As family and friends await the arrival of the remains of Nollywood star actress, Moji Olaiya, more controversies have continued to trail her colleagues’ determination to ensure that plans for her burial go smoothly.
Until she breathed her last, Moji Olaiya, who rose to stardom via Wale Adenuga’s popular soap, ‘Super Story’, where she played Ireti in one of the series, ‘No Pains No Gains’, was one of Nollywood’s most exclusive artistes. Her ability to interpret roles with precision was a unique selling point making her versatility as an actress incontestable.
Meanwhile, signs of storms emerged when barely three days to her death some of her colleagues allegedly stayed away from a meeting scheduled to discuss how to raise funds for the repatriation of her body from her base in Canada.
Yomi Fabiyi, the Moji Olaiya Burial Committee spokesperson, did not react to that information officially when asked by this magazine, but he agreed in a private statement later that ‘some of our colleagues did not turn up when we were about discussing funds to bring back Moji’s body from Canada’.
Moji Olaiya died on May 18th 2017, in Canada, two months after giving birth to her second child, a girl, in the country. She had another daughter, age 19 who is schooling in Nigeria.
Corroborating Fabiyi’s statement, another colleague of Moji, who obviously felt touched by the unmoved nature of other colleagues, Funke Adesiyan, publicly attacked the group.
Posting on the social media to express her anger, Funke wrote; “there are some of our colleagues who go about flaunting their wealth on social media yet cannot help a fellow colleague in the industry.”
According to Funke, it annoyed her that some influential members of the Yoruba movie industry who were very close to the deceased, could take a dive when it was announced that every actor should donate the sum of N100,000 towards bringing the corpse of Moji Olaiya from Canada to Nigeria.
“When the amount was mentioned, some people chickened out yet they will go about posting Moji’s pictures, claiming to be her friends,” she vents.
Following this, a strange story attached with picture of an aircraft surfaced on the social media claiming that Moji’s body had been brought back to Nigeria, yet those who should be responsible for the return of the body were yet to have a common ground. This prompted Yomi Fabiyi to issue a statement to the media debunking the story.
“Whoever posted a wrong picture and invariably tagged Late Moji Olaiya’s name to it is just being mischievous. We promised to keep friends and family up to speed as event unfolds. We are well aware that friends, fans and family are agog and wish to pay their last respect.”
As if waiting for that confusion to die down, another rumour emanated almost immediately that the Ekiti State government had offered to pay for the return of the actress’ remains. Both the burial planning committee and the state government had since denied this, with the government accusing ‘mischief makers’ for the story while those close to the actress’ family claimed that the government probably wanted to use the story to score some political points.
Though, the late Moji tried as much as she could, to keep her affairs as private as possible and ensure that things were kept away from prying eyes, reports have it that people were unaware that she never had a stable marriage. Her 2007 union with one Bayo Okesola, sources said, turned out to be Moji’s first and, perhaps, greatest mistake in life.
“She never had it good while the marriage with Okesola lasted”, squealed an insider.
Moji never discussed her life with anyone after her first marriage breakup, until once again she met a certain ‘Alhaji’ for whom she reportedly had the new baby girl before her death. Moji converted to Islam when she met the ‘Alhaji’ who has remained obscured ever. Yet, Moji would not come to the public to confirm her meeting with an ‘Alhaji’, as she maintained that she was never divorced.
Also trailing the burial plans lately was the dangerous rumour that the actress died of poisoning. But her family members have deflated the rumour. They call it ‘evil’.
“The younger brother of the deceased, Femi Olaiya, who travelled from UK to Canada and a top Nigerian promoter in Canada, Mr Yinka Farinde, monitored and received the details of the autopsy and nothing of poison is in the documents,” they declared in the statement released immediately after the story went viral in the social media.
The only controversy that turned out to be true, however, was the charitable intervention of a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was said to have paid for the repatriation of the body of the late actress.
Tinubu is the national grand patron of the Theater Arts and Motion Picture Producer’s Association of Nigeria. He reportedly waded into the matter when Moji’s colleagues allegedly could not arrive at the modality of the contribution, thus, the committee members comprising Adunola, the late actress’ eldest child, and her two uncles met with the giant politician on Monday, 22nd May, 2017.
Meanwhile, some Nigerian pastors have sounded a note of warning to Nollywood actors, especially Yoruba actors, urging to pray very well against more deaths in their midst.
Pastor Celestine Micheal, Primate Elijah Ayodele and Prophet T.B Joshua, Apostle Johnson Suleman, Prophet F.E Bamiduro, Prophet Samson Ayorinde, in separate statements, said that the Nigerian movie industry needs spiritual cleansing.
In the statements, they revealed that they saw more deaths and strange illnesses plaguing the industry, thereby urging the actors to organize a joint prayer session for God’s intervention.
As we went to press, it was gathered that the body of the beautiful actress would be moved into Nigeria ‘anytime soon’. A burial committee member told this magazine that, “The death certificate has been issued and processing the entire necessary documentations for her smooth journey to Nigeria with the new baby had begun in earnest.”
The burial committee which has star actresses, Faithia Balogun as Chairperson and Foluke Daramola as Secretary, has said that details about Moji Olaiya’s funeral would be released in due course.
-Akin Sokoya with Folorunsho Hamsat