She is in second position among the three surviving wives of the late musician, Dr. Orlando Owoh. A well-educated woman who was a secondary school teacher in Ekiti -State when Orlando met her. She is sound and sharp-witted as she speaks impeccable English and Yoruba languages laced with proverbs and anecdotes . Madam Funke Owomoyela is a mother in a million and a woman a man should be proud of . She is a wife who will not betray or deny her husband even in death.
………..Why we can’t remarry again
……….We don’t see Orlando’s friends
…….Thanks to Tunde Oladunjoye
…….We use to hear Orlando’s voice in his room
The highly intelligent woman spoke with modest and clarity. When asked to introduce herself, she said ”My name is Funke Owomoyela .You must have been hearing our names from the records Orlando Owoh waxed where he mentioned our names and sang our (wives) praises “. She continued “among the surviving wives of Orlando I am next to Muibatu and Shade is next to me” .
WIVES ARE UNITED
Contrary to what always happen in a polygamous family and in an African set- up where wives fight one another , keep malice, spread rumour and where envy and strife reign this is not so among these three wives the late musician left behind. These women all live under one roof in their husband’s house at Agege without any quarrel .
However, when asked to tell the secret of their unity and togetherness , the woman said ”nobody that has the effrontery to break that love and mutual understanding that exist within us. Even when our husband was alive he did not succeed in knowing the secret or breaking the bond .The love was too much, and nobody can now come to destroy it for us”.
MY GRANNY SUPPORTED MY MARRIAGE
Funke tried to remember how she met Orlando and those who supported her in the family to marry Orlando. She went down memory lane and narrated how it all went ” I was a secondary school teacher in Ekiti -State when we met. None of my family members supported our marriage except my grandmother. It was only my granny that supported our union because she loved Orlando’s music , and she said she wanted her daughter to marry a musician so that when she dies she wanted big and popular musicians to come and play at her funeral ceremony. Truly , Orlando fulfilled his promise when she died” ,she said.
She described the burial ceremony of her grandmother as ”one in town”, she said ”It was a fantastic burial. It was not only Orlando that came but many great musicians also came to play and they supported me morally and financially ”.
Asked whether she sees Orlando’s mother and her response is ”Yes, she is still alive and she lives in Owo .We saw her when we went for the burial ceremony of Sade’s mother recently in Owo last February”.
ORLANDO NOT AN ORDINARY MAN
The woman who said she is always sad anytime she hears Orlando’s music . On how she feels when listening to Orlando’s music being played , she shouted”Ah!, they are injecting us where it hurts , we used to hear his music especially over the radio everyday. Infact they cannot do without playing his music. They would even praise him, and say his death was a fatal blow on them , they will say Iku b’ola je and that if he were alive today he would have sang more songs .We don’t want to be remembering this. We always cry while watching him on VCD and video because Orlando was not an ordinary man”.
HIS SPIRIT STILL IN THE HOUSE
The spirit of the dead don’t die according to Yoruba belief and in African Philosophy , Funke said Orlando’s voice is still being heard as his spirit still lives in the house . She said ”I used to see him in my dream , even we used hear his voice in his room and when he is having his bath. Sade is the one that would miss him most because they were 24/7”. Pressed to speak further on the mysterious things that have been happening , she refused and said ”No, don’t let us go there”, she pleaded.
ORLANDO’S FRIENDS DESERTED US
The retired teacher is visibly angry and dissapointed that after their benefactor and confidant had gone none of his friends bothered to know how they are faring , she said ”It was when he was alive that he had friends but immediately he died he had no friends again because nobody turned up, we did not see anybody. All their empty promises are tissues of lies. They left us alone, even…………. ( names withheld ) who was trained in Orlando’s house in Oshogbo did not pick our calls again. So Orlando has no friends again, it was when he was alive that he had thousands of friends who milled round him and stay glued here”
GANJA & LEGEND
Ganja, known to be his Orlando’s favourite smoke for spiritualism and musical inspiration ,She confirmed that her late husband did smoke it , ”Yes, he smoked ganja but with sense”, she added ”Orlando had that sense of musical and poetic fitness .His brain cannot be compared with those with Cambridge Certificates . Orlando was a genius , very brilliant and was gifted . Orlando would wax three records in the studio overnight. We would stay with him and he would come to ask us whether he did very well, and we would give him positive answer . We always went with him to the studio. He would wax three records at a sitting , that cannot be accomplished by any living musician. No musician can beat that .Waxing three records one night and mixing it was no easy feat .That is why I said he was a legend. He was not an ordinary man.We really missed him. Now we need assistance from people , may be they can respond”.
