Fatai Ayinla, a taxi driver who has become popular among his peers in the Federal Capital Territory on account of having a striking resemblance with the late septuagenarian highlife musician, Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju popularly known as Fatai Rolling dollar last Tuesday had a chat with National WAVES Publisher, JIMMY ENYEH. It was quite revealing as he exudes bitterness that being Fatai Rolling’s look-alike has brought him so much embarrassment as passengers who boarded his taxi referred to him as a dead man who resurrected. Unlike Fatai Rolling Dollar who was known for his verve and dexterity on the guitar and got new lease of life after years in the doldrums before his demise, Fatai Ayiala, who is in his 60s is yet to find his bearing, as the cab he drives in Abuja does not belong to him.
It will be recalled that Fatai Rolling Dollar trained Ebenezer Obey in his heydays; he shone at his old age when nobody ever thought of musical success for him again after his initial popularity at the beginning of his career.
How long have you been in Abuja?
I have been in Abuja since 1991, I live in Garki Village, I was a herbalist, later I left it and I am currently a driver.
What is your name?
My name is Fatai Ayinla, I was shocked when I saw Fatai Rolling Dollar.
When he saw me, he was astonished and said he has not seen someone who looks exactly like himself since he was born. He came to Abuja for a show and asked me to follow him to Lagos. I told him no, that I live in Abuja and I am used to the lifestyle of Abuja residents which is devoid of hustling and bustling, and hold up associated with Lagos.
After much pressure from him, I traveled to Lagos and he requested that I attend his show. When I got to the venue of the show, I brought out money to buy the ticket but the security personnel said why should I buy the ticket, that, am I not Fatai Rolling who is billed to perform tonight. I went into the venue with my friends who accompanied me to the show without paying. They mistook me for Fatai Rolling Dollar apparently because we are identical.
When I entered the venue, after some time, Fatai Rolling Dollar arrived, he came and greeted me. He entertained me and my friends (Five of them accompanied me to the show) with beer and food. At exactly 1am, he mounted the podium to perform, he invited me, held me and introduced me to his fans.
After some time, he started to sing, guests and his fans sprayed me with mint naira notes. they said they have seen Fatai Rolling Dollar twin brother and sprayed me with so much money.
How much were you sprayed?
I don’t know because his manager picked the money and counted it,. one woman called me to inquire about our relationship. I told her to ask him, he is Fatai Rolling Dollar and I am Fatai Ayinla. those at the show were just wondering. so many of them came to meet me and inquire if we are twins.
After the show, Fatai Rolling Dollars insisted I remained in Lagos and accompanied him to his shows. I said no, you are Fatai Rolling Dollar, the musician while I am Fatai Ayinla the driver. Remain in Lagos and I continue to live in Abuja.
I must confess, when I saw you, I thought Fatai Rolling Dollar had resurrected. How do you cope with being Fatai Rolling Dollar’s look-alike?
My brother, I have I been embarrassed so many times. There was this day that a passenger flagged me down and said I should take him to Abuja airport. I parked and he put his load in my car. On taking a second look at me, he screamed. Oku, Oku, Oku in Yoruba, which means “dead man” “dead man” dead man”. I was surprised. I said I am not a dead man. He said you are Fatai Rolling Dollar, you died in Lagos few months ago and resurrected, so you are now a taxi driver, I don’t want to go with anymore. As the drama was going on, my colleagues, other taxi drivers parked and intervened. They told the passenger that I am not Fatai Rolling Dollar, that I share same first name with him and that I am just his look-alike. The passenger was dumb founded. He threw some sand at me to be double sure that I am not a spirit. I laughed and told him that a dead man does not smoke cigarette and finds it difficult to stand smoke. When we got to the airport, he gave me N5000 instead of N4000 that we agreed on. He said when he gets to Lagos, he will tell his friends and family that Fatai Rolling Dollar is not dead that he is in Abuja working as a taxi driver. The second day, people were all over me saying Fatai Rolling Dollar is not dead, he is in Abuja, others said he is dead but has resurrected in Abuja.
Which state are you from in Nigeria?
I am from Oyo State. Fatai Rolling Dollar is from Ede, Osun State.
What is the name of your town in Oyo State?
I am from Ibadan. I am from Akinyole Local Government in Oyo State. I was saying something about Fatai Rolling Dollars the other time before I deviated, When I got to Abuja, he sent his brother to me and asked me to come to Lagos but I said no, I prefer to remain in Abuja, few days later, I learnt that he is dead. Some of his fans came to meet me and said I should attend his burial. I had the intention of attending but something came up and I could not make it.
When you heard about his death, how did you feel?
I was very sad. I was not happy. I could not drive my taxi, the week he died, whenever I was driving, I was always remembering my encounter with him.
I felt very bad. His people came to me and requested that I come for his burial in Lagos but I could not make it. I must confess people keep saying I look like Fatai Rolling Dollar and most times, I reply them by saying God created two look alike people.
When you met him, you knew he was a famous musician, while you are a taxi driver. Did you solicit for his assistance?
No, I did not request for any assistance because I do not need any from him. We just liked each other, may be because we look alike.
You know apart looking alike, we share same name Fatai. Fatai Rolling Dollar asked me to come to Lagos and work for him.
Work for him as what? He wanted you to join his band?
Yes, he said I should join his band. I told him I am a driver, how do I join your band? The only thing I know how to do is to drive my taxi. I said I cannot fit into his band. I am contended being a taxi driver. I asked him, will I drive you? He said no, I should just stay as one of his managers, that, that may lead to a side attraction. He said he likes me and since he was born he has not seen his look- alike but I rejected the offer.
Since you learnt about the death, have you paid his wife and children a condolence visit?
No, but I called them and registered my condolences.
Fatai Rolling Dollar had so many fans, what do you want them to do for you?
As I told you earlier, I came to Abuja in 1991 and have been driving taxi since 1993, I left taxi and drove trailer with Dantata. I worked there for three years but I was not satisfied with what I was earning, I left Dantata and started driving taxi. I also left taxi and worked as a bricklayer. I built a house in Garki Village but the house was demolished. I have been living in a rented apartment in Goza.
Are you the owner of the cab?
No, it is not my own, it belongs to an Igboman named Eze.
You are not the owner of this taxi and you know that you look so much like Fatai Rolling Dollar. Do you want his fans to give you money to buy a taxi?
Yes, I need Fatai’s fans to give me money to buy my own taxi. I need their help and God will help them too.
Are you married?
Do you have children?
Yes and I also have grandchildren.
What are the names of your children?
Taofik, Anatu, Akeem, Adijat and Ganiyat