African History Archive i


Yegede won o ge ooo x2

Ese tepe won ge lafi n rin yi o

Yegede won o ge o eee

Adebisi ni o je o

Yegede won o ge o eee

Olohun doju ti won o

Yegede won o ge o eee…

That was an extract from the most popular Sakara album of all times: Yusufu Olatunji’s Volume 17; titled, Yegede.

In the referenced track, Baba Legba acknowledged the role played by Nigeria’s most popular woman socialite, Alhaja Chief Kubura Adebisi Elegbede (Cash Woman) at ensuring that he didn’t become an amputee. Cash Woman has been on the Yoruba social scene for six decades and still rocking till date. The Woman, it was, that facilitated the treatment of the Sakara maestro’s legs at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos; and paid the bills in full.

Before the ace Sakara musician was discharged from the teaching hospital, information had spread that his legs had been amputated. It was one of his women (names withheld for now) who sold him out to the Egba public after visiting him on his hospital bed. Before Olatunji returned home, she had parked her belongings and left. She actually saw something strange at the hospital. What did she see? Again, many wondered what happened to Yusufu Olatunji’s legs that he became confined to the wheelchair.

It was, however, ironic that while one woman served as his Judas, another woman served as Messiah. Alhaja Adebisi, the ageless Stallion who was more like a daughter to Olatunji, stood by him during his legs travails. When Baba Legba hinted her of his intention to wax a record in her honour in appreciation of her good turns, she blatantly refused a recompense. Her response was a big surprise to Baba Legba, who knew how people pestered him for mere mention of their names in his productions; hence the line:

E bawa dupe lowo Adebisi

Cashy Abike oni s’aseti


Dokita chargee!

Aiye ile! Dokita chargee!

Adebisi sanwo owun/ omo to dara lo yeni

Adebisi Kubura!

Afunni ma siregun x2

L’Abike Adebisi

Olohun da Kubura si o

Mafi la Baba e loju….

When the album was eventually released in 1973, the 38-year old Adebisi reportedly exclaimed:

“Afi igbati Baba yi ko mi sita!” ?

Cash Madam, as she is errorneously called, was born on 8th April, 1935 at Ibara, Abeokuta, to Pa Sanusi and Madam Sabitu Elegbede. She is fairly educated, having decided early in life to learn trading. She later joined the services of John Holt in her early twenties and, together with her first husband, had working relationships with two other blue chip companies in Ijebu-Ode. In 1959, the couples were transferred to the political headquarters of the Western Region, Ibadan, where she later became a major distributor with the three companies.

Anytime she took her sale proceeds to the bank, she would hire ‘Alaru or Alabaru’ (load carriers) to help with the loading and offloading of her money. Once inside the bank, no fewer than six cashiers and a room would be alloted to her for counting of her money. In her words:

“John Ojomo, a lawyer from Owo, Adetunji Oladoyinbo, and Funke Fagbemi were the staff I used to meet at the bank most times. So whenever I came around I would tell them that I wanted to count my money. Since then, they named me ‘CASH WOMAN’ not ‘Cash Madam’ that everybody calls me now. The late Sakara musician, Yusuf Olatunji (Baba Legba), in his record said ‘CASH WOMAN.’ It was Evang. Ebenezer Obey who changed it to ‘Cash Madam,’ because he didn’t know details about me then. So the real name is ‘CASH WOMAN’ because I was the leader of the customers in those companies.”

Again, Baba Legba correctly serenaded her in the evergreen Volume 17 album:

E sowun to seyin o! x2

Ao m’ogun toye kafi si

Teba sowun to seyin x2

Ao m’ogun toye kafi si

Eyi teti mba bo la t’eyin

Nise lafi gbigbo s’alai gbo ooo

Gbogbo owun teti mba bo la t’eyin

Nise lafi gbigbo s’alai gbo ooo

Ewo ni t’omo kekere?

Abike CASHY WOMAN/ teni won ti mu….

The point must be made, however, that this awesome album was not the first in honour of Alhaja Elegbede by Baba Legba. When she had her housewarming ceremony at Ibara, a track was given to her in the Volume 8 work of Yusufu Olatunji, released in 1970, in acknowledgement of her hospitality and spendthriftness to the band.

May Allah grant Mama long life in health and happiness.