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Sir Victor Uwaifo of “Joromi” is dead, aged 80

Sir Victor Uwaifo of "Joromi" is dead, aged 80

Nigerian-born iconic singer, Sir Victor Uwaifo has passed on.

 

A close source to the family confirmed this on Saturday, adding that he died after a brief illness.

 

The ‘Guitar boy’ as he was fondly called celebrated his 80th birthday in March.

 

His nephew, Uwaifo Peter The Rock, also announced the sad incident on his verified Facebook page on Saturday evening.

 

Uwaifo Jnr, a gospel artiste wrote: “Daddy whyyyyyyyyyy. Did you leave us now? Prof sir Victor UWAIFO has gone to rest. Black Saturday for me now.

 

“One week now after collaborating with me.”

 

 



Uwaifo studied at University of Benin where he obtained a First Class in Applied Arts at 54, a Master’s Degree in Sculpture at 56, and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Architectural Sculpture at the age of 77.

 

He was renowned for his hit tracks such as ‘Joromi’, ‘Mami Water’, ‘Guitar Boy’.

 

‘Joromi’ won him his First Gold Disc in Africa at 24.

 

Joromi was first released on the album titled Big Sound on June 27, 1969.

 

Its release stirred a big wave in Nigerian music.

 

The song is based on a Benin folktale in Edo State.

 

It tells the story of an undefeated warrior named Joromi.

 

Uwaifo and his band had several national and international performance tours at Abidjan, Ghana, Europe, the United States of America, Japan and the former Soviet Union.

 

He represented Nigeria at the Black Art Festival in Algiers in 1969 and at the African Commonwealth Festival, London in 1973.

 

 



Sir Victor Uwaifo is also the first professional musicians to be awarded with the National Merit Honours of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON).

 

He was also the first Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Nigeria.

 

He Saw His Death Coming

Peter de Rock Uwaifo, a nephew to late legendary highlife musician Sir Victor Uwaifo has opened up on his last encounter with the Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Benin.

 

In an exclusive chat with The Nation, Peter de Rock, who is also a musician, disclosed Uwaifo battled a lung-related ailment but could not confirm if that was what led to his demise.

 

He said he was related to Sir Uwaifo by virtue of his father, late Clement Uwaifo who is his older brother and “taught him music.”

 

Peter de Rock said: “Everybody calls me Sir Victor Uwaifo’s son because I took after him but he is actually my uncle. We were very close. I am popularly known as Uwaifo junior.

 

“I am not in the mood to speak right now but he was actually sick. I just did a collaboration with him about a week ago whose information you can find on my Facebook page.

 

“He said some things to me in the cause of the collaboration that made me believe he was ready to leave.

 

“From those words, I could deduce that he knew he was ready to leave this world. So, it didn’t really come to me as a surprise or shock even though I still can’t bring myself to believe he’s gone just like that.

 

 



“I was unhappy with the tone of his conversation at the time we were in the studio but I know better now.

 

“I don’t know the exact name of his ailment but I learnt it had to do with infections that affected his lungs. I am not so sure if that was what led to his death.”

 

Explaining his relationship with the late varsity don, he said: “Sir Victor Uwaifo was my father’s immediate younger brother.

 

“My father, late Clement Uwaifo popularly known as Clemico is the first musician that taught Sir Victor Uwaifo music.

 

“However, I grew up to see Sir Uwaifo as my own dad after my father’s demise.”

 

Peter de Rock confirmed there was no arrangement for Sir Uwaifo’s burial yet “because the news just came in today and the family is yet to gather to deliberate on anything.”

 

He however noted “there will be information on that probably in the coming week.”

 

PRESIDENCY REACTS

“President Muhammadu Buhari condoles with family, friends and associates of legendary musician and multi-talented artiste, Sir Victor Uwaifo, who passed on Saturday, leaving a legacy of successes in many areas of life, including academia and administration.

 

“The President joins the Nigerian music industry and performing artistes, home and abroad, in mourning the former first Honourable Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism (Edo State), who was also the first musician and instrumentalist to be given National Honours Merit, Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) in 1983.” A statement by Femi Adesina reads.

 

 



“President Buhari believes the renowned musician, with global appeal and recognitions, lived for many firsts, which include invitation to the State House by four presidents and Heads of State, and winner of a gold disc in Africa for his song, “Joromi’’, released in 1965 at the age of 24.

 

“The President notes the glory that Sir Uwaifo brought to Nigeria through his international tours, and the active role he played in national development, returning to school to get a first degree at age 54 with first class honours, masters degree at 56, and a doctorate at 77.

 

“President Buhari prays for the soul of the departed musician, writer, sculptor, musical instrument inventor and university lecturer, knowing the entire country, particularly the music industry, will sorely miss him.”

 

Obaseki mourns death of legendary musician, Prof. Victor Uwaifo

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has mourned the passing of legendary musician and art teacher, Prof. Victor Uwaifo, whose death was reported Saturday evening.

 

The governor, in a statement, expressed shock and sadness over the news of the passing of Prof. Uwaifo, noting that his death was a loss to Edo State, Nigeria and the Black Race.

 

According to him, “I received the news of the loss of legendary musician and art teacher, Prof. Victor Uwaifo, with shock and sadness.

 

“He was talented, phenomenal and an illustrious son of Edo State who wowed the world with his array of skills, notably his music talent.

 

“An all-round artist, Prof. Uwaifo was an enigma, who made music for all, bringing the contemporary Benin culture to the world stage and providing vicarious experience of the peculiarities of our art and culture to a global audience.”

 

The governor prayed that God will grant the Uwaifo family, friends, associates and well wishers the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

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