Juju maestro, King Sunny Ade, has denied an allegation that his former guitarist, Fatoke Abiodun, who was recently arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, was unceremoniously retired.
Abiodun, who was allegedly caught with 1.575kg of cocaine, had claimed he didn’t get any severance money from KSA when he was retired in 2007 after playing with the musician for 30 years.
Abiodun had said he “faced the bitter side of life,” without the severance money. As such, he had no choice but to get involved in the crime.
However, KSA has said his former guitarist was not a member of staff of his company but just a member of his band, who was not entitled to a severance pay.
“I pay salaries to the members of staff of my company. As for my band members, we share money based on what we make at every show where we perform. I would first of all, remove the money for taxes, equipment we used and other stuff connected to the performance. Thereafter, the remaining money is shared among all of us.
“Before now, I advised my band members that we should have a common purse, where we should leave money for welfare. But they refused and insisted that everything should be shared.
“If he and the others had agreed to my advice then, he wouldn’t have had any reason to say he didn’t get any severance allowance,” the musician said.
On why he retired Abiodun, KSA says he changes his band members every three years in order to be current and follow the trend.
“But he worked for me for 30 years. Those who have even worked for me for two years are so well off now. How can he say he didn’t have anything after 30 years? Are those there now complaining?
“And to set the records straight, I didn’t sack him, he left on his own. We came back from an international show and he told me he wanted to start his own band and said I should assist him.
“Before I knew what was happening, he went to Ibadan with my guitar without my knowledge in order to start his own band. I told him to return my guitar and when he didn’t, I had to involve the police. That was how he left,” KSA added.
He said he had not seen Abiodun since he left his band in 2007.
“Anybody who is involved in any crime has it in him. It is not proper for anybody to say that it was a condition that led him to a crime. He was among those in the high category in my band. It is surprising that he claimed he had nothing. I have never seen or heard from him since he left my band.
“In the 30 years he worked for me, he never exhibited such criminal attitude. I am always concerned about the people travelling with me. I make sure we all travel light and get whatever we need for the performance in the country we are going.
“I have never seen cocaine. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and we are always checked thoroughly at the airport here and at the airport over there,” he said.