Last Tuesday morning, lovers of the music of late ace Yoruba Apala musician, Ayinla Omowura, aka Hadji Costly, Egunmogaji, lost one of the connoisseurs of that traditional music. Waheed Ganiyu was my friend, with whom I shared intellectual conversations on Omowura. He knew Omowura like the back of his hands, though like me, he never met the Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State-born bohemian musician, who was killed 41 years ago in a beer parlour tiff.
Ask him what vinyl volume a particular track of the musician could be found, he would tell you off hand, with clinical precision. As a testament to his depth, knowledge and how he lent immeasurable hand in the writing of the book, I showered huge encomiums on Waheed in the book.
But for him, I most probably would not have written the biography of Omowura. He rummaged through information and located me sometime in 2015, clutching earlier pieces I had done in newspapers about Hadji Costly. With that characteristic smile of his, he demanded that I wrote a book on the musician. He would inundate me with calls and pleadings, asking that I should wake up from my procrastination. More out of the need to satisfy him, work began on the book in 2018. You could see the fire of enthusiasm on his face as researches turned up tomes of information about Omowura. He was ever ready to accompany me on the several interview trips I embarked on to Abeokuta and Lagos to talk to sources about the musician.
In February this year, Waheed took ill and we all thought he was going to pull through in matter of weeks. Some weeks ago, he called that his health was deteriorating. Ever not ready to burden anyone with his load, he hid details of his existential challenges from his friends. Only for that jarring news of his passage to hit the airwaves last week.
Lovers of Omowura’s music worldwide should not allow Waheed’s only child, Ganiyu Abdulateef Oluwapamilerinayo, a student of Oriwu Junior Model College, Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Lagos State, to suffer the absence of his father. Many thanks to Azeez Temitope, a friend of his who offered his shoulders for Waheed to lean on in his last moments. May Allah repose his soul.
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