Beyond the mic: Inside Mohbad’s childhood, family struggles


On September 23, 2023, exactly 11 days after singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba, known as Mohbad died, DAMILOLA OLUFEMI visited his father, Joseph Aloba and spoke with him on the artiste.

Mohbad, whose fans also referred to as Imole (Light), was a former signee of Marlian Music, a record label owned by Azeez Fashola, also known as Naira Marley.

He carved the name, “Mohbad” meaning Moh (I am) Bad (Bright and destined) after he recorded a song and was hailed for his excellence, he explained in a video.

Mohbad exited Marlian Music in 2022, in what appeared not to be a friendly departure.

Locating Mr Joseph Aloba’s (Mohbad’s father) house from the Ikorodu garage was quite easy. Getting to his residence, this reporter noticed the absence of a crowd within the compound – everywhere seemed quiet and looked like nothing had happened.

The hope of this reporter to sign a condolence register was dashed as there was nothing of such present.

Stepping inside Aloba’s living room, this reporter noticed that there was no picture of Mohbad anywhere. This according to Aloba was because he “can’t keep seeing his picture in this mood. I had to remove all his pictures.”

The light that shone

The name “Imole” holds deep meaning, signifying the radiant light he brought into the world. Mohbad’s musical journey began with a desire to make a difference, fueled by his love for music and his father’s influence. Despite his untimely passing, his legacy lives on through his music and the impact he had on those who knew him.

Early exposure to music

On the street of Oke-Iletu, Ikorodu, Lagos State, Mohbad, was born. He carved out a unique place in the hearts of his community. This neighbourhood, which he proudly called home, witnessed the early chapters of his life. Born in Apa but settling in Oke-Iletu at a young age, Mohbad navigated the bustling streets with the dreams and aspirations of a young boy.

“He had his childhood here, but he was born around Apa. They started living here (Oke-Iletu) when he was around 10 to 12 years old,” a source and resident disclosed.

Mohbad’s father’s involvement in music paved the way for this serendipitous moment. The offer came from the owner of the house they worked at, and Mohbad’s journey in music began.

A significant turning point occurred when opportunity knocked in the form of a family friend. This friend introduced Mohbad to a potential opportunity in the music industry, where Mohbad was offered N30,000 for a studio recording session.

Mohbad’s father, Aloba, a musician himself, played a pivotal role in shaping his son’s musical journey. Residents fondly remembered him as “Omo Oba,” the son of a man deeply rooted in his musical craft.

Despite his music career level, he was seen as a meek individual, who gives freely whenever he visits the community he grew up in.

“He was very humble, he was not arrogant or proud. Within the time he joined Naira Marley, he came to the neighbourhood up to four times. He was someone that gave freely,” a video of his last visit to the community reveals.

At a stage of his life, he had been involved in carpentry work, a profession he learnt from no one else but his dad, who described this as what he loved about him.

“All his life was spent with his father. Whenever he comes back from school, he does his father’s work. He was hustling with his father’s work,” a source said.

His act of learning fast resulted in roofing the ceiling of his dad’s living room single-handedly.

“He did not learn the carpentry work anywhere. He was always with me whenever I was working. He will be the one telling me ‘Daddy, let us go and do the work so that we will finish the work on time.’ He was always encouraging me. He was a merciful child,” Aloba told this reporter.

The cordial relationship between Mohbad and his dad was beyond father and son.

Aloba had wanted to be the one to compose songs for Mohbad but as a bright shining star and future he saw in himself, Mohbad declined.

However, the duo still maintained a good relationship in that they both sang the “I will exalt you Lord” song.

While the father sings gospel, the son sings hip-hop, with the target of having a song together before Mohbad’s demise.

“He told me not to worry, that both of us will sing together on the stage. Sometimes, he will show me the songs he has composed. He will tell me to help him to edit the songs. Anything he did, I supported him. He had visions when he was 14 years old that he would be known in many nations. Now that he is dead, he can’t attain that peak but his music speaks,” Aloba said.

Educational journey

Mohbad’s educational journey was marked by challenges and resilience. Despite experiencing a hiatus from schooling due to financial constraints, he later returned to complete his secondary education. His determination led him to pursue a higher education in Accounting.

