Sir Victor Olaiya, a Nigerian highlife music legend, has passed on in Lagos, aged 89 years, after a brief illness.
Olaiya, a veteran musician, died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.
News of his passing was confirmed to the media by the managing director of Evergreen Music Company, Mr. Bimbo Esho.
The highly respected artiste grew up wanting to become an engineer. Olaiya passed his school certificate examination in 1951 and was accepted by Howard University, Washington, United States. But he decided to pursue music instead, a decision, his parents did not support.
He performed at Nigeria’s independence ball in 1960 and also at the national event when the country was declared a republic in 1966.
In 2013, he did a musical collaboration with 2baba, performing on the single ‘Baby Mi Da (Baby Jowo)‘.
“Most of my contemporaries no longer exist. The chances of collaborating with them are cancelled,” he told a newspaper at the time.
He is the recipient of many national honours and awards. He was temporarily awarded the title of lieutenant colonel when he performed for Nigerian troops in Congo.
He had many wives in his lifetime. It is unknown, however, how many for sure. Same with the number of children he had. He always declined to speak to the press on his family.