This Nollywood actor fulfilled a long-time dream but died 24hrs after
Keen lovers of Yoruba home videos would readily know the 35-year-old prolific actor cum producer, Nureni Aremu. Most of his friends know him as Larry. Among his colleagues, his cognomen, Eegun Alare, is house-hold.
Exemplarily unassuming, not a few had wondered endlessly why the ever-smiling artiste did not make a career in the humour business. Yes, he could make bereaved humans laugh, even at a cemetery.
Interestingly, his five new movies -so this reporter gathered -may soon hit the market. But quite sadly, he won't reap the benefits accruable from the works. It's no curse; if you are among his friends, sorry, you will never meet him again except in your dreams. He took a French leave from the face of the earth on June 11, 2010!
Indeed, his story leaves a sour taste in the mouth. So early in his life, he had picked up the gauntlet, ready to dare the monster of hard life as silver spoon was alien to his family. In 1989, he found his love – acting. Thus, he had since weathered the storm of life on one breath and on another, battling to contain the inherent rigours of his chosen career. "I know that as long as I remain diligent, one day, God will remember me," he was reportedly fond of saying.
About two years ago, God showed Himself off in his life; he left his aged mother and only elder sister at 37, Owodunni Street, Onipanu, Lagos where he had been living with them. He moved into another apartment at Cement along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway. There, he consummated conjugal arrangements with his better-half and before one could say Jack, they had God to thank for a new baby boy.
But God was not done with him.
On Thursday, June 10, 2010, he took residents of Owodunni by pleasant surprise when he appeared in a posh Infinity car. Family sources said he took delivery of the automobile the previous day.
Every one around, young and old openly expressed their happiness over the change of fortune for the actor who, to them, had "toiled and suffered enough." "I thank God for Larry; he had persevered enough," an elated young man said.
Of course, no other person could have been happiest than his mother. Obviously making good his promise that one day, he would drive his mother around in his own car, Nureni drove the fulfilled woman around the area. She was all smiles as neighbours felt happy for him.
However, tragedy soon struck. Who on earth could have thought in his wildest dreams that his family would, the next day, have a hurried deal with either the undertakers or the coffin maker? Curiously, the Thursday turned a day for the devil's feast. Most of those who shared in the bout of laughter that Thursday gathered in groups to bemoan his cruel fate the next day.
The bad, startling news filtered in very late. Nureni, it was said, met his death at Ofada, near Sagamu in Ogun State.
"He was inside his car with two of his colleagues. He was on his way to deliver the script of his latest work to a senior colleague. What we heard was that the car rammed into a pot-hole and it somersaulted. To worsen matters, an oncoming truck hit it. That was how the story changed for Larry," a neighbour told this reporter in tears.
Already comatose, Nureni and the two later became emergency tenants at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba. But the rescue effort fell flat. He breathed his last there without the opportunity to say final bye to his beloved mother, sister, wife and her fatherless boy, Ridwan!
Minutes after the incident, the reporter had a snappy phone chat with Akeem Alimi aka Ajala Jalingo, Chairman, Lagos State chapter of the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP). He minced no word as he described Nureni as a "reliable member of ANTP." Hence, even the dunderhead would not wonder why his crestfallen colleagues were at his burial in good number, shocked, peeved and dejected.
Again, they gathered in his memory at Owodunni penultimate Friday. It was a Fidau session for the repose of his soul. Even the Muslim faithful who led the moving session could hardly move their lips. At regular intervals, they shook heads for hapless Nureni.
His mother shared her grief with Nureni's young wife behind closed doors. Outside the bungalow, sympathisers stood and sat in groups as they recalled their unforgettable moments with the ace actor.
No doubt, fast-rising actress Adebukola Raji must have suffered uninterrupted insomnia since she lost Nureni whom he described as her "director, adviser, mentor and father." "I will miss Larry with whom I have been working since 1999. He was everything to me," she told the reporter amid sobs.
Between her and Jamiu Ojoogun, another actor who had been living with Nureni since 1988, it was like a contest of tears. "So, Larry is gone? Just like that!" Adebukola further wonder, looking straight into Jamiu's tear-soaked eyes.
She went further, bemoaning: "I didn't believe it when I first heard of his death. Ah, I will miss him more than anybody. It was through him that I got my maiden lead role in his (pointing at Jamiu) movie years ago."
The actress who said that each time Nureni mooted the idea of buying a car, she had always discouraged him, added that but for an errand she ran for her mother on that black day, she would have been in the ill-fated car with him. She hinted further that she was billed to hit locations with the late Nureni for another impending movie on June 21.
Mustapha Fatai, the late actor's relation, was overwhelmed with grief. He described Nureni's early exit as mysterious. "Right from his youth, Larry had always given signs that he was not ordinary. He did some things that made people around in wonder. We have lost a very good and hardworking young man," he said.
From every lip sprang forth fervent prayer of longevity for Nureni's mother and Iya Remi, his only sister as they both have the agony of the family's breadwinner to nurse. So it flowed wholeheartedly for his wife and lone son.
Indeed, it was a painful farewell to the conscientious dreamer whose dream was cut short just when it was time for him to heave a sigh of relief and say, 'Thank you God, I have fought a good fight