The year 2016 has been a turbulent year indeed both globally and locally. Before our very eyes, we saw a string of notable personalities pass away, and as the year comes to a grand close, counting down to the dawn of a new year, we can’t help but remember some of Nigeria’s very own stars whom we had to say goodbye to, too early. From entertainers to sports personalities, it’s been a tough year no doubt. In no particular order, a list of outstanding individuals who left us in 2016;
June 29, 2016 would be a day always to remember as Africa lost one of its finest, celebrated literary icon Elechi Amadi.
The renowned author who was known for penning famous books like; The Concubine, Isiburu, Sunset in Biafra, Peppersoup and several other books passed on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at the Good Heart Hospital in Port Harcourt at the age of 82. His cause of death remains undisclosed.
Elechi Amadi was one of the founding generation of African novelists.
Bukky Ajayi died during the early hours of Wednesday, July 6, 2016 at her residence in Surulere, Lagos at the age of 82 following her battle with heart-related issues.
The late movie thespian who started out as a broadcaster working as a presentation assistant in 1966 with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), started her acting career with the 70s hit Village Headmaster and later Amaka Igwe’s Checkmate.
Apart from those movies, the veteran was also known for; “Diamond Ring,” “Final Whistle”, “Thunderbolt”, “Witches,” “Mother of George,” and others.
She was the mother of former rap star Kunle Fawole aka Abounce .
June 8, 2016, the football industry was thrown into mourning following the shocking death of former Super Eagles captain and Head coach, Stephen Keshi.
The football legend died suddenly in the early hours of Wednesday June 8, 2016, after suffering a heart attack in Benin City.
The Big Boss was one of only two men to win the Africa Cup of Nations as a player and a coach. As a player, he earned 60 caps for the Nigerian national football team, making him the nation’s second-most capped player. He later moved on to coaching following an illustrious career, as a coach he managed the Nigerian, Togolese and Malian national teams.
June 13 and Nigeria received a rude shock following the passing on of one of the pioneers of hip-hop music in the country Babatunde Jezreel Okungbowa aka OJB Jezreel after a lengthy battle with kidney disease.
Before his sudden death, in 2013, OJB underwent a successful kidney operation in India and returned to his homeland, everyone was ecstatic at the news – a thanksgiving followed, finally the star was recovering to his old self, but alas! Fate had other plans, Jiggaman gave up shockingly June 13th 2016 in a Lagos hospital during the early hours of the day following a prolonged battle with kidney failure.
OJB was one of the hottest producers in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The legendary music producer cum singer was credited for launching the careers of some of Nigeria’s biggest artists including; 2Face Idibia – producing his instant classic solo debut album Face 2 Face and his sophomore Grass 2 Grace, Rugged Man’s diss track ‘Ehen’ featuring Nomoreloss, D’Banj’s first song – ‘Kiss Me Again’, Durella– ‘Wiskolo Wiska’, including Wizkid, then an anonymous protégé frequenting OJB’s studio – Sliverpoint, obviously it paid off big time.
As a singer, the multi talented star was known for massive hit tracks such as; Pretete, Jah Is My Lite
Pum Pum, Beautiful As You Are, Searching and many other songs.
The multi talented music producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist would have clocked 50 if he stayed a month later.
March 21, a day just like every other day, or so we thought – The cruel hands of death snatched away a talented star Muyiwa Osinuga aka Nomoreloss whom wasn’t given due acknowledgement in Nigeria’s music world while he was still alive.
Sadly, Nigeria lost Nomoreloss March 21, 2016 after a short battle with pneumonia at an undisclosed hospital in Opebi area of Lagos. He was aged 39.
From a rapper to a stand-up comedian and then a singer, Nomoreloss clearly belonged to the entertainment world, dishing out hit tracks like; ‘Kilode’, Oro re e to his remix of Orlando Owoh’s 80s hit, ‘Iyawo Olele’ which he titled ‘Iyawo Asiko.
Ironically, the talented singer and songwriter who championed the move for funds campaign for the treatment of OJB in 2013 following his kidney battle, passed away before him.
Nomoreloss was described by the late OJB as a selfless individual.
It was a double tragedy as barely days after the football world lost sports veteran Stephen Keshi, she lost yet another of her own Shauaibu Amodu.
The four-time coach of the Super Eagles coach had reportedly complained of chest pains earlier, subsequently he died in his sleep June 10, 2016 in Benin City.
Shuaibu Amodu before his death was the technical director of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), and former coach of the Super Eagles.
He first managed the Nigerian national team from April 2001 to February 2002, and also took the reins in April 2008 and October 2014 but never fully left as he was always on ground to spur the national team.
The late football coach died at 58.
Everly bubbly and full of life on screen, Henrietta Kosoko’s demise was all too sudden. The late actress who known for movies like Omolade, Boya Lemo, Eleda Teju, Alayaki, passed on June 6th, 2016 after collapsing. News later went viral that she had been battling diabetes for quite a while.
Henrietta Kosoko who got her big break in 1995 through the movie Omolade written and produced by movie veteran Jide Kosoko was married to him.
The screen delight passed away at age 53.
The year had barely kicked off when Nollywood’s Mike-Obi-Nkemakonam-Odiachi passed on in the evening of Monday February 15, 2016 at the General Hospital, Ikorodu, Lagos state.
The actor who was best known for his role as Innocent Man in “IGODO” and his stage interpretation of ‘Odewale’ in Ola Rotimi’s The Gods Are Not To Blame, acted in a number of critically acclaimed stage and screen productions including; Super Story, Lekki Wives and may others.
Although the cause of his death remains undisclosed, it was revealed that the actor had been “ill for sometime now”.
He was one of the country’s gifted stage and screen actors.
Barely a few days after Igodo actor Mike Odiachi’s death, Nollwood was in for yet another shock as Festus Aguebor was one of the industry’s most popular veterans died in his sleep in his home in Benin late February, reportedly following liver disease complications.
The late actor despite his age was an active player in Nigeria’s movie industry with over 35 years experience, he was known for roles in movies such as; King and I’, ‘Family Contract’, ‘Rituals’ and ‘A Kiss from a Rose’.
Festus Aguebor was also well noted for his roles in television series ’‘Village Headmaster’ and ‘For Better for Worst.
Nollywood said goodnight to another brilliant veteran actress, Mulikat Adegbola, who passed on Saturday, December 3 after reportedly suffering a stroke. Mulika was popularly known by her stage name Ashabi Iya Adinni and starred in movies like “Ìlù gángan” (2009), “Ogbologbo” (2003) and “Ogbologbo 2” (2003).
To the most shocking of all;
January 18 while Nigeria’s was still basking in the euphoria of the new year, the heartbreaking news of award winning child actor Olamide David’s death reached our ears in unbelief.
The 2015 best Kid Actor at BON Awards who played lead actor in Foluke Daramola-Salako’s movie, “Cobweb,” passed away at the tender age of 14 during the early hours of the day at the General Hospital, Ikeja.
It was later learnt that the young actor mistakenly got kicked in the stomach while playing football with his friends, after which he fell to the ground in excruciating pains, he was then rushed to the hospital but sadly, a few hours later in the early hours January 18th, the life of Olamide David, a star in the making was cruelly cut short at just 14. His death was the first this year 2016.
Gone but not forgotten…Your memory lives on!