I knew the late Moses Olaiya (aka Baba Sala) from two fronts – broadcast and religion. In the former, when we started WNTV, the first television station in Africa on October 31, 1951, Moses Olaiya and his group featured regularly in the Yoruba comedy series, Alawada, which was a most popular programme on the station. Other Yoruba theatre groups we used were owned by Hubert Ogunde, Duro Ladipo and Kola Ogunmola. Akin Ogungbe joined them later on. Baba Sala was such an interesting comedian that both in the studio and outside, it were jokes galore. On one occasion, he came in with a bandaged hand and when I asked rather sympathetically what the matter was, he simply joked it off with the reply “Ija Ore yen ni, o le ku” meaning “It was the Ore war; it was tough”, an obvious reference to the Biafra civil war encounter at Ore. He was such a brilliant actor that he was popular all round Nigeria and he earned himself national honours.
In the front of religion, when I was in the Cherubim and Seraphim Society in Lagos under Capt. Abiodun Emmanuel, the co-founder of the sect with Moses Orimolade Tunolase in 1925, between 1970 and 1990, Moses Olaiya too was in the group at Ilesa under Baba Alakoso Imole, Omole, one of the Baba Aladuras who worked closely with Capt. Abiodun. Baba Sala was in charge of the church at Idasa in Ilesa while I was the Conference General Secretary at Okesuna in Lagos. When in 1986 Capt. Abiodun was enthroned as the spiritual head of the Unification Cherubim and Seraphim Church of Nigeria at Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos, while I was the head of the administrative group, Moses Olaiya was busy chanting praise songs for Capt. Abiodun and the supporting Baba Aladuras, as he was also dancing round the arena, lending colour to the ceremony.
In 1984 and 1985, I was the zonal manager of Luncheon Vouchers Nigeria Ltd with office at Ring Road Ibadan with my jurisdiction covering Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Kwara and Bendel states. One of Baba Sala’s wives had a food store opposite Akewusola Stores at Ilesa and each time she came to exchange the vouchers she had accepted for cash, I gave standing instructions that she must be given priority attention so she could return to Ilesa early.
Well, Baba Sala is gone to join Capt. Abiodun, Baba Alakoso Imole Omole, Baba Aladuras Diya, Benson, Osinowo and others. I commiserate with Baba Alakoso Imole 2, Adegboyega Alao, Primate Igbeyinadun Alder, general superintendents Poju Arogundade, Ethiopia Omoseyin and other leaders like Tunde Olashore, etc, the children, wives and entire family of Moses Olaiya, the C&S Church in Ilesa and Nigeria, all actors, actresses, friends and well wishers of Moses Olaiya all over the world.
Kunle Olasope, EkitiRead Full Story