FUJI KING, AYINDE BARRISTER DIES IN LONDON
Barely 24 hours after the transition of frontline politician and elder statesman, Chief Peter Enahoro, Nigeria lost yet another illustrous son, with the death of Fuji Exponent, Chief Sikiru Ayinde Barrister in far away London. Widely known and called ‘Alhaji Agba’ in the Fuji music circle, the late Ayinde Barrister died early yesterday at St Marys Hospital in London at the age of 62.
As about 5.30pm when visited his home at 24, Lamina Lawal Street in Isolo area of Lagos, hundreds of sympathisers had besieged the storey building while the street was occupied by Ayinde’s fans. The entire area was thrown into mourning as people stood in groups, discussing the transition of the Fuji exponent.
Another Fuji musician who is better known as the musical son of the late musiucian, Saheed Osupa, arrived at about 5.48 pm and moved straight into the inner segment of the house. Although he managed to control his emotion, he nevertheless wore a long face that depicted agony and despair. He was later reported to have broken into tears inside the expansive house.
Meanwhile, a few minutes after Osupa entered the house, there ensued vehiclar and human traffic around the house, as more and more symphatisers flooded the area. A group of women believed to be friends of the slate musician’s wife also filed in, wailing and shouting in honour of the dead.
Shortly before this, the late Sikiru Ayinde’s son, Wale (popularly known as Barry Showky) said that hs father had been in an out of hospital in the last two years until yesterday when he died in a London hospsital.
According to him, his father was hospitalised in India a few month ago and was recuperating until last month when he was flown back to Nigeria. He was admitted at Havana Hospital in Surulere and treated but when his sistuation was not improving, he was flown abroad again to Universal Clinic in Germany.
While in Germany, Ayinde was rumoured dead and many of his fans reportedly rushed to his Isolo home only to discover that he was still alive. After receiving treatment for a while in Germany, Ayinde was eventually admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital where he breathed his last yesterday morning. As at 7pm yesterday, the condolence register that was opened for the late Fuji King had been filled with tributes by friends and well-wishers.
Among these were the Oba of Isolo in Council, Otuna Yisa Idowu (Yisco), Alhaji Abdul Raliman Azeez (MFR) and Alhaji Lateef Akinsola (Tokyo). Also reacting to Barrister’s death was Dele Abiodun, President of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) who said in a press release that “it really hurts to believe and accept the great Fuji creator is no more. We in PMAN are however consoled by the fact that Alhaji Ayinde Barrister was an accomplished musician who did not only leave a good footprint on the sands of time but also left a good vocal record on the sounds of time, May his great soul rest in perfect peace. ”A few hours after news of his death fittered round yesterday in Lagos, many of the records stores, particularly around Agege, Ikeja, Oshodi and Isolo areas started playing Ayinde Barrister’s music. The mobile records stores were also not left out as many of them were sighted playing and marketing the Fuji King’s music. At Oshodi, transporters were debating Ayinde’s death and the ill health that preceded it.
It was however significant that in the twilight of his life, Ayinde Barriter used his time and energy to reunite his fellow musicians of the Fuji genre. He had a few years ago teamed up with his friend and counterpoart, Ayinla Kollington, to initiate peac moves among warring Fuji musicians. He also went further by harmonising both the upcoming and famous singers in the Fuji music circle.
Born in 1948 in Ibadan, the late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister had the reputation of creating Fuji music out of the midnight lyrics of the Muslems called ‘Were’.
Having served in the Nigerian Army for sometime, Ayinde took the courage to resign from the Armed Forces to face his musical career. He thus started the process which led to the evolution of Fuji and which catapulted him into a celebrity. Years before he joined the Army, he was used to performing the Were during the Holy month of Ramadan. Although he also attended a Muslim school as well as the then Yaba Higher school (Now Yaba College of Tehnology, Lagos), Ayinde abandoned his education as a result of financial problems to join the Armed Forces. It was after his resignation that he started recording his music.
He was signed on by the Nigeria based Africa Songs Ltd label and went ahead to record many ground breaking singles in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a notable vocalist whose music touched souls in rhythmic and didactic splendour. He was a popular indigenous musician who perfected hus art in he creative use of percusions such as talking drum, claves, bells, shekere drums sets and the Hawasian guitar.