Home Entertainment Epo Akara: Celebrating An Unsung Hero’s 77th Posthumous Birthday | Ganiyu Waheed

Epo Akara: Celebrating An Unsung Hero’s 77th Posthumous Birthday | Ganiyu Waheed

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His impacts in the music industry was very tremendous. The ‘Awurebe’ genre of music was his creation; sadly, since his exit nothing has been done to immortalise Akanmu Eyo. Alhaji Dauda Akanmu Epo Akara would have clocked 77 today, having been born on June 23, 1943. As if he knew that the end of his sojourn on earth was near, he celebrated his 60th birthday with fanfare in 2003. He later died on February 18, 2005 at 61.

While Epo Akara’s contemporaries like Gani Kuti, Lawuyi Oke Eleta, Tunde Ayefele, Isiaka Ogidan could not take their entertainment exploits beyond ‘Were’, which was used to entertain the Muslims during Ramadan fasting period, Epo Akara transformed it to create his own brand-Awurebe. The genre is a fusion of dadakuada, sakara, Woro and Apala.

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As an indigene of Ibadan, the largest city in West Africa, I am always proud of his contributions to the development of Ibadanland. In his LPs, he always celebrated the ascension of successive Olubadans. It’s unfortunate that he had passed on before his benefactor, promoter and the incumbent Olubadan, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Olasupo Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogunguniso1, ascended to the throne in 2016. No musician eulogised the monarch as Dauda Epo would have done.

In one of his evergreen, ‘Ori mi dara’ (vol.6), Epo Akara displayed his undying love for Ibadan. He boasted his indigenship of the city. ‘ilu Olowo Ibadan, ilu oloye ti wa ni, ori mi dara ni ‘badan na bi mi o e…’He amplified this in ‘Is Gaju’, he sang: ‘eeyan t’ori e ba ti daru o lo le f’omo Ibadan s’ere o…’

Epo Akara’s music is not only about praise singing. He was also a social commentator and current affairs analyst. When General Murtala Muhammed created additional seven states to the then existing twelve states in 1976, Epo Akara waxed an album, ‘Ipinle Tuntun’. ‘Ipinle ti e fun wa o ma dun mo wa o e, ipinle ti e fun wa o ma dun mo wa o e, Ibadan pelu Oyo o, omo iya sa ni wa…’ Also when the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome(AIDS) became pandemic, Alhaji Dauda educated his audience about the deadly disease. He sang : ‘imoran kan ti de o l’omode pelu alagba, b’olorun ba n so ni k’eniyan máa sora e o, AIDS ti d’ode o…’

But, with over 80 albums to his name, what he left behind doesn’t justify his work. He has only uncompleted single-storey building on Lagos Ibadan Expressway. It’s so sad!

Meanwhile, the immediate past governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun renovated Late Alhaji Ayinla Omowura’s house at Itoko, with his effigy beautifully erected on his grave. I believe the Executive Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Engineer Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde could also replicate this gesture to Epo Akara. The Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes(CCII) should also immortalise this hero who lived in the city throughout his life; even when his mates migrated to Lagos for greener pastures.

May the soul of Alhaji Dauda Akanmu Epo Akara ‘Ile eru’ continue resting in peace.

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