The last has certainly not been heard about the ongoing controversies that, Yoruba actor, Lanre Omiyinka who is popularly known as Baba Ijesha’s alleged rape saga is causing. For anyone who has been following the story, it must have definitely been a case of serial controversies, as one has kept leading to another, since the matter became a public issue. First popular commedianne, Princess Damilola Adekoya simply called Princess, alleged Baba Ijesha of making another attempt at raping an underage girl of 14 who is under her care, 7 years after he had purportedly assaulted same girl sexually. So, after setting Baba Ijesha up, and getting him arrested by the Lagos State Police Command, the second phase of controversy began in earnest.
The second phase started with sultry actress, Iyabo Ojo, coming out on social medial to condemn Baba Ijesha over the rape saga and insisting that, he must face the music; and fellow actor, Yomi Fabiyi, also coming out on same social media, to stand with Baba Ijesha by saying he is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law. And therefore, due process must be followed in his matter to the letter. Their confrontation got so messy on the social media such that they kept calling each other unprintable names. And at a point, fellow actress, Nkechi Blessing aligned with Iyabo Ojo to confront Yomi Fabiyi by calling him names, which included referring to him as a fellow paedophile to Baba Ijesha, he was defending.
The third phase of the controversies began when one of the factions of the 2 associations in the Yoruba movie industry, Theatre And Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN) headed by popular comic actor, Otunba Bolaji Amusan better known as Mr. Latin, wading into the matter after the leadership of the association felt Iyabo Ojo and Nkechi Blessing were dragging the name of TAMPAN through the mud with some of the expletives they were using to tackle Yomi Fabiyi on the social media. And so, TAMPAN held a Press Briefing and said while Iyabo Ojo and Nkechi Blessing were not members of TAMPAN and could not be punished directly by the association, they issued a directive prohibiting all members of TAMPAN from working with both Iyabo Ojo and Nkechi Blessing.
But shortly after, a controversial blogger, Esther Aboderin, who is better known as ESABOD intervened in the matter via one of her shows, during which she spoke with Iyabo Ojo and later, Mr. Latin. Iyabo Ojo tendered an apology to TAMPAN on her social media handle over whatever she must have done wrong to them, and Mr. Latin during his appearance on ESABOD’s show said, Iyabo Ojo had been forgiven, and he too tendered an apology on behalf of one of their leaders in TAMPAN, Prince Jide Kosoko who threatened during their Press Briefing that, leaders of TAMPAN could frustrate both Iyabo Ojo and Nkechi Blessing out of the movie industry despite their not being members of TAMPAN. Meanwhile, Nkechi Blessing too apologised to TAMPAN, after her initial stubboness, and normalcy appeared to have returned to the Yoruba movie industry, after all.
However, that was not to be, as the fourth phase of controversy started with Yomi Fabiyi still going ahead to release online, a movie he shot using the storyline of the Baba Ijesha rape saga as well as real names of everyone that has to do with the matter. He titled the movie: ” Oko Iyabo”, and there was a public outcry against the movie, as after seeing clips from the movie that Yomi Fabiyi put on his social media handles, most people found the content of the movie not only distasteful, but also found it sub judice, as the matter had started being heard in court. Therefore, in a swift reaction, TAMPAN wrote a letter that was also made public, to Yomi Fabiyi, being their member, to appear before a committee, on a particular date to answer questions on the controversial movie.
But after his apparent failure to appear before the TAMPAN Committee, Yomi Fabiyi was slammed with indefinite suspension by the association. And that interestingly, started the fifth phase of controversy the Baba Ijesha rape saga would be generating. Because, rather than reaching out to TAMPAN leadership to sort out his case with them, Yomi Fabiyi who insisted that, nothing was wrong with the “Oko Iyabo” movie he produced, then claimed that he was not a member of TAMPAN, and so the association lacked the power to suspend him. And as if that was not enough, he began to rubbish the association with different posts on his social media handle, and started claiming that, he is a member of Association of Nigeria Theatre Art Practitioners (ANTP) which is led by comic actor, Adewale Elesho as its President.
The sixth phase of controversy on the Baba Ijesha matter started with ESABOD recenly abusing some of the leaders in the Yoruba movie industry, especially, Lanre Hassan, who is popularly known as Iya Awero, during her show online. ESABOD alleged that, illicit affairs Iya Awero must have had with fellow actors at the early stage of her career, must have led to her legs bending like they are now, at her advanced age. And that statement did not go down well with the likes of Adewale Elesho, and a younger comic actor, Olu Olowogemo who is popularly known as Harejan or Mr. Portable. So, Adewale Elesho made a social media video to appeal to ESABOD to spare Iya Awero of such insult, because she does not deserve it. And he further made a case for Iya Awero that, it was rigorous dancing during the time that Iya Awero and the likes of late Iya Sala, started their acting career that led to women that had their kind of stature, having bow legs later in life.
But Harejan on his own part was as gentlemanly as Adewale Elesho in the video he later made to defend Iya Awero too. He called out the TAMPAN President, Mr. Latin for appearing on ESABOD’s show when he did, and also strongly criticised his tendering an apology on behalf of Jide Kosoko for speaking the way he spoke about Iyabo Ojo and Nkechi Blessing at the Press Briefing they held. He questioned pointedly that, who were those people including ESABOD herself, for TAMPAN President to descend to appearing on her show. Harejan who appeared very livid, made it known that he was highly disappointed by the action of the TAMPAN President, in that regard. He said if not for their President descending to the level of appearing on her show, someone like ESABOD would not have the audacity to talk down on a highly respected thespian like Iya Awero. He challenged ESABOD to go and abuse him too, that he would care, as he had said his own.
But, the last may not have been heard about Harejan calling out TAMPAN’s President publicly in the video he posted on his social media handle. Because, apart from being TAMPAN President, Mr. Latin is also a senior colleague to Harejan, and they are both based in the same Abeokuta, Ogun State, where they ply their acting trade. So, it remained to be seen how Mr. Latin on one hand, and TAMPAN on the other hand, would react to Harejan calling out their President publicly for condemnation. This may just be the beginning of the seventh phase of the controversies to be generated by the Baba Ijesha’s alleged rape saga.