Jimoh Aliu ‘Aworo’ dies at 81

The Yoruba veteran artiste, a producer and a singer Chief Jimoh Aliu popularly called Aworo on Thursday died at age of 81 years in Ado-Ekiti town of Ekiti State after a brief illness said to have lasted for about thirteen days.

Penpushing reports that, the Aliu  a highly respected classical Theatre Arts practitioner with a passionate interest in the life of the community and its cultural heritage, as well as commentator on Nigeria culture abroad, was reported to have fallen ill few days ago, but died thereafter

The deceased was born on Novemebr 11th, 1939 in Okemesi, Ekiti West local government area of Ekiti State, and he is widely known to have attended the elementary school for just six months and born in mystifying circumstances.

Penpushing further reports that, his father, Aliu Fakoya, was an Muslim and Ifa priest who hailed from Oke-Imesi but his mother from Iloro-Ekiti, and as an itinerant Ifa Priest and Diviner, he(father) took him to places like Ijebu-Ode, Ifo, Ota, Odogbolu, Sagamu, Ada, Aagba, Iresi, Otan-Aiyegbaju and Lagos.

The late Thearter practitioner  attended the old St. Peter Catholic Primary School Okemesi and  was taught the art of divination by his father, as well as the use of herbs, while in Lagos he learnt the trade of bricklaying, tailoring and driving.

Penpushing also reports that, Aliu in 1959,  joined the Ogungbe Theatre and remained there until 1966, and while with  Ogungbe Theatre he toured almost all towns in old Western Region now Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti, and in 1966, he left Ogungbe Theatre, and formed Jimoh Aliu Concert Party, while the  group was based in Ikare Akoko in Ondo State.

The late Aliu  is a highly respected classical Theatre Arts practitioner with a passionate interest in the life of the community and its cultural heritage, as well as commentator on Nigeria culture abroad,

Penpushing reports that, he formed a bridge between the old and the new Nigeria, who began his acting career in 1959, when Akin Ogungbe, a Nigerian veteran dramatist visited his hometown, and also  became famous for his hit TV productions, “Arelu” and “Yanpon Yanrin”, which bore famous characters like Fadeyi Oloro, Orisabunmi and Aworo.

The deceased  in 1967 joined the Nigerian Army, and was lucky that his superior officers quickly identified his talent as a dramatist, was mobilized to tour the liberated areas, communicating soldiers in the war affected areas during the civil war.

The late Aliu  used Pidgin English as a means of communication while he was performing for the Nigeria Army in the war fronts, and  performed in places like Uyo, Eket, Enugu, Onisha, Aba, Port-Harcourt, Benin and some areas of the Northern part of Nigerian.

Penpushing reports that he played acted for the soldiers include. Arugbo Soge, Fesoyaiye, and Ojuenimala, and equally  performed for the 12 State governments at the Police College Hall, Kaduna during the Nigeria Army Sports week in 1975.

The deceased  retired from the Army in 1975 to carry on as an independent artist, under the name Jimoh Aliu Cultural Group, and apart from touring many parts of Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Kwara and Bendel States, he has performed for Nigerian Television, Sokoto, Minna, Jos and Akure, and also  produced four series of play for ATOKA the Yoruba photo play magazine.


Penpushing further reports that,he also produced many radio plays, including: Ma boreje, Afopina, Odu-Ifa,/gba-Oro, Orunmila, Orisa Adimula, Igbo Olodumare, Iku jare eda, Agba-arin, Laalu, and Kutupuu while his Television play, Igbo Olodumare based on a novel written by D.O. Fagunwa and commissioned by Yemi Farounbi, as General Manager NTV Akure marked a watershed in his career.

The programme was such a huge success in Ondo State, and represents till today, the most creative programme by any Television Station in Ondo State. Igbo Olodumare, was shown in all the Yoruba speaking states having been on NTA Ilorin, NTA Abeokuta, NTA Akure and BCOS-TV, Ibadan.

The deceased   other television drama series Igba Oro produced by Yemi Farounbi Labs Deroy Centre Limited, was shown on OSRC-TV Ibadan, NTA Abeokuta, NTA Ikeja, OSRC TV Akure and NTA Ilorin, and he is a resourceful actor, who has feature in many Ogunde’s films as actor, make-up artist, costume-designer,

Penpushing also reports that, Aliu was formerly married to his colleague and Orisabunmi star, Folake Aremu, before they parted ways after 20 years of marriage, while after years on the airwaves, he was honoured with a National Merit Award of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) in December 2005.


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