|KSA...Baba Eleshin ni Bariga|
A sizeable part of the credit for my development as an artiste and a man must go to Chief Abioro. It would be grossly uncharitable to deny him his due. After all, he made me a recording artiste just one year after becoming a band leader. From there, I enjoyed a steep ascent to the top of my profession. I was named the King of Juju Music early in 1977 by the now defunct Sketch Newspaper. The title was officially given to me by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi. By April 2007, I will be 30 years on the throne as the monarch of juju music. I have won numerous honors since then.
However, Chief Abioro also represented a disruptive influence. When I built my first house in 1971, I informed Chief Abioro. This was not done before the house was completed because my mother was also not informed until the house was ready.
Chief Abioro gave me the equivalent
000, a huge amount in those days.
I informed him, not because I wanted money from him but to let him know
that I was not wasting my earnings. It
was an error. Abioro started giving
other artistes the impression that he built a house for me. One day we were in a meeting and he said: ‘King Sunny Ade is well treated because he
works hard. I want all of you to start
working hard so that you can be treated in that manner’. I did not allow him to get away with the cheap
shot, as I challenged him to disclose what he did for me that he did not do for
the others. He replied that he was not
referring to anything in particular. However, I begged him to clear the air
because I suspected that the other artistes would assume that I was the
|KSA the Family Man|
|KSA...Mum who was initially fooled about ownership of KSA's first real estate in Lagos rained prayer on him bountifully|
The man who got me my first landed property…
Of course, that was the message Abioro wanted to convey. Since then, they labeled me Omo Baba (Baba’s son). The house in question was built through the assistance of a friend, Mr. Sunday Odebunmi, who later travelled to Japan with me. At the time, he was a staff of the Town Planning Authority. He bought a plot of land in Ilaje/Bariga and advised me to come and buy another near it. He said the land was bought from Jemi Alade family, a relation of the late Art Alade, and assured that there would be no problem. When he told me, I did not have money and I told him so. He advised that anytime I played at a show, I should bring the part of the proceeds to him. I took his advice and he proved to be a trustworthy person.
The other person was Bunmi Owoka, whom I grew up with. He was the one taking money to Odebunmi after each show. After the land was bought, he also supervised the construction of the house because he was knowledgeable about construction. I hid the house from everybody including my mother. Each time I went to check the progress, I made out as if I went to see Odebunmi. I loved the site because it overlooks a river. It is like a Marina.
Day I fooled mum…
Before the house was painted, I decided to take my mother there to pray. I lied to her that the house belonged to a friend who lived in London. She followed me and prayed for my ‘friend’. She also begged God to ensure that I built my own house. As she made to leave, I told her that there were more prayers to be offered. I knelt down before her and told her that the house was actually mine. That was when the prayers really began, raging uninterrupted for about 30 minutes. I asked her to choose what part of the house she would like to occupy and she picked the flat behind. I later commissioned the house for publicity. I have built a few others after that.
“I had problems getting a wife in Lagos because fathers did not want their daughters around musicians. Each time I followed a girl home, I was cold-shouldered by her family. To many parents, being a musician was the equivalent of carrying a communicable disease. When I could no longer take the humiliation, I returned to Ondo in search of a woman and got one”.
|KSA...His boss, Abioro wanted to take credit for the building of the house but KSA denied him the privilege|
I am also grateful to God that at least, three quarters of the members of my band are successful in their private lives. I know that one of them built houses stretching from end of a street to the other.
Most of those who worked with me have their own homes and some are still building. They drive cars and run profitable businesses on the sides. Some have children in universities abroad and in Nigeria. I made it my responsibility to offer assistance whenever any of them is building. I usually tell them that if a man wants to live well in Lagos, the first step is to become a Landlord.
Why I couldn’t get a Lagos girl to marry…
About the time I completed my house, I also got married. Marriage may not be the appropriate word, but I had a woman living with me, so I considered her my wife. Her name is Ayo and we have since gone our separate ways.
I had problems getting a wife in Lagos because fathers did not want their daughters around musicians. Each time I followed a girl home, I was cold-shouldered by her family. To many parents, being a musician was the equivalent of carrying a communicable disease. When I could no longer take the humiliation, I returned to Ondo in search of a woman and got one. There were others after her and I simply refer to myself as married with children.
How I handle my women…
My marital life is a subject that haunts me and for certain reasons, I avoid talking about it. A few mistakes were made alright, but this is not the time to apportion blames. Someday, by the grace of God, I will tell the world what I have seen from the beginning of my marital life up to date. For now, I just want people to rejoice with me, appreciate my work and see that I have come a long way rather than focus on my marital life. The life of a polygamist is quite different from that of a monogamist. You cannot compare the two. I have kids of my own and adopted some from S.O.S Village. I treat them the same way; no discrimination whatsoever. In a way, this is my attitude to women. I do not prefer one to the other. There is no need for that because it does not affect the relationship between me and my children. My problem with my women is exclusively mine, not theirs. The children are close, regardless of whom their mothers are and they love me. But in the future, I will reveal what really happened; maybe when I am 65 or 70.
By then, all my children would have grown up, perhaps married with kids of their own. Then we could talk about everything. For now, they are still too young to deal with the consequences of such disclosures. They could misunderstand certain things and have always told me that, it is not every linen that is washed and spread outside.
(Excerpts from the book; KSA: My Life, My Music by King Sunny Ade. Read ‘How I became a polygamist’ tomorrow on this blog)