The quiet community of Millennium Estate, Oko-Oba, in Agege, wore a gloomy outlook yesterday as top musicians, friends and other entertainers stormed the place to bid farewell to the veteran juju musician, Fatai Olagunju popularly known as Fatai Rolling Dollar who died last Wednesday at Marritol Hospital, following a brief illness.
The musician’s remains were committed to mother earth yesterday afternoon at his uncompleted building site in Ikorodu area of Lagos. He was buried without a casket according to muslim custom.
The Fidau (Muslims prayer for the dead) was conducted earlier in the day at his Millennium Estate, Oko-Oba residence, where well-wishers and friends had the final glimpse of the octogenarian musician before the body was moved to Ikorodu for interment.
Top musicians at the Fidau include, former PMAN President, Admiral Dele Abiodun, Segun Adewale, Dayo Kujore, Champion Kunle Opio, Islamic scholars, music industry titans, fans and family members.
Meanwhile, veteran musicians, Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, Prince Adekunle and others were in the deceased’s Oko-Oba Millennium Estate residence on Wednesday evening to receive the corpse from the hospital alongside family members.
In his condolence message, King Sunny Ade sounded emotional, saying that “We are going to miss Pa Rolling Dollars greatly.” He said, “Pa please come to life to make us happy again if God permits.”
For Stella Monye, Rolling Dollar lived and rocked well as a veteran musician.
Also, paying tribute to the deceased, the Secretary of the neighbourhood Association, Mr Shola Adebayo described, Rolling Dollar, as “ a loving and caring father who always concerned himself about other people’s problems within the neighbourhood.”
Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman Copyright Society of Nigeria who is presently on official duty outside the country also paid a glowing tribute to the late highlife maestro. “Just before leaving the country, I had been given a hint by a mutual friend, Mr. Niyi Ojemakinde, the radio personality, that Pa Fatai Rolling Dollar was in hospital.
I had so badly wanted to go and see him but there was just no time. He was a legend, a fantastic person with a very positive attitude to life who treated everyone with courtesy. I believe that his attitude to life was responsible for the long life he lived and that should be a lesson for all us. He was committed to the unity of the Nigerian music industry and never missed any meeting of COSON. He will be missed by a lot of people whom he inspired. COSON will ensure that Fatai Rolling Dollar is immortalized’
The late Juju/highlife music maestro who reportedly died of cancer related disease left behind sixteen children and wives. Some of the children are Jamiu, Funmi, Mojeed, Nimota and Adewumi.
Rolling Dollar was one of the highlife musicians who made the genre popular in the 60s and 70s. He was famous for his evergreen classic, ‘Won Kere Si Number Wa’.
Before his death, Rolling Dollar reportedly told his family members not to weep for him.
Meanwhile, the promoter who took Rolling Dollar to a musical tour of theUnited States of America (USA), Sampson Raji disclosed that the late musician actually died of cancer of the lungs.
According to the Maryland, USA-based music promoter, the veteran musician fell sick during the tour and he was taken to a hospital and it was at the hospital that he was diagnosed to have lung cancer.
Raji said Rolling Dollar went through series of tests for four days while he was admitted in the hospital for 12 days.
“After 12 days, he was discharged because his health had improved considerably due to the treatment and the drugs administered on him,” the promoter narrated.
He stated further that the late musician insisted on coming back home, saying he would prefer traditional treatment for his health.
“I had to change the ticket when he insisted on coming back home but I want to tell you that as at the time he was coming back home, his health had improved. He was even distributing his CDs to fans at the airport,” Raji said.
Rolling Dollar started his musical career in 1953 and had mentored other great musicians like Evangelist Ebenezer Obey and the late Orlando Owoh, among others. Known for his dexterity at playing the guitar, Rolling Dollar’s last major hit was “Won Kere Si Number Wa”. The late musician was given a house in one of the low costhousing estates in New Oko Oba, Lagos.
Juju music legend, Ebenezer Obey was among those trained by the late musician.
Rolling Dollar, who had three wives and 16 children, died as the oldest surviving music artiste in Nigeria.