Tony Ogaga, Ayodele Lawal and Ifechi Okoh
The nation was shocked to receive the sad news of the death of highlife legend, Victor Abimbola Olaiya on Wednesday.
Popularly known as “The Evil Genius of Highlife”, Olaiya passed away after a brief illness at his Surulere, Lagos home. He was 89.
The musician, who started his career in the ‘50s, had more than 100 albums to his credit. Since his demise, artistes and celebrities have been paying tribute to him.
He touched millions of lives with his music
-Tony Okoroji, COSON chairman
He was an Iroko in the music industry. His death is a massive event in the industry. He touched the lives of millions of Nigerians with his music and influenced an army of musicians. His contributions to highlife cannot be over emphasised. He was one of those that made highlife what it is today. He will be surely missed!
I’m glad I celebrated him few years ago
-Ayoola Sadare, founder, Lagos International Jazz Festival
Olaiya was an icon, an influencer. I am glad I was able to celebrate him a few years ago. A mover and shaker, the likes of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen played with him. He laid the foundation for Nigerian music. Those days, his Stadium Hotel was very relevant in the Nigerian entertainment space. His death could be compared to that of legendary Hugh Masakela. An African Iroko has fallen. Thank God for his children carrying on his legacy. Thank God he lived to a ripe old age.
He left legacy of musicianship
-Duro Ikujenyo, musician
I was greatly shocked by the news of his death. He was the bandleader of Bobby Benson’s second band. We’ll miss the man who started highlife music, which today has become Afrobeats, juju and hip hop. One of the greatest inspirations in Nigerian music has passed on. He inspired the likes of Ebenezer Obey and Fela Kuti. I played with his band back in the day and I did a documentary with him on Stadium Hotel. He left a legacy of musicianship. He is the supreme master of highlife. He is the last of a generation of highlife musicians. He was able to do a collabo with Tuface. We started a music union over 40 years ago at his Stadium Hotel long before PMAN came into existence. I don’t know who will step into his shoes. He was very consistent for over 60 years after the success of Omo Pupa. He will be greatly missed!
His death, big loss
-Sura Samba, percussionist
He was the doyen and godfather of highlife music. He was like a father to us. He inspired many of us both home and abroad, especially the younger generation from the ‘70s onwards. His death is a big loss. We love him but God loves him most. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
Sleep on gallant soldier!
-Seun Olota, artiste
This is a big shock for me. Olaiya was one of the pioneers of Nigerian popular music. He will be remembered for his contributions to humanity in words and actions. We shall miss him but we’ll carry on with more conquering efforts where he stopped. Adieu, great one! Sleep on gallant soldier!
He never underestimated any artiste
-Kolington Ayinla, fuji act
His death is a great loss to the music industry because he was a great musician. He was very talented, accommodating, and very pleasant to any artiste who is opportune to come in contact with him. When my band was playing at his Stadium Hotel, he was all over us, willing to help at all times and he never underestimated any artiste. And when he sees talent, he will quickly recognise it. We will miss him.
His death has created vacuum that can’t be filled
-Admiral Dele Abiodun, juju act
Olaiya’s death has robbed us of a multi-talented musician. He was very talented, focused, hard working and father to every one of us .We will miss his fatherly role. His death has created a big vacuum that cannot be filled in a hurry.
He lived a fulfilled life
-Ebenezer Obey, juju maestro
Olaiya was a great leader who elevated highlife music. He was a man of great talent who developed highlife music with his colleagues like Bobby Benson, Chris Ajilo and others. By his death, we have lost a very talented musician, a leader per excellence, a man who has dedicated his life to highlife and the entertainment industry as a whole. He passed on at 89, and with this, he has lived a fulfilled life. But no matter how old our elders lived, we don’t want them to go. I pray that the good Lord will console his family.
My story will be incomplete without Victor Olaiya
-Shina Akanni (Scopido), fuji artiste
Olaiya was a father to all of us. The history of my music career will be incomplete without Victor Olaiya, because he encouraged and supported me. He gave me an opportunity to play weekly at Stadium Hotel, this further enhanced my music career. He will be missed by all of us. May Almighty Allah grant him Ajanah.
He came, he saw and he conquered
Champion Oyinlola, artiste
His death is a great loss to the entire music industry. Since death is a necessary end, who are we to question the Almighty God? He came, he saw and he conquered. We will surely miss him.
Younger artistes should emulate him
Patrick Osakue, ex-deputy chairman, Lagos State PMAN
His death is a big blow to the Nigerian music industry. However, I take solace that he came, saw and conquered. My advice is that other musicians, especially the younger ones, should follow his footsteps, thereby immortalizing him positively.
He laid solid foundation for Nigerian music
-Baba Fryo, artiste
Victor Olaiya and the likes of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Adeolu Akinsanya and Roy Chicago laid a solid foundation for Nigerian music. May his soul rest in peace.
Olaiya inspired me
Evang. Akin Adebayo (Imole Ayo)
Olaiya, as the father of Nigerian music, was an inspiration to me. There’s no doubt that a music giant has been knocked down by death. His death actually came at a ripe age and I thank God for this. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Amen!