Interviews, People

‘My father’s death remains a rude shock’ – RASHEED SANNI, Son

ajigijaga's son-1

We sympathise with you on the demise of your father, Mufutau Sanni.

Thank you, Sir.

When and how exactly did the incident happen?

It happened on Friday, July 31, 2015.  My father gave up around 11 o’clock in the morning.  And being a Muslim, he was buried that same day around 5 o’clock in the evening.

Where was he buried?

He was buried at his house (yet to be completed) at Akinale after Wasinmi, along Lagos Abeokuta Road, Ogun State.

What’s the cause of his death?  Was it an okada accident or heart attack as being bandied?

None is true out of the two.  He didn’t have any accident and neither did he die of heart attack.  His death was natural and it was an act of God.  The only thing I got to know was that it was his wife that called me that he was weak.  And before I got there, they have invited a nurse to check on him before he would be taken to the hospital if it would be necessary.  And when the nurse checked his blood pressure (BP), she discovered that it was high.  The BP was about 280.  The nurse advised that he needed to rest.  And when I got there, I saw him in the living room lying down.  And I lifted him up and carried him on my chest.  As we wanted to start talking, I just discovered that he had passed on.  I just couldn’t believe it.  I was still calling him, ‘Daddy, daddy, what’s happening?  What’s wrong with you?’  But he couldn’t look at me again.  It now dawned on me that my father had gone.  I was shocked.

Before his death, was there any moment he experienced high BP like that?

There wasn’t anything of such.  He had never complained of anything of such to me.

But what do you think could have informed the sudden rise in his BP?

No one can tell, let’s just believe it’s time.  It’s been destined that’s how he would die.  It’s not by choice.

Some are saying he died of poverty, and maybe that’s what heightened his BP which eventually led to his death.  What’s your reaction to this?

A lot of people can say anything they like.   They are all entitled to their opinion.  But one thing I know is that Ajigijaga was my father and no one can claim he or she knows him more than me.  I have been living with him since I was a child till I got married.  So, no one could understand him better than me.  My father was blessed with two gifts by God, it is not everybody that possess such.  First, he was a contented man and second, he was very honest.  No matter the situation in the movie industry, my father never begged to eat.  Anyone that’s’ famous as far as the industry is concerned can’t be hungry.  My father was famous and I am sure his fame was enough to fetch him what he wanted.  So, he didn’t die of poverty.  He wasn’t a poor man because he wasn’t ordinary in the entertainment industry.  He lived in a better apartment, though rented.  He had a car.  So, I believe some people were just assuming what’s not even close to the truth.

We learnt he built a house which he was planning to move into soon.  How true is that?

No, he hasn’t completed his house.  It remains a little to complete which he was planning before death struck.

What was your last discussion with him?

We only had a meeting concerning his 60th birthday.  That was what we’re planning.  Actually, he clocked 60 on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, which was during the just concluded Ramadan fast.  So, our plan was that the birthday celebration would hold after Ramadan.  Even, we had perfected plan to invite Alhaji Shefiu Alao to perform that day.  We even planned it that by this week, the invitation cards might have been ready and all hands would have been on deck for other preparations for the ceremony, not knowing he won’t even live to execute the plan.  Man proposes, God disposes.

How do you feel that you won’t see Ajigijaga anymore?

You don’t need to ask me, sir.  Everybody knows how painful it is to lose someone you loved and that he or she also loved you as well.  My father was so loving and caring.  It will be very difficult to find his kind.  But all I know is that if he didn’t die now, he would surely die one day.  And as a Muslim, you can’t query Almighty Allah because He gives and takes at will.  The only thing baffling me is the mother he left behind.  He had an aged mother, I think mama would be around 88 now.  He was the one taking care of the old woman and the woman so much loved him.

What would you miss most about him?

I will miss his fatherly advice and all the links he used to give me.  My father had linked me to so many people.  He had really helped my career as a fuji artiste.

That means his name has opened a lot of doors for you?

