Celebrated actor and playwright, Pa Adebayo Faleti died on Sunday in his home in Ibadan, Oyo State, at the age of 86. The octogenarian is one of the most celebrated pillars of the Yoruba culture and tradition who has been acting for more than fifty decades.
One of Faleti’s son, Adeniyi, told one of our correspondents that he was helping his father with his bath when he died.
According to him, his father observed the early morning devotion with his family members and soon after told them that he had prayed to God to send someone else to continue his mission as he was tired and longing for home.
He also said that he asked for hot pap, which he took before his death.
Adeniyi said, “After the morning devotion, I helped him to the bathroom as I normally did. He said he wanted God to send someone else to come and complete his work because he had done all he could do. He also said that he wanted to go home. Suddenly, I noticed that he was not breathing again. We took him to the University College Hospital, Ibadan where he was confirmed dead. We shall miss him greatly.”
Also, the first son of the former General Manager of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State, Ayoola, said he spoke with his father three days ago and that he was on his way home when he was told that his father had passed on.
“In his usual practice, he called me three days ago and we discussed like father and son. After I received a call this morning from my brother concerning the state of his health, I hit the road to come home and see him but I did not meet him alive. He died before I could reach home. He took care of all his children and gave us good education. We shall all miss him,” said Ayoola.
One of the deceased’s wives, Moteniola, said she married him in the 50s, adding that he was a loving husband who was always concerned about the welfare of his family.
“I knew him as a loving husband and I will always remember how well he catered for the family. He prepared the children for a good future by ensuring that they had good education,” Moteniola said.
Another wife of the deceased, Olubunmi, could not speak to pressmen as she was sobbing uncontrollably.
But another son of the late actor, Gbemi, said that the family would remain grateful to God for granting their father a good life.
“He reached the peak of his career in life. As an actor, he was a celebrated artiste, as an administrator, he headed the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State and the Oyo State office of the defunct Mass Mobilisation for Self Reliance, Social Justice, and Economic Recovery.
“He fitted into every good role that a father and a friend could play. He was caring and loved by all. We are sad about his demise but we are grateful for a fulfilled life he lived. He is survived by children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, that is a grace anyone should be thankful for,” Gbemi said.
Jare, another son of the deceased, took to the Face book to mourn his father.
Jare, who studied English Language at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, wrote that he was in tears while typing the message. He described his late father as his most loved human being.
The film translator, who currently resides in the United States, regretted that he had earlier commented about the inevitability of death not knowing that his father would die soon.
“What a life! I wrote on Facebook two days ago about life being transient. I never knew death was at my own backyard already. You took my father away from me – Iku (death). I never knew this would be my last picture with you – Adebayo Faleti. #Tears. RIP to the man I love more than anything in the world. A giant has fallen,” he posted.
Jare had on Friday evening posted that “Nothing in life (including death) is permanent. The only permanent thing in life is death itself.”
Following his post, Jare’s friends including Nollywood actors and actresses, exalted the virtues of the deceased.
One of them, Aminat Afolabi, said, “A legend is gone to the great world. In all situations in life, we got to give glory to God.”
On his part, King Bolarinwa Asa, said, “The light that Baba has put in the land of humanity is sufficient for his descendants to walk in glory. May you journey toward a light.”
Another friend, Akindele Olamide, asked Jare not to be sad, saying, “Be happy, he (the deceased) lived a fulfilled life.”
Also, the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun has described Faleti’s death as sad.
The governor in a statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dayo Adeneye, on Sunday, stated that the deceased was “a zealous promoter of culture,” noting that his works would always be cherished.
Amosun said, “His role as one of the pioneers of the Western Nigeria Television(WNTV), the first television station in Africa and a consistent television personality, made him a pride to the broadcast industry.
“Baba Faleti, as a broadcaster, poet and writer targeted his energy at the promotion of culture and his death at this time is regrettable. His sound wisdom would have been valuable now that we are all battling to restore our fading traditional values.
“He will be missed by all Nigerians, especially broadcast and theatre practitioners, who regard him as a role model.”
He prayed God to grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss as his creative soul rest in peace.
Meanwhile, the Yoruba Youth Socio-cultural Association has expressed shock at Faleti’s death.
The group, in a statement in Osogbo on Sunday by its President, Mr. Olalekan Ahmed, described the deceased as an accomplished cultural icon.
Ahmed said Faleti was an accomplished writer and a cultural ambassador who lived a life of purpose and achieved a lot for himself and humanity.
The statement partly read, “Chief Faleti was an illustrious Yoruba son, a cultural icon and linguistic colossus, who studied English Language but later became a custodian of Yoruba culture with his unique idiosyncrasies.
“Chief Adebayo Faleti became a role model to many people in the broadcasting and socio-cultural professions. The legacies he left behind cannot be forgotten.
“We enjoin the entire Yoruba youths to follow in his footsteps to ensure preservation of our rich culture and values.”
Among the early callers at the deceased home were actor Dele Odule; Coordinator, Ibadan PlayHouse, Ropo Ewenla; veteran actor, Tunbosun Odunsi; and Prof. Duro Adeleke of the Department of Linguistics, University of Ibadan.