Adieu, Fadeyi Oloro – Tribune Online

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HE may not have featured on the big screen in recent days, may have taken part in no Netflix-endorsed series, may have been away from the movie scene for some time, particularly since the demise of his boss,  Jimoh Aliu, and may be unknown among the so-called “Indomie generation.” But Ojo Arowosafe, alias Fadeyi Oloro, will always have a pride of place among Yoruba theatre faithful. When news broke on Tuesday that the Arelu actor who ruled the airwaves and held many spellbound with his electrifying performances in the 80s/90s had passed on, it was received with shock and disappointment. He had battled ill health for some time, and had spoken of his health struggles and solicited financial help only recently, and many felt that those who should have come to his aid did not.

He told a newspaper: “Nigerians should help me. Everything needed for me to be in a healthy state requires money. I am getting better with the support of people, but I have not fully recovered. That is why I am pleading with Nigerians across all walks of life whom I have impacted in one way or the other to help me.” He was quite philosophical about his professional colleagues’ lack of support, saying “Everyone has different things they are battling with. I don’t want it to seem like I am insulting members of our association of actors. Though I did not get the kind of support I would have wanted, some individuals called me to greet me once in a while. I don’t blame them because they are going through different things.” In 2019, he stated that he was back on his feet after Governor Kayode Fayemi lent him a helping hand through the then director general of the Ekiti Council for Arts and Culture, Mr. Wale Ojo Lanre, but his condition apparently worsened at some point.

Born on September 15, 1957 in Igbara Odo, Ekiti State, the veteran actor attended St Paul’s Catholic School, Ekiti State, for his elementary education and then proceeded to Timi Agbale Grammar School, Ede, Osun State, for his secondary education. Arowosafe burst into the limelight with the 13-part series (“13 episodes”) titled Arelu in the late 80s, and would go on to feature in a large number of movies thereafter. Arowosafe was often cast as a stock character, a warrior versed in occult manipulations. Often cast as a foil to the character Abija (Tajudeen Idowu Adeoye) at some point in his career, Fadeyi Oloro was the typically heartless, unsmiling and entirely merciless warrior and political leader. Where Abija trusted in his medicine and power of contemplation, Fadeyi Oloro trusted in the power of his gun, causing death and despair wherever he turned. Not many people would have forgotten the following lines: “E jade, e gbemi gigun, e liki mo’le e gbemi kukuru.” (Come out and live; stay indoors and have your life cut short”). Or the following line also captured by the Fuji lord Sikiru Ayinde Barrister in drum talk: “Fadeyi Oloro, a fi suke,” a serenading of the Fadeyi Oloro persona.

Fadeyi Oloro was the kind of character who would look at a pregnant woman and announce that her baby would be pounded in a mortar to make his magical soap. There is no other known character in the Yoruba traditional movie world that could rival the Fadeyi Oloro essence as a wicked man of power, not even the character Agbako played by Charles Olumo. Whenever Fadeyi Oloro wielded power, he did so with so much cruelty and so much meanness that even fellow warriors marveled at his utter depravity. The characters who stalk Nigeria’s Government Houses today dispensing poverty and despair to the populace can learn a lot from Arowosafe’s depiction of the limitations of seemingly limitless power.

It is distressing that for all his fame, Arowosafe died in quite excruciating circumstances. With too many cases of actors/actresses dying miserably, there is a need to take the issue of health insurance more seriously.  Ojo Arowosafe has come and gone, but he will be fondly remembered for his great contributions to society through his craft. He played lead roles in great movies, and would definitely be shocked at the junk rolled out in current times in his area of specialty. We commiserate with his family, the Ekiti State government and his colleagues in the movie industry. May his soul rest in sweet repose.



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