Yes, I have enjoyed that a lot.

What will you be remembering him for?

A lot.  He will surely be remembered not by me alone but every member of his family.  He loved fostering unity in the family.  He didn’t joke with his family at all.  And personally, I will miss his care and generousity.  If I was broke, he would always be ready to assist me.  He won’t even want to think or say I am also mature enough to take care of myself and my family, he would just make sure I was comfortable.

How do you feel being his son?

It makes me feel great, even among my peers.  His name alone has helped me a lot in whatever I do.  I am living on his good relationship with people.

But a lot of people will think he was hard in real life because of his movie roles and they may not want to relate with you because of that, what’s your comment on this?

It’s only those who’re not close to him that will be thinking in that direction.  Those who were close to him knew my father was a devout Muslim.  He practiced Islam till death.  Even, a day prior to his death, a branch of Celestial Church came to hire him to advertise the church.  Those that the church sent told him they wanted him to wear the white garment of the church and take a photograph with it which will be displayed in their posters, but my dad turned down the offer.  They wanted to pay him N100,000 but he refused.  He told them he was a Muslim, that he can’t soil his image because of money.  Even one of his friends who was with him tried to convince him to collect the money, my father refused.  He told them if it had to be acting he could do anything in accordance with the rules of his profession.  But this is a different thing entirely.  He said appearing in a poster in a white garment will tarnish his image as a Muslim.  So, he rejected the offer.  Not knowing he would die the next day.

There was a report that Ajigijaga had many wives and many children and that he even married another younger wife last month.  How true is it?

Nothing like that at all.  My father didn’t marry many wives and he didn’t marry any wife last month.  My mother was his first wife, I am his first child.  My mother died about 12 years ago.  My father waited for about 10 years before he married another wife.  And that was on Saturday, November 24, 2012.  And the woman had a child for him, expecting another one.  My father wasn’t a womanizer.

How many children did your dad leave behind?

We are four.  Myself, and two others from my mom.  The new wife had one, expecting the second one by God’s grace. When that one comes, we will now be five.

How is life going to be without Ajigijaga in the family?

We believe in God but it’s not going to be that easy.  The truth is that all his siblings relied on him too much, especially on their mother and now that he is gone, things are not likely to remain the same.  And concerning myself, I will cope.  Life continues because I am old enough to take care of myself.  Although, I will surely miss him.

Has he been sick before?

No, the last time he was sick was 1997 and it was malaria.  Since then, I have never heard him fall sick.

But he was reported to have died of okada accident.

No, he didn’t even like okada.  If Ajigijaga was on the road side to board a bus, he won’t even stay there long before he would see someone that will pick him for free.  Besides, he had his personal car.

As a fujj artiste, how is your career going to be now?

Just like I said, my father owned the name I am using.  I was actually riding on his back in the industry, but now he’s no more.  But no matter what, life continues.  All I will concentrate on is what can I do to ensure the name he left behind remains intact and immortalized.  If I don’t soil his name and I am not arrested for anything illegal, I will definitely keep the name.  So, Ajigijaga is not dead.  He lives forever because he left behind good children.

How old are you?

I am 38.

How long have you been in the industry as a fuji musician?

I have been a fuji artiste for 22 years, with a number of albums to my credit.

Can you mention the names of your younger ones?

Why not?  They are Adijat, Fatima and Jamal Sanni.

How many children do you have?

I have four children and those are the only grandchildren of Ajigijaga.  They are all boys.

What are the preparations for his final burial?

There will be a Fidau on Friday, August 7, 2015.  The entertainment of guests will be low key.  We don’t want to make it elaborate because of his mother.  But being a celebrity, there is no way we won’t have many guests that day.  But the most important thing to me is how we’re going to take care of his wife.  Also, we’re staging artistes nite in his honour on Thursday, August 6, 2015.  Everything will hold at Olusanya Primary School, near our family compound here in Agege.  I am sure my father will not only be missed by his family but his colleagues and Nigerians.  May his soul rest in peace.

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