GBENGA ADEBOYE’S WIFE: My Husband Owed His Success To Jakande Who Gave Him Platform - 247Updates
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GBENGA ADEBOYE’S WIFE: My Husband Owed His Success To Jakande Who Gave Him Platform

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Though he died 20 years ago, the works and legacies of the late comic and actor, Mr. Gbenga Adeboye, are a source of joy to households who still cherish them. His wife, Mrs. Olawunmi Oni-Adeboye, in this interview with OLAOLU OLADIPO, talked about his life and times. Excerpts:…CONTINUE READING

Your husband was a media personality of note, notable comedian and actor, what kind of husband was he to you and what kind of father was he to his children?

He was a very loving husband to me, a very lovely one at that. He was a dotting one too. He cared and provided for his home. He respected the sanctity of his home as the head of the house. He loved his children so dearly and I can say that he was a lover of peace. He was someone who was so good at taking care of kids. He took very good care of them in my absence.

He loved them to the extent that he would breast feed them if he could whenever I wasn’t around. He went as far as strapping them to his back and walking on the streets. He would tie my Iro and Buba while taking them around. He walked on the streets with any of the children on his back and everyone would be saying it was only him who could do that considering the fact that he was a comedian.

That was the kind of father he was, he played with them a lot. I remember when I had my first son, he was two or three years old then and he would take him to the movie to watch Indian films and when they return, the kids would be enacting the scenes of the movie that they watched. That clearly shows you how much he loved his kids. He called his daughter, Iya Mi (my mother), telling so many things about life.

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Did he tell you why he referred to his daughter as his mom?

We named the girl, Folashade, after my mother-in-law. He told me that any girl child that was given birth to by me would be named Folashade and he did that. I think he was more drawn to baby girls than boys. He loved them so much more than boys. He did the same thing with my first child, he said he was going to name him Moses whenever I gave birth to a boy. Before then, I mean when I gave birth to our first child who eventually turned out to be a boy, people had been calling him Baba Moses and when the child came, he never hesitated to name him Moses.

Was he a disciplinarian?

Oh yes! He was more especially when he was writing his script, that’s when you see the other side of him. The other side of him was cool and calm. That aspect was very mild.

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Does that suggest that he was a professional who differentiated work from affairs of the home?

Yes! When he was home, he was home. He took care of the home. He made us feel he was at home with us, his family

What was his typical day like, I mean when he woke up and the first things he did in the morning?

When he woke up in the morning, he would place his hands on his children and pray for them, especially Fola- shade. He would carry her and throw her up; even if the girl was sleeping, he devised a means of waking her up. He would bless all of them. He was also fond of pecking them on their cheeks. He would them drink water and take care of his personal hygiene before getting set for work.

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What time did he have his breakfast and what was his favourite meal? He woke up around 6:30am. Does he even sleep?

He was always writing even in the night. Most times, I woke up in the night to see him writing his scripts. I didn’t really see him sleep that much. When I asked him, he would say, ‘something just came up to him now and he had to put it into writing.’ At home around that time, he had a very big shelf containing many of the scripts that he had written. At the time he died, he had so many of them (scripts) that had not been produced. He hardly slept.

What was his favourite meal?

He loved pounded yam made from cocoyam. He ate it with a special kind of native vegetable soup along with bush meat.

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Being a popular entertainment figure, he hosted many people at home, could you recall the kind of guests that you hosted at home?

Many people came from time to time but I can tell you that the likes of Alhaji Sikiru Alimi, the likes of Chief Abbey Faboro, popular Yoruba comedians such as Erenishop, Alajeju…a lot of them like that. Many of them too many to recollect came to the house from time to time. The house was always full of people who came to see him for one thing or the other. One thing with him was that he loved receiving and entertaining guests. I think he had this nature that he couldn’t just stay alone. He felt he needed to be receiving guests.

Did he ever inform you how and what circumstances made him venture into broadcasting and entertainment?

From what I know, he was inherently gifted to do comedy. This runs in the family, you really needed to have met the dad, I mean the real Adeboye, Papa Rufus Afolabi Adeboye; his dad was someone you’ll never have a dull moment with. You’ll laugh whenever he said anything even if he never meant to make people laugh. He wouldn’t even know that he was cracking jokes, only people around him would know that he was trying to make us laugh. The same for my late mother-in-law, he had a younger brother too who was very funny

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Did he tell how he got into Radio Lagos?

When I met him then, he was still working at the International Airport in Ikeja, I think he went to a party where he met the late former Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, who gave him the opportunity to work in Radio Lagos. It was through Alhaji Jakande that he got there and I think he owed all his achievements to this chance meeting with Alhaji Jakande and to God Almighty. That was his foundation. He had the talent but there was no way he could showcase it but his meeting with Jakande was a game changer of some sorts for him.

What was he doing at the function, was he the MC?

He was doing Ewi (Yoruba poetry chants) at that time. He was reciting Ewi at functions and at times, he acted as MC in parties.

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After his success in Radio Lagos, at what point did he become a recording artiste?

He had everything right from the start, he cracked jokes. He began with everything when he got to the radio. He knew where he was headed. When you go back to his early recordings, you will see that there was a little music embedded into them. He was just graduating by the day, not that he had to.

As a wife how did you handle the fame and spotlight that came with the success that followed him?

I usually saw him as someone from another planet. That’s the way I saw him. Right from the beginning when I knew him in the early ’80s, I never got to understand him. I just know that when we went out to some parts of Lagos, people flocked around him chanting ‘Alhaji, Pastor, Oluwo’. I never really understood what they were saying. I never knew him so much then. I was wondering what kind of man he was.

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I had to listen to one of his programmes to really know what was being said about him. I lived with it and I coped with it. Even when I went to his shows, I’d just sit down somewhere and watch people flocking around him. When he was done, we would get up and leave. I got used to it at a point.

One unique thing about your husband was that he was a devout Christian but he was someone who was versed in the Quran and Ifa verses, how was he able to do that?

I will just tell you that he was very gifted at that. You only needed to say something besides him, he would grab it. Learnt things so fast and most of these things, he learnt from Alhaji Sikiru Alimi. If he (Alhaji Alimi) recited the Quran besides him when they were together, he would grab it and retain it in his memory

At what point did he fall sick and what was the nature of his illness?

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Only God can tell what the nature of his illness was. Any attempt to unravel that will reveal a lot of unsavory things. All I can say is that there was more to his illness than we know. At first, they said he died and came back to life again. By that time, I had left him. All I knew was that he came to our house and I remember telling him to slow things down and take care of himself. Many stories erupted after his death.

Where were you when he died and what was your immediate reaction?

I was in Nigeria when he died. I was in one of my sister’s houses when it occurred. I remember that her husband came in to break the news to us. He broke it, saying ‘your husband has died.’ I asked him, whose husband? He said, ‘your husband’. I ran out of the house to go to his office immediately to check and by the time I got there, I already saw the book of condolence that had been opened in his honour and I saw the large crowd of people waiting to pay their condolences. There and then, I knew I had lost my soul mate, my confidant and my lover. I cried my eyes out and I couldn’t just believe it.

How old was he when he died?

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He was 42 and would have clocked 43 a few months after his death.

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