Akin Akande, Abuja
The Nigeria music industry was on Wednesday June 12, 2013 thrown into mourning as the news broke of the demise of one of the oldest Nigerian popular music legends, Pa. Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju aka Fatai Rolling Dollar as the octogenarian finally yielded to the cold hands of death after a brief battle with illness.
Known for his popular hit track, Won Keresi nomba wa among several others, Pa Rolling Dollar was a until his death one of the faces of the popular herbal drink, Yoyo Bitters.
He was also one of the foremost members of Copyright Society Of Nigeria, (COSON) and his song Won Keresi was celebrated as one of the great songs of the 60’s at the recently held COSON Song Awards.
Expressing his shock at the news of the death of Rolling Dollar who was the oldest member of COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman Copyright Society of Nigeria who is presently on official duty outside the country called in to say, ‘Just before leaving the country, I had been given a hint by a mutual friend, Mr. Niyi Ojemakinde, the radio personality, that Pa Fatai Rolling Dollar was in hospital.
‘I had so badly wanted to go and see him but there was just no time. He was a legend, a fantastic person with a very positive attitude to life who treated everyone with courtesy. I believe that his attitude to life was responsible for the long life he lived and that should be a lesson for all us,’ he said..
He was committed to the unity of the Nigerian music industry and never missed any meeting of COSON.
‘Pa Rolling Dollar will be missed by a lot of people whom he inspired. COSON will ensure that Fatai Rolling Dollar is immortalized,’he added.
Speaking on the sad event, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji, General Manager, COSON said the octogenarian’s exit is indeed a very sad one for our rapidly growing music industry.
He said “It is indeed very sad to hear of the death of Pa Fatai Rolling Dollars whom as you well know is a frontline member of COSON and a major stakeholder in our music industry. It is a sad moment for the industry and we say may his soul rest in peace.”
Continuing he said “The death of Pa Rolling Dollar is more painful at this point in the history of the development our industry that is fatherly counsel and wealth of experience would be needed.
He has been a great source of encouragement to so many of us especially the younger artistes that if you remain focused on your game, it will pay off at the end of the day and one other thing he epitomizes is that good music and good stage craftmanship will always excel.
You will recall that his hit tract, “Won Keresi” was one of the songs nominated at the just held COSON Song Awards for the 10 best songs of the 60s. That explains the quality of the composition. Again may his soul rest in peace”
The illness which began after his American tour was said to have confined him to the bed after he complained of pains in his legs.
Said to have been in the hospital for a brief period, Pa Rolling Dollar was reported to have been in a coma; a news that was vehemently denied; with family members confirming that he was recuperating.
Pa. Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju aka Fatai Rolling Dollar was born on the 22nd July 1926 to the family of late Chief Olagunju in Ede, Osun State.
He started his musical career in 1953 and has trained many professional musicians, such as Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, late Dr. Orlando Owoh, Bob Aladeniyi amongst others. He was one of the oldest musician still playing active music at the age of 86. He is one of the pioneers of the Juju music genre in Nigeria.