By Ishola Balogun
If tears and wailing could bring back the dead, the famous Fuji Maestro, Ayinde Barrister would have been saved from the shackles of death and brought back to life. But like some said at the funeral, he was a great man but greater in death.
Tears rolled down uncontrollably and the atmosphere which hitherto were calm became charged. Wailing almost subsumed the blaring of the microphone which continually appealed for calm.
Just as those who managed to control their emotions were struggling to have a glimpse of the man who had brought Fuji Music to limelight, the police and other security agencies were busy ensuring orderliness in the funeral arrangement. Saturday Vanguard was there and monitored the event as we serve you a blow-by-blow account of the funeral.
The long wait
Thousands of sympathisers, Fuji music lovers, including friends had thronged the Lema Lamina Street, Isolo residence of the Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Basorun to witness the burial on Wednesday shortly after the news was broken that the remains of Alhaji Agba would be brought in from London and buried immediately.
People however went home disappointed on Wednesday and regrouped early on Thursday for the burial. No serious activity started until about 12:00noon when a detachment of police led by Superintendent Adeola moved into the premises of the late Fuji icon to evacuate people who had taken their seats in the premises.
Only the wives, children and pressmen were allowed in the premises. People waited for several hours with intermittent announcement that the body would soon arrive. The Muslim clerics and some Muslims waiting for the corpse observed their regular salaat prayers there at the Maimunat Memorial Mosque (Zhuri, Asri Magrib, and Ishai) Respite came when news filtered in that the body had arrived the MMIA 7:15pm. It was not later than 10pm when the body arrived the premises in a black ambulance benz.
Traffic and Security
Free movement of persons were a bit difficult while vehicular movement were restricted on the Lema Lamina Street from early hours of Thursday till the burial lasted. Those who had gained entrance to the compound could not move out while those outside the premises found it difficult to change position.
Over a hundred of policemen and other security agencies including LASTMA officials, KAI took control of situation. They had mounted tight security blocks at both ends of the Lamina Lawal, Street, Isolo, Lagos, about 500metres from his house. The motor-cade and the entourage that brought the corps arrived through a divert at Oremeji area of Isolo. The police occasionally had to contend with hoodlums outside the premisses who proved to be difficult.
Meanwhile, no video camera was allowed during the proceedings as it was feared it would encourage piracy when the burial tape is rolled out in the market.
Several people including the Fuji Garbage Queen, Tessy Yembra rendered a show in honour of the late musician.
She re-enacted the Fuji Garbage dance that gave her the crown 25 years ago using it also to pay tribute to the fallen fuji king. Sulaimon Aremu, a.k.a Ajobiewe also gave a rendition that almost moved spectators to tears and he was appreciated with some naira notes. Ajobiewe’s dirge has remained a constant phenomenon in burial of Yoruba genre of musicians. Others were Salawa Abeni, the Isolo youths association among others.
Alhaji Agba no doubt is a lover of jeeps. People who commented on his desire for jeeps said it was extraordinary. Four exotic jeeps were packed in the premises with other cars said to have been packed outside as a result of space constraints. The Jeeps are Hummer Jeep with a ustomised name plate BARUSATI, Amanda jeep, with plate number DA614LSD, Lexus Jeep, withe registration number AQUA9A, L Navigator with number EL783 ABJ. That is not all, there is a new addition to it in Crystal Jeep latest Model which we heard he had just paid for before death came knocking. That was said to have arrived on December 16, 2010, the day he breath his last.
His wives, children’s comportment
Only a few of them was able to comport themselves when the corpse arrived. These are Alhaja Nimota Balogun (Iya Olanshile), Bilikis Balogun, Tayo Balogun and several others They were dressed in a brown ankara, local fabric with some wearing dark glasses and black veil. His chilren led by Abdul Razak Balogun were decked in different attires but clustered together during the funeral rites. Others are Kuburat, Morufu, Shamsideen, Sulaiman, Sikiru and Sikirat (twins) Saidat Shakirat, Akeem, Bilikis, Idris, Ruka and several others.
His several wives, innumerable children and grand children, broke down in tears as the remains of the Fuji superstar was committed to mother earth last Thursday. The atmosphere which was hitherto calm became charged.
Who-is-who at the burial
All the top yorubar genre musician were present including the new generation and the upcoming fuji singers. Among them were Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, Kollington ayinla, K1 De Ultimate, Dele Abiodun, Saheed Osupa, Alabi Pasuma, Salawa Abeni, Segun Adewale, Sulaiman Adio a.k.a Atawewe and host of others. Other dignitaries are Alhaji Buhari Oloto who was said to be by his bed side when he died in London, Alhaji Monsuru Owolabi, a.k.a Batola, Barr Boye Leyimu, Alhaji Adisa Osiefa, Chief Olasupo Akanmu Adetunji, Osi Balogun of Ibadanland, among others.
The tomb and burial
As one of his wishes handed down before his demise, Alhaji Agba had told some of his children, family members where he wanted to be buried when he died. His younger brother, Alhaji Nurudeen Aremu Balogun and one of his sons confirmed this to Saturday Vanguard during a chat with them.
Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister was committed to mother earth right in is room where he called Fuji Chambers at about 10pm on Thursday. Good night Alhaji Agba.