Ayinla Died: But Not From That Stupid Ring!

Lateef Adeimeji as Ayinla Omowura in the biopic

By Odolaye Aremu
I saw Ayinla. And in truth, there wasn’t a wooden door, wooden stairways, windows and good, old dusty roads and pathways and corrugated brown roofs in the movie that I didn’t like! I grew up in Ibadan – and Abeokuta seemed like a surgically detached Siamese twin of Oluyole. Nostalgia. Nostalgic. Over and over again!
The movie or the ‘biopic’ did well in only one thing for me. It went to the extremely good length to debunk the urban legend of that metaphysical ‘ring’ of Omowura’s that supposedly touched his head injury, hence his blood – which in essence led to his untimely death. The piece laid bare that Ayinla’s death was a combination of his own recklessness and the stupendous ignorance or negligence of his sympathizers in refusing to get him medical assistance many hours after the fact.
That urban legend was the reason I wrote a piece about him in 2015. Thanks to Akinnuoye Temitope that dug up the link to the original piece yesterday. Kind of her to notify me too. Something I had completely forgotten about.
I score the movie highly on cinematography. However a lot more work needs to be done in the industry on quality control. I questioned the reason the Ayinla’s cannabis indulgence wasn’t noted in the movie. His womanizing was a vice just as his hemp smoking habit. Why one was subjugated for the other was unpardonable. Imagine a biopic about Fela or Orlando without that prominent part? I thought that the subtraction of that character trait was a huge disservice to the legend of the man. Folks loved him for the totality of his waywardness and not for some or just one of them.
Not trying to assume the mind of TK (Tunde Kelano) but I appreciate the show of sympathy for the character of Bayowa. Starting from the deliberate sanitization of his name and nature in the movie. Perhaps now, the Abeokuta – world shall look upon his memory with some kind of forgiveness. I think of all, that was the character that got the best of the script.
It was Bobby Byrd in 1955 that invited James Brown into his R&B Band. Of course JB with his amazing charisma took over the band. In the 2014 biopic “GET ON UP,” starring the late Chadwick Boseman, Bobby Byrd was prominently featured. He was given his due props. The decision to leave Adewole Alao Onílù Ola – the man who invited Ayinla into the band he later led and the man who created the Ayinla sound – out of the script was another miscue for me.
Odegbami talking, looking and jiving as his present self to mimic himself in 1980 was extremely silly. Infact that scene was needless in the movie. There were many other ways to showcase Ayinla’s love for the game of soccer than to infect the movie with an aged soccer star who didn’t look nearly as he was in 1980. He even wore a green jersey with “NAIJA” printed on it. A misnomer for the era!
The last piece of architecture where Ayinla was shown standing alone in the open terrace -having a flashback before that temptress joined him – was another needless scene.
Again, the piece did a great job – fantastic job in tearing apart the legend of the stupid ring! I love the fact that TK and his crew perhaps revisited the documented pathology of his death. After all there was a court case where medical evidence compelled the court to find Bayowa/Bayewu guilty of his death. He himself was executed  in 1984. Oladipo Diya was the Military Governor that eventually signed his death warrant. I strongly feel Bayewu didn’t deserve to die though. For a fact that Ayinla’s death wasn’t premeditated. But TK wrote kindly of him in the movie. Thank goodness for that!