I LOVE BARRISTER, BUT... —KOLINTON AYINLA
Bata Fuji creator, General Kolington Ayinla, who has just released an album entitled Back To Sender, spoke with Entertainment Cafe about the controversial album and other issues
Q: General, why did you give your latest album the title Back To Sender?
A: I gave it that title because it has to be like that. Nothing, but back to sender.
Q: What informed the title, or are you fighting somebody?
A: You know that whenever Christians say 'back to sender,' they are sending evil to whoever sent it to them. So, I am only trying to send evil back to the evil doers and my enemies.
Q: Who actually are you referring to?
A: My enemies, they know themselves. The album is to whom it may concern.
Q: Do you have enemies?
A: There's nobody on earth that does not have an enemy. Even the baby born an hour ago has an enemy.
Q: For a long time you have been at the forefront of fuji music. Are you satisfied with the level it is now?
A: I am quite satisfied, especially with the upcoming musicians. They are doing well by flying the music's flag higher than before. I am happy with them and hope they will continue in that direction.
Q: Do you ever think of retiring from music some day?
A: No, I have never thought about that. I will play music all my life. You know, I started with Were music, performed during the month of Ramadan and it was that music that developed into Fuji. Before now, we have had some elders who played Fuji music.
Q: Who are these elders and where are they?
A: They settled in Lagos. We have elders like Kasali Alani a.k.a. Jolly L'a wa, Sakariyau Laigbade and Baba Ajadi Ganiu, who is one of the pioneers of Fuji music.
Q: Are these people still living?
A: Yes, they are still alive. Ajadi Ganiu is hale and hearty. I read about him recently in your newspaper, where he said none among us—Barrister and I—created Fuji music and that is the truth. Honestly, neither Barrister nor I created Fuji music.
Q: But Ayinde Barrister still claims that he created the music genre?
A: No, he's only cracking the joke of the year. He's a joker.
Q: Why are you always at loggerheads with Ayinde Barrister?
A: It is simply because of what we are now discussing. I can't agree with him on his claim that he created Fuji music when I'm alive. Fuji music had been in existence even before he was born, likewise myself. So, why should he be claiming that he created it? Let me enlighten you a little: Do you know that Sakara music was played by our fathers, the late Yusuf Olatunji, Baba Ojindo and S. Aka and others, yet none of them claimed that he created it, including Habib Oluwa? For instance, the late Haruna Ishola, Ajao Oru, the late Ayinla Omowura and other Apala musicians never said they created the music. Also, Sir Victor Uwaifo, Chief Osita Osadebe and the late Adeolu Akinsanya never said they created highlife music. Who, among the old musicians, has ever come out to say he created Juju music? None. The first time I ever heard such is from a Fuji musician. That's where the problem comes from and I will never take that from anybody.
Q: Is that the real reason both of you always at war with each another?
A: Yes, I can never agree with his unnecessary claim of superiority over me. He plays his own kind of music while I play mine. Moreover, we play different patterns and our styles are quite different. He is a master on his own while I am master on my own and I am sure Nigerians can testify to my criticism because there are facts and you will never hear me claim that I created Fuji music.
Q: Can we now say that it is because of him that you gave your album the title Back To Sender?
A: Yes, that is one of the reasons I recorded Back To Sender. He had sent his own message to me and now it is my turn to send a rocket back to him.
Q: Is there any probability of settling the rift between both of you?
A: As I am sitting here, I love him very much and there will be no problem if he can erase that impression from his heart. We are too old for all these and I have no problem with him except for his unnecessary claims. What is existing between us is 'dirty behaviour'. We ought to settle such disputes among the younger ones and should not be the ones engaging in this kind of controversy.
Q: What happens if your children eventually meet in the future and plan to get married to one another?
A: There is nothing bad in that but as the situation is, I can never agree with him unless there is unity between us.
Q: But in spite of the rift, you visited him when he lost his mother. Why?
A: Yes, I went to commiserate with him despite the fact that we were not in talking terms then. I also made a little contribution towards the burial.
Q: Has he ever paid such visit to you, especially when your house got burnt?
A: No, even with the way I supported him during his mother's death. When my house got burnt, he came to a place which is less than two kilometers away from my house to perform and could not visit me. That shows that he hates me so much. There was a day I watched his interview on MITV and he was asked about his relationship with me, but my friend said he did not want to talk about me. Meanwhile, on the same programme, I had spoken highly about him when I was interviewed. I even prayed for him because I heard he was ill at that time. Help me to ask him if I ever killed his son or snatched his wife.
Q: So what is responsible for the rivalry between you?
A: I think he is an ingrate because we ought to be thanking God now for His blessings.ac. I am no more interested in rifts with anybody, I just want to continue to play my music. I always have shows at weekends but I don't know what Barrister will gain from telling people that I don't play anymore.
Q: Can we now say that you are comfortable at this point of your career?
A: I am very comfortable and I thank God for what He has done in my life.