Mohbad: When Vultures Come to Party

JJ. Omojuwa
4 min readSep 29, 2023

If you are one of those rare creatures in Nigeria who for some reason, has not heard of the passing of Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba a.k.a Mohbad, you are in a very good position to teach the rest of us about how to live in this world without being consumed by it. Suffice it to say, Mohbad’s passing has dominated the news since Tuesday the 12th of September 2023 when he was allegedly killed. I could have written, ‘when he died’, but I generally prefer to use the word ‘die’ only for those whose passing can be immediately attributed to natural causes. Mohbad’s death has gripped the nation by the jugular and two and a half weeks on, the dust from the storm it raised, has refused to settle. His is a curious case however you look at it.

It is hard not to wonder if the public outcry (which has assumed international dimensions), is as a result of the guilt of our not paying attention to his cries for help and protection from those who bullied him repeatedly. To expiate the guilt, the public appears to be on course to memorialise him by securing justice on his behalf. It might seem that the next best thing to do if you could not prevent someone from being killed is to at least help them get justice after they are gone. Justice will not raise the dead, but at the very least, it will show the world that our country is not a jungle; a place where you can get away with murder.

The call for justice for the young artist has been nothing short of impressive. However, it has not been shorn of the distractions that every trending issue is cursed to suffer. As a fallout of Mohbad’s passing, different groups have coalesced to project their own selfish interests. With the outcry at its emotional crescendo, many individuals have taken advantage of a public baying for blood, to further their own agendas.

In the lead are several “veteran” upcoming artists who saw it as a chance to call out their former label bosses. “Veteran” and upcoming because these category of artists have been on the scene for a while but have painfully not made bank. For them, it matters not that there is no correlation between the circumstances surrounding Mohbad’s exit from his former label and theirs. To be clear, Mohbad did not just break out, he made hit upon hit. It matters not to these artists that even though millions of naira had been expended on their careers, their craft remains far short of the commercial successes they hoped it would be. To vent, they needed an avenue to cast aspersions on those who invested in their careers without the expected returns, and Mohbad’s death provided a convenient one. It also matters not that several years on, they are much worse off today, artistically at least, than when they were with these labels. If in Mohbad’s passing they saw an opportunity to cancel the bosses of their former recording companies, they failed miserably.

As bad as the case of these disgruntled artists are, they are not the worst opportunists seeking to gain from the controversy surrounding Mohbad’s death. You would expect that most young people would frown at the inhumane treatment meted out to widows in some cultures. For a generation that prides itself on being upholders of values such as equality, inclusion and strident calls for sensitivity to mental health issues, you would expect millennials to be at the forefront of ensuring that widows are better treated. For Mohbad’s widow, Omowunmi Aloba, her treatment, particularly from this section of the public, has been an antithesis of the values usually associated with them. She has had to endure being derogatorily called a ‘Baby Mama’ as though she was unmarried to the late musician. Thankfully, that narrative was countered by the saner side of the conversation, but it did not stop things from taking a darker turn.

The focus of attacks has literally moved from the major to the minor; from Mohbad’s widow to his five-month-old son. If you think those calling for a DNA test for the kid want to prove or disprove Omowunmi’s fidelity, then you do not understand the motivation. I can identify at least two. With Mohbad appearing to earn more royalties since passing than he did while alive, his estate is a ripe target especially as in the order of priority of beneficiaries, his spouse and child are in pole position. Videos circulating online betray an inordinate focus on the late entertainer’s assets by those who ought to be mourning. Also, if they can cast some doubt, no matter how unreasonable, on the entertainer’s widow’s loyalty, it muddies the water and makes it less likely for the culprits to be apprehended and made to bear the consequences of their actions or omissions.

Oftentimes, all a guilty party needs to get away with wrongdoing is to sow confusion by pointing at others. Confusion ensures that people are distracted from asking the most important questions. The effectiveness of this tactic is that it shifts the public’s focus from what matters. In this case, it is: who killed Mohbad? This is the most pertinent question that begs an answer today. Nothing else matters at this time. All other questions must wait for this one to be answered. #JusticeforMohbad in its purest form is in the pursuit of those who were involved in his death. It is why these vultures looking to profit off his death should not be allowed the distractions they crave.

For focusing on what is important I must single out platforms like Gistlover for commendation. This is in no way an endorsement of their methods or some of their actions in the past, it is strictly about the issue at hand. This commendation is well deserved in my opinion because at a time others are exhibiting carrion-feeder behaviour to profit off Mohbad’s death, Gistlover is helping to re-focus attention on what matters the most: who killed Mohbad?