Gbenga Adeboye: 18 Years After The Gnome’s Exit

Late Gbenga Adeboye

By Festus Adedayo

Last week, specifically on April 30, 2021, humorist, broadcaster and multi-talented Master of Ceremony, Elijah Oluwagbemiga Adeboye, clocked 18 years underneath the surface of the earth.

He had died on same day in April, 2003. Born September 30, 1959 in Odeomu, Osun State, Adeboye had spent a sizeable portion of his life pulling the stern-faced to the jukebox and getting them to smile to his rib-cracking humours.

To describe Adeboye as an enigma was an understatement. He combined an eclectic broadcasting talent with singing, humour and entertainment. In his death, Southwestern Nigeria lost a major talent and entertainer.

Adeboye was a chief host of popular radio programmes on Lagos State Broadcasting Corporation, right from the early 1980s, which he tagged Funwontan Oduology, as well as many other in virtually all parts of the southwest. He had the ability of mimicking personages and went by the moniker, Alaye Mi Gbengulo. Those who knew him still dive into the nostalgia of his generosity but he would be remembered by the power of his comedy. He moulded so many broadcasters who today are always in sober moods every April 30, one of whom is Yemi Sonde, a.k.a. Jigan Akala.

A number of mysteries and mysticism surrounded the person of Adeboye and his short eclectic entertainment career. One of such was his deep romance with traditional African medicine. Those who knew him claimed that his life was as mysterious as his person. Some of this he demonstrated even on many of the programmes he handled for radio stations across the west. He was profound, arresting and spellbinding whenever he stood behind the microphone. One of such profundity was exhibited in a series he entitled Itu Baba Ita, a recreation of an errant personage who was also an outlaw.

Adeboye battled forces, seen and unseen, whose upper hands wedged him to his sepulcher. A few months before his final death, he had been rumoured to have died, the harrowing process of which he later sang about in about the last vinyl he produced before his final death. He had an initial unpleasant encounter with the late Fuji icon, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, a tiff which was unclear whether the duo reached an armistice before their individual passages.

Those who knew Adeboye said he died due to kidney-related disease while to some, he was a gnome who had finished his assignment on earth and was due to join the spirit world. May his soul continue to find anchor in the bosom of his creator.

Dr Festus Adedayo is a popular Ibadan-based columnist

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