Sunday, 20 March 2016


Recently, the first in the series of the captivating episodes of the 2016 television special, “Who Deserves to be A Millionaire” featured Nigerian artist and on-air personality, Rotimi Martins popularly known as Alariwo of Africa. 

The series is a variant of the famed family game show, “Who Wants to be A Millionaire?” that airs on NTA, STV, MITV, DBN and Superscreen on Sundays.

The idea is to select an individual, prominent or not, who is in dire financial crisis. It’s a tough call because at the current rate of poverty in Nigeria, almost everyone deserves to be a millionaire. But when other circumstances are considered, certain individuals have special needs that demand urgent financial intervention.

That is the story of Alariwo, the artist whose afro sounds ruled the airwaves in the late 90s. His first album titled, “Yawa Go Gas” was released in 1998. He had two other albums after that but since his music career peaked; he had been peddling other entertainment jobs. He is also an ambassador for an orphanage home and had always championed the cause of charity. In fact, he had been on the Ultima Studios set some years ago with the ace cinematographer, Kunle Afolayan to play the game for the sake of a Yoruba actor, Baba Feyikogbon.

In an electronic chat with this reporter, Alariwo whose stage name literarily translates as “noise maker” revealed how his health predicament has forced him to make noise for help to come.

“I have a health challenge called Varicocele. It occurs when veins deprive blood transfusion to the scrotum which leads to other set of complications when it is not immediately taken care of. I cannot explain how this came about. I have already done a surgery but I require another one which will be done outside the country. And this is a lot of money,” he said. But it would have been bearable if his wife wasn’t also dealing with her own health challenge.

“In my wife’s case, she has a condition called pulmonary embolism. It started when she was involved in an auto accident on her way to the market. This has complicated things for us because it happened while I was still trying to raise funds for my surgery. I had to sell my car, because at a point I was buying drugs worth N47, 000 daily. It has been very challenging,” he said.

Alariwo and his wife need surgical operations to survive. His wife, especially, needs a procedure to correct the blood clots formed in the deep veins of her limb. Surely, they require strong financial muscle.

“She urgently requires an IVC (inferior vena cava) filter replacement. Owing to huge presence of family members and friends that would take care of us after the medical treatments, we shall be going to America for these operations. Here we are with virtually nothing, especially with this high exchange rate! Sincerely, that is the reason we consider the MTN’s ‘Who Deserves to Be a Millionaire’ a divine arrangement,”he said.

A total of $46,000 is required for their treatment. Their friends had promptly come to their aid but they still saw the target from afar.

“I appreciate their good hearts. I remain ever grateful to Ultima Studios and MTN. Also, I am indebted to the gentlemen that played with me in the studio.

They really did well. I was dumbfounded when Frank Idoho announced the special treatment I was given in the hot seat. They went down memory lane and it really added value to me. It has strengthened my resolve to keep volunteering for good causes, because I did not know I would reap it when Mr Olu Akinlabi invited me some 6 or 7 years ago to come and play for Papa Feyikogbon. I wish the organisers of the show the best in life.”

Alariwo’s wife, Sola Martins expressed her gratitude for the game show intervention. However, she was appalled by the rumour making rounds that she and her husband’s call for help is a scam.

“All I have to say to those people who think my husband and I are just trying to make money from this, they should wish the same fate that has befallen us for themselves,” she said.

“My greatest desire right now is to get back on my feet, and for my husband to also get well. I have a lot of abandoned projects.”

At the show, top entertainers such as Hafiz Oyetoro better known as Saka and Ade Adefeko played the game for Alariwo winning N2million for him.

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