By FEMI AKINTUNDE JOHNSON
I ‘met’ this quiet, almost somnolent man through “Evil Encounter” …in the early 80s, and I had been studying his works through the terrifyingly exciting 80s of the original Lagos Weekend Television, LWT when I would suffer bouts of self-induced insomnia while watching the martinees, detective pieces, some adventure flicks, and plenty of sitcoms and local diet…
My addiction for the original LWT was so extreme that my poor mother almost called a larger family meeting over my 72-hour weekly vigil, between Fridays evenings and Monday mornings…when I’d groggily saunter to work – from Iponri, near Apapa Road, Ebute Metta, Lagos… to former Adeola Hopewell Street, Victoria Island where I worked as a clerk – in 1982/83. I never knew how I got to work on Mondays; and was half-hearted at work most Fridays…just so I could get away from work, and plug into the weekend watch-mania…all over again.
It was all Jimi Odumosu’s fault! He was head of the Lagos Television, LTV, then, or in charge of programming in the new station, making the octopal NTA look clay footed.
Years later, by Providence, I came in contact with him – flesh seeing flesh – as I found myself in his profession, or a part of his many stuffs.
This is what I wrote about Jimi Odumosu in my book, REFLECTIONS: Anthology of Thoughts on Nigerian Movie industry (2021):
“If we were to ignite a storm of controversy, we would insist that all productions dubbed on videos after 1985, if indeed there was one, were latecomers to the format; for as far back as 1982/1983, many parts of Lagos had woken up to see video tapes of rave-of-that-moment TV series, Evil Encounter by Jimi Odumosu – on the streets, a day or two after the weekend airing. But that will be giving glory to pirates, as the then young brilliant producer of Nigeria’s first truly enchanting ‘horror movie’, on the newly established Lagos Television (LTV) station, didn’t know how his pet project got on VHS tapes! However, were he buying these tapes out of professional curiosity, and a level of conceit, he would have had something to show, now that the tapes and u-matic cartridges of that splendid serials have perished in some fire outbreak in the mid-80s, and subsequent ‘second generation’ retrievals, also suffered technical wipe-out, few years ago. Truly evil encounters!
In 2004, Odumosu reprised his ingenuity with another emotional blockbuster movie called The Mourning After (featuring Prof. Ahmed Yerima, a professor of theatre, and a clean-pated Bimbo Akintola as a widow traumatised by the demands of African traditions).
Odumosu has worked in the industry for over 40 years as a scriptwriter, producer, director, administrator, consultant; and retired as Permanent Secretary and General Manager of Lagos Television, to focus on building more talents, and nurturing budding creatives. He is now the CEO and ‘visioneer’ of Lagcity Film Academy, Lagos.
With hundreds of TV drama episodes logged as a writer, producer or director, Odumosu has got the stuff of a legend. Few more tips: The Village Headmaster, For Better for Worse, Fiery Force, and M-Net’s Doctors Quarters.”
Today… almost surreal… he is 70 years old. CONGRATULATIONS, Baba Jimi Odumosu. Long may you reign in abundance of talents, and tranquility. As we said in years passed: Your admirers are in legion…and they all greet and celebrate you today… HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY, Sir! Thank