Still on the Mohbad Saga: The Ghost and the Touts *Dubious celebrities, politicians, music lovers tout empathy to trend with singer’s death

Late Mohbad

*How they embellish their vanities as benevolence for cheap acclaim

Only crime and the criminal, it is often said, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is truly rotten to the core.
The sudden passing of Afrobeats star, Ilerioluwa Aloba aka Mohbad has no doubt revealed for the umpteenth time, the rotten underbelly of Nigeria’s entertainment sector.

Even though the army of mourners chanting “Justice for Mohbad” conveniently ignored his incessant calls for help while he was alive, the social space has been inundated with an outpouring of grief by several music artists, friends and fans of Mohbad after his death.


More interestingly, those who never spared a second thought for Mohbad while he was persistently bullied and beaten up by his estranged friends and colleagues at his former music label, Marlian Music, have suddenly developed a soft spot for him, donating large sums of money to his wife and child, and parents too. Many of them have suddenly rediscovered their voices touting empathy to enjoy social acclaim.
These characters are beyond dispute, hypocrites who would embellish their vanities as empathy or benevolence in a heartbeat.

A lot of doubtful mourners have emerged in the social space to profess their heartfelt sorrow over his passing; many of them comprising afrobeat musicians, music entrepreneurs, actors and actresses, politicians and even his estranged friends and colleagues at his former music label, Marlian Music, have expressed their earnest grief over his death.
Amused by the outpouring of grief over Mohbad’s demise, prominent attorney, Jite Ogunye, recently bared his mind on the issue in a cryptic rant. He said: ‘Traumatized, grief-stricken but garrulous family members; outraged sympathizers; enraged fans; trend prophets; rumour millers; clout chasers; self-seekers and opportunists; presumed culprits and fugitives; eyewitnesses and emergency biographers; skit fakers and media contents scavengers; tragedy projectors and amplifiers; advantage-takers; grief exploiters; street protest freaks and Lekki Toll Gate messiahs; sanctimonious pastors; flesh-led spiritualists, dream revealers and interpreters; gossips purveyors, lay morbid-anatomists; mob pathologists; internet investigators, jurors and adjudicators; DNA activists; multi- purpose celebrities; opinion benders and corrupters; mass informants and citizens crimes-detectives. All fighting for justice for the dead.
“And now a pretending, weeping necromancer conversing with the departed in the full glare of the viewing world. Truly, Nigerians fight for justice in mysterious ways.”

There is no gainsaying Ogunye’s opinion about the mourners aptly captures their pretensions. Aside from their established neglect of the deceased while he was being victimised during his lifetime, many of the overnight supporters of Mohbad have been described by concerned parties as clout chasers who are using his misfortune to trend. Many of the celebrity musicians and actors who have suddenly found their voice over Mohbad’s case have been seen to suffer declining fortunes; but no sooner did Mohbad die than they hopped onto the bandwagon of mourners and agitators for justice.
Many of the fans have also been pilloried for using Mohbad’s death and the scandalous details of his dealings with Marlian Music to amuse themselves. Very few individuals feel disturbed and saddened by his death according to pundits.

The untimely passing of Mohbad has ignited a debate about the music industry. News of the 27-year-old’s death in a clinic after a purported treatment for an ear infection, filtered in a few weeks ago to the consternation of his teeming fans.
Within hours of his death, the six-foot artist was buried by members of his family with videos on social media showing his neck bent unnaturally to fit into the coffin.

That, and footage of attacks reportedly sponsored by fellow musician Naira Marley whose record label Marlian Records the late artist was signed to until last year, triggered widespread outrage.
Some of the videos showed Aloba fleeing from assailants, beaten or bleeding from open wounds. Fans have accused Naira Marley, a British Nigerian arrested for cyber-fraud in Nigeria in 2019 and multiple times for gang violence in the United Kingdom, of being behind the ordeal.

Consequently, there have been several protests, as well as a procession of youths demanding justice and calling for an investigation while marching to a tribute concert with many musicians in attendance.
Some of the attendees hoisted his portrait above their heads. Others wore his face on their shirts.
Although the police have been slow to act, they have exhumed his body for an autopsy, while Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwoolu has authorised a thorough investigation, inviting the Department of State Security (DSS), to join hands with the police to ascertain the circumstances that led to Mohbad’s demise.

Mohbad left the Marlian Music label in 2022, citing several grievances, including unpaid royalties in his three-year stint at the label. His baritone and moving lyrics had defined him as a unique artist.
Since his death, his music has dominated the airwaves. His songs also currently occupy the top three places on the Apple Music Top 100 in Nigeria and on Billboard’s trending songs global chart.
His death has, however, pushed to the front burner the nature of transactions and patronage in the Nigerian music industry.

For years, concerned stakeholders of the Nigerian music industry have bemoaned its funding through the proceeds of illicit enterprises. Foza Fawehinmi, a creative economy lawyer at entertainment consultancy, Zaeda Oracle, told a foreign news agency recently that financiers have frequently become combative, resorting to criminal tactics to recoup music investments.

Institutional funding, she argued, does not serve up to 20 per cent of the industry as it is.
Mohbad’s death further validates her take on the issue and exposes the deep rot in the sector. Not until his passing did music fans and critics summon the courage to lend their voices to the campaign for urgent sanitisation of the industry.

Their intervention, however, comes quite late. Those who failed to speak up when Ilerioluwa Aloba aka Mohbad was alive have conveniently found their voices after his demise. There is little the living can do for the dead.

Until the music industry is sanitised, the ghost of Mohbad will continue to haunt the peace and conscience of every tyrant label, every devious music boss and hypocritical music enthusiast.

Culled from: The Capital


The OPINION / COLUMN is authored by independent contributors to the National Accord Newspaper. While contributors adhere to our editorial guidelines, they are not employed by the National Accord Newspaper. The perspectives and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of the National Accord Newspaper or its staff.

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