Light has dimmed on veteran artiste, culture and entertainment public policy architect, media analyst, administrator and consultant Olayinka Ogundaisi. The Oyo born entertainer and administrator who is best known for starring as Baba Eleran (Meat Vendor) in the original version of the defunct television drama series, Village Headmaster, reportedly died on Wednesday, after battling with a prolonged illness.
A consummate stage and screen practitioner, Ogundaisi, who according to reports has been buried in his native town of Oyo in Oyo State, was diagnosed with twisted intestines, a hernia, and an enlarged prostate in 2013. Before he passed on, Ogundaisi was unable to walk and was confined to a bed. He had complained that apart from the complications of twisted intestines, hernia and enlarged prostate, his illness was as a result of intermittent back pains he has had for more than 30 years.
“Whenever I experienced it, I usually took it as a sign of stress to take things easy. Now, the back bones have collapsed to trap the nerves and I must have immediate financial support to undergo the urgent surgery while the nerves and back bones could still be repaired,” he said in an interview in 2020.
Reputed as the second actor to play the iconic role of Sango in the epic film Oba Koso, several attempts by friends, colleagues and well-wishers to raise funds for a major surgery didn’t yield much. However, help came for Ogundaisi late last year, when Ogundaisi and 50 other beneficiaries of the social intervention programme of the Lagos State government met with Governor Babajide Sanwoolu. The Governor offered financial support to him and others after listening to their plights and the governor also promised to take care of his needs, pre and post-surgery and ultimately get him back on his feet again. But the actor, writer and director of films and TV and Radio programmes, has passed on.
A workaholic, Ogundaisi will be remembered for his effort in resuscitating and repackaging the longest- running Yoruba TV programme Feyikogbon. Author of the crime fiction novel, The Charmed Lock (Agadagodo), Ogundaisi was the architect of the National Film and Video Censors board’s New Distribution and Exhibition Framework. He also made name for packaging the Annual Legacies Carnivals for Oyo State to solve the perennial communal violence that attended the yearly masquerades festivals celebration in Oyo State.
Also in the year 2000, Ogundaisi launched the three- pronged ART— African Repertoire Theatre, comprising the staging of epics particularly of the late theatre fathers; Global Children Theatre as an art and cultural platform for children from all parts of the world to meet and interact, and Big Screen to premiere new movie releases. His direct movie productions are: Give and Take – 1990 (pre Nollywood), Destiny – 1995, Hostess – 1999, Omoge (Damsel) – 2007, Pardonable, Unforgiveable – 2016, and Happy Homes.