...Oga Bello, Saheed Balogun, Dan Kazeem, others recount encounter with veteran actor
The Kwara State Chapter of Theatre Arts and Motion Pictures Practitioners of Nigeria (TAMPAN) has expressed grief over the demise of veteran actor, Olumide Bakare.
The popular actor who died at the age of 65 in the early hours of Saturday was said to be on his way to the hospital when he passed on.
Speaking with our reporter last night, the Governor of TAMPAN in Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Adeniyi (Dan Kazeem) described the deceased as a father of the industry who is always ready to assist upcoming artistes at any time.
"I remember when I shot a movie titled; "Abawonla" where he performed the lead role, he was perfect in his performance. When he came, he was down to earth and will always make himself available for any movie production. The fact that he was a star does not affect his professionalism or relationship with upcoming actors."
The versatile actor however prayed to God to console the family of the deceased.
To avert serial deaths of members of the association in the state, Dan Kazeem said theatre practitioners are consistently sensitise on the need for regular check up and exercise. He added that the association has gone a step further by providing Health Insurance Scheme to support interested members with medical challenge.
Meanwhile, some colleagues of the veteran actor in separate chats with this medium have recounted their encounter with the deceased.
According to an old hand in the industry, Adebayo Salami, the news of the passing of Bakare who he described as a gifted thespian, was a great shock to him.
"I have known him since the days we performed 'Awada Kerekeri' on NTA where he played the role of Chief Koko. Until his death, he was a humble and respectful person who knows everything about his profession. He respects opinions and accept directive whenever he is on set.
"It is quite unfortunate that we lost him, there is nothing we can do but to pray to Almighty Allah for the repose of his soul and for God to spear those he left behind," he added.
Adebayo, better known as Oga Bello however debunked the rumours of reoccurring deaths in the movie industry.
"It is wrong to have the notion of serial deaths in the movie industry. So many people die in other sectors that the public don’t get to hear about.
"When your time comes, you will certainly go and nothing can change that but the important thing is what you have done and the impact you have made on people that matters," he added.
In the same vein, Saheed Balogun who said he met the departed actor 25 years ago called for his immortalisation.
"He is a professional to the core, you give him any role he will play it, he takes me like his son, there is one thing he did that I'll not forget in my life. On the last day of one of my productions, I didn't have money and he called somebody and he gave me the phone to speak with the person and immediately after the discussion the man transferred the money into my account. One thing he said to me was that he can never be happy seeing people around him suffering."
Also, the National Treasurer of TAMPAN, Dr. Abdulmalik Olorunfemi said, "God that giveth has taken. No matter how long or short you live, the important thing is that you continue doing good because your life can be taken anytime and the good you have done is what will sustain you in the hereafter.
"We thank God for him. As an artist, he led a good life and I remember acting with him once. He was the gentle type that avoids running foul of the association's rules and regulations."
Recall that the Ibadan-based actor and former NTA staff, fondly called Chief Koko on the heels of his role in a TV series, 'Koko Close' back in the days, had been battling ill-health since 2013, It was also gathered that Bakare needed about N30,000 daily for diagnosis after having spent a million naira on medical expenses.