The death of Ileriolu Alobi popularly known as Mohbad has further brought to the fore the weird and unmonitored lifestyle of many young music artists in Nigeria.
What was in the public domain until recently about these idols of the youths are in addition to outlawed drugs, tattoo bodies, semi-nude dressing, flamboyant lifestyle and disregard to societal norms and values.
Few years ago, Azeez Adeshina Fashola, referred to in the music industry as Naira Marley, flew in a chartered plane from Lagos to Abuja with a view to staging a public show at a time public gatherings were banned due to covid-19 pandemic. He did not only undermine protocols but went ahead to put out a show in the nation’s capital without strong interference from the security agents.
Since the death of Mohbad, one of the adherents of the Naira Marley dark faith, many who had taken their activities with a wave of the hand, are forced to painstakingly x-ray them.
Different stories and dimensions are being churned out daily about the manner and circumstances of his death. These stories go beyond social media platforms and red-top news outlets. Reputable tabloids as well as various electronic media are giving wide coverage and airtime to the death.
For many, including this writer, Mohbad was not a name that rang a bell until his sad demise a few weeks ago. Prompted by the invasion of every available space in the media, I was forced to listen to some of his songs. Lo and behold, I found his musical works very rich and consuming. His lyrics are a hybrid of Yoruba and pidgin English, common with most musicians from the South-West of Nigeria.
There are many persons, probably out of emotional pains, that continue to make yet-to-be-verified allegations against Naira Marley over the death of the twenty-seven-year-old musician.
Who is Naira Marley? He moved to Peckham, London, at the age of eleven, and made distinction in his college exams before studying business law at Crossways College also in the Uk.
It may not be out of place to link the lifestyle of Naira Marley to the rugged influence of Peckham which is like twin-town to Ajegunle in Lagos. In spite of his education, he is unable to wean himself from a dark lifestyle.
There is no clear academic record of Mohbad except the patched claim by his secondary school principal that he had a good grade. What readily pops out in search engines is his deprived childhood and self-determination to break the jinx of poverty, means and method, notwithstanding.
Despite his eruption from the cocoon of financial poverty, his songs clearly brought out the pain he was passing through. Some lines in his lyrics gave him out without inhibition as someone under servitude. He wasn’t a happy man till death. And nobody was available to help him; reportedly dumped in a shallow grave.
I was a guest at a social retreat last weekend in Agbor. The event had all the trappings of unrestricted fun. It had attracted to a great extent, several big boys in town who are known as night crawlers. It suddenly went on fire when the compere announced that lights be put off and Mohbad song played. The music got me napping; there were flashes from cellphones. I didn’t want the moments to end. Millions of questions gyrated within me in those somber moments. How can a boy that talented be left, uncared for?
The next morning, I picked a few musical discs of Mohbad.
Musical Youth, formed in 1979 in Birmingham, United Kingdom, should have been a good reference on the need to nurture talented youths. Within six years, the group was engrossed in various challenges leading to disbandment. While one of them marked time in prison, another died from what medics termed a hereditary ailment.
Today, we are with swollen faces because of the death of Mohbad. Is it not possible for agencies of government to tap into these bottomless resources of Nigerian youths with a view to tailoring them into positive benefits? This venture is a win-win.
Take it or leave it, the youths through their creativity are the unsung image launderers for Nigeria. We will be a great nation if we look the direction of ICT and entertainment. It can work here. It’s working elsewhere.
Eghebi wrote from Agbor, Delta State.