For years, ace producer, singer and song writer Babatunde Jezreel Okungbowa suffered a life threatening kidney disease and no one knew until now.
OJB shocked Nigeria’s entertainment scene when he emerged from the shadows of his quiet search for a cure to his kidney ailment when he announced he needed $100,000 (approx 16 million naira) to undergo a kidney transplant to save his life.
OJB told HIP TV “I guese this is something I have more or less been battling intensively with for two years. Before now it was just an off and on experience with High Blood Pressure, and once in a while a little pain down there.
But as at 2011, it became very intense; swollen feet, swollen stomach and swollen face. It was discovered that the Kidney was malfunctioning but at as that time they could actually do something about it if they stepped down the blood pressure which we did in 2011.
From 2012 up until now it’s been an off and on scenerio. Two days you’re down and then you’re bouncing back again. But from 2013, about two, three months ago, it became a serious situation whereby I can’t eat, I can’t drink.
I think going to the media has debunked a certain idea. Ofcourse, in entertainment we are making money but sometimes people expect more than the unusual from us. I mean we have money but we are not Dangote, we have money but we are not Opera.
OJB in good times
It’s not been easy for the two, three years since we started handling it because before you know it, they give you a bill for a year of going to the hospital and you find out that for the past one year you’ve spent two, three million naira and you do that again the second year and you say wow! and there’s still no solution. You discover that you are at a stage that it’s even more complex and it’s obvious you can’t fight the battle alone. The truth is, you have to open up your boundaries and let people help you at large.
We are not trying to hit a specific group of people and say ‘ o you must be a multi-millionaire or billionaire and so why not help us’. What we are looking at is average Nigerians, well meaning Nigerians. If they come together, $100, 000 in the centre of these people as big as it may appear is an ant in the middle of the ocean.”
Reacting to allegations from some quarters that this was a false alarm, OJB said “Well if people think that it’s a lie, well, I won’t blame them, this is Nigeria. But I believe to a large extent, I have a bigger integrity than that.
If you look back at my history, five, six, seven years ago, my daughter had a issue with her heart which became cancerous and if you want to be very candid, I can’t remember calling out to the public to help me pay the bills as at that time we were paying nothing less than $45,000 to the operation. I didn’t call on anybody to ask for money for that; but at this point in time it’s bigger than what I can handle and that’s the reason why we are reaching out to people.
This is not a case we start spending hours saying is it the truth or not the truth? If they want to go to the doctors and confirm it then they can go there. Sorry to say but I am not that cheap to decide to fabricate such a thing that I’m feeling sick, please help me. People have made donations and we appreciate it.
It’s not like people are coming there and making 50 billion naira donations. People have brought in 100 naira, 1,000 naira. If you’ve seen me in the past ten years, you’ll know it’s not the same OJB you knew.”
Babatunde Jezreel Okungbowa is fervently being prayed for by fans for a speedy recovery.