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Passages of 2016

2016 would continue to linger for a long time in the memories of Nigerians for the good, bad and the ugly. However, the storm of the year swept away some popular and influential personalities and naturally took their families and friends into deep mourning. ENCOMIUM Weekly presents the list of famous people who bid this sinful world goodbye in 2016.


ARAKANGUDU (February 9)

Ace Yoruba actor, Sikiru Adesina, popularly known as Arakangudu, died early hours of Tuesday, February 9, 2016 in Kaduna. It was the first death recorded in Nollywood for the year. It was believed he died of cardiac arrest.

Arakangudu was well known for his repeated portrayal as armed robber and as herbalist. He was a movie producer who produced many award winning movies such as Ilu Gangan, Agba Osogbo, Iya Oko, among others. He was also a movie director. He was buried February 10, 2016, in his hometown, Osogbo, Osun State.



James Ocholi was born November 26, 1960 and died March 6, 2016, in Kaduna. He was the Minister of State for Employment and Productivity.

The fatal accident was at Km 67 along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, after Doka village which took his life and his son instantly. The wife, Blessing Fatima Ocholi later died at the Doka Hospital near Kaduna.

Investigation by the FRSC showed that the accident was due to over speeding, tyre bust, under inflated tyre, failure to use seat belts by the deceased, lack of radio communication by the driver and inexperience of the driver.

He was a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) from Kogi state and was appointed Minister in 2015. Ocholi, his wife and son were buried March 18, 2016 in Kogi State. He was survived by a child and relatives.


FELIX IBRU (March 12)

Olorogun Felix Ovudoroye Ibru was born December 7, 1935 and died March 12, 2016. He was the governor of Delta State between January 2, 1992 and November 17, 1993. He was also a senator, first executive governor of Delta State in 1992 and a Nigerian architect.

He also held the position of President General of Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU). He bore the tribal honorific Olorogun as a traditional chieftain of his homeland.

He was the first Black President of British Council to be elected and member of the Nigerian Institute of Architect (NIA) in 1969. He established an architectural firm called Roge Ibru Associate. He was involved in the supervision and design of more than 40 projects across the country. He was buried August 3, 2016 and survived by two wives, six children, six grandchildren and siblings.



Olumuyiwa Osinuga, popularly known as Nomoreloss died on March 21, 2016. The Lagos based multitalented singer and comedian was believed to have died of typhoid fever. He was known for his hit songs, Iyawo Asiko and ‘Let Them Say’. He hit the limelight in 2002 and was once a presenter on the music TV show, Groovoidz. He also contributed immensely in coordinating the campaign to save Babatunde Augustine Okungbowa, popularly known as OJB Jazreel for his kidney transplant.



Nollywood actress, Henrietta Kosoko and wife of veteran actor, Jide Kosoko died on Monday, June 6, 2016. She reportedly slumped at her home in Bariga, Lagos and was confirmed dead at the hospital she was rushed to. It was strongly believed she died of diabetes.

She became famous in 1995, when she played the lead role in the movie, ‘Omolade’ and ‘Onome’. She is survived by her husband (Jide Kosko) and four children. She was 53 and buried on Friday, June 10, 2016, in Delta, her hometown.



Stephen Okechukwu Keshi was a Nigerian soccer defender and manager. He was born on January 23, 1962, and died on June 7, 2016 (aged 54) in Benin City, Edo State.

During Keshi’s career, he earned 60 caps for the Nigerian national team to make him the second-most capped player at the time of his retirement.

He later coached the Nigerian senior national team where he became one of the only two people, along Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohany, to have won the Africa Cup of Nations as both a player and a coach.

He was said to have died of cardiac arrest after complaining of excruciating pains in his legs which did not subside. The mourning of late wife, Kate Keshi which made him hypertensive was believed to have deteriorated his health. His wife died after a prolonged battle with cancer a year before Kechi’s death. His funeral rites were done between July 27 and 29, 2016 and he was buried at Illah, Delta State. He was survived by four children and his mother.



