Sunday, June 24, 2012

Segun Olusola: Rain Of Tributes As Night Falls On Veteran Broadcaster, Culture Patriarch

Ambassador Olusola
June 23

The entire art and diplomatic community has been plunged into mourning since Thursday when news of Chief Segun Olusola’s death filtered in. The eminent art patron died in a Lagos hospital at 6.30pm on Thursday after a brief illness. The Olusola’s Moniya Art Gallery and home on Babs Animashaun, Surulere was a beehive of activities all day yesterday as visitors trooped in to sympathise with the family.
  On hand to receive the numerous sympathisers was Olusola’s son and Chief Executive Officer of Africa Refugee Foundation (AREF), Mr. Olujimi Olusola, who also spoke on behalf of the family as he addressed the media on the death of the culture patriarch, veteran broadcaster and great humanist.
   The junior Olusola had stated that their father had been taken to hospital shortly after he took ill the same day although he didn’t say what the nature of the illness was.
  But it was gathered that after Olusola complained of tiredness that he was taken to hospital. The junior Olusola confirmed that he was with him and had spoken with his father when he indicated he wanted to rest. He passed on shortly after in what he described as a peaceful death.
  His statement: “Yesterday evening at 6.30pm, Amb. Segun Olusola, passed on peacefully in a Lagos hospital. He has been hale and hearty before then. All of us were surprised. But we thank God he went peacefully as we could have wished for; there was no theatrics. He just slept off. We will make the other announcements as soon as possible. We thank you all for the support. He was a wonderful father.”
  Among the early callers to the Olusola residence yesterday included former Director-General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Taiwo Alimi, popular musician and chairman, Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MSCN), Orits Williki; one of the actors in the Village Headmaster,  Dejumo Lewis; the Fadesewa of Simawa, Oba Gbenga Sonuga; and Princess Adunni Adeniran.
  Others were governor of Ogun State, Sen. Ibikunle Amosu; former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel; former presidential candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) and Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Deacon Gamaliel Onosode and his wife; the Akran of Badagry, Wheno Aholu Meno Toyi I; Funmi Odusolu; the Yoruba Council of Obas in the Republic of Benin was represented by Tolulase of Ajase-Ile Kingdom, Porto-Novo; renowned filmmaker Mahmoud Ali-Balogun and Yinka Davies.
  Also there were former Chairman, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Rasheed Gbadamosi; National Coordinator of Odua Peoples Congress, Otunba Gani Adams; and president, Campaign for Democracy, Dr. Joe-Okei Odumakin. The list of sympathisers is inexhaustible and it keeps growing, reflecting how great Chief Olusola was in his choice careers of broadcasting, culture promotion and humanitarian services.

Edem Duke (Culture and Tourism Minister)
CHIEF Olusola was a total man of culture who used all resources at his disposal to promote indigenous values and norms. The late Culture Icon and Ambassador was a man of peace who believed strongly in Nigeria and in using the mechanism of culture to attain peaceful coexistence and enduring development. He gave untiring contributions to activities and policies of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation and other national and international culture agencies.
   Beginning with his days in broadcasting to his national assignment as a diplomat and his foray into social work as Founder and Chairman of African Refugee Foundation, the late Ambassador set for himself and kept faith with his clearly-defined role of advancing culture in its living and useful form. As a broadcaster, he created one of the longest running series in Nigerian television history The Village Headmaster, which highlighted the relevance and tenacity of several aspects of indigenous cultural values even in the face of modernization.
  The entire culture industry would miss Chief Olusola, the cultural patriarch who stood tall for culture throughout his lifetime. His death has created a vacuum that will be difficult to fill. May God give the family of the deceased, the culture and diplomatic communities and the entire nation the fortitude to bear the loss!

