Babatunde Okungbowa, a.k.a. OJB Jezreel, the vastly talented composer, singer and music producer died on Monday, June 13, following a total failure of his kidney transplant.
He had a successful kidney transplant in India in 2013 and had since managed to stay alive. LANRE ODUKOYA shares what they never told you about the iconic entertainer.
HOW HE DIED
It was learnt reliably that on Monday, June 13, OJB had just played with the kids and wife, Mabel, a.k.a. Mama J till about 10pm before the family went to bed. But by 3am, an excruciating pain had overwhelmed him.
He groaned nearly helplessly but his wife prevailed on him to endure till 6am when they would rush
to Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos, one of the best dialysis centres in the city and where he was always treated.
He cried all through the night and when it was about 6am, Mabel’s younger brother had joined the family to drive the couple to the hospital. He was in his boxers and Mabel had to rush to put a shirt on him.
By that time, he could barely mutter anything. But unfortunately, the doctors’ industrial strike had begun on Monday, June 13, so he would be unable to get anyone to attend to his emergency case.
But Mabel had reached out to another doctor in Isolo. Right there in the Infini SUV (one of the automobiles he gave her) which moved towards Isolo, Mabel screamed into his ears, “you’re behaving as if you don’t want to return home with me.
And you know the kids know that I would always bring you back home after treatment. If you don’t come back with me, what would I tell them?” His body was frail and heavy as he leaned on her. He couldn’t answer.
Alas, Mabel noticed his weight had changed. He had become heavier. Before they could get to the hospital, he gave up the ghost. As at when he died, he had emptied his bank account paying for dialysis which cost N35,000 daily and technically, he died broke.
LIKELY CAUSE OF HIS DEATH
After the successful transplant, he was supposed to return to India for a checkup a year after but we gathered from reliable source that he couldn’t go for want of money. Sadly, our source also insists that for about 10 months he couldn’t afford his drugs or any other treatment for that matter. But along the line, he got some reasonable money and resumed his dialysis. But his condition was already deteriorating because of the 10-month break.
So, when he finally made some fortune, the health had deteriorated and impossible to manage. He survived for the longest time among the six patients with whom he had the transplant, according to a credible source.
HIS 50TH BIRTHDAY PLANS
Plans to celebrate his 50th birthday were in top gear. In fact, the venue, opposite Shoprite, Adeniran Ogunsanya, had been paid for. He knew it could be his last and wanted it to be a grand occasion.
HIS UNFULFILLED DREAMS
He had some tall dreams one of which was to partner his foundation, OJB Kidney Foundation with experts who will import the dialysis machines to cater for patients at a lesser fee than N35,000 per day.
The experts had agreed that if the plans sailed through, he would be given a huge discount on his dialysis- N7,000 daily would be all required from him while the centre offers same service to other patients at a little over N20,000. He had hoped to reconstruct his house in Surulere, Lagos, to a 5-storey building.
The prototype (architectural design) was already in his living room. The ground floor was to be a parking space, first floor a shopping mall, second floor for rented apartments, third floor for his family and the fourth floor would be a music production studio while the last floor was to be an event centre. He had hoped to get a loan from a bank to achieve this because he never wanted his family to suffer after he was gone.
MABEL, JUST AS ILL
Since she donated one of her kidneys to her late husband, Mabel had also been on drug and it is for life. So, although she was stronger than OJB Jezreel when he was ill, she’d also been ill now many times because it was just one kidney that had to bear the burden. But she said to all who cared to listen that she had no regrets donating her kidney to a man she loved.
HOW HE SHARED HIS CARS
He owned four cars namely Infini Q56 SUV, Range Rover Sport, Chrystler and Toyota Yaris. Mabel has Infini Q56 and Chrystler, June Ama (second wife) got Toyota Yaris and Korede got the Range Rover Sports.
FATHER INFORMED 48HOURS AFTER
His father, a rich merchant in Agbor, Delta State, was prevented from getting the news until two days later. His TVs were switched off for 48 hours so he wouldn’t see the news. Now senile, he was later informed after chiefs and his friends had given him courage.
AND TWO OTHER THINGS…
OJB Jezreel’s last wish was, “I want to lie in a very beautiful place”, perhaps he wanted a vault. One of his best kept secret is that his wife, Mabel, who gave him the greatest donation ever also erred. He confided in a source that the lady took a lump some of the money he got to church for thanksgiving and he couldn’t complain or tell the world. He was afraid he might be labeled an ingrate.