The International Committee of the All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, in partnership with the African Union Commission, AUC, pays tribute to Babatunde Jezreel Okungbowa a.k.a OJB Jezreel. We deeply mourn the departure of an icon who played a very significant part in the evolution of the Nigeria music industry.
The renowned music producer in the contemporary Africa passed on at the early hours of Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at Isolo General Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. The shocking news of his demise came barely a month to his 50th birthday.
Jigga as he was fondly called by his Gbaja cronies was passionate about showcasing the arts, music and culture of contemporary Africa to Africans at home and in the diaspora. He was very resourceful in the 2014 edition of the All Africa Awards, AFRIMA, by presenting the first two awards with Davina Green (Zimbabwe) to the winners of best female artiste in Eastern Africa (Vanessa Mdee) and West Africa (Angelique Kidjo) respectively.
Reacting to the death of OJB Jezreel, Project Director, AFRIMA, Ms. Kemi Ashefon said, “All of us at AFRIMA deeply mourn the shocking demise of OJB. He was voice of contemporary Africa, an epitome of hope for many emerging African music artistes. He was one of the renowned music icons that was passionate about the successful fulfilment of the AFRIMA vision.”
Ashefon further bemoaned that OJB has left a huge vacuum in the leadership and mentorship bench of African music. “His demise is a colossal loss to the Africa music space. We are immensely impacted by his devoted and enormous contribution to the growth of Africa contemporary music narratives. He will be sorely missed by all of us in Africa and the world at large. The entire members of the International committee of AFRIMA send our deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans. We pray that OJB finally rest in peace.”
OJB Jezreel was a prominent tutor, mentor and creative producer of many leading African music artistes. He was the creative force behind the numerous hits of a countless number of artistes, such as Ruggedman, 2Face Idibia, Jazzman Olofin, Nomoreloss to Raskie, K-Show & Six-O, C-mion, Abounce, and the list is endless. OJB honed his singing and song writing skills so much that he became as consummate a music performer as he was a producer.
His doggedness in skills acquisition and personal development in his music craft saw him through the emergence from the back street studios to become a front line music producer with indelible mark in the African music industry.