The son of deceased music maestro, Prof. Victor Uwaifo, who died in Benin City on Saturday at the age of 80 has debunked news making the rounds that his father died of the dreaded COVID-19.
Goodman Osarentin Uwaifo who spoke in company of his sister, Mrs. Evelyn Oghonmwen, insisted that his father died from complications resulting from pneumonia and not he dreaded virus as being rumoured.
The third son of the music icon said his late father was rushed to Stella Obasanjo Hospital also in Benin City on Friday, and he passed on at about 4pm from untreated pneumonia.
He said: “I want to use this opportunity to clear this misinformation. We have heard rumours going around that our father, Sir Victor Uwaifo died of COVID-19. It is not true. He died of pneumonia and not COVID-19. He was rushed to the hospital on Friday and passed on the following day on Saturday August 28. We did the necessary tests. He was treated for pneumonia.”
His house on Victor Uwaifo Avenue off College Road was a beehive of activities as people from different walks of life and neighbours trooped in to condole with the octogenarian’s children.
The younger Uwaifo, a pastor with Image of God Bible Ministry, Benin, said he was yet to come to terms with the loss of his father but had been able to weather the storm because of his strong faith in God.
He said: “I have mixed feelings over our father’s sudden death. Before he passed on, I had different feelings. I am yet to accept the reality of his death, I am very sad.”
He said his late father will be remembered for his works which he said are evergreen, noting that people like the multi-talented musicians are hard to come by.
Born on March1, 1941, the music legend was a writer, sculptor, musical instrument inventor and university lecturer.
He was the Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism during former the administration of Chief Governor Lucky Igbinedion and was the winner of the first gold disc in Africa (Joromi) released in 1965 and seven other gold discs in Guitar Boy, Arabade, Ekassa series and Akwete music.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it is shock and saddened by the death of highlife music maestro, famous sculptor and academician.
In a statement, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “Guitar Boy” as the late Uwaifo was popularly called, was a rare gem, a nationalist, who, for decades, ruled the airwaves, and used his music and arts to propagate the message of hope, faith, hard work, honesty, tolerance and patriotism; and left resounding legacies that will remain evergreen even for generations yet unborn.
“Victor Uwaifo placed our nation in the world map when he won the Gold Disc Record with his popular hit, Joromi. His contributions to nation building earned him the national merit honours of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), the first musician in Nigeria to be so decorated.
“His versatility was further brought to bear as a commissioner in Edo state as well as a lecturer in the University of Benin, Edo State,” the PDP spokesman wrote.
The PDP further said despite his towering attainments, Uwaifo remained humble, accessible, selfless and always dedicated to service.
According to the PDP, “Our party is grieved that this legendary Nigerian left the stage at this time when the nation needs his wealth of experience, especially in mentoring the younger generation of Nigerians, is needed the more.”
The party urged the federal government to take steps to immortalise the late Uwaifo for his contributions to national development.
It also commiserated with the Uwaifo family, Governor Godwin Obaseki, the government and people of Edo state as well as the music industry.
In a related development, the University of Benin (UNIBEN) and the member representing Ovia Federal Constituency, Mr. Dennis Idahosa, have described the death of Uwaifo as a great loss to the entertainment industry.
They both noted in a separate statement in Benin City yesterday, that the demise of the Edo-born entertainer and “Joromi” crooner, left a void that would be difficult to fill in the industry.
The Vice Chancellor, UNIBEN, Prof. Lilian Salami, said the university community would miss Uwaifo’s uncommon mastery of the arts.
According to her, “The shocking and wicked news reached us of the loss of a legend and great son of Benin Kingdom.
“Our most painful and heartfelt condolences go to his family, Edo State, the University of Benin community, his friends and loved ones.
“Sir (Prof) Victor Uwaifo (MON) was our 2nd UNIBEB Alumni Honorary Graduate, May his good soul rest In Peace. The University of Benin Community will dearly miss his uncommon mastery of the Arts.
“We pray God to grant us all the will to bear this great irreplaceable loss.”
On his part, Idahosa said the entertainment industry have lost a legend.
Idahosa in a statement signed by his media aide, Friday Aghedo, described Uwaifo, as a pride of Edo in the Nigeria and world creative industry.
“Sir Victor Uwaifo was a musical export, Edo’s pride in the creative industry and a great patriot”.
“Indeed we’ve lost one of the very best old wine in the creative industry. Though he’s gone but his music will speak well of his legacies,” he said.
Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Adibe Enenyonu in Benin City