Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ibadan stands still as Actress Bisi Komolafe is buried •Actors, actresses storm venue •Area boys attack Odunlade Adekola, Femi Adebayo

The entire Yoruba actors and actresses literally relocated to the city of Ibadan, Oyo State, on Friday, when they gathered amid thousands of other mourners at the burial ceremony of their colleague, Bisi Komolafe.
Her colleagues, Fathia Balogun, Bimbo Oshin, Odunlade Adekola, Ayo Adesanya, Femi Adebayo, Yinka Quadri, Abbey Lanre, Taiwo Hassan (Ogogo), Yomi Fash Lanso, Doris Simon, Nike Peller and Rose Odika, broke down in tears as the remains of the actress were lowered into the grave at the cemetery.
Bimbo Oshin was short of words; Taiwo Hassan (Ogogo) could not utter a word, Yinka Quadri’s face was  tearful, Ireti Osayemi and Ayo Adesanya, who sat together inside the church, also betrayed emotions. Abbey Lanre, told Saturday Tribune that he was particularly pained because she loved Bisi dearly and that he would always remember her for her special way of interpreting roles. However, most of her colleagues chose not to talk, as they simply expressed their emotions by weeping.
Speaking with Saturday Tribune shortly after the church service, held at St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, Oke-Padre, Ibadan, Fathia Balogun, described her death as a rude shock.
The rustic communities of Oke-Padre, Oke Sapati and Oke-Are, which played hosts to the church service and interment of the deceased, bore witness to the unusual presence of the crème de la crème of the Yoruba movie industry and more than 1,000 members of the Association of Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP). The scenario could easily be mistaken by any onlooker for the actors and actresses at work on location for a blockbuster.
The flip side of such occasion was, however, brought to bare when some miscreants, popularly known as area boys, invaded the venue of the burial to molest some actors, thereby causing slight disruptions.
Saturday Tribune gathered that the area boys had started gathering around the venue of the funeral, as early as 8:00 a.m. before the service started.
Trouble started when some of the Nollywood actors and actresses started trooping into the church .
On sighting some of the notable actors like Odunlade Adekola, Femi Adebayo, Yomi Fash-Lanso, Taiwo Hassan and others, they swung into action, demanding for money. Security men present at the occasion had a tough time preventing them from gaining entrance into the church while the funeral service lasted.
    Odunlade Adekola and Femi Adebayo were not lucky as they were attacked by area boys who wanted to extort money from them. Femi was said to have been infuriated by the area boys’ insistence on collecting something from him and was seen resisting them. Odunlade also suffered the same fate as he was pelted with objects and pure water sachets.
By 9:30 a.m., the church had been filled to the brim with sympathisers from within and outside Ibadan who wore black T-shirts with Bisi’s picture and the inscription ‘Bisi Komolafe…Gone Too Soon…Sun Re O! Bisi’s siblings, Bukky, Tinuke, Taye and Kehinde, and her family members were ushered into the church side-by-side some members of the theatre arts practitioners association.
Tears flowed freely from every corner of the church, with the crowd overflowing the church to the roads and surrounding buildings.
While delivering his sermon, the administrator of St Mary’s Cathedral, Reverend Father Benedict Ugwuegwu, described Bisi as a peaceful young lady who started her journey in life inside the church and ended it in the same church. “I am happy for our sister, who has gone to sleep in the Lord, because she started her journey right inside this church as a teenager and I am happy that she has ended it here as well,” he said.
 While the two-hour church service lasted, the mood inside and outside the church was pensive, as the late Ibadan-born actress’s family members, colleagues, close friends and fans, who had come from far and wide to pay their last respects, were seen standing at every corner weeping and wailing.
In an emotional-laden voice, Bisi’s elder sister, Bukky, described her sister as an easy-going person who could never hurt a fly. She told Saturday Tribune that she was with her before she died on Tuesday, saying Bisi never gave up, even at the point of death. “I don’t believe Bisi has gone and that I won’t see her again. I am yet to come to terms with the fact that I won’t see my sister again. I had gone to several churches to pray for her quick recovery and I was told that she wouldn’t die. It is painful because Bisi died unfulfilled. It is more painful that she died when she was about to start reaping the fruit of her sweat. She died without a child,” she said.
Her younger sister, Tinuke, was speechless, she kept weeping while the church service lasted and was also seen at the burial site weeping profusely.
The late actress was said to have bought a new gown for her aunt with the hope that she would get better and celebrate the New Year with her in her house, which she never did.
“I have lost a beautiful girl. I have lost a star that we are all looking up to. She’s no doubt the glory of this family, but she’s no more now,” the aunt wailed.
Bisi’s corpse was later moved from the church in a brown limousine around 12 noon to Oke Sapati cemetery, where several sympathisers, colleagues and friends, who had trekked from the church, were already waiting.
The sleepy Oke Are area, down to Oke Sapati of Ibadan came alive when the actors and actresses were trekking down to the burial site amid cheers from their fans. Some of the people managed to take photographs with the stars, while others waved at them.
There were insinuations by some of the sympathisers, who spoke with Saturday Tribune, that Bisi’s death was not natural, while others simply described it as a mystery which only God understands.
A middle-aged woman, who was seen rolling on the floor crying, said she loved watching her movies because of her simple way of life. “I don’t usually watch Yoruba movies, but I took a special interest in Bisi’s movies because of her simplicity. I know that some people have been saying all sorts, but I know that she has gone to rest. I am left with her memories now.”
It was  mixed feelings for popular producer and actor, Muiwa Ademola, who had just survived an auto accident along Ogbomosho/Ilorin road on his way back from a location of a movie production. “I am thankful to God for sparing my life in that accident, because the car was badly damaged and I am also sad, on the other hand, because of Bisi’s death. I don’t even know how to describe the lady. I pray that God should give her family and the Yoruba movie industry the fortitude to bear the loss,” he said.
The news of Bisi’s death had filtered into town in the early hours of Tuesday when the social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook, were awash with different stories of her death.
Saturday Tribune gathered that the actress had been battling with an undisclosed illness that was said to have kept her in and out of the hospital for three months.
Some unconfirmed reports had it that Bisi might have died of complications arising from a pregnancy which was said to have been terminated at the hospital when her condition got worse.
The 27-year-old actress was said to have been recuperating some few weeks to her death and had been taken to an undisclosed church before being rushed back to the hospital when her conditions deteriorated. Bisi’s ailment, according to investigations by Saturday Tribune, started about three months ago when the actress was brought to Ibadan from Lagos by some friends and family members.
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