Governor Ibikunle Amosun
SENATOR Ibikunle Amosun has mourned the death of foremost Nigerian broadcaster, theatre artist and diplomat, Amb. Olusegun Olusola.
  The governor commiserated with President Goodluck Jonathan over the death of the ex-Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia and also offered his condolences to the good people of Ogun State, where the renowned television producer hailed from.
  Amosun described Olusola as "a thoroughbred professional, consummate administrator and humanist extraordinaire, who  distinguished himself in public life."
  He recalled that Amb. Olusola created the popular television drama series, The Village Headmaster, which has remained a reference point for generations and a source of inspiration to thousands of young artistes.
  He noted, "His service to humanity through the African Refugee Foundation (AREF), which he founded, brought succour and hope to many African refugees. He will be sorely missed". He prayed for God to grant the family of the deceased and the art community the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Governor Raji Fashola of Lagos State
In a condolence message to the family of the deceased, Fashola regretted that the death of the creator of the epic national television series, Village Headmaster has robbed the country of the ace broadcaster who, he described, as one of the country’s finest models in broadcasting, culture, the arts and diplomacy.
Olusola’s daughter, Oluwatoyin; Fadesewa of Simawa, Oba Gbenga Sonuga; son, Jimi Olusola and another daughter, Temidayo during the press briefing at their residence
  Fashola noted among the major contributions of Olusola, his founding of the African Refugees Foundation (AREF), which he said contributed to solving the problems of refugees and internally displaced persons. He added that Chief Olusegun Olusola’s constant admonition that situations that create refugees or internally displaced persons must be avoided should be hearkened to by all at this time in the country.
  He noted that the passage of the icon would create a big vacuum in the broadcast and cultural space of the country and challenges the youths of the country to be inspired by his life to always “aspire to be the very best in their chosen callings” the same way Ambassador Olusola and his generation excelled in their chosen professions.
  The governor acknowledged the outstanding contributions of the Village Headmaster series to the drama and cultural development of the country and prayed God to grant the soul of the respected diplomat eternal repose.

OLusola’s daughters, Temidayo and Oluwatoyin and Dejumo Lewis of Village Headmaster fame at the residence of Ambassador Olusola in Surulere, Lagos on Friday

We have lost a culture icon, humanist in Olusola — Aregbesola
The Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has described the death of former Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Chief Segun Olusola, as a colossal loss to the entire country.
  Olusola, the Governor stated, epitomised all that were edifying about the culture of the Nigerian people. Aregbesola, through a statement by his Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, recalled the noble contributions of the late Olusola to the growth of the television medium in the country.
  “The likes of Olusola brought out the best in television programming in the country. Their days in television productions were marked with diligence, attention to the robustness of our culture as Black people. Their productions aimed the development of the human minds and the evolution of an egalitarian society,” the Governor stated
  As a humanist, Aregbesola recalled the establishment of the African Refugees Foundation, an initiative which the governor said aimed at bringing succor to those suffering from the pangs of wars in many parts of Africa.
He added, “That singular, courageous move has placed the late Olusola among world’s most compassionate people. The best we can do as a country is to ensure that his initiatives are not allowed to fizzle out with his death.”

We've lost a committed patriot in Amb. Olushola — Gbenga Daniel
IN the death of Ambassador Olushola Nigeria has lost a diplomat, peace builder, foremost promoter of culture, humanist, patriot, a consummate writer and dramatist. He contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria with his sterling role in the growth of television through the village headmaster series, which he created. The African Refugee Foundation, which he founded reached out to vulnerable people all over the continent and beyond. Through the Foundation many got a second chance in life. He was ever so committed to serving humanity wherever he found himself. The best way to remember him is for all of us to keep his legacies alive by working for the peace and unity of Nigeria and promoting the best of our cultures and emphasizing things that unite us as a nation. We will all miss this great man.

Dejumo Lewis; Chief Taiwo Alimi and Olori Fadesewa of Simawa at the residence of Olusola on a condolence visit 
Chief Taiwo Alimi (former DG, Voice of Nigeria)
He was the most patriotic Nigerian this country has ever produced. And in the area of humanitarian work, he was the founder of African Refugee Foundation. He cared about not only Nigerians but also people of Africa. He was also the first African television producer in the entire continent. What the country will miss about him most was that he remained a leader who lived by example in the area of culture, tradition and art.
  This is what Nigeria of today needs. Till now, we don’t have leaders leading by examples. He was my uncle, mentor as he led me into broadcasting; he’s not going to be missed in Nigeria alone but in Africa as a whole.

DG of NTA, Alhaji Musa Mayaki
The Ag. Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Alhaji Musa B. Mayaki, on behalf of the Board and Management and entire staff of the Authority, regrets to announce the demise of Ambassador Segun Olusola, former Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia.  He was aged 77.
  A veteran broadcaster, ace dramatist and culture icon, Ambassador Olusola was one of the pioneers of Broadcasting in Nigeria.  He began his career at the Nigeria Broadcasting Service (NBC), Ibadan, in 1955, from where he moved to the Western Nigerian Television Authority WNTV) on inception in 1959, and later to the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) where he had a glorious career which saw him serve in various capacities until retirement in 1987.
  The defining moment of Chief Olusola’s career arrived in 1968 with the creation of the famous television drama, “The Village Headmaster”, renowned as the best and longest running television programme in Nigeria.
The entire management and staff of the Nigerian Television Authority are deeply pained by the loss of this broadcasting colossus whose immeasurable contributions had a defining impact on the growth and development of the Nigerian Television Authority and the broadcasting industry in Nigeria in general.

