Thoughts on Lanrewaju Adepoju

 The Verdict By Olusegun Adeniyi.  THISDAY  That Alhaji Lanrewaju Adepoju is a genius in his craft is beyond dispute. You need only to list...



 The Verdict By Olusegun Adeniyi.
 THISDAY

 That Alhaji Lanrewaju Adepoju is a genius in his craft is beyond dispute. You need only to listen to the lyrics of his Ewi (Yoruba poetry) to understand that. Incidentally, being a man I had always admired but never met, I promised to go to Ibadan to seek him out last Christmas. As it would happen, that plan did not work out but I got his number and I called him before I left Ilorin with a pledge that I would visit him one day. One can then imagine my shock when last weekend, I got a WhatAspp video clip, from several sources, of Adepoju practically soliciting for N7 million to enable him go to India for eye surgery.

For me, Adepoju is one of the greatest Yoruba icons of our time, given the way he has promoted the politics and culture of our people through his writings and poetry. It is all the more remarkable that we are talking about a man who never attended any school. Yet, this same man wrote books, including what would qualify as a bestseller, “Ladepo Omo Adanwo” aside his many Ewi albums. He was also in the past one of the biggest television and radio personalities in Western Nigeria because of his versatility in Yoruba language.

In a recent interview, Adepoju said: “My cousins used to come and spend their holidays in our village, and usually while they were talking, they would suddenly switch to English language, and it pained me a lot that I did not understand the language. So I started saving money realised from firewood sales. One of my cousins, Muyideen Oyedele (now deceased) started teaching me; he was my junior, so you can imagine how old I was when I started learning. I had already passed school age when I started learning Yoruba alphabets and it took me one week or two to finish the entire contents and then I started learning to read and write effectively in Yoruba Language. It was when I moved to Ibadan that I started learning English. I have never experienced any classroom education in my life.”

No doubt, Adepoju has paid his dues, including being detained under the military on account of his poetry. And it is shameful that our system has practically collapsed such that people who have made significant contributions to our society need to be solicited for in times of emergency or even basic needs. In other climes, a man like Adepoju would not only be very wealthy on account of his professional career (and the albums produced) which would have been well-remunerated, he would also be collecting, on a regular basis, hefty sums of money in royalties from his works. Unfortunately, having instituted a culture in which “monkey dey work, baboon dey chop”, the reward for creativity goes only to the almighty pirates.

While we must deal with piracy and associated crimes another day, the immediate concern is that it would be a shame on the Yoruba people if a man like Adepoju becomes a destitute who cannot meet his immediate needs, including the need to travel to take care of his health.

Ordinarily, even when I support worthy causes, including those concerning health, I normally do that through back channels as I refrain from using this column for monetary solicitation. Because I get many requests, the only way to avoid being accused of promoting one cause rather than another is to stay out completely. But for Adepoju, I will make this exception. The account details put on the WhatsApp message (which I have confirmed to be genuine) is: Lanrads Record (1011948680) and the bank is Zenith. He can also be reached on his mobile number: 08140707506. While I will make my own token contribution into the account this morning, I hope other public spirited individuals can join in helping to send Adepoju to India for his eye surgery

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Welcome to Dare Lasisi's blog!: Thoughts on Lanrewaju Adepoju
Thoughts on Lanrewaju Adepoju
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