By Nze James Chinonyerem.
I must confess, am not a great fan of the new generation musicians in our country. Their lyrics are somewhat strange to me but the soundtracks are superb.
I however, acknowledge their musical exploits which express our national ethos of never say die spirit even in the worst situations and conditions. I marvel at their great mentions on the international scene. Music is a great calling and only the talented hear and answer the calls
A great inspiration and inner expressive performance that manifests outwardly it is. Music is life and life is music, like poetry, it gives both intensive and subdued expressions to human experiences, either way, happy, sad, grief, achievement, despondency. I repeat, music is an art, imaginative and creative, it mirrors life, supports the afflicted, stirs the ambitious, promotes the daring and records all achievements, successes and failures.
IIerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, (Mohbad) singer, rapper and songwriter represented the Nigerian new generation’s common spirit to aspire, rise and conquer. A spirit to explore, exploit and succeed no matter the situation or condition. He, like his contemporaries, are rebels against a kind of neocolonialism in the society today. As rebels with a course, they refuse the artificial socioeconomic boundaries erected against them. Through their music, they created their own identities and charted their course of actions for survival.
I didn’t know him nor heard about him until he died. I came across him in one of my crossover nights on the social media. His story was touching. A young boy of 25 years, married with a child and filled great love for his family. A hustler as we say it here, he was a gifted singer, he was pursuing his dream and was at the edge of a great breakthrough. The social media said this and am compelled to believe it. My curiosity rose. I sighed and wept. I cursed. I asked. Why? I waited. At full dawn, I asked my children, they belong to the new generation, the internet age. We often have conversations, which age was better? Theirs or mine. Each claimed his and hers. My stories, growing up in my rustic Ubah Emii village in Owerri were strange to them, doubtful if I may say. How was it possible, they opined, I could trek the whole hug to school and back? How and why would I go to the stream far off with a less than five liters calabash pot on my head daily? How could I even go about bare footed? How possible was it that few houses owed television that were black and white then? I smiled. There was no handphone and we saw no land phone around our village. How then did we send and receive messages from people? I acknowledge the changing world. But I digress like my big beloved auntie Dame Comfort Obi would say in her many fantastic write ups.
This piece is not about my growing up. But it reflects in the life and struggles of the lad, Mohbad. The spirit to work hard, break grounds, out dance the doubters and make the cynics cry with envy at what one had achieved. It is about the conspiracies of life against the down trodden, the gifted and the adventurous. It is about the pains of serving highly unappreciative and unhelpful characters and the evil of such characters to arrest your new leaps into freedom of self expressions and drives. His death remains a sad reminder of the evils in the society we live in. I read he cried out against the stranglers out to choke him up. I read also he expressed fears about his life and that of his family but it seemed no one around him took serious note of his cries. What, if I ask, is the worth of life in our country? Life has become worthless and meaningless here. Those entrusted to secure it run away from their duties. Nothing seems to shock us again.
Young Mohbad from what the social media has been saying shouldn’t have died or died the way he did. I read again the Nigerian Police getting interested to look into what went wrong. Talks were raised, including, exhuming his body. What really happened and why did it happen? Like we say in the local parlance, all the talks “na medicine after death.”
My heart goes to the young wife and kid whom I read again, are facing challenges and threats from the hubby’s family over what the singer left behind. I pity the young widow and her little child, God will see them through. Whatever were Mohbad’s sins, God would look unto them with compassion.
But I ask, where lies our humanity, our ethos, empathy and pathos? The scenes from the young man’s burial as evidenced in the pictures and videos were not reflective of good handlings especially, for such a man who attained a celebrity status in life.
A young promising life died like that and all the crowds a sorrow, talents wasted and dreams shattered, speculations, accusations and counter accusations made just like that.
May the soul of Mohbad and the many souls of young enterprising Nigerians who fell like the unripe fruits rest in peace.