Ayinla Omowura Biography, Age, Songs, Wife, Family and Death

Ayinla Waidi Yusuf Gbogbolowo, also known as Ayinla Omowura, was a Nigerian Apala musician born in Itoko, Abeokuta, in 1933.


Omowura was the son of blacksmith Yusuff Gbogbolowo and Wuramotu Morenike. He had no formal schooling and began working at his father’s smithy before leaving to work as a driver, butcher, carpenter, and bus park boy. Adewole Alao Oniluola, who became his main drummer and began an apprenticeship in Olalomi, an Apala variation, discovered him.

Ayinla was noted for his feuds with other artists, even his superiors, such as Haruna Ishola, whom he subsequently admitted was his superior. He also disagreed with Ayinde Barrister, Fatai Olowonyo, Yesufu Olatunji, and Dauda Epo Akara. These feuds colored his songs throughout his career. He was known for his quick temper, pot usage, and violent altercations.


Despite his lack of formal education, Omowura was well-versed in current affairs and possessed a grasp of puns, proverbs, innuendos, and metaphors. He was a social commentator, critic, and moral teacher. He frequently functioned as a conduit for conveying official policies to the public, as well as a messenger from the organizations to the government. In his 1976 album, Owo Udoji, he praised the government for pay increases while demanding the same in the private sector.

He described the Lagos rent edict to his listeners in Orin Owo Ile Eko and complimented the Mobolaji Johnson-led Lagos State administration for the people-oriented policy. In his album National Census, he affected the public’s reaction to the procedure and discussed the 1973 National Census. During the General Yakubu Gowon-led military regime, he discussed the transition in driving from the left to the right-hand side, as well as the evolution of the Nigerian currency from the colonial Pound Sterling to the Naira and Kobo in the 1973 album Challenge Cup ’73. Aside from current events, he utilized his albums to promote the value of sports. His songs also urged constructive social change and depicted both sadness and happiness.

He was also an outspoken opponent of ladies who bleached their skin and promiscuous women. He went by several identities and gained the title Hadji Costly for his ostentatious clothing in agbada made of high-grade Swiss lace and gold jewelry. His other nicknames were Egunmogaji, Anigilaje, and Alujannu Elere, indicating his reputation as music’s enfant terrible at the time.


Nomura was born a Muslim and embraced the faith, including the Hajj, in 1975. He did, however, participate in traditional religious rites. He was married to Tawakalitu Owonikoko and Afusatu of the Ile Eleni tribe.


He produced 22 LP records for EMI Records (now Ivory Records Nigeria), two of which were published posthumously and have stayed in circulation.

  • 1972 – National Population Census
  • 1972 – Challenge Cup ’72
  • 1973 – Orin Owo Ile Eko (Lagos Rent Edict)
  • 1973 – Challenge Cup ’73
  • 1974 – Challenge Cup ’74
  • 1976 – Owo Udoji
  • Owo Tuntun


Ayinla aged 47, was slain in a bar brawl on May 6, 1980. He died of a brain hemorrhage after being hit on the head with a beer cup by his manager at the time, Bayewu. A few years later, Bayewu was brought to court and sentenced to death. EMI Records recorded at least 50,000 copies sold on his albums on the day he died.


Following the deaths of Omowura in 1980 and Haruna Ishola in 1983, Apala music’s popularity decreased and was supplanted mainly by Fuji music. Terry Apala and Q-dot Alagbe, two new school Nigerian artists, have created songs influenced by Omowura’s approach.

Omowura’s conflict with Ayinde Barrister laid the groundwork for the musical feud between Barrister and Killington since Killington acquired the form and structure of Omowura’s music and Omowura’s rivals.

On the 40th anniversary of his death, an album titled Anigilaje was published in his honor. Oyetola Oniwide, a lecturer and radio broadcaster, Sefiu Alao, a Fuji musician, and Halimat Omowura, an Apala singer and Omowura’s daughter, collaborated on the project. On the 13-track project, Omowura’s 95-year-old drummer played the drums, which Sefiu Alao vocalized.

Ibikunle Amosun, a former governor of Ogun State, rebuilt his Omowura Itoko mansion in Abeokuta in preparation for the 40th anniversary of his death.

Festus Adedayo, a lawyer and writer, wrote Ayinla Omowura: Life and Times of an Apala Legend in 2020. When asked why Omowura is still relevant, Adedayo stated, “Ayinla has always had a cult following, and many of his supporters consider his songs timeless.” Until recently, it was rare to encounter a performer with such piercing lyrics. That void cannot and will not be replaced by another musician.”

Tunde Kelani, an Abeokuta local who saw Omowura as a youngster in his neighborhood, directed and produced a film named Ayinla, which was released on June 18, 2021.

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