And the beat stops for Aisha ‘Omoge Campus’ Abimbola
“Aisha has gone to sleep” was the voice from the other end, amidst sobs. “She finally gave up on Tuesday,” Teniola managed to add, sobbing uncontrollably.
When she got herself together and managed to talk, she revealed how the notable tall, beautiful and well-built actress battled cancer “quietly.”
She spoke of how Aisha had to travel to Canada when it was obvious that she couldn’t get help, medically, to battle the breast cancer that had developed back home.
“Aisha has gone…she has gone to sleep. I will miss her, Teniola said repeatedly.
Within a flash, the news of the death of recognisable acting diva of immense credits was all over the social media. It went viral, leaving her colleagues, friends, fans and some family members in very deep shock.
Media content entrepreneur, Olawale Obadeyi, said he received the news with a rude shock, adding: “She brought an uncanny intensity to every role I have seen her play. Oh… why did the grim reaper do this to humanity? Why?” Obadeyi wrote on his Facebook page.
Indeed, everyone who penned tributes felt that the beat shouldn’t have stopped for the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) graduate, who doesn’t always fail to credit the veteran actress, Barbara Soky, and the restless and well-honed actor and director, Antar Laniyan, for being responsible for her emergence as an actress.
While the River State-born Soky triggered off Aisha’s interest in acting, Laniyan, who holds the reputation of discovering most of the young talents that are having a smoldering run on screen today, provided the platform that Aisha rode on to emerge as one of the industry’s recognisable faces.
As a child, Aisha was a television freak. She loved cartoons and would skip a meal if only to watch her favourite Barbara Soky strut her stuff on the long-rested television soap, Mirror in the Sun. It was Soky’s strong role interpretation that fired Aisha’s zeal.
The passion grew from there, but what she lacked then was the platforms to actualise her innate desire to become a top rate actress.
But that opportunity came during her final year at the polytechnic. The cast of the comedy series, Papa Ajasco, had come to Laspotech to shoot one of the scenes in an episode of the popular series. In the crowd that had formed around the acting area was the plump-built Aisha cuddling her home economics textbook.
Throughout the shoot that lasted for about 40 minutes, Aisha planted a broad and satisfying smile on her cheek and fixed a permanent gaze on the dramatis personae, one of them, Bayo Bankole, who played Boy Alinco in the series then.
“This is all I wanted to do; stand before a camera,” she said then, to no one in particular. In no time, shooting was over and the production grips made to load the waiting van after Laniyan, the director of the series, had declared that it was a wrap.
While other bystanders dispersed, Aisha stayed on. The thought of approaching the director to express her desire to do some acting reared up. “Something in me said I should walk up to the man I later knew as Antar to ask whether he would give me an opportunity to do some acting.
I love to act and here were the people who were in it,” she thought aloud.
“So, I summed up courage and approached him to see how he can be of help in my desire to be an actress.”
She did and her determination paid off, as Laniyan not only encouraged her to try acting, but also quickly sourced a cameo role for her in that episode. Indeed, that encounter with Laniyan and the impressive run she had in that episode, even as an add- on, marked the beginning of the journey into fame for the actress.
Born Aisha Etaaoko Abimbola Musa, the actress of Omoge Campus fame, who hails from Lagos State, Lagos Island to be precise, had her early education at Ansar Udeen Primary School, Oke-Arin, and Ebute Efo High School, Lagos, from where she proceeded to LASPOTEC to study Hotel and Catering Management.
Although her parents had passed on by the time she engaged the acting runway, Aisha’s relations never objected to her decision to take to acting. Like Aisha, the Musas were convinced that she had the passion for the world of make believe.
From television, the home video turf beckoned, and Aisha looked up there, like many of her colleagues. Her debut home movie outing was in the Laniyan directed Yoruba movie, Abori Jaiye.
Her outing there got quite a number of the producers in that circle looking her way. She soon hit a nerve again when she was auditioned and cast for a lead role in Omoge Campus, which was reputed to have broken records, in terms of sales and acceptance.
But asked which would count as her most memorable outing, Aisha presented a long list, including Omoge Campus, Iwo Slow Poison, Omoge Onidan, Oroyi Koseko, Eko Gbono, Eyin Aparo and Gbesele as her most memorable movie run.
On the gains of acting, she stressed that it cannot be quantified, as just the feeling of being an actress makes her happy and fulfilled.
“Richness is not all about owning a fat bank account. I am comfortable, I am happy with what I am doing. I get whatever I want to get. But generally, I thank God, because acting has given me the chance to be what I want to be.
“I am rich in all ways. I am one of those who believe that money is not everything. The joy you derive from doing what you like doing should make you happy. Being able to do what I like doing is enough gain,” she stated.
Until she passed on during the week, Aisha has had what could be considered a cordial relationship with her colleagues and the entertainment press. She had maintained that her decision to “be herself and go about her work diligently” might have accounted for the unscathed run she had so far in the movie.
Asked to state her career ambition, Aisha, whose marriage to entertainer, Victor Ibrahim, made headlines, said she wanted to get to the height of her career and to be ranked top among the list of notable producers of the movie industry.
“There is no stopping me. If my earlier change of status could not stop me, nothing can stop me. I want to get to the zenith of my career.
“I want to also add the title of producer to my name. I want to be remembered in future as the producer who produced movies that touched lives and that changed society.
“Of course, you know there is no retirement in acting. You keep getting roles as you age, because the sweeter the wine, as they say, the better.
“So, I will keep doing this and I pray Allah to give me the strength and keep me in good health to continue to do what I love doing.”
But Allah has felt it was time for her to leave the stage, and now, Aisha is gone to rest, to act no more.
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