Abidemi Faboye, the founder and head of Abifab College in Ikorodu, Lagos, where the late singer Ilerioluwa Aloba, known as Mohbad, attended, shares his memories of the artist.
**How would you describe Mohbad?**
I first encountered Mohbad when he joined our school in 2013. His older sister, Blessing, had also graduated from our school in 2013. He came from a public school and was initially a reserved and slender boy. It was only in the years following his secondary education that he gained weight.
**How old was he when he enrolled in your school?**
He was 17 years old when he joined our school and appeared more mature than some of his peers. In 2015, he successfully passed the National Examination Council senior secondary certificate exam in one sitting. He spent two years at our school, and during this time, we witnessed a transformation in his life. He always affectionately referred to me as “daddy,” though I preferred to be addressed as ‘Abifab’ or ‘Mr. Abifab.’ Whenever he called me ‘daddy,’ I encouraged him to use my preferred name, ‘Abifab,’ but he would simply laugh it off.
**What kind of student was he?**
Mohbad was placed in the commercial class, and his academic performance was commendable. While I wouldn’t label him an outstanding student, he consistently achieved above-average results. He was an easygoing individual who only occasionally engaged in recreational activities and never caused any trouble.
**Did you know he was a member of the Marlian group?**
I was genuinely surprised when I learned that he had become a member of the Marlian group. I had doubts about whether he could adapt to such a group. Although he displayed maturity, I believed he might have been influenced by other individuals who joined the record label. I prayed for his well-being because our communication became less frequent after he left school.
**Did he show any signs of his musical talent while in school?**
His transformation into an artist was a surprise to many of us, including his teachers. When we first heard about “Imole,” it took us by surprise. I wasn’t familiar with afrobeats music until my daughter informed me that “Uncle Promise” was now Mohbad. I reached out to him through Messenger, and he shared his contact. His father worked as a carpenter, and during his school days, he often assisted his father and learned carpentry skills from him. I observed that he didn’t linger at school for long after classes, likely because his home was quite distant. He actively participated in the school’s music club and would often lead with songs during quiz competitions.
As he gained fame, I occasionally called him, but he was busy in the studio rehearsing. He mentioned that when inspiration struck, he would jot down lyrics and later develop them. I was delighted to have one of my students become a musician instead of the more traditional careers like becoming a doctor or pilot. He truly shone as a light in afrobeats music.
He was a promising star. His passing left us with a great sense of loss. People began to inquire about how I managed him when they learned that he had attended our school. I now receive condolences as if I were his biological father. Both his seniors and juniors from various places, including the United Kingdom, reach out to express their condolences.
**What advice do you have for parents on helping their children achieve greatness?**
Parents should avoid imposing their preferred courses or careers on their children. Forcing children to pursue greatness in a particular way may not be the best approach. Instead, parents should provide encouragement and engage in meaningful conversations with their children.
In today’s busy world, many parents lack the time to connect with their children. If Promise had a background similar to that of David Adeleke (Davido), he might still be alive today. Mohbad’s untimely death could have been prevented, but we trust that God knows best.
Parents should encourage their children, support them financially, and offer guidance. Even as parents grow older, they should continue to communicate with their children because their knowledge and experiences can be invaluable. It’s important to remain actively involved in your children’s lives, regardless of their chosen career paths. Everything possible should be done to prevent tragedies like Mohbad’s passing.
Communication between parents and children is crucial. Mohbad’s death might have been avoided if he had reached out to the right people when he faced difficulties with his record label. Parents should be supportive, provide financial assistance, and advise their children. While giving children some freedom is beneficial, it should not be absolute. Total freedom can lead to misbehavior, so parents should maintain a level of involvement and connection with their children.