Nigerian veteran actor and dramatist, Joseph Abiodun Babatunde Adu, popularly known as JAB Adu, has died in his Abeokuta, Ogun State home early Sunday morning. He was aged 83. While the detail of his demise still remains sketchy, the source said the man renowned for his role as ‘Bassey Okon’ in the popular Nigerian Television Authority, NTA Drama series, ‘The Village Headmaster’, has been contending with illness associated with old age.
Trained as a professional banker before settling as an actor, late Jab Adu had an illustrious career on stage, television and film. An abridged version of his biography written by Adegboyega Arulogun stated that Jab Adu started his adult life as a banker with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
While with the apex bank, he squeezed out time to participate as an actor and writer in the popular Village Headmaster, in which he played the role of Bassey Okon, the doctor, dispenser and pharmacist of Oja village. The deceased was born in Calabar, Cross River State. Thus, it was easy for him to play the role of an Efik in the junction town of Oja. He left banking in 1970 and went into full acting, writing and production.
He was more renowned in acting but his creative pedigree transcends not just acting that he was very well known for on the screen. He was a film producer whose production credits include “Bisi, Daughter of the River” and “Adio’s Family”, a series he co-produced with NTA. The film was one of the pioneering efforts that followed “Kongi’s Harvest” and “Things Fall Apart.”
Based upon the Yoruba legend of Olurombi and shot on 35mm on celluloid on location both in Lagos and Badagry, the film threw a challenge to the American and Indian films in the Nigerian cinema circuit because of its production quality and Nigerians’ thirst to see their own people on the cinema screens in the theatres. Jab Adu, while alive, was a devotee of Grail Movement.