ones hidden somewhere were on their drawing board plotting their evil act. They unfortunately succeeded to turn BabSala to a crying old man. They made him vulnerable and he did not recover from the experience till he became inactive on stage and location due to law of nature.
“Although he later produced AARE AGBAYE, MOSEBOLATAN and OBEEGBONA, the damage done by the rape of ORUN MOORU was incalculable. This he expressed in his many interviews. He was a devout Christian and family man with a good number of children from his polygamy. I missed an interview with him at Radio Lagos few years ago. Traffic gridlock between my home and Ikeja frustrated what could have been the opportunity to ask him questions on my heart.
“Notwithstanding, I am happy Baba Sala has finally gone so that he would not agonise again. No more pains. No more reflection on how and why ORUN MOORU became the target of the bad. May God accept him as one of his favoured. Amin. My condolences to the entire Adejumo family in Ulesa.”