Race to Save Legs of Tin­sel Star, Vic­tor Olaotan

Fer­di­nand Ekechukwu re­ports on the cam­paign to raise fund and save the legs of vet­eran thes­pian, Vic­tor Olaotan, one of the stars of Tin­sel, a long-run­ning tele­vi­sion drama se­ries

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The 66-year-old Vic­tor Olaotan is best known for his role as Fred Ade-Wil­liams in the long-run­ning tele­vi­sion drama se­ries “Tin­sel” where he warmed his way into the con­scious­ness of tele­vi­sion view­ers. The vet­eran thes­pian has been com­pletely off the scene for the past two years af­ter a ghastly ac­ci­dent cost him the use of his legs.

Ac­cord­ing to a Gofundme page cre­ated by one Em­manuel Ajibade that went live on Sun­day 2nd De­cem­ber, the ac­tor is ap­peal­ing for fi­nan­cial aid to seek med­i­cal treat­ment abroad. Af­ter the ghastly ac­ci­dent in 2016, the ac­tor was placed in a med­i­cally in­duced coma as he was treated for months. He has been fac­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of his two legs be­ing am­pu­tated to save his life and his fam­ily has been work­ing to pre­vent this as best as they could in the last two years. Right now, Olaotan needs $50,000 to seek treat­ment abroad.

The mes­sage on his Gofundme page reads: Vic­tor Toye Olaotan has brought Joy to teem­ing view­ers on stage, tele­vi­sion and the big screen through his solid work as a pro­fes­sional ac­tor. For the last two years, he has been in­ca­pac­i­tated fol­low­ing an ac­ci­dent. Vic­tor is still fight­ing and he has been ad­vised to seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion out­side our Nige­rian shores; we im­plore your help in raising the funds.”

This is needed to en­able him ur­gently un­dergo neu­rore­ha­bil­i­ta­tion; a med­i­cal pro­ce­dure de­signed to aid re­cov­ery from ner­vous sys­tem in­jury or dis­or­ders of the ner­vous sys­tem.

The good news is that bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man, Femi Otedola re­sponded whole­hearted by promis­ing to take up the ail­ing ac­tor’s med­i­cal bills. An­nounc­ing the cheery news via his In­sta­gram post on Tues­day morn­ing, vet­eran ac­tor Richard Mofe-Damijo wrote: “So, a few days ago, I reached out to @femiotedola ask­ing for help for my friend and brother Vic­tor and just this morn­ing, Femi calls to tell me that he would take care of all of Vic­tor’s bills. He told me that he is al­ready on it and that his peo­ple are al­ready talk­ing with Vic­tor’s wife. Is God not awe­some????? I can’t even con­tain my joy and grat­i­tude. Thank you Femi @femiotedola . . . .”

Born in La­gos in the early 50s, Olaotan stud­ied Drama at the Univer­sity of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo Univer­sity and Rock­ets Univer­sity in the United States of Amer­ica.

In 1981, Olaotan joined a group of eight Nige­rian per­form­ers who ac­com­pa­nied for­mer Nige­rian pres­i­dent Shehu Sha­gari to the United States to have a meet­ing with Ronald Re­gan. “I trav­eled abroad in 1978 and came back in 1980. They were se­lect­ing eight and good per­form­ing artistes in Nige­ria and I hap­pened to be one of them. Oth­ers were Tunji Oye­lana, Yemi Remi, Joe Adigwe, De­mola Oni­bon-Okuta, Tayo Taiwo and oth­ers.

“We went to five states in United States and the pres­i­dent of the US at that time gave us a brooch each. It is called pres­i­den­tial medal. If you are giv­ing that brooch, no mat­ter what you do in Amer­ica, you will be for­giv­ing be­cause it shows that you have been par­doned by the pres­i­dent. I don’t know where I put mine till to­day. I lost it may be out of youth­ful ex­u­ber­ance. I went to three dif­fer­ent univer­si­ties in the United States to study act­ing.”

A well-groomed stage and screen ac­tor, Un­cle Vic­tor, as younger col­leagues call him, be­gan his ca­reer as an ac­tor at a very young age. An ac­com­plished ac­tor who cut his teeth on stage fea­tur­ing in Ola Ro­timi’s epic play, God’s Are Not to Blame. Olaotan, who learnt un­der the feet of theatre greats, like Pro­fes­sors Ad­edeji, Wole Soyinka, Jimi Solanke and Dapo Adel­ugba, had a stint as a foot­baller.

But as he was at that, the urge to act crept up. A chance meet­ing with ace tele­vi­sion pro­ducer, Laolu Ogun­niyi, and Olaotan was on the tele­vi­sion screen in Ibadan. He re­called: “I used to go Nige­ria Tele­vi­sion Au­thor­ity (NTA), Ibadan to do some act­ing back then. It was on one of those days that I en­coun­tered a pro­ducer named Laolu Ogun­niyi. He was in charge of a soap opera on tele­vi­sion ti­tled, Can­dle in the Wind. He later pro­duced Wind Against My Soul and gave me a role to play in it.

“That is from where I started act­ing on screen and I was at that un­til I left the coun­try for the US as soon as I lost my dad.”

Olaotan lived abroad for over 20 years and re­turned in 2002. He also had op­por­tu­ni­ties to take part in a cou­ple of stage pro­duc­tions, in­clud­ing tour­ing with the epic play, Sizwe Bansi is Dead and play­ing Othello in Shake­speare’s play of same ti­tle at the Shake­speare Fes­ti­val.

Or­di­nar­ily, the per­son of Olaotan would want to be seen ac­tive and very well en­gaged in his act­ing pro­fes­sion, but for the un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent which has threat­ened to end his ca­reer. An ac­tor’s ac­tor of vast credit, Olaotan last ap­peared on the screen in the movies Lotanna and The Three Wise Men which were shot be­fore the ac­ci­dent.

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