Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Celebrating Village Headmaster’s Amebo at 82
By Jaiyeola Ajasa

The tapestry of Nigerian television is intricately woven with the threads of iconic personalities. One of such names that echo with a timeless resonance is Mrs Ibidun Allison, affectionately known as Amebo.
The contours of her screen journey, etched with passion and dedication, unfold into a captivating narrative of a woman who defies the constraints of age and gracefully wields the scepter of her craft, spanning decades.

In the echelon of the Village Headmaster TV series, Allison etched her name into the collective memory of a nation. Amebo, the character synonymous with her own, became more than a mere role, translating into a phenomenon that reverberated with millions across the country, if not, the globe.
What’s even more striking is that, at 82, she stands a testament to the ageless allure of talent infused with tenacity. And, the revelation of her age is met with incredulity.

Mama Ibidun, as she’s fondly called, boasts of a journey that spans decades and unfolds as time rolls by. No doubt a luminary, her portrayal of Amebo in the darling TV series of yesteryears, became more than a character, but somehow became a phenomenon still held by many of her million fans as a timeless legacy that endures, even after the curtains had closed on the show years after.

Now at 82, Amebo stands as a living proof to the ageless allure of elegance and dignity, the octogenarian still stands straight and upright. For a woman her age — no walking stick and no feeble gait — just a spirit that radiates vitality. Her silver strands are the sole affirmation to the passage of time, her face, a tableau of a life well-lived.

Narrating her journey into Village Headmaster, she said it unfolded serendipitously. “Chief Olusola opened the door to the scripts and characters that would redefine my career. “The script, a mere whisper at first, unraveled a role that would become iconic — Amebo. Initially, it was meant to be a character in the background, but it evolved into a robust presence, with writers infusing more of her essence into the storyline.”

Amebo, often misconstrued as a village gossip, holds a deeper significance , it turned out. As narrated by the character herself, Amebo [or, spelt as Avwebo in the proper Delta tongue] means the favourite wife of a man who has many wives, with the woman as the confidante privy to the secrets that the husband won’t tell his other wives.

Ibidun’s portrayal brought nuance and authenticity, embellishing without resorting to falsehood. She then transcended a character; it became a manifestation of Ibidun’s prowess as a trained dramatist and actress.
Born in 1941 in Sapele in the then Western region and today’s Delta State, Ibidun’s foray into entertainment began with a childhood fantasy and assertion. At 12, after witnessing a performance by the legendary Hubert Ogunde, she declared her own destiny.

And despite dreams of becoming a pharmacist, the allure of stage proved irresistible for her. Her journey then took her to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where she honed her skills in drama, broadcasting and scriptwriting.

The London School of Music and TV production further enriched her craft.
Her life’s philosophy reflects the wisdom gleaned from a rich tapestry of experiences. Modesty, honesty, truthfulness, and contentment are the cornerstones of her outlook. Her early love for singing and dancing laid the foundation for a stylish and expressive persona. The name Ibidun Folakan retained through marriage, became a testament to the constancy of her identity.

Beyond acting, Ibidun engages in diverse interests. She visits her children and grandchildren, enjoys company of friends, and actively participates in Church activities. Her commercial endeavours include endorsements for companies like Lever Brothers and Nestle, with her very recent affiliation being with Glo.

Honours and accolades have adorned the amiable woman’s life for her over three decades’ contributions to the arts and broadcasting industry. Her conferred title of Otun Iyalode of Remo in Ogun state also attests to her community impact.

Tales on the pleasant woman that always wear consistent smiles round the corners of her mouth cannot be wrapped up without reflecting her embodiment of indelible imprint on the annals of Nigerian television with her voice at 82, still as firm as it was in her hey days.

IMAGE: Mrs Ibidun Allison, the legendary “Amebo” of the Village Headmaster sequence.


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