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Highlife legend, Sir Victor Olaiya is no longer alive

Sir Victor Olaiya, one of Nigeria’s high life legends, has died. The musician died today February 12th at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, after a brief illness.

He was aged 89.

The late Olaiya was married and had many children including Nollywood actress, Moji Olaiya, who died in May 2017.

May his soul rest in peace, Amen.

Victor Abimbola Olaiya (born 31 December 1930), also known as Dr Victor Olaiya, is a Nigerian trumpeter who plays in the highlife style. Though extremely famous in Nigeria during the 1950s and early 1960s, Olaiya received little recognition outside his native country. Alhaji Alade Odunewu of the Daily Times described him as “The Evil Genius of Highlife.”

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Olaiya was born on 31 December 1930,[2] in Calabar, Cross River State, the 20th child of a family of 24. His parents, Alfred Omolona Olaiya and Bathsheba Owolabi Motajo, came from Ijesha-Ishu in Ekiti State.

Olaiya came from a very rich family. His father’s house called Ilọijọs Bar stood on 2 Bamgbose Street, Lagos Island, until it was demolished on 11 September 2016

At an early age he learned to play the Bombardon and the French Horn. After leaving school he moved to Lagos, where he passed the school certificate examination in 1951 and was accepted by Howard University, US, to study civil engineering.

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Olaiya instead pursued a career as a musician, to the disapproval of his parents. He played with the Sammy Akpabot Band, was leader and trumpeter for the Old Lagos City Orchestra and joined the Bobby Benson Jam Session Orchestra.

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