Home Entertainment Alake Purchases 100 Copies Of Ayinla Omowura’s Biography, Commends Festus Adedayo

Alake Purchases 100 Copies Of Ayinla Omowura’s Biography, Commends Festus Adedayo


The Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, has commended Dr. Festus Adedayo, biographer of the late Apala music legend, Ayinla Omowura, for writing a book on the late Apala icon.

Oba Gbadebo gave the commendation on Friday in his remarks during the official presentation of the book to the monarch in his palace, Aafin Ake, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

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Adedayo had written a 537-page book entitled Ayinla Omowura: Life and Times of an Apala Legend which was made available to the public on May 6, 2020, the 40th anniversary of the death of Omowura.

Alake, who described the efforts of the author as laudable said, “We have a good number of people who loved Ayinla Omowura because of the philosophy of his music but that you have taken it upon yourself to write the book is very commendable; it shows you as a good scholar who actually should have been in the comfort of the university churning out professorial materials, but you are even doing better than that where you are.

The monarch, while congratulating the author, stated that he had done the memory of the late musician good by writing the book and making him a subject of intellectual engagement.

“I have read part of the book and soon, I will read the remaining part. Ayinla hailed from Ikopa,  where my own mother’s father hailed from in Itoko. He has been a subject after my heart for a very long time, though we were very sad that his life ended all of a sudden.”

Oba Gbadebo, while going down memory lane, said he shared the alumnus of the University of Ibadan with the author and commended him for writing a total book that was not sycophantic about the strides of Omowura.

“What you have done on Ayinla is worthwhile. A mark of good scholarship is self-critiquing one’s work, which you have done in this book. When you do this, people will see it positively because when you criticize yourself, others that will criticize you will look at the positive side of what you have said,” the monarch added.

Reacting to the author statement that everything in the book was not all positive about Omowura, Oba Gbadebo said that when he was in the military, whenever a report about a person was demanded, after writing the positive aspects, the negative aspect, which he called the but-paragraph, always came after the paragraphs of commendation, so that the report could be seen as above board.

Earlier, the author, while commending the monarch for receiving him, had said his love for Ayinla Omowura’s music made him to write the book, so as to immortalize the late Apala icon who he called “one of the most profound and apparently the most original musician in post-colonial Nigerian society.”

He said, “As a young man then, I couldn’t penetrate or understand some of his lyrics but the rhythm attracted us. And when in 1980 he was killed, I was really downcast. I do tell people that listened to the NTA newscaster in 1980 who announced the death of  Ayinla Omowura and I couldn’t eat that night.  Thereafter, I kept listening to his music, kept on acquiring knowledge about him and 2004, then I was the special adviser on media to the former governor of Enugu state, Chimaroke Nnmamani, I took cassets of Ayinla Omowura to the East and I listened to them afresh and that was when I did my first piece on Ayinla Omowura. And people were calling me, telling me why don’t you write a book on him, i said writing a book, that was a very huge task at that time.

“I came in contact with my friends and we started a research. It was in the process of the research that we found out that I was confronted with a unique human being. Like every other human being, we have our foibles , we have minuses. If you listen to the deployment of language in his songs, you will know that Yoruba has a rich history. If you listen to the cultural heritage that he talked about in his music, you will know that Yoruba people have a great heritage. And so, as we went deep and deeper in research into this book.”

“Many people have asked me why I chose Ayinla for immortalization and not Yusuff Olatunji or Haruna Ishola. I feel that, first, it was my prerogative. Second, I saw Ayinla as different from the pack and I thus conducted this research into his life and times. I looked at the totality of his art which could not be impeached by his drawbacks. His songs were laced with philosophy, culture and language of the Yoruba people and I thought he deserved to be immortalized, if not by Nigeria as a whole but by Yoruba people in general. Though the book is not wholly all-positives about Ayinla, I wanted to use it to warn oncoming musical stars and anybody climbing the ladder of achievement in society not to fall into the same pitfalls that led to the death of Ayinla Omowura,” he said.

In an interview with a reporter at the palace, Adedayo also said he was committed to gathering like-minds together with the aim of putting up a foundation in the memory of Omowura, turn his Abeokuta home into a museum and get South West governments to buy into the idea.

The Alake thereafter purchased 100 copies of the book.

Those in attendance included the Balogun of Egbaland, Chief Sikirulliah Atobatele;  the Bagbimo of Egbaland, Chief Akanni Akinwale; Editors of Sunday and Saturday Tribune,  Alhaji Sina Oladeinde and Dr. Lasisi Olagunju.

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