Two highly connected characters have their hands soiled in circumstances climaxing in the tragic death of 27-year-old Afrobeat Rapper and Musician, Mohbad, on September 12.
Sam Larry is one. This music promoter and Lagos socialite flaunted his heavy connection with the high and mighty, climaxing in him posting a selfie with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently in Dubai. Far from that being a chance meeting, Sam Larry’s video intended to show he belongs in the good books and inner sanctum of Nigeria’s President and Commander-in-Chief.
Another high-profile suspect, Naira Marley, joined Sam Larry in a photo op with Lagos State’s Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Naira Marley owned the label, Marlian Music, which Mohbad worked for until the deceased broke away. Additionally, Naira Marley, an unapologetic Marijuana imbiber and propagator, snapped photographs with, and in the office of, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) boss, General Buba Marwa, during a courtesy call to the anti-narcotics Czar.
Sam Larry had connections with the powerful Elegushi Royal Family, owners of the Lekki-Ajah axis, in Lagos Island; but these ones disowned him, following the public outcry that greeted Mohbad’s mysterious mortality.
Last time anyone checked, none of The Presidency, NDLEA or the Lagos State Government has offered any explanation on the relationship between their bosses and the duo fingered for the remote and immediate causes of Mohbad’s death.
Something must have precipitated Mohbad (born Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba) to rescind his membership in the Marlian circle. How true are social media claims this Pastor’s son was being tempted into a secret cult of narcotics trafficking, but he U-turned?
Dead men can’t talk. Thus, whatever made him bolt from the Marlians’ clique might just die with Mohbad, including whether it cost him this supreme price. If this was murder, this might just be the perfect crime. As Sam Larry was videoed saying on the phone a few moments after news broke that Mohbad had died, “Only in movies will ghosts appear to the living.”
However, some Mohbad lyrics painted the late musician as the Prodigal Son making his return back to sanity when death cut him short. He broke away from the Marlians stable just last year.
Additionally, he had begun marketing a new name “Imole” (Light). The transition was supposed to rechristen him from Mohbad, whose guttural pronunciation sounds like the Anglo-Yoruba clause, “Mo bad,” for “I am bad.” However, he himself interpreted Mohbad to mean Moh (I am) BAD (Bright And Destined).
Sam Larry cum Naira Marley’s tribe apparently took badly the loss of the superlatively talented Songwriter, Singer and Rapper; and like a mad dog gnawing a juicy bone, they would not let go without a fight. And fight they did. Old videos have surfaced, showing Mohbad battered and beaten by Marlian thugs supposedly. One CCTV footage captured Sam Larry wielding a dangerous object as he led guys to attack Mohbad during a recording in fellow musician Zlatan’s premises. Zlatan saved the day when he sprang out of a theatrical wheelchair to shield his equally wheelchair-bound guest from an impending beating.
Mohbad severally reported the unceasing assaults to the police. However, those documented reports went unheeded. Were the assailants so socio-politically connected as to make the police ignore Citizen Mohbad’s SOS complaints? The deceased lamented that these high-profile assailants blocked promoters from contracting and featuring him in shows. In his lyrics, he spoke of threats these devils made to his father and mother. His father was a poor Pastor – Carpenter and his mother a Petty Trader. What could these commoners do against their son’s rich and powerfully connected foes?
All this would afflict even the steeliest of men with depression. It did Mohbad.
Ultimately, the man died. Now authorities have finally rallied around to administer First Aid to a corpse. Police, who ignored his pleas, have opened an investigation. Lagos State set up an enquiry. Governor Sanwo-Olu invited the DSS to set up a probe. The boy’s corpse has been exhumed. A coroner’s inquest is ongoing.
Assailants, who boasted that dead men would not bite, now know they underestimated their victim. Despite Mohbad being Yoruba, anger-and-sorrow-laden street marches and candlelight processions have broken out in various Nigerian cities massively, and as far as the US, the UK, Canada, Ghana and elsewhere. In fact, some suppose that the overwhelming show of public emotions pushed the police out of docility to investigate this death.
However, Mohbad’s travails serve as a metaphor for the Orwellian Theory of well-connected animals being more equal than others. And that is the story of the Nigerian commoner. He lives in a country where the powerful, the long-legged and the well-heeled trample upon his rights with satanic impunity. The oppressors actually get away with murder. It has made this a nation with myriads of unresolved murders.
Who killed Bola Ige? Who killed Dele Giwa three decades ago? Who killed Funsho Williams? Who killed Marshall Harry? Who killed Simbiat Adedeji?
Who killed Mohbad? One man claimed he saw Mohbad walk into the hospital and the musician even obliged him a double selfie. Yet the hospital claims he was brought in dead. Why is the police not hunting for this man? Are authorities unjustly scapegoating Nurse Feyisayo Ogedengbe, initially summoned to give Mohbad home treatment after he supposedly sustained injuries in a scuffle the previous Sunday at his last gig in Ikorodu, Lagos?
Owners of his old record label reportedly maltreated him financially, socially and physically. Their thugs beat and hurt Mohbad serially. All the while, relevant authorities looked the other way as Mohbad’s powerful enemies violated his rights, otherwise guaranteed in all known UN and African Charters. The Nigerian Constitution’s Section 33(1) says, “Every person has a right to life.” Those foes, also, trampled on Mohbad’s rights to dignity, personal liberty, association and movement. These are justiciable rights. And taken with various violations of the Criminal Code, they must be pressed post-humusly for Mohbad, to teach these brigands and their ilk a lesson.
Such a lesson flows from the Alaaye of Efon-Alaaye, Oba Samuel Adeniran Asusumasa Atewogboye II, and two collaborators, hanged for ritually murdering a 15-month-old baby girl in 1949. Until the hangman’s noose dropped around his neck, the Oba undoubtedly believed he belonged to the clique of the untouchables. These usually boast: “I will kill (or beat or hit or injure or damage or rape) you, and nothing will happen.”
The same mindset propelled Mohbad’s highly-connected enemies. They felt their connections would let them get away with murder. This fuelled their impunity.
Maybe they never heard Dele Giwa warn that: “No evil deed will go unpunished; any evil done by man to man will be redressed; if not now then certainly later; if not by man, then by God; for the victory of evil over good is temporary.”
While waiting for divine justice, however, judicial justice for Mohbad must happen. Privileged ruffians who feel their strong connection entitles them to beat, kill and go scot-free must learn that they will face the music.
Oboagwina is an Author, Journalist and Publisher.
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