•The Popular LAGOS Socialite, Tells City People
In the ’80s and ’90s, he was unarguably the most popular socialite on the social scene. He rocked life like no one else.
All over Lagos, everyone calls him, Eko Round City. This is because he was truly around the city. But his real name is Biodun Owoyele. He is from Awe in Oyo State. But he has lived all his life in Lagos.
For very many years, this Big Boy who will soon be 70 rocked the social circle in Lagos from the Mainland to the Island. No party was complete without him. Recently, Eko Round City lost 2 of his friends and he told City People about his loss and the story of his life.
How did you feel when you heard about the death of your friend of many years, Lobito, some weeks back?
It was really unfortunate that he died. Lobito was a secretive and unpredictable person. He had integrity within the community. He was always on his own and had no time to gossip. He was a good friend, both in my presence and absence. It’s so painful that he died that way and I think the burial was a very befitting one. Everybody was there and they contributed to the success of the burial.
Shina Peter too was present at the burial.
Were Shina Peters and Lobito friends some years back?
Lobito was a DJ, a popular one at that. That time Lobito Disco came out in the early 70s. He was in Baptist Academy, A’level in Igbobi at that time. He furthered to University in Washington and lived in Chicago. He later came back to Nigeria.
The music “Lobito Disco” made him popular and as an Igbobian, he had counterparts who had. They all attended the burial, people like Ebony, and Harrison. He was a man that helped people a lot during our generation. But you know, after the burial, everybody had to go back to their destination.
His death made everybody adjust because another man’s experience is always a lesson for others. We are seeing what is happening to people after their death and it is always bad news that spreads faster than the good news.
How did you hear about the death of Lobito?
He died in Epe And when we heard the news, we were very sober. There was a time he had an accommodation issue and one of his boys gave him a duplex in Epe he died two or three weeks thereafter. He came back home that day, ate and later started vomiting blood. He died that night. His nickname was General which his boys called him, while Adekaz was the Brigadier. Adekaz’s death too was so strange because he made a statement “General Lobito, you will wait for me at the gate of heaven, I will join you there” and immediately we left Ebony and were about to climb Obalende Bridge, we heard that Adekaz had died too. It was around 2 pm.
We should be careful the way we speak. We did Ade’s burial in Ayepe, 8 days back to Eko Club last Friday.
Everybody was also there too to celebrate Adekaz; Collins Akpakuna that organised the DJ, Segun Alawaye, Seyi Bally, Folake, and Shade were there too. People that are outside the country joined us through zoom just like the way we did Lobito’s own too. May their souls rest in perfect peace.
What has been happening to Eko Round City lately?
I have been quiet because no one owns the world. If you know how to manage your life, you will always want to avoid embarrassment outside. People thought I was pompous because of my walking stick during the 70s and 80s when I was doing my business in Marina then. Any party I went to then, I went in my full regalia. I still have my designer in here. I love it! Now, I don’t go to parties I am not invited anymore. It is been a long I did that and I enjoyed life to the fullest I can say nobody had social life as I did. I moved to know people that matter and I didn’t associate myself with someone that didn’t know. I know a lot of people and this has been the source of my blessings God has been blessing me because I believe He is the only one that I bless.
I have 3 children in Maryland, another in England and another one who just finished as a first-class graduate and about to go to Canada for a master’s degree. I think I tried. My only regret is my wife that messed up. She travelled for 18 years and I was nurturing our children and I gave them the best. They attended K-Kotun and Top Grades for their academic education. She just messed the whole situation up because I was not there with her, but thank God for today that I am enjoying my life. I don’t want to marry again!
Why didn’t you remarry since18 years ago when your wife left?
At my mother-in-law’s burial, my wife and I were still in contact even her grandmother too was aware of everything then. It was after she became a citizen, that she started seeing my weaknesses. She commented about the wounds on my leg and other things. She started bullying me but I am a very strong person that remained unshaken. I pleaded to God to remove my lace from her, though I am still in contact with my children. I can’t go out because of my leg but I still communicate with my children. If not for my leg, I should be beside Abdulramon Abdulrasak because we have been together for so long. He made me know the late Gen. Abacha and the firstborn, Mohammed.
How did you get the name Eko Round City?
