ON Wednesday, December 16, 2015, it will be exactly five years that fuji creator, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Balogun, famously known as Barrister passed away. And activities are already lined up for the occasion. The event kicks off on Wednesday, December 16, 2015, at his Isolo, Lagos residence (Fuji Chamber) with Islamic prayer to be led by popular Islamic cleric, Alhaji Sheik Muyideen Bello.
ENCOMIUM Weekly was at Fuji Chamber on Sunday, December 13, 2015, where we had a chat with two of his children, Samsideen and Al-Maroof Balogun on the preparations for their father’s fifth memorial activities and other issues.
’Things were rough and tough at the beginning’ – Samsideen Balogun, son
How would you describe life after five years of your father’s death?
We give glory to Almighty Allah for what has been happening to us since our father passed on in 2010. Although, things were rough at the beginning, we thank Almighty Allah for being with us and seeing us through till this moment. We have been able to move forward in all our endeavours. Glory be to Him. and we give thanks to Allah, our father left a good legacy. And we’re beginning to appreciate him more and more every day.
What are those things you still miss about him?
He’s going to be missed forever for his fatherly role. He was a father, a friend and my confidant. He was someone you could just go to and share your feelings with. I would say, I miss him in all aspects of life. He was just a good and caring father.
How has the entire family been coping since his death? Is the family still intact as he left it?
Before Ayinde Barrister died, he made us to understand that we have to work for whatever we want. He always advised us to work hard and not depend on anybody for help but Almighty Allah. So, we have all been living on his legacy and advice. We don’t rely on property or whatever. We all have our work and we’re all doing fine. We thank Almighty Allah that things have been moving on as expected. So, there is no problem in the family, no rancour at all. The family is intact and we’re all at peace with one another. It has been one big and happy family before he died and even after his death.
On Wednesday, December 16, 2015, it will be exactly five years when he died, what are the preparation for his memorial?
The preparations for Ayinde Barrister’s fifth memorial started a little late. Why I said late was that we relied on people to help us before, but it was later realized they’re not going to be there for us. The earlier we realized they’re not going to be there for us and that we had to do it ourselves we kicked off. And we thank Almighty Allah that things are going on smoothly. Even more than our expectation.
Can we have a peep into what the programme is like?
First on the programme is special prayer holding here on Wednesday, December 16, 2015. The guest lecturer is Sheik Muyideen Bello. And there will be launching of his Post-humous biography on Saturday, December 19, 2015, at the Oranmiyan Hall, Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. Then on Sunday, December 20, there will be a concert in his honour featuring all fuji musicians. If you’re not there, you miss out. All the fuji artistes are going to be there live, performing. The event holds at Times Square Event Centre, Ajao Road, Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos.
Who are the people supporting the programme?
It’s purely family affair. No sponsor yet, but we thank God, everything has been going on well.
Apart from fuji musicians, are you also inviting artistes from other genres?
Yes, we have some hip-hop artistes coming. This is the first elaborate edition of his remembrance, it’s going to be an annual event.
Are you still proud of being Alhaji Ayinde Barrister’s son?
Yes, I am proud of my father even in death. He was a great man.
‘Life has been tough without Ayinde Barrister’ – Al-Maroof Balogun, son
There is no way you can actually describe that. But no matter what, life goes on. We thank God Almighty that we have been getting along since.
Are you still based in Nigeria?
Most of the time I am in Nigeria. But as a businessman, I still shuttle Nigeria and abroad. But at the end of the day, Nigeria is home.
How would you describe life without your dad all this while?
I must tell you, it has not been easy. We miss him every single day. He was a wonderful person. His voice is still with me every day. Though I don’t hear his musical voice, there is a feel of his voice in me. As far as I remember him, I hear his voice.
How would you describe your business after his death?
I thank God. It could be a lot better. And as we all know, business is about risk. It takes risk to run every business. Sometimes you make profit and sometimes you don’t. We just pray that tomorrow is better than today.
What would you say has been keeping Ayinde Barrister’s family together since his death?
I believe it’s his love and loyalty. He loved all his children equally. In any family or relationship without love and loyalty, there will be no understanding. And in life, whatever relationship you build, understanding is the most important thing.
But there was a tale months after his death that his children were fighting over his property, especially cars and houses. What’s your comment on this?
(Laughs) When we talk about property, I believe what our father left behind is far more than the material things. If you say property, there is nothing really down but what he left fetched us millions. And it’s still going to fetch more millions by the special grace of God. He left a name and legacy. That name will open doors and by the grace of God it shall.
Has his name not been opening doors already?
There is no way you go to a place and you say you’re a son or daughter of Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister that they won’t give you special preference. We have left the running of the family affairs to friends and well wishers for about five years now and we believe they have done their best. Now, it’s time for the elder ones among Ayinde Barrister’s children to take over from where they stopped. I believe the doors are going to be opened very soon.
Are you guys in charge of his business, especially all his albums and proceeds coming from that?
That’s part of what I just talked about. Everything was being done by members of the committee set up by the family to manage the affairs and most of the businesses are run by them. But now, we’re saying it’s time for us to do everything on our own. We’re very grateful for what they have done so far. We believe we could do better.
How is the programme going to be like on Wednesday, December 16, 2015?
It’s been going on for a couple of years but because this year’s edition is a milestone that’s why it’s going to be more elaborate. We usually have a prayer session every December 16, and it has always been well attended. But because it’s the fifth remembrance of Ayinde Barrister’s death, it’s going to be bigger. The programme promises to be very interesting and everybody is invited to be part of the programme.
Did you invite the Lagos State governor and all the South West governors?
Yes, of course. A lot of letters have been sent out, representatives have been sent to governments. So, we’re expecting all of them and other dignitaries from far and near. Just like my brother told you, the event will kick off with prayer here on Wednesday, December 16, 2015, and will be rounded off on Sunday, December 20, 2015, with the mother of all concerts featuring all fuji artistes and other artistes from other genres. It’s to celebrate the great man called Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister.
What’s happening to the band members your father left behind?
There is no profession without its ups and downs. If you cut off the head of a snake, it becomes idealess. It will go left and right before it can come down. And now, the band members have come down, and they will be performing as well in the concert. That will be the major band that will be backing up the entire musicians that day.
We can see that Fuji Chamber is under renovation now for the event, how much have you people spent on it?
We can’t quantify it, but it’s in millions.
Does it mean no one lived here after the death of Baba?
No, one of our brothers lives here but he is always not around. He occupies the building at the back.