Babatunde Augustine Okungbowa, popularly recognized as OJB Jezreel was born in July 11, 1966, in Surulere, Lagos. He died on June 14, 2016, in Isolo, Lagos of kidney related ailment.

He was a seasoned producer and a great musician. He worked with great artistes such as 2Baba, Ruggedman, Jazzman Olofin, Daddy Showkey, Sir Shina Peters, Olu Maintain, Faze, D’Banj, Durella, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, among others. He also won awards like the Nigerian Entertainment Awards Honours, Best Music Producer, Nigeria Music Award, Owerri, among others.

He set up a foundation, OJB Foundation to help people with kidney problems. He was married to three wives. He was buried on July 8, 2016.



Zainab Bukky Ajayi was a Nigerian actress. Born February 2, 1934 and died July 6, 2016. Her career began as a presenter and newscaster for Nigerian Television Authority in 1966. She featured in several films and soaps including Witches, Diamond Ring, Critical Assignment, among others. Her immense contribution to the Nigerian film industry was duly recognized as she was awarded the Industry Merit Award at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards alongside Sadiq Daba.



Shuiab Amodu was a Nigerian football coach. He was born in April 1958 and died June 10, 2016, three days after Stephen Keshi’s death. He managed the Nigerian senior national team from April 2001 to February 2002, 2008 and 2014. Amodu took over the Eagles temporary to replace Stephen Keshi. Amodu was replaced by Sunday Oliseh permanently in July 2015.


JAH (July 20)

Honourable Elijah Adewale (Dr. Jah) was born in 1951 and died on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, in Gwarinpa, Abuja.

He was a member of the House of Representatives, representing Ifako Ijaye Constituency on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC). He won the election to represent Ifako Ijaye Federal Constituency in 2015. He was also Special Adviser on Education during former Governor of Lagos, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN). He bagged a Master Certificate from the Lagos State University in 2005.


MICHAEL IBRU (September 6)

Michael Christopher Onajireve Ibru was born December 25, 1930 and died September 6, 2016, in Miami Florida, U.S. He was a businessman and head of the Ibru Organization. He also bore the tribal honorific Olorogun traditional chieftain of his homeland.

Through his fish trading, he contributed immensely to the Urhobo nation making them rise from relative poverty to higher economic brackets. He also invested in palm oil production, tourism, brewery, timber and poultry.

He was buried December 14, 2016 in Delta State. He was survived by his wife, Cecilia Ibru, Goodie Ibru (brother), several children and grandchildren.


FRED AGBAJE (November 26)

Human right activist and constitutional lawyer, Fred Agbaje, died November 26, 2016. He reportedly died in Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, Lagos after battling with an undisclosed ailment for several months.

Agbaje was several times short listed for the rank of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria but was never picked.

His shocking death was a great loss to the legal profession which was received with shock by President Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari described him as an erudite human rights lawyer. He further described him as an ardent advocate against corruption and canvasser for internal democracy in political parties, who also believed strongly in the sanctity of the ballot box.



Nollywood Yoruba actress, Mulikat Adegbola Ashabi, Iya Adinni died December 2, 2016. She was said to have suffered a mild asthma attack which led to her death.

She died 10 months after the death of her husband, Arakangudu and was buried December 3, 2016 in accordance with Islamic tradition.


BOLA KUFORIJI (December 3)

Bola Kuforiji Olubi was born September 28, 1936, and died on Saturday, December 3, 2016 in Lagos. She graduated from the University of London in 1963 with a B.Sc Honours in Economic. She won different awards including Doctor of Laws, National Award of Member of the Order of the Niger in 1979 for her immense contribution to the socio-economic advancement and education management in Nigeria, Doctor of Business Administration Enugu State University of Science and Technology, 1997, among others.

She was the first Nigerian woman to became the CEO of multinational companies after having served in various capacity internationally and locally.

She was buried on December 23, 2016 (after a funeral service at the All Saints Anglican Church, Yaba, Lagos) with prominent Nigerian in attendance such as Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, former Chief of General Staff, General Oladipo Diya, Chief Ernest Shonekan and former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.



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