Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was among those, who paid tribute to the veteran Nigerian comic actor, Babatunde Omidina, popularly known as Baba Suwe, who passed on yesterday, November 22, 2021.
News of the comedian’s death was confirmed by his son, Adesola, who wrote on Instagram: “This is to announce the sudden death of my father Mr Babatunde Omidina, the legend and rare gem, ‘Baba Suwe’ 11/22/21.”
Also, confirming the death was President of the Theatre and Motion Pictures Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN), Mr Bolani Amusan aka Mr. Latin, who said the deceased’s son broke the news to him.
However, mourning the loss of the actor, who entertained many households with his comical skills, Atiku wrote on Twitter: “Babatunde Omidina, aka Baba Suwe, thank you so very much for bringing so much happiness and joy into our homes. May your soul rest in peace.”
Rinsola Abiola, a political activist and daughter of the late politician, Moshood Abiola, recalled fondly how the dark-skinned actor always lit up the screen with his hilarious performances.
“I grew up watching him. I thought he was hilarious and every time he came up on the screen, everyone knew a good laugh would follow” she said, adding: “He was a veteran actor, an icon in his field, who brought joy to many through his craft.”
Comedian and actor, Woli Arole, also wrote on Twitter: “Rest in Peace Baba Suwe. I am excited we were able to celebrate you while you were alive.”
Baba Suwe started his acting while in secondary school, performing with theatre groups. However, the movie that brought him to the limelight was ‘Iru Esin’. He featured in other films and also delved into filmmaking. Some of the movies he produced included ‘Eku Meji’ and ‘Alfa Nla’. He was famous in mostly Yoruba movies.
In 2009, Baba Suwe lost his wife and actress Omoladun. It was reported that the actor was deeply affected by the loss but before he could recover from the shock, there were rumours that his step-daughter had accused him of killing her mother. The speculations were later dismissed as false.
In 2011, the actor was accused of drug trafficking by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) but the allegation was dismissed by a Lagos High Court, which asked that Baba Suwe should be compensated for the defamation of his character. The actor had said in interviews that the experience crippled his health.
His health would become a public discourse in 2019, when friends solicited funds for his medical treatment. Through the generosity of well-meaning Nigerians like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Billionaire Femi Otedola and Reverend Esther Ajayi of the Love of Christ Generation Church, Cherubim and Seraphim, amongst others, he was flown to the United States for the treatment of diabetes and other ailments. He returned to the country a month later.
Before his death on Monday, Baba Suwe had been a victim of death rumours. In 2020, it was widely speculated that he had passed on but the actor debunked it.
Born on August 22, 1958, in Lagos, the cause of his death was still unknown at the time of filing this report. His son however said burial details would be shared soon.