Wednesday, Jan 26, 2012 was one of such sad days when one woke up with the news that death has dealt the Nigerian entertainment industry a blow.
That was actually the day Lekan Oladipo a.k.a Giorgio Lekinson, a foundation member of the Yoruba genre of Nigerian home videos lost the battle to cancer of the lung.
Interestingly, Lekinson’s disappearance from the movie scene before he died early last year remains the reason some movie buffs still find it hard to believe that he’s dead!
It would be recalled that Lekinson, who would forever be remembered for his slangs and good interpretation of the role of fraudster in most Yoruba films, battled with drug related problems and when family and friends thought Giorgio Lekinson had cheated death, the gifted actor passed on.
Barely a year ago and when many people may be wondering if Lekinson left a grown up child who will step into his shoes, it’s amazing that Babatunde Oladipo, the eldest son, has picked up the trade where his father left it.
With just three years in the industry, Armani Arante as Yabatech’s graduate of Business Administration is popularly called, is leaving no stone unturned to hit the spotlight at one shot. Apart from picking roles in popular films like ‘Omolabake’, ‘Oko Obinrin’, ‘Figurine’ among few others, Armani Arante is getting set to hit location for his personal film project that may come after premiering Irosun Meji, Lekinson’s last movie which he never lived to released.
Recalling how he gets into acting, “Apart from the fact that I picked after my father, to be a successful actor has been my childhood ambition but my father do tell me to finish my education before going to acting. My passion for acting grew when I started following him to movie locations. While in higher institution, I opted for Business Administration because of my love for banking job but life later played me its card as I’m back to my first love which is acting,” Armani said.
Little or nothing might have been read about the life and death of great Lekinson, Armani revealed the private parts of his father. “It’s no doubt that my father was a ladies’ man but it may shock you that my mother remained his only wife whom they had two kids together, I and my younger brother, Abiodun. My father’s drug problem could be traced back to when he went to India to study acting. On his return from India my mother noticed his change of attitude and one day she caught him sniffing a white substance suspected to be cocaine which led to a serious argument and fight.
“All efforts by family members to persuade him to give up on the bad habit proved abortive. This affected his growing acting career and he was shut out of the scene for some years before he returned as a King in the old popular home video titled ‘Koto Aiye’, in 2002. The dope thing messed up his career before he later quit.
In 2007 Lekinson, who was a board member of Osun State’s Art and Culture during the time of Governor Oyinlola, was diagnosed of cancer of the lung. We thought he would die but Lekinson survived the terminal illness that left him bed ridden for two years. He fully recovered and bounced back in 2009 before he eventually died in 2012.
“It was a natural death; my father did not die of any sickness as reported. On that sad day, Lekinson complained of tiredness and contemplating of going to the hospital the next day but his elder brother encouraged him to go that day which he agreed, but he died on his way to the hospital,” Armani revealed.
Speaking further about the life and time of Lekinson who featured in countless numbers of popular home videos, son said, “He was a trained actor who doesn’t take nonsense. If I could recollect, the last thing he told me was, I should be wary of unnecessary intimacy, to always be myself and Lekinson told me point blank that he needed a grandson. At the moment, we are planning a one year remembrance of his death and probably released his last personal film titled ‘Irosun Meji’,” Armani concluded.