On Could 27, the Nigerian leisure business misplaced one more well-known character within the individual of Tessy Yembra to the chilly palms of dying. Yembra was a preferred society determine, who got here into the limelight together with her dance steps within the Fuji Rubbish and Afro Juju movies of Chief Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and Sir Shina Peters respectively, amongst others. Sadly, she handed on at a time the world was on lockdown and she or he couldn’t make the pressing contacts she wanted to make together with her pals. Her daughter, Dolapo Beckley, spoke with PAUL UKPABIO about her final moments and the way the dying of her two main benefactors aided her journey into early grave.
OUR mom was highly regarded, however not many individuals appeared to know what a part of Nigeria she hailed from…
My mum was an Urhobo girl. She hailed from Delta State.
When you have been requested to explain her, what would you say?
She was a down-to-earth individual; loving, caring and kindhearted. She was so lively. There was by no means a uninteresting second together with her. She at all times needed to offer her all.
She at all times needed to make each the wealthy and the poor completely happy. She liked kids loads, so it was not a shock that she died on Kids’s Day.
She needed peace to reign round her. She took no nonsense from anyone and would let you know her thoughts straightaway, regardless of who you’re.
When you offended her, she would let you know, “Ah, you made me mad yesterday. However I’ve to let you know my thoughts. Don’t trouble; you’re nonetheless my brother, you’re nonetheless my sister.” She was distinctive.
Your mom had a approach of constructing pals simply. Inform us about a few of her lengthy lasting friendship that you already know of.
Possibly it was her character, her character. Anybody who noticed her simply appeared to love her. They simply liked her individual, her livelihood, all the things about her. Folks needed to be pals together with her due to her aura. Folks simply love her naturally.
She had friendship that lasted over a long time with folks like Chief Dupe Jemibewon, who she used to name Sister Dupe. She had very lengthy lasting friendship with Sir Shina Peters and his spouse Sammie.
I keep in mind the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke and his household; she liked them with all her coronary heart. She was keen to journey miles with them at a second’s discover to take part in no matter they have been doing.
She liked them, and was at all times the popular occasion anchor individual at her society pals’ events.
She was a particular good friend of the late Iyalode Adunni Bankole; a friendship that many admired and it introduced her extra pals. She was capable of be pals to all these folks even after they have been in numerous courses. Aisha Guobadia was additionally near her, and plenty of extra. She liked them and was so lively. She at all times needed to be completely happy and for folks round her to be completely happy too.
Folks say the dying of Senator Isiaka Adeleke, the ex-governor of Osun State, affected her. What are you able to say about that?
It affected her loads as a result of they have been good pals. When she heard the information of the dying of that man, it was like a serious factor occurred to her.
Whereas they have been each alive, my mom favored going to Adeleke’s hometown in Ede. She known as him ‘Gov.’ Most instances, wherever ‘Gov’ was, it was seemingly she could be there. He at all times had one work or the opposite for her to do.
And her friendship with the household was not restricted to ‘Gov’. It prolonged to the spouse and different family members. When he died, it actually took a toll on her.
what the Yoruba name Alaanu (benefactor)? He was her Alaanu. When she had stroke 9 years in the past, it was ex-Governor Isiaka Adeleke that nursed her to good well being.
He intentionally made certain that he nursed her to good well being. He paid all her payments and he was at all times watching out for her.
He would repeatedly inform her, Tessy, it’s important to at all times be careful in your well being. You need to watch out about your well being. Don’t take this, don’t take that.
He was a brother that she didn’t have. So when he died, it actually affected her. It was like she didn’t care anymore! Even till her dying, a few of her final phrases have been, ‘Ah, if Gov have been alive, issues wouldn’t have been like this for me!’
After the dying of ex-Governor Adeleke, was she nonetheless going to the Adelekes’ dwelling in Ede?
On occasion, she used to go there to see his spouse and the opposite family members. Typically, Uncle Demola, the Senator and brother of ‘Gov’, would name her and she or he would go for his or her occasions.
Nevertheless it was not like earlier than. His dying actually depressed her. My mom’s well being began deteriorating after he died. She couldn’t journey up and down like she used to do. And he or she began dancing much less and fewer.
There was additionally Otunba Feyi Winfunke. What function did he play in her life?
Oh! That too was like an elder brother to her. However he died earlier. He was the proprietor of Waterparks in Ikeja; a rich man in these days! He was additionally one in every of her benefactors.
When that one died, one thing in my mum died too. It was truly that evening when she returned from his wake that she developed a stroke.
That was 9 years in the past. On the way in which again from that exact occasion, she was robbed. She obtained dwelling and I comforted her.
However in the midst of the evening, she woke as much as go to the remainder room and that was when she had a stroke. Otunba Feyi Winfunke was good to her and created enterprise alternatives for her.
Aside from dancing and anchoring occasions, what else was she doing as a way of livelihood?
She used to purchase and promote jewelry. She had pals who got here from overseas to offer her stuffs to promote. She recruited ushers for large occasions and provided wine for events.
A lot earlier in life, she used to coach dancers. She was additionally promoting garments which girls wore to excessive society events.
When you gave her your aso ebi (ceremonial uniform) to promote, you knew that you’d reap good revenue, as a result of she would promote to the excessive and mighty.
What precisely was the character of her illness?
She had hypertension. A lot later, she turned diabetic, however she was capable of handle it correctly. Issues, nevertheless, took a drastic flip throughout this Covid-19 vacation.
All these years when she was effervescent at main events, did she have these sicknesses?
