OJB Jezreel: 50th Birthday that Never Was


Adeoluwa Atayero

Today is a day of sombre reflection for the friends, family members and fans of legendary Nigerian producer, OJB Jezreel, who passed away on June 14, 2016 at the age of 49. Today, barely a month since his death, is the 50th birthday of the legendary icon. When his kidney problem first occurred in 2013, the chances of his witnessing other birthdays were very slim, but OJB remained a resolute fighter. Even after he had got a transplant and his prospects looked a bit brighter, it was OJB’s unrelenting fighting spirit and adamant “I Can’t Give Up” attitude that saw him through till his final days.


An unassuming man, OJB has been described by all who know him as a humble and modest carefree spirit who loves to give. OJB was also a man who loved and cherished family. The definition of a true family man, OJB had three wives and eight children. He famously said in his last interview about his children that “I look at them and see them as my proud achievements not the Bentleys and Rolls Royce.” One would naturally assume that given his celebrity status that such a man would want to have a loud and lavish celebration for his 50th birthday but for OJB, this was simply not the case. “ I think the first thing I really want to do is to have a quiet moment with my family, because as you are aware from 2013 till now it’s been a rolling stone of challenges health-wise and for some reasons I’m still alive”.

OJB was also never one to discredit the G-factor in his life. He took his spiritual life very seriously and did not wait for a certain time to cultivate a spiritual relationship. On the topic of spirituality and turning 50, he had this to say “I hear most people turn 50 and say things like ‘I’ll get closer to God’, so I always wonder. Really, you don’t have to hit the age of 50 before you should get close to God, what if you don’t live up to 50?” These are undoubtedly words of a reflective faith filled man.

Prior to his death, rumors have swirled incessantly about OJB’s death since the announcement of his kidney ailment. Any regular person would see this as a cause for depression but the resilient producer simply brushed off these rumors. When asked about how such news in the media makes him feel, he simply said “when I hear such news I never get bothered”.

His last words during his last interview are quite haunting and foreshadowing, but they perfectly sum up the mantra of a man who has led a truly successful life.  “The more simple and humble you are, the more you will be honored and blessed by the forces of existence. Once you realize this, you will find out that you will no longer wrestle with destiny or struggle with life.”

Today, instead of elaborate birthday party at his residence, a candle light night will be held in his honour. This will be followed by a Wake Keep on Thursday, July 7, after which he will be interred at the Ikoyi Cemetary on Friday, July 8.

For your hard work, diligence and humble personality, you will truly be missed. Happy birthday OJB, continue to rest in peace.


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