Music producer, Babatunde Okungbowa, a.k.a OJB dominated major discourse in the music industry in the last few weeks regarding his health situation before the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi came to his rescue by providing all the $100,00 needed for the Kidney surgery. He spent time with Entertainment Rave Newspapers speaking on the lessons life has taught him amidst other issues.
How do you see life now?
I see life more from a spiritual point of view, in the sense that I believe whether we like it or not, there are forces that are making things happen and I thank God that these forces have made it happen for me. I now see life from a bigger picture, I believe life is not about the Naira and Kobo, I see life from the strict sense.
What are the thoughts going through your mind during this period?
I was worried at the initial stage, I was worried about going public and raising the fund, but I believe it was all destined to be like this. A lot of things have come out of it also. Apart from the fact that we’ve been able to raise the fund, we’ve also been able to remind the people of the role OJB has played in the Nigerian music of today.
Do you think it achieved anything positive for you?
The major thing it has done for me is that the name OJB became popular. The name is now on everyone’s lips, even those that were not born at the time we were making music happen, that alone is a great score.
Out of the thoughts going through your mind before the money was raised, which one scares you most?
What scared me most during that time is death, not just personally but because you get worried about what you will leave behind, your children, family and all that. You don’t know what will happen to them and that gets me worried and also a lot of things you are yet to achieve, so all that gets you worried and scared.
How did you quench that thought of death?
The way I quench the thought of death was when I looked out and saw the amount of people praying for me that I should live, that was enough motivation to try and survive.
What were the best words of encouragement you got?
The best words of encouragement were when people were praying for me. Most of the time I read the messages, I tried as much as possible to reply them even from the sick bed. Those words encourage me a lot and the fact that the whole of Nigeria actually stood up for me was really encouraging. I don’t know what else can be as awesome as that, even a hit song is not as awesome as that. Nothing compares to that, so the people has really kept me going.
What lesson has this situation taught you?
What this situation has taught me is that don’t underestimate what God can do and don’t underestimate what can happen. I’m a very private person and have been trying to raise the money myself for two to three years. I have been battling with it until it came to a head. I was underestimating the reactions of people if I actually come out for help, but have learnt not to underestimate people now. You will be amazed to see how many people that truly loves you and that is what I got to see.
What were the earliest signs?
It started with high blood pressure, loss of appetite and general weakness. Those were the major signs.
Do you feel the same way with the criticisms of artistes who didn’t support you in any form?
Funny enough, I don’t feel the same way. Like I said earlier, the sickness did a lot for me and it touches me in a different way. I don’t feel angry or upset in any form because only God knows their own situations and I believe it has been destined that those who will help will help. Like I said, I see it from a spiritual angle; maybe if I had done it physically, I would have been more angry, more upset and more demanding from some particular people.
When is the operation taking place?
All things being equal, we are looking at first week of August and we would be gone for at least two months. By God’s grace, we will be back with good news.
Does the operation usually take that long?
You have to recoup, you won’t just do the surgery and get up. You will definitely rest for a while. So it’s best you stay in the confines of the hospital where you did the surgery.
Do you have any new-found perception about life?
My perception about life right now is that people should take things simple and easy.
What would be your best line of advice now?
Whatever it is that you desire in your heart, you should never give up because I didn’t give up and God did it for me. And when I travel for my surgery, I will come back by God’s grace with good news. Nobody should give up on any situation.
Interview was conducted by Seun Apara