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Checkmate Director, Bolaji Dawodu, Dies

Bolaji Dawodu
Bolaji Dawodu
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February 06, (THEWILL) – Bolaji Dawodu, the director of popular TV series, Checkmate is dead. His death comes eight years after the creator of the series, Amaka Igwe passed on. The ace director and producer gave up the ghost a few days ago. A few months before his untimely death, the late movie producer posted a statement on Facebook that is somewhat connected to his death.  He lamented that life had been too hard on him and he had been living from hand to mouth.

Although he has produced and directed some of the best television drama series and movies in the past and also transformed some Nollywood practitioners to the superstars that they are today, his success, however, didn’t translate to wealth for him.

In the Facebook statement which was posted about six months before his sad death, Dawodu called the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari; the Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed; the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, to his plight, stating that should he drop dead any moment, it would be as a result of his unbearable condition.

According to the statement, Dawodu’s friends and colleagues had made an effort to provide him financial support. They raised money for his upkeep and some for his projects, which yielded bountiful financial rewards. Unfortunately, fraudsters had a field day with his bank account, leaving him with only N2,637. His efforts to get his bank to do something about his loss, failed to yield the desired results.

A friend who got to know about Dawodu’s predicament gave him N3,000 for transportation to the bank where he tried to convince one of its top-ranking officials to intervene in the matter, but in vain.

A sympathetic neighbour also lent him some money so that he could visit another branch of the bank, but the outcome was the same as others. He was later advised to block the account as it was proving too difficult to recover his loss. Another Good Samaritan sent him the sum of N3,000 with which he was able to withdraw some cash across the counter, pay off his debt and afterwards decided to borrow some money online. He applied for a soft loan from one of the online borrowing apps and the money was paid into his Sterling Bank account.

By midnight the following day, the money in the account had also been stolen by Internet fraudsters. His complaints at the bank also yielded no result and he had to block the account as well. Left with nothing to fall back on, the veteran movie maker had to go on a hunger strike.

Dawodu instructed that in the event of his death, his body should be deposited in front of any branch of Guaranty Trust Bank so that the management would use the money that was fraudulently taken from his account to bury him.  It was gathered that the bespectacled director never recovered from the shock and depression he suffered as a result of the series of unauthorised withdrawals from his bank accounts. His health deteriorated as help was no longer forthcoming, despite his calls for assistance.

He unfortunately passed on six months after the ugly incident. Since his untimely demise, some notable actors who benefitted from his wealth of knowledge on the set of Checkmate have been paying glowing tributes to him.

Checkmate, one of the most popular TV series the late director worked on, was a hit in the 1990s. It was considered to be one of the best things to happened to the movie industry in Nigeria at that time. Bolaji Dawodu also worked on other successful TV soaps, such as Super Story and Papa Ajasco and Company created by Wale Adenuga, as well as Nneka the Pretty Serpent and Battle of Musanga,  produced by Okechukwu Ogunjiofor and Gab Okoye, respectively, among others.