Rite of passage for veteran actor, JAB Adu
There was a deluge of tributes as remains of legendary actor, scriptwriter, director and producer Joseph Abiodun Babajide Adu aka JAB Adu were buried at a private ceremony at the Grail Centre on Babatunde Dabiri Street, off Akwuzu Street, Admiralty way, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
It was attended by family members, close relations and few of the actor’s professional colleagues. Aged 82, the actor died on February 28, 2016 in his country home in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Jab Adu’s wife Aina Lewis-Adu had confirmed the news of the actor’s demise to Adu’s long time associate the veteran director Bayo Awala.
Foremost filmmaker and one of those who have had the opportunity of working closely with the late actor Tunde Kelani described him as ‘a true professional, very disciplined, committed artiste who was very passionate about the acting and writing vocation’. On his part Awala described the late Jab Adu ‘as a queintensial actor and a master of the craft of writing, directing and acting’’.
Also, Information and Culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the elder artiste lived an exemplary life during which he exhibited sterling qualities.
Popularly called ‘Uncle JAB Adu’ by most of his younger colleagues, the late Jab Adu was a pioneer cast member of the Village Headmaster’s series, which the Late Chief Segun Olusola created in 1968. He was at first cast to play the lead role of the Village Headmaster but the crew later cast him to give real life to the screen character Bassey Okon, the Efik who managed a provision shop in the series. The interpretation JAB gave the role has become something of a standard for such type roles. From the Village Headmaster series JAB’s next stop was filmmaking. He produced and directed the big budget celluloid film Bisi Daughter of the River, which is recorded as one of the earliest celluloid films made in Nigeria. When production of celluloid films dipped, Jab Adu who is survived by a wife, children and grand children continued working on television and radio but mostly writing and producing radio programmes.
The late Jab Adu told The Guardian recently: ‘’I don’t feel any different as a person. I still feel the way when I was 30, 40, 60 and 70. The only difference is that physically I have been slowed down. I cannot run up the stairs and walk as fast as I used to. I have to pace myself out now. I am very grateful for good health and I am very grateful that I can still do many things in terms of my work, which many of my colleagues are still not able to do.”
Asked too about the secret of his longevity, Jab Adu let out a broad but honest smile and said: ‘Someone told me recently that I have always been like this since they knew me. I said well, I don’t know. I look myself in the mirror and I see that there are lines on my face and I am an older man now. But the important thing is that I have been lucky in my life in terms of good health.”
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