Oluwamayowa Bakare and Tofunmi Bakare are two of the four children of veteran actor, Olumide Bakare, who died on April 22 after a protracted battle with a respiratory disorder. They spoke with SEGUN ADEBAYO about the life and times of their father and what they would miss most about him in this interview.
What can you say about the death of your dad?
Oluwamayowa Bakare: I am the second son of Olumide Bakare. My dad was a very wonderful person, who was always there for his children. I am yet to come to terms with the fact that he’s no more. I don’t understand his death because he was getting better. He was a generous person.
At what point did his sickness start?
The sickness started about four years ago. But his health got bad about a year ago but he got out of it. Afterwards, he was getting better but the sickness was not something he could get over in one night. So, he had been recuperating gradually.
He was said to have been discharged from the University College Hospital Ibadan last year and many Nigerians believed that his health was better. Was he discharged because he was getting better or the bills were too high for the family to bear?
He was discharged because his health had got better not because we could not pay the bills. We could afford the bill because people came up to support the family then and we offset the bill before he was discharged from the hospital. He usually went for medical checkup after he was discharged and there was a time he said he needed a bed rest at the hospital. But the doctors told him to go back home that he was fine. He travelled to the States when he was discharged from the hospital and came back hale and hearty. My dad was an awesome man because he gave people hope and he spent the last days of his life admonishing people and preaching to them on the need for the salvation of their souls.
What memory of him would you like to keep?
I can’t forget the day he came to burst me in school without informing me. It was a very funny day because I never knew he was coming to check on me. On that day, when he got to my house, I was not there. So, my roommate brought him to my friend’s place but I was not there as well. He would later find me on the road walking to my hostel. He told me I should get into the car. From there we headed home but on our way, he asked the driver to turn the car and take me back to school. It was a very bad day for me. But we later made up and we were like friends till he died.
Would you say he knew his time was up?
Daughter: I think there was a sign because he got very emotional in the last few weeks. He started bothering about things that he would not bother about. He was not the type that makes things difficult for people around him and he did not care about what anybody would say about him, he will always speak the truth. I know that about him. He was a very loving person. When I started hearing what people were saying about him when he died, I was very proud of him and I know he was truly loved by his people.
How close were you to him when he was alive?
I was very close to him. We hardly fight, but lately before he died, we started fighting. That was when he was getting too bothered about me and what I was doing. I think he was just getting bothered about a lot of things. I think he was doing that because he wanted to make sure he did the right things before he died. We used to talk a lot. But two months ago, I felt I should just give him a break so that we can sort things out properly.
Did you regret not speaking with him often before he died?
It’s not that we were not speaking; we didn’t have issues. We actually talked.
What would you miss most about your dad?
I have not really put my thoughts together right now because I am still in a bad shape. I can’t still figure it out that he would die when he did. So, I can’t tell you one thing that I will miss about him. I wish he waited till when I started working. He was a very supportive dad.
His Personal Assistant:
What can you say about his death?
I started working with him about two years ago and I can tell you that the man was God-fearing and loving. He would come out in the wee hours of each day to preach to the people inside his compound. He never missed that. He would tell us to accept Christ into our lives. He was a religious man and pastors and other people who were close to him would tell you. He taught me how to pay tithe. He told me that if I want to prosper, I must ensure I pay my tithe regularly. He was God-fearing. He would ask you: do you have enough to give as offering when you go to church? If you don’t have, he will give you. He was like a father I never had. I have known him for over five years, but we became close two years ago.
You were with him when he was to die, what can you say about this?
I was in my apartment that night. He had a house help, who stayed with him all the time. On that day, I went to bed early because I was busy all day. So, he woke up around some minutes after 12 mid-night and asked the househelp to bring his food. And, if you know him very well, Olumide Bakare would not eat cold food. His food must be very hot. So, the house help warmed his food and gave him the food. After he finished eating, the househelp thought he was resting, so before the guy would come to me to call me when he noticed that he was breathing heavily, it was too late as he died before we could rush him to the hospital.
What was the nature of his sickness?
The funny thing about him was that he never told me what was wrong with him. Each time I asked him, he would ask if I was a doctor? He never told me about it. But I knew he was sick but he and was getting better before he died.
What would you say were his last words?
That night before I went to bed, he had a long discussion with somebody on the phone and I heard him from my apartment. It was later when the househelp came to call me that I knew the man was not in a good shape. His burial arrangements begin on May 25 and he would be buried on the 26th.