President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with family, friends and associates of legendary musician and multi-talented artiste, Sir Victor Uwaifo, who passed on Saturday.
The president, in a condolence message by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, on Saturday in Abuja, noted that the deceased left a legacy of successes in many areas of life, including academia and administration.
Buhari joined the Nigerian music industry and performing artistes, home and abroad, in mourning the former first Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism (Edo), who was also the first musician and instrumentalist to be given National Honours Merit, Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) in 1983.
The president believed the renowned musician, with global appeal and recognitions lived for many firsts, which include invitation to the State House by four presidents and Heads of State, and winner of a gold disc in Africa for his song, “Joromi’’, released in 1965 at the age of 24.
He noted the glory that Uwaifo brought to Nigeria through his international tours “and the active role he played in national development, returning to school to get a first degree at age 54 with first class honours, masters degree at 56, and a doctorate at 77.’’
Buhari prayed for the soul of the departed musician, writer, sculptor, musical instrument inventor and university lecturer, knowing the entire country, particularly the music industry, would sorely miss him.
Musicians Adewale Ayuba, Omatshola Iseli popularly known as “Tee Mac” as well as Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), on Sunday, paid tributes to Uwaifo who died on August 28 at 80.
Tee Mac said that the nation had lost a special musician who was always available to help young artistes and uplift the entertainment industry.
According to him, late Uwaifo was a very active member of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and that as the Chairman of the Entertainment Foundation, he will ensure that Uwaifo’s legacies were sustained.
” Victor Uwaifo’s death is a sad development, as an artist, he was constant with his art works, he represents to me a true artist, from making his sculptures, to music to painting and writing.
”I met him in November 1970 and since then, we have attended many shows together, I go to his house and even slept in his house countless times. He was a great friend.
” I will speak with his family to ensure his museum is maintained because it is a tourist attraction,” he said.
Also, Runsewe described late Uwaifo as a musician of a lifetime considering his huge contributions to the growth of the Nigerian entertainment industry.
“Being a unique fellow, loaded with lots of talents, the late Uwaifo had contributed to the development of the entertainment industry and NCAC would immortalise him and his works”, he said.
Runsewe noted that institutions and students also needed to study Uwaifo and his works, to spur their creativity in and inspire even unborn Nigerians.
” I had an encounter with him in 2019 during the commemoration of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) which was hosted in Benin.
” Until I met him, I never understood the philosophy behind his music, he took me down memory lane to how he came about his music “Joromi” and “Mammi Water”.
” He showed me the car he made, honestly Nigeria has lost an icon to be remembered for a long time, we will miss him.
” I condole with the family to take solace in God and pray that God forgives his shortcomings and make him rest with Him.
” Truly, he has paid his dues and to this, the NCAC will be immortalising him so that unborn Nigerians will know who Victor Uwaifo was,” he said.
Similarly, legendary Fuji Musician, Adewale Ayuba, described Uwaifo as a responsible artiste who had recorded zero controversies over the years, adding that he had left an indelible mark on his chosen career, as a calm and consistent artist.
He called on up-and-coming artistes to critically study the late musician’s works, life and times, as his life was a good example of how an artiste’s life should be.
” I condole with the family of Uwaifo, he was a responsible artiste, no controversies and has been consistent in his works. May his soul rest in peace.
Uwaifo was born on March 1, 1941, and was best known for being a musician, writer, sculptor, musical instrument inventor, university lecturer, music legend and the first Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Nigeria.
He was the winner of the first gold disc in Africa and was recognised as the most educated performing music legend and artist worldwide with a PhD in architectural sculpture.