By Tofarati Ige
TOFARATI IGE writes on the deaths of three Nollywood actors— Murphy Afolabi, Adedigba Mukaila (Alafin Oro) and Obinna Nwafor (Saint Obi); and a sound technician known simply as Techno Sound, in a space of days
When actors, filmmakers and fans woke up on Sunday (yesterday), they did not expect that they would be thrown into another round of mourning after crying in quick succession over the deaths of some notable personalities in the industry in the space of some days. But, that was exactly what happened when news filtered in that an actor and filmmaker, Murphy Afolabi, had passed on that morning.
Afolabi, who acted in Yoruba movies, was said to have fallen in the bathroom at his house in Ikorodu, Lagos, on Sunday morning, May 14, 2023.
A filmmaker and the president of a guild of Yoruba movie directors, Seun Olaiya, shared the sad news on a WhatsApp platform populated by filmmakers. He was corroborated by the Managing Director of the popular movie marketing company, Corporate Pictures Nigeria Limited, Abdullahi Abdulrasaq.
Olaiya wrote, “I swear to God just before the news, I was still hailing him. This is really a rude shock to me.”
A showbiz personality and convener of the Best of Nollywood Awards, Seun Oloketuyi, also confirmed the news to our correspondent. He said, “It is true. He passed away after taking a fall in his bathroom at his house in Ikorodu this morning.”
Another filmmaker, Tunde Ola-Yusuf, posted a picture of the late actor on Facebook and added the quote, “Rest in peace. May God give the family and close associates the fortitude to bear the loss. Good night, Murphy Afolabi.”
Yet another filmmaker, Fidelis Duker, wrote, “What is really happening? I am just watching him in a movie now.”
A film director and the organiser of the popular comedy show, ‘Night of a Thousand Laughs’, Opa Williams, added, “So, death is becoming this cheap?”
A veteran actress, Kofoworola Atanda, popularly known as Madam Kofo, wrote, “So sad. May the supreme Almighty Allah rest the gentle soul of actor, Murphy Afolabi, in absolute peace and grant his loved ones the grace to bear this unfortunate loss…Masha Allahu.”
Another actress, Dayo Amusa, expressed her grief on Instagram. Posting a picture of the deceased, she wrote, “We celebrated your birthday just a few days ago. I am deeply sad and shocked on hearing this sad news. Oku nsunkun oku (the dead is crying for the dead). Death is hard and cruel. I pray that may his soul rest in peace.”
Disbelievingly, a popular actor, Odunlade Adekola, posted a pitch-black image and added the caption, “Jesus Christ. We lost Murphy.”
A popular comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka, wrote, “I am in total shock. May God grant you eternal rest, Murphy.”
Actress, Liz Da-Silva, posted a picture of a lit candle on Instagram and added the caption, “Hmm…Murfiano, as I call him. Oku nsunku oku (the dead is crying for the dead). Rest in peace is so difficult to write, but I wish you a peaceful exit as you face your next journey that no human can explain.”
An actor and filmmaker, Damola Olatunji, shared a picture of the deceased on Instagram and added the caption, “Murphy, but why? We all celebrated your birthday on May 5, not knowing it was you saying goodbye.
“Vanity upon vanity, everything we do is ‘vanity’, empty, futile and short-lived. It doesn’t matter if you’re wise or a fool ultimately, because everyone ends up dying. Rest on, bruv. Sunnnre ooo (rest in peace).”
Another actor, Kunle Afod, wrote, “Black weekend in the industry. We lost four people in the space of two days. Rest in peace, Murphy Afolabi, Saint Obi, Adidigba, and Techno Sound.”
Born on May 5, 1974, Afolabi got into the movie industry in 2001. Prior to that, he had studied Theatre Arts and Film Production at the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree. He appeared in over 60 movies before his death, including ‘Ifa Olokun’, ‘Omowunmi’, ‘Jimi Bendel’, ‘Wasila Coded’, ‘Olokiki Oru’, and ‘Idera’.