Martin Adaji (AD/CEO National Troupe OF Nigeria
I received the news with rude shock. In fact, I thought about him earlier in the day (Thursday) during our programme on the commemoration of the World Music Day as someone who, like Pa Aig-Imoukhuede, had constantly and consistently supported our programmes and indeed any artistic event he is invited to. When the programme rolled on and I didn’t see him, I concluded that he might not have been in town because he would either attend our programmes or send words through a representative.
  We, at the National Troupe will miss him — his support and advice and criticism. He will always leave a 'welldone note' or 'it can be better' note each time we invited him to our productions. Nigeria has lost a great cultural icon. Chief Olusola will be sorely missed. We shall on our part join in the effort to accord him a befitting burial and we shall within the limits of our resources be part of any effort aimed at immortalising a man I call 'Baba Culture'.

An icon in the culture sector - Ayakoroma
The shocking news of Ambassador Olusola’s death, according to the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, is like a dream. “He was a reference point in the history of television drama in Nigeria. As an icon in the culture sector, his contributions have been invaluable in repositioning the sector in our quest for sustainable national development.”

Maidugu: His is the symbol of NAFEST
The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, National Council for Arts and Culture, Mr. M.M. Maidugu, in his reaction said it was a sad moment for Nigerians particularly those in the culture sector. This, he said, was because the industry has lost an icon of arts and culture in Nigeria.
  “The sector is able to attain its present level of achievement as a result of the contribution of people like him. He had given us the inspiration, professionalism and intellectual strength to propel the sector to its present level. In the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), he was like our umbrella in the sense that he has been able to give us a sense of direction and leadership. He is there for us at all times, he was the brain behind the FESTAC 77 which metamorphosed into the National Council for Arts and Culture and was always at all the staging of the festival since I assumed office as the chief executive of NCAC.
   “He not only honoured us with his presence, he was also the symbol of the festival, which we collectively work towards sustaining and developing so that all the stakeholders can benefit from it. He gave us inspiration and courage we have, he provided the leadership we needed. We will ever remember him because he is irreplaceable.
  “We pray God to give his immediate family and the art community the fortitude to bear the loss.”

He was an inspiration – Prof. Olu Obafemi
The death of Ambassador Olusola was is a monumental loss to culture and the art. He was a major inspiration and a major guide o the inner search of the art of the country. He was one of the major supporters of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). He was a Patron of no mean stature and a committed Nigerian, who led a generation of broadcasters to establish a very important medium for the country. He was one of the most decent, most noble and most humble Nigerians of his generation.
Personally, he was always available for advise and intimate discussion when I was in the leadership of ANA. I will miss him and the nation will miss him as well.
  Ambassador Olusola was a great Patriarch of culture and the arts, a critical link between the people of culture and the people of power. He was a member of the first generation of professional broadcasting and a pioneer cultural activist of Nigeria and Africa . The artistic, creative and intellectual realm of our nation and the world will be greatly diminished by his death.

He was a great philanthropist - Ben Tomoloju
The death of Olusola is shocking to us and it is very painful. He has been a role model to us through our childhood, when we used to watch the television drama he created – The Village Headmaster. He also proved very relevant to the cultural development of Nigeria and the administration of electronic media and of course, Nigerian diplomacy.
  He was a great philanthropist, particularly for his role in mitigating refugee crises both within Nigeria and across the continent.  His death is so painful because to the very last days of his life, he was active in all realms and traditionally, he was a role model, not only because he was high chief in Remo but because he promoted art and culture physically, intellectually and spiritually. He does not compromise quality traditional expression.
   Personally, I commiserate with his family and the entire cultural sector of Nigeria.

Olusegun Runsewe (Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation)
IN a statement in Abuja, Otunba Runsewe described the late Chief Olusola as a great leader whose deep knowledge of art and culture made him an icon worthy of emulation. He added that the former diplomat impacted positively on many Nigerians particularly from his legendary fountain of knowledge in cultural matters and in broadcasting.
  Otunba Runsewe also described him as a passionate culture ambassador whose passing on would create a vacuum in the arts and culture sector.
  While commiserating with his widow and children, the NTDC boss prayed for the repose of the soul of the departed.

