11th August, 2022
Reactions from Nigerians have followed the viral video where Olaiya Igwe, the Nollywood actor whose real name is Ebun Oloyede, received GLK350 Mercedes Benz gift from Musiliu Akinsanya, a.k.a MC Oluomo, the chairman of the Lagos State Park and Garages Management.
Igwe, showed his gratitude by prostrating and rolling on the floor for MC Oluomo.
The video was posted on Instatory by King_Westt, Oluomo’s son.
“My dad surprised actor Olaiya with a new Benz. It’s good to be good. See how he pushed him. When you are loyal, you will always get what belongs to you.”
Oluomo’s generosity and the grovelling reaction by Olaiya Igwe have attracted mixed comments from Nigerians.
Below are some of them:
When Olaiya Igwe shot ‘Osan Gangan’ in 2004 or thereabouts, the whole of Yorubaland stood still! Almost literally. Blockbuster. Now, I just watched a video of the man grovelling before Lagos NURTW boss Mc Oluomo, ostensibly after receiving a car gift from him. For me, the spectacle was depressing in its violently contrasting twist of fate.
If longevity on the big screen was human, Ebun Oloyede, for the uninitiated, is an apt replica of that word. I grew up bingeing on his arcane, fear-inducing tales/movies in his heyday. At the height of his glory, the release of an Olaiya Igwe movie was in itself a cultural festival of huge significance.
No other film producer, bar Yekinni Ajileye, commanded that kinda respect across the region at the time. From the record-shattering Abela Pupa, through ‘Posi Alaye’, ‘Alase Aye’, ‘Iku Lopin’, through to the immensely popular ‘Ololade Mr Money’, his movies were culture-defining works of art that held everyone in awe and cemented his place in the pantheon.
The sad reality is that in Olaiya’s heyday, a major albatross stood on their path to financial success: Piracy. They worked for pirates, earning peanuts from their sweat. I remember they spent years crying, wailing and protesting to different government houses across the Southwest, seeking government (legislative) interventions.
I’m not sure anything significant came out of their agitation until time and technology elbowed them and their arts off the big screen.
In a way, Olaiya’s (and colleagues’) ordeal during their most productive years speaks to how institutional rot can make a mess of people’s productive efforts, making them paupers at the twilight of their life/career.
That’s also partly why I won’t entirely blame Olaiya Igwe, a member of a generation of hardworking thespians now wallowing in abject poverty. Frankly, his remains a temptation that is a tad difficult to resist, in the face of grinding poverty.
I don’t want to say much about Oluomo; I have written all I can in past columns/posts, anyway. And since this is election season, I have seen people critique Olaiya’s conduct before Mc Oluomo ONLY within the narrow prism of partisanship.
For me, this is not about any partisan gibberish: it’s a depressing reality that speaks to the ironical fate of otherwise hardworking, productive people rendered hopeless by systemic failure, in sharp contrast to how much folks who rose through the commodification of violence now thrive and ‘succeed’ with the conspiratorial support of the state. And they cut across political divides anyway.
Last month, I saw a video of one huge, green-coloured edifice reportedly belonging to Lamidi Auxiliary, Oyo PMS boss and Governor Seyi Makinde’s ally and political “enforcer”. I was speechless. But Auxiliary is only following the footsteps of those before him who also lived in opulence: Fele Taofiki, Tokyo, Elewe-Omo, as well as Tawa… Interestingly, at the height of Tawa-Tokyo’s insanely ostentatious dominance of the Ibadan social scene, as enabled by the government, a certain Baba Eleran who spent all his productive years supporting Ibadan-based 3SC died in obscurity and poverty.
So beyond petty partisan nonsense, the bigger, scarier concern for me is in how we all seem to have normalized this prevailing reality as the ‘status quo’: a disturbingly worrisome elevation of merchants of violence as ‘statesmen’ swimming in pools of money as enabled by the state, and then a systemic bastardization of productive engagements as the surest path to misery/poverty, especially in Yorubaland.
Think Oluomo/Kunle Poly (Lagos). Think Asiri Eniba (Osun). Think Auxiliary/Were (Oyo). Think Jango (Ogun). Think Ade Basket (Ondo). Think Babade (Ekiti). Think Late Bayo Ajia (Kwara).
Think, Yoruba, think. This is (one of) the real issue(s) that calls for sober reflection. Yoruba, think…think. Oh oh oh oh. Yoruba Ro-o-o-o-nu!
Asiwaju Mueez Adegoke,
“It’s really hard to convince many young persons that the only fulfilling way to success is hard work.
The value system in this Nation has been destroyed by politicians. But there are some of us who believe hard work is the only true way to success anyway.”
Korede Abdullah, a lawyer and public affairs analyst:
“Showing Gratitude is a virtue.Some people mocked Olaiya Igwe for rolling on the ground after he was surprised with a gift of a posh Mercedes car by MC Oluomo.
I just laughed at them and walked past their toxic comments laced with jealousy. I wonder why they are poor, and at the same time arrogant.
Even though Olaiya had had a car before, how the famous Yorùbá thespian appreciated the car gift is in the right direction.
A Yorùbá adage says: If a favour is unappreciated, the person who does the favour will feel like he has been robbed by a thief.
The Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever doesn’t appreciate a favour done for him by man, cannot also appreciate God. Congratulations to Alhaji Ebun Oloyede aka Olaiya”
Oluwatoyin Ndidi Taiwo Ojo:
Entitlement and ingratitude are the banes of our generation. “If you’re poor, and you’re still arrogant, you might end disastrously.
Sincere gratitude spurs your benefactor to do more for you, but many people don’t even know.”
Abdr-Rahman Gbolagade Adewale:
“Does joy have a dimension of exhibiting it? If not, let anybody express the joy of a sudden and unexpressed favour as he likes.
Funke Cole, a Doctoral Student, Dept of History, University of Lagos: “If some people could mock Olaiya Igwe for displaying gratitude towards such a magnanimous gift, they would do same to the simplest of gifts.
But hey, what act of generosity could be considered simplest?”