Here’s to the lives we lost this year. May their souls rest in peace.
Renowned surgeon, philanthropist and husband of the late Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Prof Dora Akunyili, was killed on 29th September while returning to Enugu from an event in Onitsha, Anambra State where his late wife was honored with a posthumous award.
Akunyili, 71 was killed alongside eight others at Nkpor in Idemili North Local Government Area of the state by unidentified gunmen.
Lt-Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, 54, at the time was killed in a plane crash in the north-western state of Kaduna, only four months into his tenure as Chief of Army Staff.
The tragic incident occurred on 21, May as Attahiru’s plane was trying to land in bad weather, according to the Military Spokesman. Ten other officers, including the plane’s crew also died.
Veteran broadcaster and Nollywood actor, Sadiq Daba passed away in a Lagos hospital. He received a diagnosis of prostate cancer shortly after a lengthy battle with leukemia. Daba worked with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) for over three decades until he retired.
His acting career came to prominence in the late 1970s, starring in Cockcrow at Dawn. His last major film appearance was in Kunle Afolayan’s movie, Citation which was released in October 2020.
Prince Ifeanyi Dike
Actor and Board of Trustees Chairman, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) died on the 27th of August after being hospitalised following a chronic kidney related ailment.
According to sources, he was initially diagnosed back in 2011 and underwent a successful transplant operation in India. Dike was also a television producer and hosted a show with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
71- year-old Joe Erico, former Senior Team Goalkeeper and one-time Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles passed away on 21, January after a brief illness.
Family sources said the 71-year-old flambouyant trainer of trainers and respected nurturer of talents complained of body pain and was treated for malaria, only to be found dead in his bed at dawn.
Saturday, February 27, Record producer, Ayorinde Faboro better known as Dokta Frabz- an acronym for doctor of flavor, rhythm and blues- passed away suddenly in his home in Maryland, United States where he lived for some time.
Before his relocation, Dr Frabz worked with quite a few top Nigerian artistes, including Wizkid, Davido, Naeto C, Weird MC, Wizkid and Omawumi.
Nollywood actor, producer and star of films such as ‘God Calling’ passed away in Dubai, a year after he revealed he was diagnosed with a mid-stage kidney tumor in 2020. Fubara who can be seen in the series Smart Money Woman on Netflix publicly shared details of his long recovery since he had his first operation.
He is survived by wife, Yolanda Okereke, a prominent film costumier and fashion entrepreneur.
Oyewusi Ibidapo- Obe
Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos and the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe died on the third day of the new year from complications of COVID-19.
He was President of the Nigeria Academy of Science. A Professor of Systems Engineering, Ibidapo-Obe, 71 is survived by wife, Olusola and four children. He was conferred with the honor, Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) in 2004.
The first Civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande passed away in the early hours of Thursday 11, February at the grand old age of 91. Jakande, perhaps the finest governor the state ever recorded, was also an accomplished journalist and a minister of works during Sani Abacha military regime.
He set a legacy and pace with his style of leadership and would be remembered for heading an administration that spearheaded monumental development strides in Lagos State.
The prominent Nigerian televangelist and founder/general overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) passed away in June, hours after presiding over a program at his Lagos-based megachurch.
Prophet T.B. Joshua passed away one week before his 58th birthday. He was famous for his prophecies and teachings, attracting tens of thousands from across the world to Lagos, including top politicians from Africa and Latin America.
A former Military Administrator of Lagos and Imo states, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu died in Lagos on January 13 at the age of 77 as a result of COVID-19 complications. Early in his career, Kanu fought for the Biafran side during the civil war.
He was appointed to Murtala Muhammed‘s Supreme Military Council and would be promoted Chief of Naval Staff. In retirement, he was a pro-democracy campaigner advocating for decentralisation of power and increased federalism.
Obadiah Malafia, the development economist, polymath, central banker, statesman and presidential candidate died at the National Hospital as a result of complications from COVID-19. He was 64.
Mailafia was a former official of the African Development Bank Group and one-time deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He was an outspoken critic of the Buhari administration.
The former Deputy President of the Senate passed away at a private hospital in Abuja at the age of 74. Until his death, he was a member of the Board of Trustees (BOT) and National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP.
A top political strategist, Mantu is credited as being one of the most influential forces to put a stop to Olusegun Obasanjo’s rumored third term ambition. He once publicly admitted rigging elections on behalf of the PDP but was not prosecuted.
The Christian community in November was thrown into mourning with the death of Pastor Nomthi Odukoya, wife of Senior Pastor, Taiwo Odukoya, of The Fountain of Life Church.
Born Rosemary Simangele, Nomthi, 47 passed away following a hard-fought battle with cancer that lasted two years. Aside from her pastoral duties, she was an educationist, life coach and children’s book author.
Comrade Peter Oluyinka Odumakin, democracy advocate, civil society activist and spokesman for the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere succumbed to complications from COVID-19 in April.
An unrepentant critic of the political leadership responsible for the country’s sad state of affairs, Comrade Odumakin was for many years in the forefront of struggles and agitations demanding improved systems.
Television’s favorite dad- thanks to his run as Fred Ade Williams on long running soap Tinsel– Victor Olaotan passed away in August after a prolonged ailment.
Olaotan was incapacitated in 2016 when he was involved in a motor accident while driving to work. Since the accident he was in and out of treatment till he passed away at the age of 69.
Nollywood icon, Rachel Oniga who began her acting career in 1993 and appeared in hits such as Onome, Sango and Owo Blow as well as in the popular TV series, Super Story passed away in July at the age of 64.
She was reported to have suffered a heart condition. Up until her untimely death, Oniga appeared healthy and was working constantly. She will be seen next in the Netflix film, ‘A Naija Christmas.’
In July, the family of Lanre Fasasi aka Sound Sultan announced the passing of the rounded entertainer following a hard-fought battle with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. He was 44. He died in the United States where he was undergoing treatment for the condition.
Earlier in the year, certain blogs had made unconfirmed reports that Sound Sultan had been diagnosed with throat cancer. A devout Muslim, Sound Sultan is survived by wife Farida and their three kids.
Iconic Nigerian comic actor, Babatunde Omidina, fondly called Baba Suwe, was confirmed dead in November. He was 63-years-old.
A veteran of countless Yoruba films in which he played his popular stock character, Omidina began his acting career in 1971 and came into limelight after he featured in a movie titled, Omolasan. He had been in poor health since his 2011 entanglement with the drug law enforcement agency.
Legendary singer, guitarist, academic and administrator Sir Victor Uwaifo passed away in August at the ripe old age of 80. Sir Uwaifo’s sizzling stagecraft and music prowess left millions of his fans in thrall.
He will be remembered for classic tunes like Joromi and Guitar Boy. He was the first professional musician to be awarded the national merit honors of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON).
Hosa Wells Okunbo
Billionaire businessman, oil magnate and philanthropist, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, passed on in the early hours of the 8th of August 2021 in a London Clinic after a fight with pancreatic cancer.
Aside from his many business interests, Okunbo (63) who trained as a pilot before venturing into private ventures, was father-in-law to the newly coronated Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III.
Wilfred Okiche is a medic, reader, writer, journalist, culture critic, and occasional ruffler of feathers. One of the most influential critics working in the Nigerian culture space, his writing has appeared extensively in platforms like YNaija.com and 360nobs.com. Okiche has provided editorial assistance to the UK Guardian and has had his work published in African Arguments, Africa is a Country and South Africa’s City Press. He has received trainings and acquired experience in multimedia and online journalism. He also appears on the culture television show, Africana Literati. He has participated at critic programs in Lagos, Durban and Rotterdam.