President Tinubu mourns Jimi Solanke


Jimi Solanke

By Taiwo Okanlawon

President Bola Amhed Tinubu has mourned the Legendary poet,  playwright, folk singer and actor, Jimi Solanke who passed on.

The actor died on Monday at the age of 81 after battling with an undisclosed illness.

The president described the deceased “as one of the finest of Nigeria’s creative artists”.

Tinubu prayed for the peaceful repose of the soul of the movie star.

He also prayed that God would grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss.

“It is with a heavy heart that President Bola Tinubu receives the news of the passing of Nigeria’s creative icon, Mr. Jimi Solanke,” the statement reads.

“Baba Solanke was an actor, dramatist, folk singer, poet, and playwright.

“President Tinubu mourns the literary and cultural virtuoso and describes him as one of the finest of Nigeria’s creative artists and bastion of our cherished mores and cultural heritage.

“The President condoles with the Solanke family and all those who mourn this painful loss while praying for the peaceful repose of the beloved departed.”

The folk singer  who died  just 59 days to his 82nd birthday,  was born on July 4, 1942, in Ipara Remo.  He was a pioneer member of the Orisun Theatre Group, founded by the renowned Wole Soyinka, in 1961.

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He was involved in epic plays such as  “Death and the King’s Horseman,” “Kurunmi,” “Kongi’s Harvest,” “The Divorce,” and “Ovaramwen Nogbaisi.”

Solanke’s journey in the world of arts began at the University of Ibadan, where he obtained a diploma in drama.

Following his graduation, the actor relocated to the United States, where he founded a drama group called The Africa Review, dedicated to promoting African culture.

His storytelling prowess soon gained international recognition, with CNN lauding him as a “master storyteller” during his time in Los Angeles, California.

In 1986, he returned to Nigeria with three members of The Africa Review group to work with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

Subsequently, Solanke ventured into film and earned lead roles in many of Ola Balogun’s movies.

His most recent work, ‘Shadow Parties’, was released in 2020.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Solanke voiced his worries about the challenges confronting artistes.

He also slammed the government for their inadequate support of the entertainment sector.

In 2021, Solanke organised training to boost folklore music in Nigeria.

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