No, she wasn’t diabetic then. However she used to have hypertension of which by the point she took her medication, she could be okay. Alongside the road, she turned diabetic.
Was she consuming a lot of sugar?
In fact she was! She was at all times at events. While you dwell such a life, undoubtedly you should have sugar points sooner or later.
That’s as a result of if you find yourself at events most instances, even if you happen to don’t wish to drink or eat cake, your folks will say take just a little or are you quarrelling with us? She used to come back dwelling with muffins frequently.
Even folks she has accomplished favours for previously ship muffins to her. She would give my kids these muffins and the kids would pressure her to eat the muffins with them. So, somehow, she was doing sugar!
What number of kids did she have?
We’re simply two. My brother is in America.
How did he react to her dying?
He felt fairly unhealthy. I really feel fairly unhealthy too (pause). He’ll pull by way of. I’ll pull by way of too. I’ve to stay robust for my mom and for my kids.
Did Tessy use to speak to him? Does he want to come to Nigeria?
Sure, they typically talked. She at all times wished him effectively. And sometimes, they have been doing video calls. He doesn’t wish to come to Nigeria.
What number of kids do you might have now?
I’ve two: a boy and a woman. It was the lady that she did birthday for not too long ago. It was her final socials.
What does your brother in America do for a residing?
He works in a grocery store. He’s simply managing himself.
When final did he come to Nigeria?
He has not been coming. It’s virtually 15 years now that he was final right here.
What do you recall of your mother in her heydays when she was creating dance-steps for music movies?
She was a artistic, vibrant girl. Give her a beat and she or he would create a dance step for it and dance her coronary heart out! Nobody will see her and wouldn’t say, ‘Wow, this girl is energetic and trendy!’ And he or she would dance until dawn. She was so energetic; I can’t be a match for such power.
Which of the musicians do you do not forget that she labored with?
There was Monday John, Sir Shina Peters, Dele Taiwo, Obesere and the late Barrister, simply to say the few ones that I can keep in mind now. I do know that there have been many extra.
Did she used to let you know tales about her works with well-known folks?
Sure, she used to. And I used to be seeing them myself on tv mainly once I attend a number of events together with her. I used to be residing with Sir Shina Peters way back to once I was two years previous. He was the one paying my faculty charges then.
He took care of me. I knew my mum’s pals. I knew the folks she was working with and I knew that it was her job. Early in life, I knew that was what was bringing meals to the desk. I used to be coping.
Inform us about her final one week.
She turned weaker however nonetheless she pretended to be robust. I used to be telling her, ‘Mum, see the way in which you’re strolling; you’re weak.’ After I woke within the morning I’d ask her how was your evening? She replied. ‘It’s honest.
God will heal me.’ We might then maintain palms and pray collectively. I took her to the Common Hospital at Oguntolu, however we have been instructed that solely emergencies could possibly be attended to.
I nonetheless ensured I purchased the cardboard and registered her. My mum by no means favored the ambiance of a hospital, however she was devoted to taking her medicines.
Her case was not thought to be an emergency! I’m sorry, however identical to the opposite unhealthy instances that we met there, we have been all instructed to return dwelling, and many of the sick folks went again dwelling to die like my mum did. (Tears welled up in her eyes, and poured forth as she pressured herself to focus on the interview).
I refused to depart as my mum stored telling me that she was feeling terrible pains throughout her physique. I defined to them on the hospital that my mum couldn’t sleep. She was typically complaining of extreme headache and pains throughout her physique.
Subsequent, I took her to a close-by clinic on the recommendation of one in every of her pals who knew somebody there. She was handled for malaria and typhoid simply to offer her some type of reduction. She truly mentioned she felt just a little bit higher. However the second day, it turned worse.
So I requested her what we must always do and she or he mentioned she didn’t know. I known as some medical doctors and nurses that we all know round, all of them instructed assessments. A nurse volunteered to take us to a lab. After we obtained there we discovered that she had low blood rely, like 20 per cent.
We tried to spice up her blood however she was not enhancing. Then she turned weaker. At that time, she was not sleeping once more and was hardly consuming. Even to drink water was an issue. She sat up for 2 days and couldn’t sleep.
I instructed her please lets go to the hospital once more; a minimum of they’ll see there that it’s an emergency. We obtained there nonetheless she was not taken in. As a substitute, they instructed us to name Covid -19 quantity whether or not they would take her in since they have been the one ones that would soak up folks for remedy.
We known as and despatched texts however there was no response. A good friend of hers despatched in a automotive for us to take her to a different Common Hospital, however at that time, she couldn’t transfer her physique once more. 4 of us carried her into the automotive.
She was in a lot ache. We went to Gbadaga Common Hospital once more. After we obtained there, I pleaded with them however they didn’t reply me. They mentioned why did we anticipate it to get so unhealthy earlier than coming? I instructed them that I introduced her however your folks didn’t take her.
We left for Ikeja Common Hospital. After we obtained there they gave us hope. They allowed us to register her, cleared a mattress house for her.
Later they got here again to conduct a take a look at for her, all kinds solely to inform us to take her to LUTH in Idiaraba. On our approach, she stopped respiratory. I beat her, she was not responding. I touched her she was nonetheless heat. I didn’t know she was useless.
At LUTH, the medical doctors have been scared to the touch her due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And when finally they checked out her, I used to be instructed she was mind useless, no pulse and she or he had stopped respiratory.
I requested what that meant, they mentioned she was useless. I fainted. They revived me. That was when it dawned on me that my mom was useless and I’d not see her anymore.