One early Sunday morning, I woke up to cold winds amidst the relentless rains pouring in Lagos for the past couple of days. Shortly before noon, I visited a supermarket in Lagos to pick up a few items. The motorway was free, the streets were less busy, and the drizzle was bearable. 

Parking outside was seamless, and as I walked in, I was drawn to the sound of some good music playing at a moderate volume. I paused and listened, curiously. It was Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad, behind the sound system. In the past few days, the voice of the recently deceased singer-songwriter was becoming more familiar. His tracks were on repeat at the store. I beckoned one of the attendants and asked, “is that Mohbad on the beat”? “Yes”, he confirmed, adding that the boy was excellent at his craft. I nodded, in agreement. 

Mohbad was not bad, at all.

The carpenter-turned-singer was blessed with warm, honeyed, alluring vocals. There was a signature pitch to his voice, distinct, impossible to ignore.

Why reign in death?

Again, I wonder, how did it happen that MohBad became so much of a hero and popular artiste in his death, compared to when he was alive? The journey of an upcoming artiste is often uneasy. But what I know is that through thick and thin, great art always finds home. Destinies come in various colours. Like a painter, you play with these colours and come up with a design that suits your purpose. Your talents can lead the way, but you may need the Supreme Creator to help your craft, if you believe. 

Mohbad’s sudden death on the cusp of fame is painful. This sad occurrence is vaguely reminiscent of the death of the similarly talented Nigerian artist, Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun (Da Grin). After being awarded Artist of the Year at the 2010 Hip Hop World Awards, Da Grin died an untimely death following an accident on 14th April 2010. He was only 25. The Ghetto Dreamz live on.

At 27, Mohbad has transitioned, only for his music to make waves while he lay in state. I gave him his flowers, having realised that, although his name didn’t ring too many bells, his music did, and loudly too. Reports had it that some of his tracks are currently leading the Apple Music Top 100 charts. It’s no fluke that his name is on many lips, and dominating news headlines. 

Sadly, quite a number of ugly revelations trail Mohbad’s demise.

His soul undoubtedly craves for justice in a world where justice comes at a premium. The Police have promised to leave no stone unturned. I hope they don’t. Both the stones and the rocks should be turned. Let the mysteries of his passing be revealed. 

Perhaps, Mohbad made a few “bad” decisions. He buried the hints of his troubles within the lyrics of his songs. This style of purgation hardly helps. Personal issues do inspire the lyrics of songs. But rarely do these resonate with the people. Even where the lyrics are great, people only relate them to their personal situations. They hardly associate the lyrics with the singer. 

I read of Mohbad’s petition to the Police. But there’s nothing to show that a professional legal practitioner was hired to properly pursue the case. Even so, there are some government agencies and non-governmental organisations, which have the capacity and resources to treat human rights matters, that could have been brought into the picture. 

Mohbad, a boy who on many occasions felt no good, blessed us with his track, Feel Good. (You need to listen to it if you are yet to. It’s on repeat as I type.) Mohbad sang of his light (Imole). He also reflected on the  grace divinely bestowed on him, which he defined as “automatic”. 

“Plenty enemies, wey dey follow me”, he crooned. He prayed tirelessly, hoping that his detractors don’t get him. But it appears “they” eventually did. 

The singer departed too soon. Did “they” get him, or was his time due? He hoped fervently for a day when his pains would go away, as lucidly expressed in his music. Was that hope fulfilled by his exit? After all, the dead feel no pain. Ultimately, like he said, “Emi ti gbera on God.”

Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has advised a number of both established and startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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