I didn’t know about Mohbad until news of his death came and jolted cyber inhabitants in Nigeria a couple of days ago.
I have since been inundated with the story of his life, his struggles, the mystery and the numerous theories surrounding his demise.
Some clips on social media were so disturbing and riveting. In music and video interviews he predicted his imminent passage.
I should have known the young artiste because I love music both contemporary and not so contemporary and also because I have a son who has shown more than a passing interest in the business of ‘blowing’.
His death and the interest it generated is comparable to some years ago when another talented young musician died via a motor accident in Lagos. He was not known to me and neither did he showed up in my culture radar until the morning of his death.
I left for Abuja in an airplane on the morning of his death . Landing in Abuja that morning of April 22, 2010, we passengers switched on our phones, and to everyone’s shock and surprise a lady screamed at the arrival hall “Dagrin is dead, Dagrin is dead.” Who is Dagrin? What could be wrong with this lady? She kept crying and I went to her and asked who Dagrin was. Leave me alone, you mean you don’t know Dagrin. Most other passengers waiting to pick up their luggages that morning were bemused like me. Most, in their middle ages, could not relate with a dead Dagrin that could elicit that much emotion.
I then put a call through to my editors to ask them who Dagrin was . An upcoming, talented rapper loved by the youths, they told me. Ok guys if he could be so popular that a random lady could weep openly and inconsolably at the airport please put his story on the cover of our afternoon paper and illustrate it with a huge photograph of his and let the headline scream. I was Managing Editor of a group of newspapers then.
That afternoon our sales jumped up by more than 300 percent.
It is with this same ignorance of Dagrin I came by the news of the death of Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba whose cognomen is Mohbad
Listening to snippets of Mohbad’s music on instagram in the last few days I could see immense talent and clarity of message. His baritone voice is arresting. I have actually heard some of his music, possibly moved my body to them without knowing who the musician behind them was.
From the lyric of his songs, and the few interviews he granted, the young man really must have been a haunted soul most of his short lived life and career.
With so much rumination over death and dying, one could see that he saw his death coming but didn’t know what to do to arrest it.
How I wish the nation had listened to his cry of anguish. How I wish he had had someone to run to for protection. The police whom I am told he petitioned would not take him seriously. How, how I wish… we had helped him arrest the demons pursuing him?
As I wrote somewhere else, Mohbad, from the body of the work he left behind, was such a huge talent that could have reached the height of his career and shake the entertainment world. He was on his way to stardom and to emerging another star on the world concert stage.
If he had lived long and well managed, who knows, he could have dropped numbers that would have stood the test of time and and be mouthed by generations.
He certainly was more talented in terms of message and delivery than many of the guys of his generation being celebrated today.
Whoever must have been responsible for his death, if any, therefore deserves a date with the gallows.
The nation must also begin to look at an institution to protect and manage these talents and ensure they do not self destruct. Just imagine if we still have Majek Fashek, Dagrin and now Mohbad.
Drug, we know, is an inseparable part of music just as intrigue is part of politics. To now add cultism to it as many are suggesting is scary.
Law enforcers will have to do something about this and urgently too.
The death of Mohbad is a big loss to the creative community. It is like setting on fire a budding industry.
Rest In Peace Mohbad and may your muse continue to inspire some of your acolytes to do greater music.