ON Monday, August 30, 2010, rumour spread like wildfire that widely respected fuji creator, Alhaji Ayinde Barrister, has passed on in far away Germany. The other side of the rumour had it that the death occurred at his Isolo (Lagos) palatial residence. To add to the confusion, a message mourning the fuji lord was also posted on the internet. Some of the man’s fans immediately went into mourning.
ENCOMIUM Weekly, however, later confirmed that Ayinde Barrister is still very much alive, through his daughter, Modinat Ayeloja, a.k.a Barrymade, who spoke on the wicked rumour and other issues.
How would you describe your career at the moment?
We thank God, everything is alright, we are moving on. God is actually answering our prayers.
What is the latest that your fans should be expecting soon?
My latest job is entitled, Al-Qurian. We have completed it and very soon, it will be released. We can’t be targeting Ramadan period again because that is almost gone, but it may be released anytime after Ramadan.
That would be your fourth album?
No, that is my fifth album. The first one is Eda e hu wa re, followed by Ayeloja, then Barrymade and Mo se t’Olohun. Then this new one.
Which of these albums would you say gave you maximum satisfaction?
All my jobs gave me maximum satisfaction because they are all my handiwork and with the support of Almighty Allah, none of them disappointed me and my fans.
Let’s talk about your dad, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde’s health problem. Has that not been affecting your career?
Not really. I can’t say his health challenge is disturbing my career or is disturbing my life, because when I was also a child, he did more than that for me. And thank God for him, he did not labour in vain. So, whatever I might have passed through since he took ill can’t be compared to what he also did for me when I was a child. I have not even paid ten per cent of it back. I didn’t see it as a big deal and I believe our labour on him too won’t be in vain, In sha Allah. Our prayer is that after this sickness, he would bounce back and he shall never fall sick again.
What is your understanding of his health problem?
Our job is not an easy job. Standing on the stage for 24 hours at times is not a small thing. Take somebody who has been doing that even before I was born. You should reason with me that it must tell on his body one day. That is exactly what is happening, but we thank God he is recovering.
But on Monday, August 30, 2010, rumour spread all over town that Alhaji Agba has passed on in Germany. Others even said he died in his Isolo residence. How did you feel when you heard that?
What I can only say about that is that someone that people don’t allow to rest is better than a forgotten person. It is part of the signs that people still love him, people still understand the fact that he still exists and he is a great man. It is part of the price one has to pay for being famous. In fact, the noise was across the country and beyond, I was receiving calls in all my four phones to the extent that I won’t know which one to pick. It got to a stage I had to switch my phones off. But all I believe, like he always says is that it is the love that people have for him that is working and that we should not blame or fight anybody because of any rumour against him. I am also praying that God will continue to put his love in the minds of the people, both old and young ones and they should still be praying for him as well. I also pray that all those who feel bad about it, calling to find out the actual situation of things, I pray that they too won’t fall sick, they won’t face any task they can’t bear in their lives. We really appreciate everybody.
Are you also aware that a message which read thus: ‘Ibadan people mourn you, Mr. Fuji’ which was also posted on the internet, what is your…
(Cuts in) We can’t rule out that because as you see those that love you, you also see those that don’t love you at all. There is no one who doesn’t have enemy. Even a day old child, so, what are we saying? But that kind of person that posted the information on the internet did it deliberately to cause confusion, mislead people and create unnecessary panics in the lives of family members, friends and fans of Mr. Fuji and which I believe such a person won’t go unpunished.
In fact, the person is only wishing himself to die young, not my dad. And I believe the person that did that is looking for untimely death and he would surely get it. There is nothing wrong with my dad, he is okay, he has undergone the surgery and it was successful. Very soon, he would be back in the country safely.
But a lot of people wouldn’t believe all these until they see him live in Nigeria.
Thank God you and I went to visit him in the hospital before he went to Germany. The way you saw him that day, was he not a surprise to you when you entered and he was the first person to call your name and started praying for you? He sang many of his songs for you. You had a very warm session with him. He normally addresses you as his son, you too take him as your dad. You know much better about him than virtually all your colleagues. I believe you should be able to tell the people spreading that kind of rumour to go and rest. I felt somehow when you called me early in the morning asking if he is truly dead because of one baseless rumour. My dad would live longer and he would not fall sick again, Amen!
When exactly should we expect him back in Nigeria?
I can’t say specifically, but one thing is that we do communicate on a daily basis. I spoke with him yesterday and he asked me to tell all his fans that he is very much alive, no cause for alarm. He is feeling better and very soon, he will return to Nigeria. I am also using this medium to thank all the religious leaders including Muslim clerics, Christian leaders, traditional worshippers and many others who have been praying for him, God will continue to be with them, Amen.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, September 7, 2010