From Tony Osauzo, Benin, Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Music maestro, Sir Victor Uwaifo, died from complications resulting from pneumonia and not COVID-19 as was being rumoured, his third son, Goodman Osarentin, confirmed, yesterday.
The younger Uwaifo, who spoke in company of his sister, Evelyn Oghonmwen, said his father was rushed to Stella Obasanjo Hospital in Benin on Friday and passed on at about 4 pm on Saturday from untreated pneumonia.
“I want to use this opportunity to clear this misinformation. We have heard rumours going around that our father, Sir Victor Uwaifo, died of COVID-19. It is not true. He died of pneumonia and not COVID-19. He was rushed to the hospital on Friday and passed on the following day, Saturday, August 28. We did the necessary tests. He was treated for pneumonia”, he said.
Goodman, pastor with Image of God Bible Ministry, Benin, said he was yet to come to grip with the loss of his father but had been able to weather the storm because of his strong faith in God.
“I have mixed feelings over his sudden death. Before he passed on, I had different feelings. I am yet to accept the reality of his death, I am very very sad. I am able to bear because of my calling as a pastor. I will not respond emotionally as my brothers and sisters are doing because of my calling as a pastor. I am really sad,” he said.
He said his father would be remembered for his works which he described as evergreen, adding that people like him who are multi-talented are hard to come by.
The music legend’s house located at Victor Uwaifo Avenue, off College Road, Benin, was a beehive of activities yesterday, as people trooped in to condole with his family.
The music legend, writer, sculptor, musical instrument inventor and university lecturer, marked his 80th birthday in March.
He was the Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism during former governor Lucky Igbinedion’s administration and was the winner of the first gold disc in Africa (Joromi), released in 1965 and seven other gold discs in Guitar Boy, Arabade, Ekassa series and Akwete music.
He recorded under the name Victor Uwaifo and His Titibitis. He is recognised as the most educated performing music legend, musical instrument inventor, artist, worldwide with a B.A Honors (first class valedictorian), Masters degree and Ph.D in Architectural Sculpture, (University of Benin, Nigeria).
Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State described the passing as a huge loss to the entertainment industry and Nigeria in general.
In a condolence massage issued in Abuja, yesterday, Kalu extolled the virtues of the Nigerian guitarist and urged upcoming musicians to embrace the good deeds of the deceased.
The former governor of Abia added that the late philosopher carved a niche for himself in the entertainment industry. While commiserating with the government and people of Edo, Kalu admonished the Uwaifo family to sustain the good legacies of their late patriarch. He prayed to God to repose the soul of the popular musician.
“The demise of renowned artist, guitarist, music maestro and philosopher, Sir Victor Uwaifo, is a big loss to the nation. He was a music icon who committed his skills and resources to the promotion of the entertainment industry and national development.
“The late musician was popular beyond the shores of Nigeria. He won numerous awards locally and internationally for his accomplishments in music, humanity and other facets of life.
“The late Uwaifo was successful in all ramifications. He lived a remarkable and purposeful life dedicated to humanity,” he said.
Kalu, who extended his condolences to stakeholders in the Nigerian entertainment industry, prayed to God to give the deceased’s family the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.
Governor Okowa, in a statement in Asaba, said he was a star whose demise was a huge loss to lovers of his genre of music. He noted that he contributed immensely to the entertainment industry and academia, excelling enviably in both.
The governor stressed that the history of Nigeria’s hall of fame would not be complete without Uwaifo’s name.
Also, management of University of Benin (UNIBEN) and the member, representing Ovia Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Dennis Idahosa, said the demise of the Edo-born entertainer has left a void that would be difficult to fill in the industry.
Vice Chancellor of UNIBEN, Lilian Salami, in a statement, said the university community would miss Uwaifo’s uncommon mastery of the Arts.
“The shocking and wicked news reached us of the loss of a legend and great son of Benin kingdom.
“Our most painful and heartfelt condolences go to his family, Edo State, the university community, his friends and loved ones.
“Uwaifo was our 2nd Uniben Alumni Honorary Graduate, May his good soul rest in peace. The University of Benin community will dearly miss his uncommon mastery of the Arts. We pray God to grant us the will to bear this great irreplaceable loss,” the vice chancellor said in the statement.
On his part, Idahosa, in a statement signed by his media aide, Friday Aghedo, said Edo and Nigeria have lost a legend in the iconic musician.
“Uwaifo was a musical export, Edo’s pride in the creative industry and a great patriot.
“Indeed, we’ve lost one of the very best old wine in the creative industry. Though he’s gone but his music will speak well of his legacies,” he said.
Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, described his death as the end of an era in the African, Nigerian and in the state musical scene.
“The death of Uwaifo has suddenly closed an era in the African, Nigerian and Edo musical scene. He brought pride and glory to old Bendel and Edo State, as a worthy son and ambassador through his magnetic live performances,.
“Edo State has lost not just a musical and artistic legend, but a great institution has fallen from us at a time the Nigerian youths need more of his mentorship and experiences.
“Language was the source of Uwaifo’s fame; besides, his musical talent, the density and immensity of his artistic works, tourist outfit and love for creative arts were perhaps the major things that marked him out.
“Adieu to the father of undiluted sounds and an all – rounder. A legendary Nigerian musician, writer, sculptor, and musical instrument inventor, who played virtually all instruments with all humility, in spite of his sound education as a Ph.D holder in Architectural sculpture. He was indeed blessed on every side,” Shaibu said.