With a number of Nollywood veterans currently battling different medical ailments and in need of public support, GHANIYAH OLOWOYO, in this report, looks at some of those who have had to call on Nigerians in recent years.
Dayo Akinpelu, popularly known as Alabi Yellow, was reported to have suffered a partial stroke in March 2019. It was gathered that the 62-year-old actor’s health deteriorated after his wife passed on early this year. The news of the actor’s ill health came as a surprise because he featured in Kunle Afolayan’s latest movie, ‘Mokalik’ and did not show any sign of illness. Over four decades after his debut, he is one of the most recognisable faces in the Yoruba movie industry. Aside from acting, he is also the author of a Yoruba literature book, ‘A Ba Oko Ku’ which has been included in the curriculum for pupils in junior secondary school. It was also revealed in a viral online video that the veteran actor lives in a one-room apartment with his aged mother in Ikorodu, Lagos.
Veteran actor, Babatunde Omidina, a.k.a. Baba Suwe, has also solicited for financial support to enable him to seek urgent medical attention. Baba Suwe made the plea in February during an interview with popular broadcaster, Kola Olotu, in Ibadan, Oyo State. This was despite claims by Theater Arts and Motions Pictures Producers Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN) that the actor has been on the health bill of the association since 2017. The comic actor, who sank into the background years ago, after enjoying patronage and limelight for decades, is battling diabetic complications among other ailments. Baba Suwe also linked his predicament to the ordeals the NDLEA officials subjected him to while in custody. According to him, the mental, psychological and medical stress he underwent, while NDLEA tried to establish that he indeed ingested cocaine, shattered him. However, the veteran actor was recently flown abroad to receive adequate medical care and is reported to be in Rhodes Island, USA.
A few weeks after veteran comedian, Baba Suwe sought public help on his failing health, a video of another veteran Yoruba actor, Ojo Arowosoge popularly known as Fadeyi Oloro, who is critically ill surfaced online. Fadeyi, who was quite popular in the ’80s and ’90s for his role as an herbalist and had a trademark costume during his active times was said to be hospitalised at Ile Epo General Hospital in Lagos. He was seen in the video mounting all his strength to seek financial assistance from all Nigerians.
In December 2012, actress Ngozi Nwosu battled heart and kidney related diseases and required N6 million to travel abroad for treatment. This was in the same year that the movie industry lost about four actors like Enebeli Elebuwa among others, to varying ailments. In January of the following year, Lagos State Government contributed N4.5 million to facilitate the treatment of the Imo-born actress.
Before his death, veteran comedian, Moses Olaiya, popularly known as Baba Sala, had also called on Nigerians to come to his aid in form of financial support in order to be able to attend to his health challenges. Baba Sala, who suffered from severe stroke, was reported to have said, “I need help. Nigerians should help me. I am not dead yet, they should not let me die suffering.” Although he was 80 before he passed on, his family, including one of his wives, Funmi, said the octogenarian did not suffer from old age but lack of funds for medical treatment. Baba Sala’s investments, according to his first son, Reverend Dele Adejumo, had all been wrecked by circumstances and poor management. Baba Sala eventually died on Sunday,7th of October, 2018, in his Ilesha home.
Prince James Uche
On January 3, 2017, Prince James Uche, who was popular for his roles in classics such as “Igodo” and “Lost Kingdom” was evicted from the hospital for not being able to pay his bills. Before then, the actor had battled kidney disease for over two years. His son and actors such as Desmond Elliot appealed to the public for financial support to aid his treatment: the veteran was in need of over N15 million for kidney transplant and eye surgery in India. Following the financial support offered by Nigerians, Prince James Uche returned to the hospital for treatment. He, however, passed away on March 8, 2017.
On January 24, 2016, veteran actor Olumide Bakare was admitted to the University College Hospital, UCH in Ibadan, Oyo State after a cardiac arrest. Olumide Bakare had cried out for help, begging Nigerians to assist him with money and prayers to help his poor state of health. In April 2017, the actor passed away after a prolonged health ailment.
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