The house of the master artists who made popular old TV drama, Village Headmaster, exciting further dwindled on Monday, with the death of one of its producers, Chief Tunde Oloyede. He was said to have died in his sleep at his residence in Festac, Lagos. He was 70.
While his associates and colleagues have continued to mourn him, observers will note that his passage is symbolic for the industry. He was one of the last men standing as far as the cast and crew of Village Headmaster, created by the late Ambassador Segun Olusola, is concerned. While Dejumo Lewis, who has continued to wax stronger on stage and on screen, remains a major consolation, most of the good men and women of the Village Headmaster fame have gone. This further makes remote the hope of getting back to the stage the acclaimed drama, as has been muted at one time or the other.
Indeed, Oloyede had remarked in a media report in 2013, “Before the ambassador (Olusola]) died, we had been working on bringing back The Village Headmaster in three possible formats – film, stage and TV,” he had said.
Oloyede’s legacy, however, transcends the Village Headmaster project. Apart from being the producer of TV drama series, Tightrope, the deceased chief executive officer of Media International Production was, at a time, the President of the Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria.
First produced in 1958 and aired on radio stations for six years, Village Headmaster was transformed into a TV series in 1968. It ran until 1988.
According to a report, the original recordings are not known to have survived.
“The 1964 master-script by Segun Olusola was published by Ariya Productions in 1977 with a cover drawing by Josy Ajiboye,” the report added.
While Village Headmaster was created by Olusola, Lewis is another major producer of it. But many of the major actors it starred have died. Others who are no more are Justus Esiri, Femi Robinson, Funsho Adeolu and Oba Wole Amele.
The police officer in the drama, Enebeli Elebuwa, has also passed on, just as Sisi Clara, Olusola’s wife, died earlier than her husband.