Jimoh Aliu, theatre doyen, dies at 80

Stage and theatre doyen, Jimoh Aliu (popularly known as Aworo) is dead. He died this morning at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti at the age of 80

Aliu was born on November 11, 1939 in Okemesi, Ekiti West local government area of Ekiti State. He was a seasoned artiste, producer, location designer, director, make-up artist and singer.

He reputedly attended the elementary school for just six months. His father, Aliu Fakoya, was a Muslim and Ifa priest who hailed from Oke-Imesi but his mother hailed  from Iloro-Ekiti. As an itinerant Ifa Priest and Diviner, Aliu Fakoya took his son, Jimoh’ to places like Ijebu-ode, Ifo, Ota, Odogbolu, Sagamu, Ada, Aagba, Iresi, Otan-Aiyegbaju and Lagos.

He attended the old St. Peter Catholic Primary School Okemesi although he was taught the art of divination by his father, as well as the use of herbs. When Jimoh was in Lagos, he learnt the trade of bricklaying, tailoring and driving.

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

Jimoh 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.

He was a bridge between the old and the new Nigeria as  an actor, scriptwriter, producer/director, singer, dancer and makeup artist, costumes and location designer. He became famous for his hit TV productions, “Arelu” and “Yanpon Yanrin”, which bore famous characters like Fadeyi Oloro, Orisabunmi and Aworo.

Aliu was formerly married to his colleague and Orisabunmi star, Folake Aremu, before they parted ways after 20 years of marriage. He is survived by  two wives – Queen Bola and Folashade.

He was honoured with a National Merit Award,  Member of the Federal Republic in December 2005

Open chat