On Wednesday night, news of the demise of Sadiq Daba, ace actor and broadcaster, broke and sent the social media into a frenzy. The reactions that greeted the news were indicative of Daba’s towering legacies in the Nigerian movie and broadcasting landscape. In his heyday as an actor and broadcaster, he was the favourite for millions of viewers due to his oratory prowess.
SADIQ DABA: EARLY DAYS AND FINDING FAME
Not much is known about Daba’s family and growing up but the legendary actor had his secondary education at St. Edward’s Secondary School in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The 69-year-old thereafter pursued his tertiary education and had higher degrees in many institutions including Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Zaria, Kaduna state.
Being a young man with the potentials and determination to succeed, it wasn’t long before he started to garner attention as a broadcaster with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
Daba was not the regular broadcaster. His communication and presentation skills marked him out among his colleagues. Together with the likes of Yinka Craig, another late broadcaster, Daba offered viewers relatable content that helped the audience to make informed decisions.
After 35 years of impact and excellence, he left the NTA and called time on his career as a broadcaster. He, however, continued with his acting career.
Daba came to the limelight in the late 70s after starring as Bitrus in ‘Cockcrow at Dawn,’ a popular soap opera on NTA. He had an illustrious career as an actor and snagged numerous awards as well as recognition. He also featured in several hit movies including ‘October 1’ and ‘Citation‘, two movies by Kunle Afolayan.
In 2015, he won the best actor award at the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) and the industry merit award at the 2016 edition of Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Award (AMVCA).
BECAME A BROADCASTER BY MISTAKE
Given his remarkable career strides, saying Daba and broadcasting were a match made in heaven won’t be an exaggeration. Yet that was never the case.
He never considered broadcasting at the outset of his journey to Nigeria. In a 2017 interview with TheCable Lifestyle, Daba revealed that his foray into broadcasting was a mistake.
“That (broadcasting) never crossed my mind, because then, I just wanted to come back and see where my father came from and that is Nigeria. That is the sole reason why I came back home. Getting into broadcasting in Nigeria was purely perchance, by mistake. That did not bring me here,” he had said.
BATTLE WITH LEUKEMIA AND PROSTATE CANCER
Daba’s glowing career suffered a huge blow in 2017 when he was diagnosed with leukemia and prostate cancer. Although he travelled to the UK thereafter for treatment, his deteriorating health situation became a major concern after returning to the country.
The movie star, however, came out to dismiss death rumours about him later in the year after reports had claimed that his health condition had worsened.
“I am not dead nor dying I!! God has been and will Always be faithful to me and my plight, because that is my covenant with Him,” he had said.
“My doctors have been wonderful and I am responding to treatment. …..my love and thanks to all those who have called to sympathize and empathize with me…..God bless you.”
In spite of his claim, speculations surrounding his health continued to grow. Amid his battle with leukemia and prostate cancer, the renowned broadcaster was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — further raising concerns.
Daba was also in the news in 2019 after he sought financial assistance from the public for his medical upkeep. Femi Otedola, billionaire businessman, had at the time, promised to foot the actor’s medical bills as a way of appreciating his heroics.
“For me, taking care of Sadiq’s medical expenses is my little way of showing appreciation and gratitude for the good memories he created for me and others in the past,” he had said in a statement to TheCable.
FOUGHT ILLS IN NOLLYWOOD, DIED WITH NO REGRETS
Away from Daba’s heroics as an actor and broadcaster, he was also known for speaking truth to power. In 2017, he had condemned the politics of giving recognition based on “favouritism” in the movie industry.
“The things I am not happy about is what we talked about concerning the recognition going the wrong ways because of the kind of leadership we have at the helms of affairs in Nigeria who believe in rewarding mediocrities instead of hardworking people and looking around for who and who have contributed what,” he had said.
“If you don’t dance to their music, you are as good as useless. I am sure you have never seen me dancing on the platform of any political party. I will never do it. These are the kind of people they like. These are the kind of people they recognise.”
He also revealed that he had no regrets, explaining that he had achieved all he craved in life. “I have done all I want to do. I have no regrets, I’m very happy,” he added.
CONQUERED ‘FAKE FRIENDS’
In 2017, Daba had also revealed how he overcame “fake friends” who swirled around him because of what they stand to benefit from him when he used to smoke.
“I used to have friends when I used to drink and smoke. Now as far as they are concerned, I’m a useless man. I’m a liability. Maybe it’s even better for me because I am seeing the world in a different light,” he had said.
“Now I can tell real friends from fake friends. Most of them come because they know I will buy free drinks and pepper soup. It’s not like they like me. It takes a transition for you to know all these.”
Daba may have passed on but his legacies as an actor and broadcaster will remain evergreen for years to come.
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