ON ORLANDO’S ROYALTIES
When the retired teacher said they needed assistance, this reporter was forced to ask about the royalties from Orlando’s albums which should have made them comfortable, but she screamed ”Royalties?, the ones he was entitled to from the Nigeria Performing Musical Association of which they bring every year before had stopped since!. I believe someone must have been collecting it behind us ”, she said , and added that the painful aspect of it is that ”at the end of each year we would receive message that we have received royalties yet we did not see anything! .We are not novice , we are all educated”, she said with voice raised.
When asked whether the family lodged complaints , she said ”both the PMAN NAPCON and others who should be giving us royalties did not , someone must have been collecting it and it is sad”. She however confessed that they had not gone to lodge complaint ,”We wanted to complain, but we were slow, we ought to have complained since”, she admitted.
NONE OF MY CHILDREN SING
The retired teacher said none of her children sings, but was quick to add ” some of my stepchildren like Daisi Orlando and Kunle Orlando sing while Orimipe Orlando who lives in the United States of America also sing”.
WHY WE CAN’T REMARRY
Since Orlando’s death none of the wives had remarried. Asked why she has not remarried since all these years , the woman screamed ”Remarry?, none of us dare tried it. After all what that man (Orlando) did for us? . No, nobody can remarry among us. If we are talking of any man that loves his wife , Orlando was number one, and I have not seen any second person. I have not met any man that would behave like Orlando. Nobody has a cause to remarry because he did his best for everybody, he trained our children .We cannot remarry , Who is that person?. Ki la fe fe?. What else do we want again?”.
WHEN ORLANDO DIED…
She recounted the last minutes of the late Musical maestro, ,she said ”we ( wives) were with him at the bedside at the Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) when he gave up the ghost. He spoke with us but you don’t tell everything. What is still strange to us up till this moment is how the news filtered out that he had given up the ghost when nobody was informed for while he was being packed , we heard the breaking news on the television that ‘Sir Orlando Owoh is dead‘, we didn’t know how they got the news”.
On Orlando’s death , she said if death could accept money some governors would have donated as she said ”about four governors struggled to make sure he live, if they can buy life they would have bought it but that is it.”
I WILL MARRY HIM AGAIN IF ……
Reminded that Yoruba believes in reincarnation ,asked whether she would marry Orlando again in the next world if she meets him again , she quickly responded ”God’s willing , if per chance we meet again , all of us who married him would still marry him. He was a very loving man, very caring and loving . I have not seen another man like him. We feel it”.
HE WAS ACCOMMODATING
Funke could not but speak on how accomodating the African Kennery was when alive, she said ”anytime he came back from his outing/play his fans and others would immediately thronged here shouting his name and we would be begging them to allow him to rest for sometime that he had just arrived but Orlando himself would peep from the window and cry out that ‘I am at home!, I am at home!!’ to our consternation” .
She continued ”Orlando almost turned us to liars so we left him alone .When his death was announced many people came to sympathise with us and some almost killed themselves here. Some said he was the one who footed their bills during their babies’ naming ceremonies , some said he gave them dollars when he came back from America while some too said he gave them clothes and shoes when he arrived from America .He was very nice to everybody and very accommodating ,he welcomed everybody and housed and fed them irrespective of their status”.
OUR HOUSE WAS MECCA NOW DESERTED
Leopard will never change its skin, that is Orlando for you , he refused to change, he was genrous to a fault. Funke said ”his death is what we cannot forget easily , remembering him makes us feel bad and sad. He would advise us to allow him to do what he was doing , that is assisting everybody for he would leave one day. Later we left him alone and we would tell whoever came that he was at home , they should go and meet him. Whenever he came back from play he would not rest, for he would be attending and entertaining visitors always , no rest. As we were pounding yam in the kitchen, we would also be smoothing amala.He would say ‘ pounded yam for six people , amala for four people , eba for eight people’ , our house would be full like a market place but since he had died we did not see anybody!.There is no human being again [no person again).Ko seeyan mo!
ANY OTHER WORDS AGAIN?
Funke gave this advise ”Please do whatever you can do to assist people , it is what one did that he would be remembered for .You cannot clothe yourself in another person’s character .Whatever God sent you to do it , just do it for people would talk about it and remember you for it”.
The woman however exonerated one Tunde Oladunjoye who was Orlando’s manager for a short period , she said ”Tunde Oladunjoye is from Ijebu- Remo in Ogun state, he was Orlando’s manager for a short period and when he became the Commissioner he always assist us and fulfilled his promises, he used to say ‘Orlando is my mentor, there is nothing I would become today that I would not give credit to him’ ” . According to Funke, Oladunjoye is the only man that has been assisting them, ”he is the only man that comes here to give us money , he would come with foodstuff and other things. It is only this Tunde Oladunjoye we see, he (Orlando) has no friends again and that is for the wives. He even sent money to me when I was hospitalised recently” .