My father had six wives and you know Yoruba culture that you must respect those you meet at home, as a wife, so if anybody comes to our household then, before Isa Williams at Coker’s compound, though I was born then but grew up at Coker’s compound. I was born on Ayibu Street when they started demolishing houses then in 1973, No 14, Ayibu Street, Ofin, very close to Marina. Then if people are confused as to where they go, they will say “go and call Eko’s boy” then they will come for me and I would describe the place to them. The name became popular outside because I lived on the street since my youth days. I went to places to know who-is-who and chill with the big boys in town.
How did you then relate with big men in town?
I did it because I am a humble socialite. I am also outspoken and very jovial. I crack jokes with them and they always find it enjoyable to have me around.
People like Femi Otedola, Tunde Folawe, accord me my own respect because I am not a dubious and wayward person. I am older than them though, so they always give me my regard. Bola Oba always fights for me anywhere anybody wants to disrespect me. He always makes me understand that I am connected.
The social life of Lobito and I were on different levels.
How is your social life different from Lobito’s own?
I started from Lagos Island and at that time, he was still in school in the USA while I was on the street, in Lagos from Idumota to Obalende, there is no street that I wasn’t known in the early 70s and this was where the “Round City” came out from. At that time I had a boutique at Aboboki close to Ortiz Hotel. I came back to settle down in Surulere in 1986 and I met my wife on Kanmo Street then. I am an accommodating person while Lobito was very shy and people termed it as pride. King Sunny Ade has come to visit me here three times now and he has dedicated songs to him on his live shows. I remember there was a party where I gave the hint on how to make Ogunde’s son spend money at a party. I told the singer the song he would sing to make him spend money and after he sang the song, he came out to spend money. The song was one of his father’s songs, Hubert Ogunde.
Wasiu Ayinde is my boy and he is from my community. I claimed every community because there is no community in Lagos that I haven’t lived in, VI, and Ikoyi, I stayed in Ikoyi a lot with Shina Peters and Sunny Ade at Ikoyi Club. We used to be there with big boys, Ademola Seriki, Alinco and others and I would be the only one in their midst and the intermediary between Sunny and people in the club with my own share already taken. It is profitable to be able to control one’s life and to be very humble to help one’s friends, not after the person’s death.
Is it true that nobody came to Lobito’s help when he was sick?
No! Though the case is complicated, I will tell you that it is those that are not close to Lobito that propagated the theory that nobody came to his rescue when he was sick. Those that helped him did their best and those that were away stayed away. Some prominent people that I know tried for him. Femi Otedola, Lawal, Tim Gbalere, Alawaye, Teddy Shine and Murphy Ajala, all did help Lobito.
The case is that upbringing is different. There was a particular time I was living in Lagos as if I had no family. I used to move from one place to another because anytime I sense jealousy or rift over women, I would plan to move out to another place. And I did that till I have a house of my own. People always regret their wicked actions when they see me now but I didn’t really have anything against them.
I remember I was saying to those boys that came for the burials that as you are remembering the dead, remember the living too. They were all laughing at my jokes. I am known for slang and people always find them funny.
As a socialite, do you regret anything?
I don’t regret anything. Ha! I was 16 years old when I started on the street, going to Live shows of popular artistes then, the likes of King Sunny, Ebenezer Obey, and Wasiu Ayinde. It was later Obesere, Pasuma, Shina Peters, Dele Abiodun, Ayo Balogun came up. They will not even see me and snub me because I maintained my integrity and I can influence a lot of people. I later moved to Ikeja behind Obey’s house with Yinka Ibidapo when he was in Sensound at Adeniran Ogunsanya. We lived together and we went to places together.
They always respect me and they know me. I am a very calm person, I don’t pester people because I know everybody is facing one or two things but I believe the person will answer one day. Later, my bait always catches big fish and they will ask for my account number.
I know my level and I don’t go beyond that. To live well, you just have to know how to behave yourself. Now, I am planning to open a place very close outside there and we will name it “Surulere Gents”. It is not a club, but a place where anybody can come to enjoy themselves. That is why I am always at home because I know people will want to see “Eko”. Some people do say I am an illiterate, but they have forgotten that I am a Professor of the Street. Though I didn’t finish secondary school, I can communicate with those that attended King’s College whether with acceptable English or not and they admire it.
It was my father that caused the problem. My father was one of the Haulage men in Ologbowo, Owoyele, and Aderalere but I still thank him for my life. I am a Prince of Awe Kingdom. So I am a well-known person and I have connections, contrary to some people’s thought that I am not. Despite this, I relate with everybody, because it is only God that knows people’s thoughts.
This is how life is. Whatever we sow, we reap.
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