*Reggae lovers plan to immortalize him in Delta
By JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba
It was a gathering of reggae lovers,the movers and shakers of the entertainment industry in the country as the remains of the late legendary reggae singer, Ras Kimono was finally laid to rest on Saturday, August 25, in his hometown, Onicha-Olona, in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State amidst tears and eulogies.
Kimono’s remains, contained in a Rastafarian coloured casket, was lowered into the ground at exactly 3.20pm by Ven. Josiah Ogom of the Asaba Diocese of the Anglican Communion.
The burial of the reggae icon was also witnessed by a crowd of politicians, friends who stormed the town to pay their last respect to the legendary reggae singer.
Dignitaries at the burial included a large presence of Nigerian performing artists led by Chairman of the Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, Tony Okoroji, Opa Williams, Orits Wiliki, Daddy Showkey, Buchi, Yellow Man, Righteous Man, Candy Sea and Bright Chimezie among others.
Others were Delta State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Bazim Chinye , who represented Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Hon Ameachi Mrakpor, Emeka Nwaobi, Delta State Commissioner for Youth Development, Karo Ilolo and members of the Rastas Fraternity including the national grand patron for Nigeria, Ras Edu .
The burial activities for the music icon who died on June 10, 2018, at the age of 60 commenced in Lagos where he spent most of his youthful days, with COSON night organized by the Copyright Society of Nigeria and climaxed with his interment at his hown town.
Speaking at the event organized in Lagos for the late reggae maestro, Tony Okoroji, Chairman of the Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, said the late singer was unbeatable.
His words: “Kimono was unbeatable, unpiratable and wonderful. He was a Nigerian like no other. We don’t mourn him, we celebrate him. Kimono never drank, never smoked and never ate meat yet he was great in his chosen field.
“As we say goodbye to this lion, let us remember that he had no father, no mother, no brother and no sister but see the way the world has honoured him. We should unite to support the daughters he left behind”, Okoroji said.
Legendry music stars including Majek Fashek, Oritz Williki and many others performed for mourners who gathered at the COSON House, Ikeja, Lagos, to pay tribute to Rhumba Stylee reggae icon, Ras Kimono. Among other important artistes and dignitaries that watched the Night of Songs in Lagos were Clarion Chukwura, Dede Mabiaku, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa as well as Faze, Essence, Alariwo of Africa, Kenny Saint Best and others.
Oge Kimono, daughter of the late musician was equally on hand and performed her father’s famous song: “Under Pressure” recorded in 1980. While enjoying the performances by the artistes who took turn to play different Ras Kimono songs, the night became full of tears as those who spoke told stories of their encounters with the Rastafarian.
Daddy Fraizer, Ras Kimono’s manager told the audience that the musician was fine a few days before his death as his doctor had adjudged him fit following a medical check up, adding that his sudden death was therefore a rude shock to all. He said, “His death remains a big shock to all of us. He will be surely missed.”
The General Manager of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chinedu Chukwuji on his part said that “Ras Kimono was not just a COSON member he was a 100 per cent committed member, totally dedicated to the cause. He said, “As a hyper creative person, he fought against anything that will destroy COSON as he saw the organization as a watershed development in our country and an important legacy for the Nigerian creative industry.”
In Onicha Olona,his home town,prominent Nigerian artistes, who were touched by their love for the late reggae artiste could not hold their tears as they gave their testimonies of his legacies.
From Orits Williki to Daddy Showkey and Gideon Nwaomu it was a free flow of tears as they filed out to pay their last respects to their departed colleague. Kimono’s wife, Efe was overcome by grief and could not contain herself on sighting the glass casket bearing the remains of her late husband. Standing beside the casket, she kept confessing her undying love to the man she fell in love with as his manager and recently had a baby girl for.
Leading the procession, the Rastafarian Movement in Nigeria, led by its grand patron, Ras Edu Dickson, said Ras Kimono lives on. He said he was confident that the ‘Rub-a-Dub’ master had gone to be with his maker. “Ras Kimono never dies, but lives on,“ he said
Similarly, a reggae artiste, Orits Wiliki, told The Oracle Today that Ras Kimono had good content that would outlive him decades after.
“Though, the Reggae master is gone, his lyrics will remain alive in the minds of people because he took after the likes of late Bob Marley who dropped powerful contents,” he said.
Kimono’s daughter, Oge said her father was selfless, compassionate, loving and patient, while describing him as her best friend.
“My dad was everything, he was a friend, confident and adviser. He was everything you can think of in a person. He was a mentor I can go on and on. He was an exceptional person.He was amazing. He was one that you can talk to about anything and everything and he would listen to you. If it is in his place to give advice, he gives advice, if it is his place to give support in any little way he can, he goes out of his way to do that. My dad was everything and he is still everything.” She mourned.
Another artiste, Bright Chimezie opined that “Rastas don’t die but live on forever; therefore, Kimono is not dead but remains alive through his works.
“I will still see Kimono again but not here on earth but in heaven and if there is music over there, I urge him to play on” Chimezie said.
Also speaking,Gideon Nwaomu,chairman of Giddy’s place in Asaba opined that said that Kimono stood out among Nigeria reggae artistes because he was a political reggae singer, “he preached the truth”.
“He has impacted positively on a lot of young and upcoming artistes. He was truthful, honest, humble, down to earth, and accommodates anyone that came his way.
“He does not discriminate,when he comes to my place and he sees me serving people drinks,he will join me.He was a brother and friend.I will miss him dearly.”
The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Emma Bazim Chinye who represented Okowa and was called to confirm the corpse of Kimono, declared that the State had indeed lost a rare gem, a legend who had contributed to the development of music, not only in Delta State, but Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.
More emotional in his farewell message was the Member representing Aniocha North Constituency at the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Engr. Emeka Nwaobi.
The moody Honourable narrated to The Oracle Today how Ras Kimono and a retinue of Nigerian artists had staged a second term support concert for him and Governor Okowa a week before his death in Issele-Uku.
In a related development, Orbada Clark, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Benvico Hotel, told The Oracle Today that the legacy Kimono left behind would continue to linger on.
Clark, who is a close ally of the music star, said reggae lovers in Warri were perfecting plans to immortalise him.
“Kimono was my very good friend; we last communicated on May 6, three days before his birthday.
“Kimono never died, he only translated, his translation is painful, as Jah messager, he has come to deliver the message and left.
“His name will be written in the marble of Benvico, every June 10 will be set aside to celebrate him alongside the father of reggae, Marcus Garvis, who died same day in 1940.
“All his albums are fantastic, including the latest work titled, Senseless Killer that was launched at Benvico on Dec. 15, 2017.
“All his music carried messages, he tells the truth, what is really happening in Nigeria, Kimono is a prophet, who gave the message for people to understand, he makes all of us happy.”