Barely 24 hours earlier, news had filtered in that a veteran actor, Saint Obi, had passed on at the age of 57 after a protracted illness. He was said to have battled the undisclosed sickness for months before he finally succumbed to the cold hands of death.
A report by a blogger, EmDee David, claimed that the actor passed away in Jos, Plateau State, some days ago, but there has been no confirmation or denial of that from his family, colleagues and other sources.
The story by David read in part, “He was said to have passed on after some months of going back and forth to the hospital, treating an undisclosed ailment. Till now, no official announcement has been made.
“Our correspondent, who visited no 13 Metropolitan Street in Tudun Wada, Jos, where the sister lives, gathered from residents around the area that ‘someone’ in that compound had died, but they were not sure of the identity of the deceased. However, a resident in the area, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that the actor, who he had seen a couple of times, died on Sunday (May 7, 2023) and that the following day, his body was taken to the morgue at the Jos University Teaching Hospital.”
However, there was initial confusion when a Twitter user, @Mazi_Duce, who claimed to be the actor’s relative, stated that he was not dead. Messages sent to him by The PUNCH had not been responded to as of the time of filing this report.
Born on November 16, 1965, the actor started his career in 1996 and has appeared in several movies and TV series, including ‘Sakobi’, ‘Candle Light’, ‘Heart of Gold’, ‘Festival of Fire’ and ‘Last Fire’.
Expressing shock at his demise, popular actress, Destiny Etiko, wrote, “Jesus!”
Popular comedian, Alibaba, wrote, “Rest on, giant.”
An actor, Kenneth Nwadike, who described the late Obi as his uncle, wrote, “Thank you all for your prayers. My uncle was a good man, and he will be missed. Now, I have to continue the legacy for our family and I pray I make the impact he made as an actor. God rest your soul.”
A politician and social media personality, Reno Omokri, posted a picture of both of them together and added the caption, “Signing a copy of my book, ‘Shunpiking: No Shortcuts to God’, for Obinna Nwafor, better known as Saint Obi, in my office at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.
“The gentlest and most noble Nollywood actor I ever met. No airs about him; very down to earth. Unusually modest and made every effort to make those around him feel comfortable.
“In short, the specimen of gentlemanliness. May God bless him. May God bless his family. May God bless Nigeria. In Yeshua’s Name.”
Another politician, Ahmed Garba, wrote, “RIP Saint Obi. You filled our screens with your talent for decades. We will miss you. May God rest your soul in peace.”
Sharing her grief with her followers, a popular actress, Stephanie Linus, wrote on Instagram, “This is truly shocking and heartbreaking. Losing someone you know and have worked with can be incredibly difficult. I had worked with Saint on several movies, and it is so sad to hear of his passing. May God give his family the strength to bear this loss and endure the difficult times. Your work and impact will always be remembered. Rest in peace, Saint.”
Other Nollywood personalities that passed on over the weekend were a veteran actor, Adedigba Mukaila, aka Alafin Oro; and a sound technician, Techno Sound.
Paying condolence to the late Adedigba, a veteran actor, Yinka Quadri, wrote, “Alfa Mukaila Aderibigbe, may your gentle soul rest in peace.”
An actress, Kemi Afolabi-Adesipe, who is suffering from an autoimmune disease, lupus, and revealed in 2022 that her doctors had given her low chances of survival, wrote, “Phew, rest in peace, sir. Death is a debt everyone owes and must pay.”
Another actress, Funke Etti, wrote, “Ya Allah; rest in peace.”
A controversial actor and activist, Yomi Fabiyi, wrote, “May his soul rest in peace.”’
Mourning the late Adedigba, Kunle Afod, wrote, “Another library is burnt down today. A great philosopher, an icon with so much Yoruba knowledge, and a lover of God. You departed this sinful world (in the) early hours of today. May your gentle soul rest in peace. Rest in peace, Adedigba. We will surely miss you. We drank from your river of knowledge; we know how important you were. The sad news this morning really broke my heart.”
An actress, Tosin Olaniyan, added, “Ahhh…may his soul rest in peace.”