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Top Nigeria dignitaries including ,Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State and a former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, have described the death of renowned author, poet, broadcaster and actor, Pa Adebayo Faleti, as a huge loss to the country’s creative sector in particular and to the entire nation in general.
They said the deceased should be celebrated and not mourned.
Reacting to Faleti’s death, Soyinka said it was unfortunate that the deceased died a few days after another literary icon, Prof. Abiola Irele, died.
He said, “So soon after Abiola Irele, another pillar of the Shrine of Letters, succumbs to the exigencies of Time and leaves our horizon cloudy.
“Adebayo Faleti was a pioneer in virtually every genre of literary creativity, and its expansion. No one should have been surprised to watch him lift the level of acting in the flush of Nigerian films, with his studied, subtle character portrayals.
“Yoruba scholarship owes him much, and will honour him befittingly. More importantly is that he leaves for us memories of his unassuming presence which so richly embodied the expression, ‘Still waters run deep’.”
The minister, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said Faleti was a trailblazer and a colossus, who left an indelible footprint in the Nigerian landscape.
Mohammed said generations of authors, poets, broadcasters and actors “owe Pa Faleti a debt of gratitude for his dedication, hard work and love of country.”
Mohammed commiserated with the family and friends of the departed as well as all practitioners in the sector. He prayed that God would comfort them and grant repose to the soul of the departed.
Also, Aregbesola, on Monday, said he received with sadness, news of the death of Faleti, who he described as one of Nigeria’s gifted scholars, culture icons, nationalists and top-on-the-shelf dramatists.
In a statement by his Director of Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Semiu Okanlawon, Aregbesola said the death of the playwright, theatre director and teacher was a huge loss not only to the creative world but also to the world of Yoruba language and culture heritage which he promoted till his death.
The governor described Faleti as a “complete man of the theatre — an actor, director, choreographer and designer — who created performance spaces influenced by traditional architectural forms.”
Aregbesola said the late writer and dramatist contributed immensely to the promotion and advocacy of Yoruba Language and well as its culture.
He noted that the appearance and dressing of Faleti spoke volumes of his origin and he was always ready to advocate the promotion of Yoruba language and culture.
He stated that the exit of Faleti would certainly create a yawning gap in the theatre and cultural world.
The governor stated, “The death of Pa Adebayo Faleti is a huge loss in so many ways. His death is a big blow to the theatre and entertainment circle, a big blow to the cultural world as well as to the Yoruba language community.
“His appearance and personality attested to the promotion of Omoluabi ethos the Yoruba people are known for and which the State of Osun stands for and promotes in all facets of human endeavours.
“Faleti exemplified the advocacy for and exhibition of Yoruba language and culture in his writings and on stage particularly with one of his celebrated novels, Won ro pe Were ni.
“Thespian of a first-class mold and a cultural ambassador, Faleti will not be forgotten for his immense patriotism and sincere commitment to a better Nigeria and promotion and contributions to Yoruba language and culture.”
In its own statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, the Afenifere Renewal Group said the life of dedication and commitment that Adebayo Faleti lived should be celebrated and raised as compass for the youth to follow.
The group said while the renowned actor and broadcast manager would be missed as an unparalleled repository of Yoruba culture, his footprints in the annals of Yoruba culture should be celebrated and preserved.
Famoriyo said Faleti was always willing to participate in anything that would promote Yoruba culture and language.
He added that even in his old age, he offered himself as a pioneer member of the Board of Directors of the Yoruba Academy, a cultural think-tank established by the ARG.
In his own reaction, Daniel, in a statement by his Media Officer, Ayo Giwa, expressed shock on the death of Faleti, who he described as a rare gem and an uncommon individual.
Daniel stated that the late Faleti was a man of many parts who equally excelled in his career as a poet, journalists, writer, translator, broadcaster and TV exponent.