Ijebu-Jesa is truly blessed with many individuals who have given so much to the world in terms of creative and visual arts. Even today, the ancient town still boasts of budding stars making waves in the entertainment industry.
While some made it through to the top hitting the limelight and getting awards and accolades within and even beyond the shores of this country, some are not as lucky.
The legendary I.K Dairo rose as high as anyone in the industry culminating in the award of MBE by the Queen of England, the first on any black man in the music industry. His cousin, Orlando Julius Ekemode toured and inspired the world with his music winning many laurels in the process. No one would forget the impact of the legendary Late Chris Ajilo who lived his life for music and it’s production. He was a global figure.
‘Semire Aluko, popularly known as Agbaaragba in his later years was one legendary artiste of Ijebu-Jesa descent who gave his all to music and entertainment but was largely ‘under-appreciated’. He gave so much to the industry and was thoroughly enjoyed by all despite not hitting the limelight as others mentioned above.
Of him, Niyi Ajifowobaje wrote; “Either you like it or not, he is a legend in Egboroland. He had so many firsts among his peers. First to own cassette record player, first to own brand new Suzuki machine in the 70s. Former gold medalist in 100 meters – Ife/Ijesa AA.
He got a full scholarship award for this feat but forfeited it due to paucity of funds to process it.”
His funny and a merry-making nature got him the nickname ‘Ebo’. He loved night parties. A socialite who wined and dined with the best sisi in town in the 70s.”
According to the historian, “He could sing and play any local drums, such as ibembe, ikoko, agada, akuba etc. He also worked as Poultry Manager under Late Jimoh Aluko and later as an entertainer.”
It was also said of him that he went with Jimoh Aliu Theatre group in 1968 where he spent about six years in the group. Upon returning home, he joined another Ijebu-Jesa legend’s group, ‘Omilabu Theatre Group’. (Omilabu was trained by Late Kola Ogunmola of Oke-lmesi Ekiti but based in Osogbo. Omilabu was older than Semire).
Afterwards, he founded his own theatre group. He had sessions with Serege jester from Ilesa and Baba Gudugbe and Ereke- Alajeju. About three years ago in a discussions with Baba Jimoh Aliu, he still rated Semire as intelligent, talented, hard working and as one of the best artists and comedians.
The late Semire Aluko was an accomplished pianist at African Church, Ijebu-Jesa. He was a drummer, a dancer, a composer and playwright. He wrote all his plays for his theatre group. He was such a huge bundle of talent.
One can only hope that one day, this entertainment icon who gave this much to putting laughter on the faces of fellow men will be remembered and duly recognised for his numerous contributions to creative and visual arts. If not by the globe, he certainly deserves to be appreciated by
Egboro kingdom where he was born and lived almost his entire life making everyone happy.
‘Omo Aluko finni, ibon re finni’ certainly deserves his place in the anals of Egboro Hall of Fame, as he remains indelible in our hearts.
To the world, he came, he saw and he gave his best, his all. He will forever be remembered.
Excerpts culled from Niyi Ajifowobaje Facebook page