Korede Okungbowa is the third wife of late music producer and singer, OJB Jezreel. The CEO of Kokomi catering services and a mother of two tells YINKA BADEJO about her challenges after OJB’s death
How challenging have things been since OJB’s death?
I can’t say it has been easy. It is never easy for someone who has lost her husband unexpectedly. We have been trying to cope with the situation and knowing that he’s not coming back, there is nothing we can do about it but try to move on. I have been managing myself with the help of my family and some friends.
What is your sweetest memory of him?
I have a lot of fond memory of Jigga (nickname). We spent a lot of time together, and we were never apart for too long. The one that comes to mind right now was a year after our relationship started, which was my 25th birthday. I was heading to school with my younger sister, unknown to me he had planned a surprise party for me in school and my sister knew about it. That was at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye.
What attracted you to him, knowing he already had two wives?
Firstly, I had always known that Jigga has two wives because I used to visit him regularly at home. He was a very warm person, very open and always ready to listen. When someone solves your problem, it is as if they are part of you because any time I had issues, I could always call on him; be it rehearsals or my shows, he always knew how to go about tackling such problems. He was helpful when it came to wisdom and thinking. I was attracted to him for many reasons; his wisdom, love, smile and everyday advice attracted me to him. He was a life coach to me. He was everything to me. I had never been so much in love before and when I feel in love with Jigga, I didn’t judge him based on the fact that he had two wives, the whole industry can attest to that. I was in love with him, I could not see any obstacles and I am grateful for the opportunity to have spent those 10 years of my life with him.
You tagged some artistes about two weeks ago concerning OJB’s second year remembrance, has there been any response?
Since I made the video, I have not heard from anybody. The video I made is to remind them of the most important thing, which are Jigga’s royalty and his right to some songs that he had done.
They should not hold on to what belongs to the children, they should try and remit and not hold on to his works; it’s not done anywhere and if you look at the case of King Sunny Ade, he is still receiving royalties; someone that started music a long time before Jigga. This is the reason why I made the video and in fact, COSON is a body that collects for artistes and his a member of the organisation. Since Jigga’s burial, I haven’t heard anything from COSON, except they are making calls to people that we do not know.
However, I am expecting them to do the right thing and since they have not done anything in two years I made a video to wake them to see that the children are still here. We are not going to come to them for feeding or for school fees; they should just give the children what belongs to them, that is all I’m saying.
Is there any paperwork backing your claims?
I am very sure that there is paper work, and I know that they did some kind of contract because if there is no contract, I don’t think anyone can come out to say this song belongs to me, because it is your word against the dead. So, if there is any paper work, they can show it to us; at least, if you have proof of something, you show it; you can’t hold on to it and act like it was a verbal agreement between them – even if they had such agreement, it is invalid because Jigga is dead.
One of them (Westside) claims he has a contract from Jigga signing off his music with him. I want him to print it and put it on the internet as a proof that Jigga signed off the music he did with him. I am saying categorically that there is no contract, if there is any contract that says otherwise, they should show it to us.
How did you get to know about his demise?
What you just asked me now is the saddest thing that ever happened to me because I do not know how you can hear about your husband’s death on radio, through text messages from people telling you that your husband is late. I was shocked because I was supposed to see Jigga that morning. I planned to head to work that faithful morning before going to see him. Somehow, I had this terrible feeling that I had to see him that day but work prevented me. I then posted a picture with the caption ‘missing you’ on my Instagram page, which is what people used to comment about his death thinking that I had already known.
Calls then started coming in, but our first wife had already taken him to the mortuary, making plans; maybe she forgot to call, I don’t know. I would think that the first thing to do would have been to call the wives and family that this person is no more, rather than us hearing of it on radio or from people. That was the saddest day of my life because no one called. The first wife was supposed to call because she was with him in the house and I do not know what situation they were in but they called church members and her side of the family. I was shocked to find out that the wives were not even informed first but there is nothing we can do about it anymore.
Have you ever thought of re-marrying?
At first, I never thought of remarrying, because when I met OJB, it was absolute for me as he was the man I had chosen to spend the rest of my life with. However, this dilemma of looking for another husband is sickening because I didn’t expect that I would be one of those women who they refer to as single mothers. The thought never crossed my mind until recently due to pressure from family and close friends; eventually if I find another good man like him I would.