ON Friday, July 31, 2015, the Nigerian entertainment industry was thrown into deep mourning when a veteran actor cum film maker, Mufutau Sanni (60), famously known as Ajigijaga passed on. And as soon as the news of his death broke, social media was awash with comments both within and outside the industry, extolling the virtues of the Ogun State born entertainer.
ENCOMIUM Weekly, on Sunday, August 2, 2015, visited Rasheed Sanni, a.k.a Emir, the fuji act son of Broken Bottle as Sanni was also known, in his Agege, Lagos residence where he spoke to us elaborately on the life and times of his late dad. We also got across to Ajigijaga’s wife, Taiwo Zainab who also opened up on the last moment of her late husband who she described as all-in-all in her life.
We commiserate with you on the death of your husband, may Allah be pleased with his soul.
Thank you, Sir. God bless you.
How would you describe his death?
It was a rude shock. No one expected him to die now. It was even the least thing I expected to happen to him because he was always full of life, strong and agile.
How would you describe him as a husband and actor?
My husband was a unique person. His kind is very rare among men. Aside being a very good Muslim, he was also well-mannered. No doubt, my husband was a very fantastic actor, very strong and dedicated to his career. I am sure he would be missed by all both within and outside the industry. He was generous and contented. Ajigijaga was so caring and loving.
What would you miss most about him?
A lot. I can’t start mentioning things like that now. I am still in shock because that wasn’t our plan. He was so kind to me and everybody around him. Nobody can be like my husband to me. I would miss him a lot. He was always there for me. He was a good companion. He loved assisting his wife and he didn’t joke with his family.
What of the age difference between the two of you which some said would probably bring squabbles in your marriage to him, has that ever happened?
Nothing like that. The wide difference in our ages even made me to enjoy him better than I could have if I had married a younger person or a man of my age. He was so caring. He was more than a husband. Even no youth can do one quarter of what he was doing for me.
How would you describe his last moment?
Everything happened suddenly. I didn’t know he was going to die. Although, he told me he was weak that day. He even told me he wanted to eat rice, he said he was tired of eating yam and egg. So, I started preparation for the rice, only to discover that a few minutes later, he just gave up. I have not even finished preparing the rice, when he died. He didn’t wait to eat it. His first son, Rasheed and my mother were around. He died in the hands of his son. I was shocked.
What was the cause of his death? Has he been sick?
No, my husband wasn’t sick at all. He even completed the Ramadan fasting. We went to pray on Eid-il-Fitri day. He didn’t complain of anything. Eid-il-Fitri was Friday, July 17, 2015, his birthday was Wednesday, July 15, but the celebration was postponed until after Ramadan fasting. That’s what we’re supposed to be preparing for but he said instead of celebrating his birthday only, he would prefer to use the opportunity to celebrate 35 years of his professional acting and launch his Islamic album because he just released an album containing the gospel of Islam. It was recorded by Mr. Jare Ayo Martins. It’s already out for sale but has not been launched. So, that’s what we’re planning for till death beckoned on Friday, July 31, 2015.
But there was a story that he had an okada (motorbike) accident which led to his death?
That’s not true. He never had any accident. The only thing he told me was that about three weeks to his death, while he was alighting from a bus, the driver of the bus didn’t know he had not come down when he kicked off. So, he missed his steps and fell. And he stood up himself, not that he was seriously injured. He only had fracture which was treated immediately. He was well treated and he went back to location and continued his work. Even, he was also fasting throughout the period. So, nothing serious happened to him. He never complained of the leg at all because he has been going out, doing his work. He even anchored a wedding as an MC during the period. But one thing is that when a celebrity dies, people will cook a lot of stories about him or her. But definitely, one must die of one death or the other. But as per my husband, he was full of life. Only that day, he complained to us and suddenly he passed on.
Does he drink?
Nothing like that. My husband was not a drunkard. He detested anything alcohol. He was a devout Muslim.
What was the last thing he promised you?
He had always promised me and he had never failed. When I told him I wanted to shoot a Montessori video that will teach children a lot of things, including English, Current Affairs and other meaningful things instead of watching all these bad films that only worsen the moral decadence in the society, especially among little children. He instantly took a step to support the idea. On Thursday, July 30, 2015, he contacted Mr. Jare Ayo Martins on the project and pledged to support me all through, not knowing he would die the next day. His death still remains a great shock to everybody around him.
What’s going to happen to the project now?
I hand over everything to God. I believe even when my husband was alive, it’s God that was doing everything for us. So, He won’t disappoint me on this project. I also call on well meaning Nigerians to come to my aid so that the dream can come to pass. It’s a project that will help every home.
How is life going to be without him?
I am yet to know now. I am yet to come to terms with his death. He left me suddenly and against our plan. He wished to live long. He even told me he would like to die at 95, and that he had always assured me of. He said he would be my husband till old age. But now, death had cut the dream short. But as a Muslim, I have accepted his death as an act of God.
What will he be remembered for mostly by you?
My husband was a great man. He would be surely remembered for all his good deeds. I loved him a lot. Whatever I want from him, he was always there to do it for me, and I always didn’t like to offend him. When he said he didn’t like me to be wearing trousers as a Muslim, I heeded his instruction instantly. And he bought five fabrics in a day. So, you can see how caring he was. I was once a Christian, he converted me to Islam when I married him and I was pleased with it. Since, I have been a devout Muslim also, just like him. That made him very happy. And I have since pledged not to do anything that won’t make him happen with me, even in death.
What are the preparations for his final burial?
Nothing much because he had been telling me before his death that anytime he dies, he would love to be buried quietly. And he should be buried according to Islamic rites. My husband has always wished to die on a Friday without being sick and that has come to pass. God had fulfilled his wish. But no matter how, Islamic clerics will perform the Fidau on Friday, August 7, 2015, at his family compound at Olusanya, Agege. And a lot of people will be there from within and outside his industry. He was a devout Muslim and I believe Allah will accept him as His humble servant and great Al-jannah fidous.
You sound very brilliant, what do you do and what’s your educational qualification?
I am a teacher with 11 years experience, especially in Montessori education. I am an NCE holder.
You got married to Ajigijaga in 2012, how many children do you have together?
Our marriage was blessed with a boy, Jamal who is just two years and a month. Insha Allah, I am also an expectant mother. Very soon, I will be having my second child for him.
That means you’re in your last trimester now?
Yes, just a matter of weeks.
But how would you have felt if your husband were to be alive to see his second child from his lovely wife?
(Weeps) That was always his expectation because he loved children a lot. He had over pampered me on this pregnancy and that’s how he has always been even when I had my first child. He was more than a husband. No one can be like him in my life. He had left a great vacuum in my life. Only God can help me now. I would miss all his advice and care.
Lest we forget, his son, Rasheed said his blood pressure (BP) was about 285 before he died. How true is it?
Yes, but it was normal before then. It was only that moment.