Name: Gbenga Adeboye
Date of Birth: September 30, 1959
Died: April 30, 2003
Aged: 43 years
Born on September 30, 1959 in Ode-Omu, Osun state, South West Nigeria, Elijah Oluwagbemiga Adeboye, simply known as Gbenga Adeboye was a Nigerian singer, comedian and Radio Presenter.
At a time when the entertainment industry was nascent; when musicians, actors and comedians let alone Radio Presenters find it difficult to make a living out of their craft, he was the emperor of music, comedy and Radio.
With his unconventional style of comedy, Gbenga Adeboye had already hit stardom even before the entertainment business started thriving in Nigeria. He made fame and fortune from the industry at a time when it was devoid of the glitz and glamour as it has today.
Gbenga Adeboye is the greatest multi-functional radio, media and entertainment guru Nigeria has ever produced.
Gbenga Adeboye; the Radio God
Gbenga Adebayo was the host of some of the most popular Radio shows in Lagos in the 1980’s. His shows rocked the airwaves with massive following and engagements. His spell binding programme on Lagos State Broadcasting Corporation dashed him the household name ‘Funwontan’.
He was so full of unique perspective and humour was always on full display on his Radio shows. Gbenga Adeboye has a penchant for languages and religions. He displayed a deep knowledge of the scriptures. His moniker, Alhaji Pastor Oluwo was justified as he often eloquently quoted from the Quran and Bible and chanted incantations with great ease.
He created a unique sensation on Radio with his several alter egos like Jengbetiele, Alaye mi Gbengulo, Laisi Abesupinle, Itu Baba Ita etc. The ease at which he switches between these characters is amazing.
Motolani Alake of Pulse.ng noted that; ‘In his era, Gbenga Adeboye created a new style, blending the swagger of his Yoruba Language with Ewi, Yoruba homages with subliminal directed at everyone and social commentary as well as satire that affected the landscape of military rule.’
He is the pioneer founder of Freelance and Independent Broadcasters’ Association of Nigeria – FIBAN; an independent cooperate body of qualified broadcasters.
Gbenga Adeboye; the Comedian
Gbenga Adeboye was one of the most successful comedians in the history of Nigeria. He was one of the first few Nigerian comedians to have a successful foreign tour. In 1994, he performed across different cities in America.
He was a source of inspiration to many successful entertainers and comedians. He also mentored and was directly responsible for propelling the career of comedians like Abbey Fagboro, Ereke Ni Shoopu, Bashiru Adisa and many others.
Even, the advent of stand-up comedy got a kick-up from him. Sometimes he made his comics satirical. Sometimes it is just pure comedy and other times a combo of music and comedy. Just like what social media comedians do today, Gbenga Adeboye created unadulterated art with societal relevance. He might not have made video skits but he created studio albums and played them on Radio as audio skits.
In fact, it can be said that Gbenga Adeboye was a hero that came before his time.
Months before his actual death, Gbenga Adeboye was caught in a web of mystery. He was reported to have woken up after being confirmed dead. This sparked off controversies with tales of his journey in the underworld and his interactions with ‘God’. However, he eventually died on April 30th of 2003 for rumoured kidney diseases.
Today, we see Gbenga Adeboye with his creative rage on Radio in the likes of Francis Dogo of Brila FM and Sweet Steve of Orange FM. Likewise, we can see his ability to create comic alter egos in the likes of Maraji, Twyse, Craze Clown etc.
The history of Nigeria is laced with instances of progenies who never get to reap the benefit of their labour and be paid off the trends they create. Gbenga Adeboye is one of these legends.
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