Veteran journalist and the Publisher of Broadcasters Intl. Magazine, Mr Clement Ige, has described the death of the popular Yoruba poet, and artiste, Alhaji Olanrewaju Adepoju, who died recently as a great loss to the industry and humanity.
Mr Ige, who recalled that he had a smooth and cordial relationship with the deceased, noted that Adepoju was a truthful and fearless personality who stood for an upright Nigeria during his lifetime.
“I met Lanre Adepoju in 1982 through my boss, the late Olutade Makinde, who was the editor of ‘The Entertainer’, published by the Sketch newspaper and founder of The Variety entertainment magazine, of which I was the Chief Feature Editor. The relationship became more cordial when I did a good report on him without collecting a dime, which was a principle I held on to throughout my journalism career.
Lanre Adepoju, Clement Ige said, later told him how my boss guaranteed that I will not take a dime for any story. In his words, he said “ Clem Clem, your boss told me you would not take a kobo and you have just proved it.”
“With time, we got close as confidants despite the age difference. I was instrumental to the success of the record he did in 1987, entitled, “Iku Awolowo” where he centred on the former President Ibrahim Babangida in the flip side of the record. This was his best record ever that shook the whole of Nigeria.
“However, he had issues on the distribution of the printed records, because distributors refused to accept the work going by the potency of the work, he already printed thousands of the work but called me to listen to the master tape when marketers and distributors refused to accept the work. I ensured the work saw the light of the day as we both met with a marketer, who was one of those who had earlier refused to distribute the work, that eventually handled the distribution of the work.”
Speaking on another unforgettable memory with the ace poet, Ige noted that he was the saving grace for Lanre Adepoju when he was arrested by the men of the State Security Service (SSS) when he did another record about Abacha.
“His son, Jare, called me on that fateful day that his father was arrested by the DSS and was driven off in his Volvo car. I dashed to the DSS’s office at Alesinloye; it was the only building then. I met his car only on the premises. I identified myself and asked about him, yet they denied his arrest, I asked them that, that is his car outside and this is not a supermarket, so what is his car doing there? Which was an embarrassment for them because they didn’t know how I got the information of his arrest just less than 30 minutes. That singular act with a cover story which I did in Tribune about his arrest brought about his release,” he added.
Mr Ige further revealed that the late Adepoju was a Christian and later converted to Islam. He later practised mysticism and eventually went back to Islam. He noted that Lanre Adepoju almost made him a Muslim as a result of their bond.
“He gave me three original Qurans, but he knew I was a Christianity, though I was not a practising Christian then.
To the grace of God, Lanre Adepoju, an Islamic prophet was the one who led me back to Christ. He told me that my destiny does not accommodate fetish things and that the only solution to the problems I was facing at that time was to pray and read the books of Psalms. The advice, that I acted upon, made me to be closer to God. The encounter was a turning point in my life in 1995,” he said.