President Muhammadu Buhari has paid tribute to music legend, Sir Victor Uwaifo, who was so popular that he got invited to the State House by four Presidents and Heads of State, and won a gold disc in Africa for his song, “Joromi,’’ which was released in 1965 when the Edo State-born maestro was only 24.
The Nigerian highlife music icon whose “Mammy Water” album was a hit for decades, died on Saturday at the age of 80.
One of his children, Peter “de Rock” Uwaifo, broke the news of the demise of the Professor of Visual Arts, University of Benin (UNIBEN) on Saturday.
While Peter did not disclose the cause of death, he nevertheless expressed anguish over the passing of the music superstar.
The legendary musicologist served as Commissioner for Arts and Culture under Gov. Lucky Igbinedion.
“A First Class graduate of Visual Arts, UNIBEN, Uwaifo’s undergraduate project of a king on a horse is a signature arts poster at the Ekenwan Campus of UNIBEN.
“Uwaifo played the guitar with dexterity and had highly ambulant kinetic dancing steps,” Peter said.
President Buhari, in his message by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser (Media & Publicity) condoled with family, friends and associates of the legendary musician and multi-talented artiste, who, he said, is 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.
“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.”