One day, during a meeting with LIFE & BEAT in a popular eatery in Lagos, while he sipped from a glass of orange juice, the celebrated highlife musician unveiled a few closely guarded secrets.
Fatai Olagunju, aka Rolling Dollar, is a reporter’s delight any day. One hour with him and he would have taken you through three decades of West African music.
“My father was the first man to drive from Nigeria to Gold Coast (now known as Ghana) in 1929. I got the name ’Rolling Dollar ’ in my school days in the early 1930s. I used to be in the school football team. Whenever we were about to play football, I would go to the pitch with some dimes (American) in my pocket. My sister regularly gave them to me. It was her way of motivating me to face my studies.
“I always spent the money on food during break time. Every time my teammates saw me with the money, they would said to me ‘Fatai, bring your dollar, let us roll it. Head or tail?’ That was how I got the name and it has stuck since then,” the seasoned musician said.
When conversation shifted to the source of his incredible energy at 85 years, he simply smiled and said, “I have only God to thank for this. I have no special health programme or prescription that I follow. I don’t take herbs or special drugs to give me energy. I am natural and that is why I can sit here and tell you it is God’s grace. But I don’t abuse food or drinks. I free my mind from worries. The things that I cannot change, I hand them over to God. He created me, He knows my beginning and ending, as well as my strength and weaknesses.”
One thing gives this spritely artiste joy, though: the fact that providence had used well-meaning Nigerians to lift him from poverty in his old age.
“There is this prayer in Yoruba, which says, ’Kaale so mi ju owuro lo’ (Let my old age be prosperous). In my years of need, I used to say that prayer. Now everything has come to pass. I suffered a lot, but God used Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to elevate me and change my status. I am immensely indebted to this great man called Tinubu. God used him to turn my defeat to victory. Here I am today smiling. My name is everywhere again,” he said, smiling broadly.
Interestingly, the old man confessed that he is hooked on sex.
“My weakness is sex. Music is my drug and sex is my therapy. Even at my age I cannot stop having sex. My youngest wife knows this. I am strong and very agile in that department and sex has never weighed me down. If anything, it helps me to release tension. Mind you, I am not recommending it for anybody because what is good for my system might not be healthy for you,” he said.