President John Dramani Mahama has revealed the legendary stand-up comedian, Bob Okala, who collapsed and died on stage in the early hours of Sunday was a good friend and that he met him before his death.
He said the last time he saw the popular comedian, who he said was a regular visitor to his home, was last Thursday when he hosted him and other entertainers who participated in Ghana’s 59th Independence parade.
“Bob Okala was a friend. He was a regular visitor to my house and my family knew him. My children, all know him and I’m sad that this happened,” President Mahama said in an exclusive interview on TV3’s New Day show Monday.
“On Thursday after the [Independence Day] parade, they all came home to come and interact with us. So all those who had taken part in the ‘Gold Coast Police’ came and Bob was amongst them, he added.
The President explained however that Bob Okala appeared quiet as his colleagues had fun, something that made him inquire what was wrong to which Okala responded that he was unwell.
“…That day I noticed he [Okala] was very quiet and when the rest were having fun he was sitting quietly so I could tell he wasn’t well so I asked him and he said he had not been feeling well for some time,” President Mahama recounted.
“So on Tuesday we arranged for him to go see the doctor, that’s the Tuesday after the Independence. They took him through many extensive tests and I think he was about to start his treatment regime but they allowed him to rest.
I don’t know what took him to Koforidua but unfortunately I hear he collapsed on stage and passed away,” President Mahama said sombrely, and used the occasion to on behalf of Ghanaians, expressed condolences his family.
The 64-year old was among the toast of local comedians in the country whose jokes in the era of the weekly Key Soap Concert Party on Ghana Television endeared him to most Ghanaians in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Known in real life as Samuel Kwadwo Buabeng, Bob Okala was said to have collapsed on stage while performing at an event organised by Joy Daddy Industries in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
His death came barely a month after another veteran comedian, Nkomode, died after a prolonged illness.