Mohbad was not only spontaneous musically but also sound academically.

He began schooling at Upper Hand Nursery and Primary School, Sasa, Lagos State.

Upon completion of his primary education, he proceeded to Starey School, Lagos. He was almost done in school when his family changed environment.

He was once enrolled in Oshodi Secondary School where he spent three years.

His family relocated to the Oke-Iletu community, Ikorodu in 2009.

Between 2009 and 2011, Mohbad was unable to continue his education or attend any school due to a lack of money.

“In 2011, I promised him that he would go back to school when I was done with the work that I was doing. The house was the fourth house to this place (Mohbad’s dad’s house). He told me he could do the ceiling of the house and after he finished the work, I gained N17,000. I promised him that he would go to school after we completed the project,” Aloba recounted.

In 2013, Aloba reenrolled Mohbad in Abifab College, Ikorodu. In 2015, Mohbad sat for the National Examination Council Senior Secondary Certificate Examination and made his papers in one sitting.

The proprietor and principal of Abifab College, Ikorodu, Abidemi Faboye, the Secondary School Mohbad graduated from described him as an easygoing person.

“He never made trouble. He was active in the school’s music club. During quiz competitions, he would lead with songs. He was a child of promise; a star,” Faboye told  The PUNCH.

Upon the completion of his secondary education, fear took over the mind of his dad who was bothered if he could cope in a tertiary institution, due to the number of years he had ‘wasted’.

However, “he eventually coped,” Aloba said with a smile on his face.

 Mohbad spent two years at Esa-Oke Polytechnic, Osun state, for his National Diploma as an Accounting student.

Simple lifestyle

The deceased was described as a simple and modest individual.

Aloba explained that Mohbad and his partner, Wunmi, the lady said to have given birth to Liam, son of the deceased, had known each other years back from Oke-Iletu, but there was no string attached back then.

However, Mohbad and Wunmi were able to reconnect through Naira Marley.

Clarifying this through the song “Komajensun” Mohbad sang in 2020, Aloba spoke of a lyric “Naira lo gbe omo fun mi, I’m not a womaniser” in the song referencing Mohbad reconnected with Wunmi at Marlian record.

“He (Mohbad) met the lady (Wunmi) there (at Marlian Music) but they have known each other from Oke-Iletu, even though the lady was a student then,” Aloba disclosed to this reporter.

The connection with Naira Marley

One of the biggest mysteries surrounding Mohbad was how he connected with the famous musician, Naira Marley. Some speculate that the help of a woman played a role in introducing him to Naira Marley, while others believe it was a result of his talent and persistence.

What is not in doubt is that Mohbad’s connection to Naira Marley played a pivotal role in his music career.

On December 30, 2020, a year after he joined the label, Mohbad took to his X (formerly Twitter) account to express his excitement about being signed into Marlian Music and also thanked Naira Marley for believing in him.

His dad, a lover of his songs, recounted that the song “Balenciaga ni mo fe”, led him to know Naira Marley.

“Whenever he wants to sing, he will always call me. I do tell him that whatever word he wants to say must always be wise words. I told him never to act or imitate or try to be someone else,” Aloba repeated his words of advice to Mohbad.

The controversial lyrics

Mohbad’s song lyrics, especially the line “Stepmother no care” in his song titled “Sorry” stirred confusion among listeners.

Aloba married another woman after separation from Mohbad’s mom, Olumiyi. The woman, named Sade, whom Aloba married in 2005 became Mohbad’s first stepmother.

However, after more than seven years of being together, Aloba and Sade parted ways. This resulted in Mohbad’s father marrying another woman, who is presently with him.

Aloba, while shedding more insight on the lyrics, disclosed that Sade, whose relationship with her was complicated, and at one point, she asked him to choose between her and his son and that decision led to Sade’s departure from the family.

“The stepmother told me one day, ‘Choose me or your son.’ I chose my son (Mohbad) and she packed her loads and left. I and the lady were together for more than seven years. I married her around 2005. That stepmother did not want me to send Mohbad to school, and I chose my son. And she decided to leave,” Aloba said.

While Mohbad’s mother gave birth to three children – Mohbad, Blessing and Adura; Sade also has three children.

