I love Ayinla Omowura’s music and his creativity but my sympathy goes to Bayewun, his long time friend, promoter and band manager. I wouldn’t think he had intention to murder Ayinla.
Ordinarily, that unfortunate incident could have been a case of “manslaughter” and not “murder”. It was never premeditated, it happened in a snap which could pass for a provocative act of self defence.
But who was that judge that would not condemn Bayewun to death with the sustained mass anger that greeted Ayinla’s death? Public opinion might have played a role to intimidate the judge to submission. Every court trial date of Bayewun at Isabo High Court, Abeokuta, always witnessed mass attendance of Ayinla’s die-hard fans including drivers and butchers. Even before the court’s judgement, everyone including myself had condemned Bayewun to death. The DPP could have done a shoddy job.
If we recall vividly, even the Fuji maestro, Ayinde Barrister (RIP) , was “spiritually implicated” as partly responsible for Ayinla’s untimely death by those who believed in occultism because of perceived rivalry between the two great musicians. Ayinla in his usual belligerent posture actually challenged Ayinde Sikiru to a musical brawl in one of his albums where he sang: “Ki o ma se je ki ngbo, Ayinde, pe won ji e lorin lo, ko je je be oro apara ni, E gbodo ma gbera sanle loju iru wa, ti o ba je pe e gbera ga ki ba dun..” But Ayinde was wise for not entering into the ring to contest supremacy with Omowura. Although the duo sang different music genre, Ayinla – Apala, Ayinde – Fuji, but Ayinla characteristically believed he was the Supreme Commander of Yoruba Apala and its variant music artistes except Haruna Isola aka Baba Gani Agba to jolori elere n’la, whom he deferred to.
For months, the talented Fuji creator, Barrister, couldn’t come or play in Abeokuta after Ayinla’s death. . He had to release an album as tribute to Ayinla where Ayinde tactically cleared himself of having a hand in the death of Omowura by cursing anyone who was involved directly or remotely in Ayinla’s murder: “Eni ba lowo ninu iku Alayinla, bo ba bi Igba omo ko ni ku kan, bo ba ra motor a danu, ko ni ku si aso re gbe wa. Taba re ni to pa Alayinla o, ipade di jo ajinde…” That album softened our minds in Egba land. Mr. FUJI was truly a bundle of talent, I still feel that album Barrister made as tribute to Omowura was one of his best.
I listened today to Yemi Shonde, aka Jigan Akala and Dr. Festus Adedayo, author of the well received book on Ayinla Omowura, on Faji FM 106.5. The review was good and it is going to generate more conversations on the legend of Apala Music. Jigan Akala did a good job even reminding Adedayo some names and places as contained in his book especially when he corrected Festus that Agbejapa Oba, one of Ayinla’s spiritualist, and one of Ayinla’s wives where he ate his last breakfast lived in Ago Oba not Ago Ika. Anyway, the two names sound similar. Sonde showed that he had read the book. Professionally, you do not bring an author on your programme without digesting his work. Only foolish presenter or moderator does that.
I met Bayewun once in 1980 when my dad directed my elder sister to see him for job placement in any of the companies he had contact, I accompanied my sister to Bayewun’s house, I think around Odo Oyo, Abeokuta. The three of them, my dad, Bayewun and Ayinla were social friends but my dad nicknamed “Enshaw of Marine” for his prowess in football in his secondary school days at Oke Ona Grams. was closer to Bayewun, may be because of Bayewun’s better educational background and comportment than Ayinla.
Bayewun received us warmly. But the conversation during the meeting was revealing of a life built around beer parlours. Hear him: (not verbatim): “If you want to see me after 12 on Monday, let’s meet at Olaiya beer parlour, if it’s after 2pm on Tuesday, beer parlour Sifau, Igbore, by Wednesday, I will be at Risikat beer parlour, Ago Ika, ….” Everyday if you missed him at home, the next thing was to be trailing him from beer parlour to beer parlours. I guess the beer parlours life was a result of marketing and promoting Omowura’s albums like Ayinla also used to move from one beer joint to another “serving his fans round” with a lot of beer and interpreting his music and Adewale Oniluola’s talking drum.
When we left his house that early morning, we looked at ourselves and started joking that:” Se man yi ko ni life mi ju beer parlour ni? ” (Did this man not have another life than beer parlour ”
Later my sister who had Grade one WASCE Certificate got a media job before proceeding for further studies. May her soul rest in peace.
That Bayewun’s clash with Ayinla leading to the death of Egunmagaji held in a beer parlour in Ago-Ika and they even met at a beer parlour for the first time as revealed in the book was not surprising.
Ayinla didn’t deserve to die untimely like that in a beer parlour for struggling to repossess a mere motorcycle he gave Bayewun, his very good friend, his promoter and band manager notwithstanding their initial conflict and having reported to the police initially. He should have allowed the police to reclaim the bike for him.
Therefore, I don’t believe in all the myths that were weaved around Ayinla’s death. What killed Omowura was that he never departed from his ‘belligerent street sense” despite his big man status. By the time Ayinla was struggling with his close pal, Bayewun to repossess an ordinary motorcycle, he was riding a 504, a Mercedes Benz, (Messi Oloye) and he had buses as operational vehicles. He could have just gone to Enu Gada or Lafenwa police station, a stone throw from Ago Ika beer parlour for help.
I think in panic and an attempt to escape, Bayewun smashed the beer jug on Ayinla’s head not with the intention to kill his friend and boss and the legend died leaving with his mythical “Opon Orin” and his “Atori Orin”
Lesson is let’s manage our anger and forgo many things in life, particularly when our status is beyond certain level.
I have a rich friend whose wife just decided to go gaga one day. She packed out of her matrimonial home when her husband was away. She left with their children, 3 expensive vehicles, his original professional certificates. C of O of many of his landed properties, his international passport among other valuables.
When he informed me a year after and he saw my rage and desperation to help him out, surprisingly he calmed me down by saying: “but Sho, you activists always say that the system has made almost everybody to be criminal and insane, so when you see the manifestation of your perspective in reality, you should appreciate it, I thank God that I am still alive and can work again to get all those things back except my lovely children which I consider a blow below the belt… ” I immediately became gentle and learned from him. The woman eventually returned to her husband after 5 yrs of painful” kill & go” separation. Although, I couldn’t have taken such pain with equanimity but it was a great lesson I learnt.
Perhaps, Ayinla could have taken the peaceful option and may be Bayewun too could have just released the bike for the sake of “world peace” and long time friendship.
May their souls rest in peace.
…Culled from Comrade Soetan’s facebook timeline