Bongos @ 82: The Oklobian Tete Syndrome And Why Idoma Should Emulate Bongos & 2Baba

By Andrew Agbese

Those who have met Tuface, now known as 2Baba, admit that he is a very humble and unassuming person who never allows his success to get into his head.

For someone from a humble background who has climbed the ladder of success and has become a personification of a grass-to-grace story by selling millions of his works across the globe and giving Africa arguably its most celebrated love song, African Queen, this is most unusual.

This is rare in our clime especially Idomaland where a tinge of success spikes the average humble person to shoulder raising pomposity and indecent ostentatious show-offs.

2Baba, along with his now estranged brother, Amedu, well aware of this saga, sang about it in a song they titled, Oklobian tete, which speaks about a character named John who will not relate with his erstwhile friends simply because he had gone to the township and made it.

The translation to the lyrics rendered in Idoma goes thus:
When were were young, you will hear that we did a lot of things together/at that time we were always together/any drink I take John must share from it/ if it’s left over food we always share it together/ even if it’s a shirt, me and John we use it together/ But now John has made money and he’s acting like he doesn’t know me again.

It is good that 2Baba did not just mouth the malaise but has successfully withdrawn from the Oklobian tete syndrome by maintaining a dignifying humility that has earned him respect across the globe making yours truly a fanatical fan of the artist.

That was why in the year 2009, I had to disagree with my elder brother, Adagbo Onoja, over a piece he wrote on the return of music legend, Bongos Ikwue, to music.

Bongos had after a highly successful music career that spanned decades taken a break and ventured into business, a development which made many music lovers miss his talent.

When he decided to return to what is considered his true calling, Onoja could not restrain his emotion and went all out to hail the legend in a piece he contributed in Sunday Trust.

Onoja wrote in that piece that “in the age of CNN and home videos when our children cannot speak their mother tongue, it means Bongos Ikwue is the ONLY (emphasis mine) source in the language itself.”

While I agreed with Onoja’s lament about the near vacuum created by Bongos’ absence, I was not happy with the extent of his grief to wit that the absence was akin to the Idoma being orphaned in the music scene.

In my estimation, to agree that Bongos’ absence was tantamount to a bereavement was to undermine or under- appreciate the role of other (then) burgeoning artistes from Idomaland who were trying hard to fill up the vacuum and I identified Tuface (as he then was) as one of such.

I concluded my piece by saying that for anyone to do an appraisal of the ideologues of Idoma cultural preserve without a mention of Tuface was uncharitable.

Onoja in response, gave me a spanking in a rejoinder, with a reminder that as an ‘Edumoga son,’ he was well aware of the efforts of Tuface and concluded that it amounted to intellectual rascality for me to impugn that he does not appreciate the efforts of his brother, Tuface.

I had to insist that Tuface cannot be overlooked in the manner Onoja did then because apart from his humble disposition, I was aware how Tuface has through his works, brought glory and recognition to Idoma.

It was later I realised that the young man has done even more.

While others in the corridors of power are won’t to use their positions to push for their people, our elites like to engage in ego trips and unnecessary personality clashes which have impacted negatively on Idomaland.

For instance, with the caliber of persons who have served in high positions during the military era, one should have expected Idoma land to fare better if there had been more cooperation among the elites rather personality clashes.

This unfortunate legacy seemed to have been inherited by the present crop of Idoma elites who have made it a past time time to engage themselves fully in combats rather than fight to bring development to the land.

2Baba is one of the very few prominent Idoma I know who has overcome this temptation and even survived manipulations to go that way.

He first triumphed over Black Face who tried very hard to drag him into an unnecessary squabble. It takes a man with grace and uncommon humility to ignore those acts of provocation.

Again, 2Baba dealt a deadly blow on the bid to set him up against his ‘father’ Bongos, when an unhealthy comparison was being made about who between him Bongos is the Greatest of All Times (GOAT) in Idomaland.

Rather than allow such an unhealthy comparison to fester, Tuface decided to use his humility to give the elderly man his due.

He went personally and ‘dobaled’ to the elder which resulted in the ‘Still Searching’ collabo the duo had.

With the collabo, all the mischievous voices and crisis entrepreneurs that were trying to set the two against each other scampered into hiding and the matter died a natural death.

How I wish our elites would learn from 2Baba and overcome the temptation for a supremacy battle among themselves and concentrate on what is for the common.

Happy birthday, Bongos.

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