Tinubu, Abiodun Mourn As Jimi Solanke Passes On At 81

President Bola Tinubu and Ogun State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun on Monday, lamented the passing of Mr Jimi Solanke, a renowned folklorist, dramatist, and playwright who was described as one of Nigeria’s most creative talents.

The renowned playwright and poet, who is most known for his “Story Land” television series on the Nigerian Television Authority, passed away on Monday morning at the age of 81 following a brief illness.

It was reported that Solanke passed away during his transfer from his rural residence in Ipara Remo, within the Remo North Local Government Area of Ogun State, to the Babcock University Teaching Hospital in Ilisan.

It was claimed that since December, he had been in and out of the hospital.

In addition, Solanke was well-known for Shadow Parties, Sango, Kongi’s Harvest, and many more.

Dickson Awolaja, the state House of Assembly representative for Remo North State Constituency, confirmed the death, he said,

“I got wind of the demise of Pa Jimi Solanke not long ago. His death is no doubt another big loss to us in Remo North and Ogun State as a whole, given his worthy contributions to the development of our dear nation. May his soul rest in peace.”

Tinubu, in a statement issued on Monday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said he got the news of Solanke’s death with sadness, characterising 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 statement added.

Governor Abiodun also referred to Solanke’s passing as a monumental loss for Ogun State and the theatrical industry.

Abiodun noted that the late thespian “consistently put the name of the state in the limelight for very good reasons, especially in the arts, right from his days at the University of Ibadan School of Drama.”

“Renowned for his tireless dedication to the arts, Baba Agba, as he was widely known by his numerous fans across the country, was a great ambassador of our dear state. He promoted the culture and tradition of the Yoruba race on the global stage with his drama, music, poetry and other works of art.

“In 1961, he emerged as one of the pioneer members of the Orisun Theatre Group, founded by Professor Wole Soyinka. He went on to put in several decades of diverse exposure and experiences in the global entertainment industry across several broadcast stations, countries and festivals, impacting the sector greatly,” Abiodun said.

The governor said Solanke’s many admirers “still recall with nostalgia, his epic performances at the Western Nigeria Television, WNTV, Ibadan in the 1960s, his unforgettable stagecraft at the World Festival of Negro Arts in Senegal and the amazing skills he exhibited at the Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algeria, all in the 1970s.

READ MORE: “It’s Humbling To Stay Married” – Solomon Buchi

“Also to his credit are brilliant performances in epics like Death and the King’s Horseman, Kurunmi, Kongi’s Harvest, The Divorce and Ovaramwen Nogbaisi. These performances and his numerous talents turned him into a global icon of the arts.

“He was at different times described by the Oxford Times and the New York Times as a ‘Skilled Nigerian Actor’ and an ‘Excellent Troupe’ respectively, owing to his performance of Wole Soyinka’s Kongi’s Harvest, during a tour of Europe.”