Adewole Onilu-Ola dies at 97

Abdul-Rahman Adewole Alao, popularly known as Adewole Onilu-Ola, lead drummer of late Apala musician Ayinla Omowura is dead, his family has confirmed.

The 97-year-old died at about 10.00 pm on Tuesday (December 29) in his hometown, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

He was buried on Wednesday (December 30) according to Islamic injunctions.

Onilu-Ola’s death came one month after he celebrated his 97th birthday, which was witnessed by the Alake of Egbaland Oba Adedotun Gbadebo.

Baamofin of Egbaland, Olurotimi Oduntan on Wednesday described the deceased as “one of the best talking drummers” in the history of Egbaland.

“Last night, we lost one of the best talking drummers in Egba history, Alhaji Adewole Alao Onilu Ola.

“He was the lead drummer of Ayinla Omowura Apala Group until the tragic death of Alhaji Ayinla Omowura in 1980.

“We celebrated Baba Adewole’s 97th birthday on the 28th of November, 2020 and he died on the 30th of December. We thank God for his life,” Oduntan said.

Onilu-Ola is credited with founding the band with which Ayinla ruled the apala music scene in the 70s until his death on May 6, 1980.

“I discovered him then and asked him to work with me, to sing while I beat the drum. When I discovered him, I tested his skills and discovered that his voice was perfect for what I wanted.

“It suited my type of Apala beat…I was already popular, even before Ayinla Omowura joined the band,” Onilu-Ola said in a June 2020 interview with PUNCH.

The drummer added that he was the one that came up with the name Omowura.

“His real name was Waheed Ayinla. I was the one that gave him Omowura using my drumbeat.

“Wura was his mother’s name and I emphasised that by giving him Omo Wura,” he recollected.

Onilu-Ola features prominently in a film on Ayinla currently being produced by Tunde Kelani.

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