- * As Veteran Actress, Rachel Oniga, Is Buried
By Celestine Okafor (Editor-in-Chief) and Gertrude Osayame (Lagos State Correspondent)
Renowned highlife musician and 'Guitar Boy' exponent, Sir Victor Uwaifo, is dead.
Uwaifo's death came soon after the demise, on Friday morning, August 27, 2021, of a popular Nollywood actor, singer, and Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Prince Ifeanyi Dike, who had suffered kidney disorder in 2011 but had successfully undergone a kidney transplant in India.
Sir Victor Uwaifo reportedly passed on Saturday evening, August 28, 2021, at the age of 80-years in his residence in Benin-City, Edo State, after a brief illness. The former Edo State Commissioner for Arts and Culture in the Lucky Igbinedion administration has dominated the highlife music in Nigeria for several decades with his plethora of hit songs in the highlife genre.
The news of the death of the legendary music buff was unfurled by one of his children, Uwaifo Peter de Rock, on the social media Facebook page on Saturday evening. The report of the 'Joromi' crooner's death has spread across Benin-City and beyond like wildfire by late evening of the weekend.
Peter Uwaifo however expressed sadness and anguish at the passage of his father, Sir Victor Uwaifo. The younger Uwaifo gushed with emotion thus: “Daddy. Why Did you leave us now. Prof Sir Victor Uwaifo has gone to rest. Black Saturday for me now”, the young Uwaifo wrote with 34 sad emojis.
Uwaifo who is a Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Benin where he was a first-class graduate of Visual Arts during his undergraduate days, was quite adept in his art. He was noted for the prodigious dexterity with which he handled his electronic guitar while playing any of his classic highlife renditions in a sonorous and delightful voice that often thrills his audience, coupled with his complimentary dancing steps.
Among his popular hit LPs, are "Mammy Water" (water goddess) and "Joromi". Uwaifo was a multi-instrumentalist of the visual arts. While as a student of UniBen, Sir Victor Uwaifo did a degree project on a king on a horse. This signature arts poster was erected at the Ekenwan Campus of the university, even today.
Born on March 1, 1941, in Benin-City, Edo State, Sir Uwaifo served as cabinet executive member in Edo State between 2001 and 2003. He attended the Western Boys High School in his hometown and later, St Gregory’s College, Lagos. He subsequently proceeded to the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos from where he obtained a National Art Diploma with distinction. He excelled in athletic sports while in YabaTech.
Uwaifo graduated with a B.A Hons (First Class) in Fine and Applied Arts. He later acquired a Master's Degree in Sculpting from the same University of Benin. The legendary singer subsequently obtained a Ph.D. in Architectural Sculpture also from the University of Benin and has been a Professor in the institution for some years.
In March this year, Sir Uwaifo marked his 80th birthday. The birthday celebration of the Octogenarian was almost like a carnival to celebrate his numerous contributions both in music and the creative arts.
Uwaifo had a Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) Degree (Honoris) from the University of Benin; the Benin National Merit Award; the University of Benin Distinguished Alumnus Award and the National Honour of Member of the Order of the Niger by the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In 2010, Prof. Uwaifo was one of the select Nigerians awarded the fellowship of the Nigerian Academy of Letters at a grand event at the University of Lagos.
Meanwhile, Veteran actress, Rachel Oniga, who also passed on at the age of 64 in a Lagos hospital on Friday, July 30, 2021, has finally been committed to mother earth at a private ceremony conducted by Omega Funeral Homes in Lagos.
Rachel was laid to rest at 1 pm in a simple funeral graced by her family members, some Nollywood celebrities, and other associates and well-wishers of the deceased actress.
Church service was held in her honor at the Catholic Church of Resurrection, Lagos, was officiated by Revd Father Raphael Adebayo.
Late Rachel Oniga’s son, Olatunji, in his tribute to his mother, described her as a loving, caring, and fantastic mother who always had time for her children, family members, and other people who needed her attention. Her sister, Toyin Odusote, in her own tributes, recalled fond memories with Rachel, especially her problem solution propensity.
Odusote however described the deceased as the “best sister one would wish for.” Another sister, Mrs. Hope Diaso, also paid her tribute thus: “She was the foundation holding this family together; she was such an amazing soul who valued unity.”
Late Rachel Oniga's first child, Olamiji Oniga, told her deceased mother thus: ”I will forever salute you, mother because you have been all I ever needed in my life. God gave me the best mom in the world.”
Oniga was a popular Nollywood actress who thrilled her fans with her unique and creative acting skill, a career she began soon after her divorce in 1993. NNL.