Orits Williki
I’M still in shock. It first came in as a rumor so confirming it is painful and sad. The father has just passed on. He is a father to all. I don’t know anybody that will come to him that baba turned him or her back. If they are 2000 persons, he has 2000 times to give. He is a father who wants to satisfy all. I always tell him nobody is as strong as he is. The good thing is that he died a good man.
  For the art community, it is a great lost. It is just like looking for somebody that will step into the shoes of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. I’m yet to find who can step into baba’s shoes. Each time I called him, he was always ready to give his advice on issues. He was my godfather!

Dejumo Lewis (who played the role of Oba Ajelende in Village Headmaster)
I had a lot of interaction with him. He was my oga; he taught me television production first before I got trained. As far as I’m concerned, he is not dead. He was a man who did so much for this country and Africa at large. Such people don’t ever die. To many, it is an elderly person that has died, but to me, his is a transition of the living. In received the news with mixed feelings. I’m only consoled like the rest of us. He lived a good and exemplary life; as a man of culture that he lived for till death. He has no excuse for being a culture man. There goes one of the greatest men of time. You were simple great in all ramifications: as a TV producer, a professional, an Ambassador and everything you were involved in. Indeed, you give me a great part of my fulfillment.
Bruce Onobrakpeya
AMBASSADOR Segun Olusola’s death came as a shock to me, particularly when one was not aware he took ill.
  Few days ago I heard he made a statement on refugee status in Africa on the occasion of the World Refugee Day.
  Olusola had been a very important personality in the culture and media sectors in addition to his well-known successful career as an Ambassador.
  Several times, I drew inspirations from him whenever we met at events. He appeared to have the answers to many problems. I hope the family would have the strength to bear the loss. And also, one hopes that the culture sector will be able to continue from where he left.
Omooba Yemisi Shyllon
CHIEF Segun Olusola grew our consciousness on the beauty of African culture. He continued relentlessly on that line and saw the need to protect people affected by situations they know nothing about. So he set up the African Refugee Foundation.
  I have met him severally at events, and saw him pray in the real African tradition, praying to Olodumare. He held strongly to Yoruba and African culture; no pretext about that for him.
  We will miss all that, and hope to find someone to replace him in that light. But in this era where people are dumping their culture for Western ideals, it will be difficult to find a replacement for him.
Gamaliel Onosode
HE was a man with many parts. He had a great heart and a humane disposition. He was always concerned about those around him and as an artist this fact was brought out very clearly in his professional life. We can therefore truly say we shall miss him. One additional point is that he was very much committed to the pursuit of excellence.
  Apart from many other public occasions which we have interacted, he was very much involved with an organisation called 'Poise', an organisation designed to help those who render service to the people to comport themselves with such dignity that wherever they happen to be rendering services people will feel at home with them, and also have the satisfaction that quality service was being offered.
  It is not usual to find public figures like the late Olushola. His pursuit of excellence, in a nutshell, is a virtue that can be used to appraise just how badly or well we have done as a people. We shall definitely miss him, not only as an artist but as someone who had this commitment for the pursuit of excellence.

Ayodele Ganiu (Project Director, Yoruba Drum Festival
Intro Afrika)
I felt very sad to hear the news of the demise of our Vice Patron, His Excellency, Ambassador Segun Olusola OFR. It was sad news to me not because baba was too young, but because Nigeria, and indeed the entire Africa, has just lost an irreplaceable cultural icon. Ambassador Olusola shared the vision of a Yoruba Drum Festival (YDF) proposed by Intro Afrika; he volunteered his time and energy to guide us through all the challenges of the maiden edition at Terra Kulture in 2011 and the 2012 Awareness Show at Yoruba Tennis Club in Lagos.
  On May 6, 2012, Ambassador Olusola led prominent Nigerians to a pre-departure show at the Consulate-General of Federal Republic of Germany, Lagos, to bid farewell to YDF ambassadors travelling to participate at the 2012 Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures) in Berlin, Germany. He was always there for us when we needed him. Baba will forever be remembered for his role in developing YDF from a mere paper work to an internationally recognised festival. May the almighty God grant him eternal rest!