“He was referring to his first stepmother who already left and not the present,” Aloba said.

The burial controversy

Mohbad’s swift burial raised eyebrows within the community and the nation at large, leading to speculations and questions about whether there was more to the story.

A few days after Mohbad’s death, a video of a man went viral on social media.

The man who claimed to be a Baale alleged Aloba planned to hold a midnight funeral on the same day of his son’s passing, but he disagreed with such an idea.

The man, who did not mention his name in the viral video added that he voiced his dissatisfaction with the planned course of action and made it clear that midnight burial wouldn’t take place.

Reacting to the claim, Aloba said nothing of such ever happened either had he had such a plan or conversation with the said man.

“The video that someone claimed to be Baale is not true. Such a man is terrible,” he said.

Backing Aloba, a family member, who was present during the interview added, “They gave him money to create the fake video. Whoever speaks of evil about Mohbad, his dad, God will judge you all, except if all they say is truth.”

Conflicting Narratives

The circumstances of Mohbad’s death gave rise to conflicting accounts. Some claim that he passed away at home, while others contend that he died at the hospital.

Aloba, while disclosing to our correspondent how he was informed about Mohbad’s death, explained he saw Mohbad a few days earlier before he got a call from his mom at about 4pm on September 12, and “sensed something was wrong.”

He added that his number was later called and was notified about his son’s death.

When asked if he was told how it happened, the gospel singer said he was not told how it happened but he asked and “I was told his hand was swollen and was given an injection,” he said.

A report claimed a misunderstanding had earlier ensued between Mohbad and a friend who accidentally struck Mohbad with the car’s glass, causing an injury to Mohbad’s hand. This deteriorated his health and an injection was administered on him by a nurse before he was rushed to a hospital.

While the general public is yet to know the cause of his death, the Nigeria Police Force has launched an investigation team to unravel the circumstances that led to the death. Part of the investigation was the exhumation of the body for an autopsy.

Last minute with father

In a touching final memory, Mohbad shared a meal with his dad a few days before his passing. He served the food.

“The Saturday that we met, he (Mohbad) gave me food. He was the one who served the food. I almost finished the food, when he went to take his spoon, so we both ate the remaining food from the same plate, at his place in Lekki,” Aloba disclosed to this reporter tearfully.

Before his demise, Mohbad was able to resolve the difference between his dad and mom.

Affirming this with a smile, Aloba said, “The dispute between me and Mohbad’s mum has ended. I see Mohbad as someone after God in my life. It was after two years that I agreed to settle the dispute because of my son.”

Punish anyone found guilty

Reacting to the autopsy carried out by the police on Mohbad, Aloba urged the government to probe, reveal the truth and punish any individual or group found guilty of causing the pain of losing his child.

“Help me probe and reveal the truth and punish anyone found guilty or culpable,” he told our correspondent.

Pathologist reacts

Following a viral video claiming there was blood in the coffin of the late Mohbad when he was exhumed for an autopsy, a pathologist, Dr Philip Olatunji, shed light on the possibility of this.

He said, “Once a person is dead, all functions of the body stop.

“The heart is not working, the lung is not functioning. There is no way that fresh blood can come out of such a body. Under normal medical circumstances, I can assure you that the definition of death does not allow anything like that,” he said.

Explaining further in an exclusive phone interview with this reporter, he added, “I don’t know a pathologist that will say he saw fresh blood in a body that had been buried for eight days. The postmortem report is not out, so where are people getting such information from?

“I can tell you categorically that it is not possible under normal circumstances. It is an assumption that they say they saw blood. Fresh blood for that matter.”

Asked about the number of days an autopsy takes, Olatunji said there is no specific number of days an autopsy could take, particularly the internal examination of the body.

He, however, said external examination of the body takes a short time.

A part of an autopsy is “to open up the body and look at the internal organs and take specimens from every part of those bodies and those specimens are still going to be subjected to various analyses.

“Some of the process of autopsy may be sent outside (the country) for further analysis. Until they have gotten all the information about the various aspects taken from the body, nobody will issue you a report,” he said.

Amid mysteries and controversies, Mohbad’s story is a testament to the power of music, an enduring legacy of a young artiste who touched the hearts of many.(Punch)

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