Dr. Victor Olaiya has been forgotten for a long time by the government and relegated to nothingness despite his impact on the Nigerian music scene. According to him the government wasn’t represented during the celebration of Olaiya’s Sixty Years on Stage and doesn’t know if the government can immortalize the man who played during Nigeria’s independence and has not been recognized for the past thirty years. Ideally, he should be immortalized and any effort by the Federal or Lagos State government to ensure that will be welcomed.
Maybe something similar to what the Lagos State government did for the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti by turning his Kalakuta Republic residence into a Museum. Dr Victor Olaiya’s Stadium Hotel in Surulere has been a Mecca for Highlife music lovers and musicians all over the world for decades and that must not stop as governments have the responsibility to preserve our musical heritage.
‘That guy shouldn’t be forgotten in a hurry because he did so many wonderful songs which can never be forgotten’ were Mr. Femi Esho’s words. the Chairman of Evergreen Musical Company Limited, while paying tribute to his friend Dr. Victor Olaiya, whom he has known since 1962. ‘His demise is very saddening. Death is a necessary end. It is inevitable as he has gone to rest’ He said. ‘A very great man, seasoned musician and I will miss him a lot.
When reminded that Olaiya was bestowed with a national honour of ‘Oficer of the Order of Niger’, OON, he wondered whether that was enough for a man who played at a state ball when Queen Elizabeth visited Nigeria in 1956, performed at Independence in !960 and shared a stage with American Jazz musician, Louis Armstrong, when Nigeria became a republic in 1963.
Speaking on the future of highlife without the legendary musician, Mr. Femi Esho said ‘highlife has almost collapsed if not that we are doing everything possible to bring it back and bringing it back will be good for our culture’. When asked about Dr. Victor Olaiya’s repertoire, Mr. Femi said he was asked to take the boys to the studio to complete his last repertoire and even songs that Olaiya had forgotten. Now, Evergreen Musical Company has all the works.
He also said his last album which includes a lot of love songs has been released on evergreen music label. He’s a lover of women and a romantic trumpeter so he did so many songs for women.
Talking about getting reactions from Olaiya’s counterparts regarding his demise, he said most of his counterparts like David Bull, Alaba Pedro, Fatai Rolling Dollar and others are gone. We still have Sir Victor Uwaifor and Chief Dr Orlando Julius with us.
“It is up to the government to immortalize Victor Olaiya now and do what they can for the last ones standing while they are still alive.” Femi Esho said.