Leo Adebola Aggroy (CEO, African Centre Project, Badagry)
HE is our president and we have been at it together in the past one year, struggling to get things together in the art and culture sector. Recently, he gave me an accreditation letter in the area of culture. My first call was the Nigeria/Brasillian Chambers of Commence. Efforts to reach him since have been abortive until yesterday when it was announced that he has passed on. I am already missing him because he is a father to me. I really can’t say how much I will miss him because is my father. He always says, ‘whatsoever you can do for your daddy, do it now; there is no time’, as if he knew he was going to die.
  His favourite quote to me are many but I do remember when he said “allow no obstacle to stop you from moving forward” and  I remember telling him too that “there is no reason in living without a legacy and there is no purpose in death without a legacy”.

Olawatoyin Laditi nee Olusegun (one of his daughters, who arrived from London, spoke with tears in her eyes)
We thank God for a life well spent. Daddy belonged to the entire continent of Africa. I will really miss him and I am grateful to God that he lived a good life. We thank God for the life he lived and for the faith he seems to believe in. he taught us to always take responsibilities for our actions. Never blame another person for your misfortune.
  He was a man of integrity and strongly stood for what he believed him. As I arrived on Thursday morning from England, he laughed and waved at me. I thought it was a sign of relief or greeting, not knowing it was a goodbye. He died the same day but I thank God he gave me the honour of seeing him before he died.

 Dr. Peju Layiwola
CHIEF Segun Olusola was a great man of culture, a liberated mind. I always admired his warmth and charisma. He was always very courteous. Any time you greeted him, he took time to warmly address you. He lived the Yoruba ideal of an 'Omoluabi'. He will be greatly missed.

Ezeoba John Okoroafor (consultant, AREF)
His death is a tremendous loss. He’s a selfless leader, who is dedicated to service to God and mankind. He used his resources to touch people’s life. He didn’t relent in offering comfort even at his own expense. He is an icon of nobility and his integrity had no equal.
Our great teacher, great leader, Segun Olusola made the country to mourn. Since yesterday when the news came to me, I have not slept. I have been here since the early hours because I shared in his global ideals.

Princess Adunni Adediran
‘OF all the wonders I yet have seen, it seems strange that man should fear, seeing death a necessary end that will come when it will come’. Ambassador Segun Olushola had to die like all human beings. So, I, too, writing this, will die. May his soul rest in perfect peace. And all his good deeds be rewarded to his children. Amen
 Ambassador E.T Okpo
MY brother, colleague, senior, may your soul rest in peace.

Chike Ofili
I mourn the salty subject of my biography, who’s Nigeria’s Giver of Himself and Time to Others, Ambassador Segun Olusola. He lived to better humanity as the bridge across divides deploying human, media and Public Relations with language and storytelling skills as a modern day griot, bringing gems and artefacts from the past to map the present.
Omoba Oluwasegun Eko
He died in the hands of his children as a fulfilled man of the people. He was optimistic about life, kept on talking about events, culture and peace, indicating his mind was with the people. He died at a ripe age of 77. RIP my loving uncle, Ambassador Chief Segun Olusola.

Tolulase of Ajase-Ile Kingdom
"Baba was responsible for bringing unity among all the Yoruba obas in the Republic of Benin. His death is indeed a great loss to us. In the beginning of Yoruba settlement, there was no council of obas but he created one for us and because of this he established unity among all the obas.

Ambassador Segun Olusola’s Death: Nigerian Film Corporation Reacts

The Nigerian Film Corporation has reacted to the death of Ambassador Segun Olusola, describing it as shocking and painful. Afolabi Adesanya, Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Corporation said, indeed Nigerians, enthusiasts of television drama, the theatre and film will surely miss this brilliant and ebullient personality who along with other Nigerians spearheaded the revolution that also aided the emergence of the present day Nigerian motion picture industry.

As a committed artiste and culture promoter, Ambassador Olusola not only leaves an indelible mark in the Nigerian creative industry through his landmark in the now rested long running television soap-drama ‘’The Village Headmaster’’, which he created.

Adesanya further said that because of the depth and passion with which late Olusola carried on his trade – Acting, Producing and Directing, and his quest for excellence, the Nigerian Film Corporation in the year 2008 instituted one of the coveted prizes of ZUMA Film Festival (2008) after him; Ambassador Segun Olusola Prize for Best Short Film.

On behalf of the Nigerian Film Corporation and the entire Nigerian motion picture industry, Adesanya prayed that Almighty God will grant Olusola a peaceful rest, and to the family, the fortitude to bear the painful loss of one of Nigeria’s best, who will also be remembered for his television credits, namely: ‘’The Palm wine Drunkard’’, ‘’Song of a Goat’’, ‘’ The Trials of Brother Jero’’ and more.

Brian Etuk
Head, Public Affairs

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