Fuji Chambers to become museum, tourist centre – Barrister’s children

Sympathisers flooding Fuji Chambers, Fuji official residence

The Isolo, Lagos, residence and final burial place of fallen Fuji icon, the late Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister Ololade Agbajelola Balogun, is to be converted into a museum and tourist centre for music lovers from across the world.

And, to achieve this children and widows of the late Fuji maestro are to be relocated and the building renovated to meet up with its new status.

Speaking  exclusively to Sunday Entertainment were two of his children — Samsideen and  Suleiman said:  “In line with his wish, the Fuji Chambers, his last resting place is to become a tourist centre and museum.

It will also house offices and recording studio. Everything that represents Alhaji Agba remains here, for this was where Fuji music was born.

‘’The first step towards realising the dream is that the current residents of the chamber, my step-mother, her children and my elder will relocate for the dream to come true.”

What they say about Barrister
It is no longer news that the Fuji maestro is dead and was buried on Thursday. What is news is the feeling of the persons whose lives he touched in his short sojourn on earth.

We spoke to two of his children, his former media manager and Alhaji Lati Alagbada, Chief executive of Lati Alagbada Records, the company he was signed on before his demise

Samson— son
What can one say? He was talking well and recovered fully as he said to us. We were in high spirit as he was getting ready to return home.

And, suddenly the news filtered in that we had lost our father and bread winner. Naturally, the news came to us as a rude shock. It was totally unexpected. I was at work in the Governor’s office when someone called to tell me that Barrister is dead.  When I heard the news, I couldn’t, cry, couldn’t sit and I couldn’t talk. In fact, my boss had to attach someone to me so that I don’t do something silly.  But, I had to hold myself and I have accepted the situation as the will of Allah.

I lost a strict and caring father— Suleiman, son
He told me he was perfectly okay and fit to come back home on January 15. He told he me had recorded four singles which he planned to release on his return to Nigeria.

As you know and as it is his tradition, he had called me on the day I turned 30 which was on December  15, a day before he died.

He spent more than two hours praying and singing my praise. I would never have believed that I was spending the last moment with my father.

I remember my father today like always. A very strict but caring and loving father, he would spare time to visit me in school.

A kind man, Alhaji paid school fees of children of some very uncaring and yet prominent colleagues of his.
When someonecalled me from London to tell me of his demise, I called the guy a joker. Yes. How could he explain that when I had spoken to my father till late into the night of December 15. But, alas it was true.

He died with his dream —  Elder Dayo Odeyemi, Manager
He was until he joined the Barrister organisation as head of media, a practising journalist. For more than three decades, he held sway as spokes’ person for the organisation.

He speaks on his relationship with the fallen Fuji maestro.
I worked for Barrister for more than 30 years. He was a man with a difference and also very humble.
I was a practising journalist with the Sketch Newspapers when I met Barrister in the 70s.

I used to feature him and other musicians on my pages and that’s how our relationship developed.
And, when I was transferred to Port Harcourt as the Sketch zonal editor in 1981, he came and said to me ‘look, you are going to leave this job.’

Eventually, I resigned from the job in 1990 to officially join the Barrister Organisation as manager in charge of media communication. Before then, I was handling his media affairs as a journalist still on The Sketch payroll.

Barrister will be missed by my family for his kindness. It’s a great loss.

Alhaji Lati Alagbada, CEO Alagbada Records
His financial contribution to the well-being of the late Fuji King ensured he enjoyed sound health until death took him away.

A business partner to the fallen icon, Alagbada lost a lifetime opportunity of getting the troubled musician to honour a four-album recording deal.

He speaks on his relationship with Barrister.
My relationship with Alhaji started in 1998 when I signed him on to my label to record the album titled Prophesy. But, after that recording, the relationship collapsed.

But, in 2005, we renegotiated and the business commenced a second time. And, ever since, we have remained committed to each other until now.

From the day this illness that took away Alhaji began, I have remained by his side. From Havana Hospital through to India where he spent three months, Germany and London where he finally died, I never left his side.

Barrister as a miracle patient
A strange incident happened in India where Alhaji underwent a major surgery. Six hours after the surgery, he failed to come out of coma. As a matter of fact, the doctors had certified him dead and were getting ready to move him to the mortuary when it was noticed that he had started breathing.

He was immediately moved back into intensive care, where he was immediately put on the oxygen mask. His recovery dazzled the Indian doctors who immediately dubbed him the miracle patient.
His unfulfilled dream

Following his miraculous recovery in India, I held talks with Alhaji and we both agreed that his new album be titled Mircale. We had also agreed that as soon as he returned to Nigeria this month, he was to commence recording for the first leg of our four-album deal.

My organisation  had paid for studio sessions at the Eko Real mix studio.

I spoke to Alhaji three days before his demise and while we chatted, he sang for more than 15 minutes, while offering prayers for me and my business.

He also assured me that the songs he was going to record will put smiles on our faces.  I was happy, but all that changed when I got the news of his demise.

I don’t want say anything about the money spent on him, we give glory to Allah who made all things possible. As things stand now, I have the sole marketing rights to all the works of Alhaji. No other person is authorised by the family to conduct the business of marketing his works except that person wants to face the wrath of the law.

Source: Ogbonna Amadi, Entertainment Editor, Vanguard