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Village Headmaster Pioneer,Ted Mukoro, died after first admission in 89 years, says daughter

Mrs Angela Ajetunmobi, one of the two surviving children of late Pa Theodore Mukoro, the first person to act the `Headmaster’ role in the popular but now rested “The Village Headmaster’’ Series told the News Agency of Nigeria.(NAN) in Lagos.

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Pioneer Village Headmaster,Ted Mukoro play

Pioneer Village Headmaster,Ted Mukoro

(Premium Times Opinion)

“My father, late Theodore Mukoro, was never ill to the extent of being on admission for once until the last one where he died on March 7.

Even, when he had cataract surgery he came home the same day.’’

Mrs Angela Ajetunmobi, one of the two surviving children of late Pa Theodore Mukoro, the first person to act the `Headmaster’ role in the popular but now rested “The Village Headmaster’’ Series told the News Agency of Nigeria.(NAN) in Lagos.

“This illness before his death was very brief, now I know what people mean when they say, “died after a brief illness’’.

“He took ill on Saturday, was admitted in hospital on Sunday and he gave up in the of Wednesday , March 7 in the arms of my sister-in-law, the wife of my father’s only surviving son.

“The doctors were wondering why and asking what was the relationship between Uncle Ted and his daughter-in -law. They were very close and it was like he had waited for her to arrive the hospital that morning.  He was said to have held her hand and took his last breathe.

“He just slipped away while we were planning his 90th birthday for October,’’ Ajetunmobi told NAN.

She speaking on his career said,  “In terms of broadcasting, the late Ted Mukoro was one of the first 10 people to appear on WNTV screen as  news casters when it was  set up by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo,  the premier of Western Region at the time.’’

Uncle Ted was the first person to play the role of the headmaster in the popular soap opera called “The Village Headmaster’’ usually transmitted on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) some years ago.

He was also one of the first persons to write scripts for the soap opera. “I recall that the first two or three scripts of  the “Village Headmaster’’ Series were written by him as well as produced a few episodes.  He coined a few of the characters’ names such as Jigabi and Bassey Okon.

“He was very much involved with production of the now defunct household name opera.
Ajetunmobi said that his late father also acted in feature films that included “Dinner with the devil’’ and in Nollywood alongside popular actress Omotola Jolade Ekeinde.

According to her, Uncle Ted continued to work till the week before he died; he was consulted widely for the advertising world when many advertising agencies were working on new projects.

“We were used to seeing them come here and give him briefs to write. He would be up till 4a.m. He had a great work ethics; not a lazy man.’’

Ajetunmobi said that in every job his father did while alive, he always left his mark and was very famous. In advertising he retired as the first indigenous creative director of Lintas Communications Nigeria Ltd.

“He worked for Star Beer where he coined the phrase `Shine shine bobo’ and `Black tin good o’ for Guinness Beer.

“I remember Patti Boulaye, OBE, who also featured in the Lux Soap advert he shot in Miami, Florida in the US.

“ He had a lot of achievements in the advertising world. We, including my late mother, grew up in front of the television participating in adverts,’’ Angela Ajetunmobi told NAN.

She added that her father was great with the pidgin language as a Warri boy as well as the Queen’s English.

He would get angry with corrupted pidgin English.

He was a typical Warri boy and he also considered himself a typical Lagos boy because he had lived and worked all his life in Lagos, she said.

Ajetunmobi added that her parents were originally living in Warri from where they moved to Ibadan where she was born.

They finally moved to Lagos, ending up at the Nigerian Television then NTV where he was employed as a news caster.

“My father was a very interesting person. He never stopped educating. That was something that I found very interesting about him.

“Whenever he was watching my interviews on the television, he wasn’t listening to the thrust of the conversation, all he was listening to was how I was pronouncing my words, the tenses and things like that.

“Those were the things he focused on. He was a perfectionist in that regard. He was a great wordsmith. Words were his life.

“He impressed that upon us. One of the things we his children are really good at is communicating with words.’’

Ajetunmobi added that because of her father’s love for words, the family house was and still is full of books. He was a books’ person, he read until his last day.

Before he died at 89; I was planning to set up a library in his honour and that of my mother who died in 2010. I would still do it in their honour

“I think a lot of people will benefit from utilizing the books in the proposed library.’’ She added that what had been revealed to the children after Ted Mukoro’s death was how much he impacted on people’s lives while alive.

“People called me and said, “He trained me at Rosabel, Lintas , etc. We knew he was famous while alive but we did not know its extent. “Now, we are beginning to admit that he was famous while on earth.

Ajetunmobi said that she would miss cooking food for her late father, a role she accepted since her mother died.

“We lost my mum in 2010 and the role of preparing Ted’s food fell on me.

“He loved my food; he loved my salad I find myself everyday at 5p.m. saying I have to prepare daddy’s food. Now, the realization has hit me that he is gone into eternity.’’

Ajetunmobi added that her dad loved life, loved to have a drink in the evenings. He would say to me I wish you could drink because I’m not a drinker. He would like to have a tea pool and have a small stout.
She said that her father as a socialite loved seeing people around him and he would go out of his way to visit both the young and the old.

According to her, one of the things we have been observing since he passed away has been the generation gap of people visiting to commiserate with the family.

They include the young and old; indeed daddy interacted with all ages, though strict in a sense but was a very liberal soul, she said.

“Many people who knew he was my daddy were not surprised that I followed his footsteps into television,’ she said.

She said some of his contemporaries at the NTA include :Uncle Jab Adu popularly called Bassey Okon in  `The Village Headmaster’ series, Aunty Julie Coker who was responsible for my dad’s relocation  to Lagos from Ibadan.

“We interacted with a lot of people from NTA such as the late Elsie Olusola, late Segun Olusola, Aunty Ibidun Allison to mention but a few.

“These were all household names that used to visit us every Sunday after church. Incidentally, most of them professed the Catholic faith.’’

She also recalled that her late father was a great singer and an organist. Till today, my preferred mass is the Mass celebrated in Latin language in the Catholic Church.

“I know most of the Catholic prayers in Latin because that was the way we were brought up. The church is going to miss him.’’

Ajetunmobi said that the family was planning her father’s funeral for April since the Catholic Church would not encourage burial during lent.

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