How MKO became a Musician & Newspaper Editor

The GDA & The Author
Moshood flourished in
the firewood business for several years. He was able to carter for his family
and many others outside his family. But reasons beyond his control, such as
rising opposition from local villagers in and around Oba, forced him to give
up the business. What had seemed odd to him back in those days was the
unwillingness of the local inhabitants of Oba to get involved in the firewood
business and their reluctance, at the same time, to allow outsiders to
participate in the business. Did they not know that their village stood to gain
nothing from that scenario?
That was not the
only reason that he left the business. The cost of hiring trucks rose
astronomically and wiped away a large part of the profit. At first Moshood
did not just give up. He remained resilient and used half of the money he had
saved from the business, which was 135 pounds at that time, to
buy a second-hand truck. He thought his problem was solved till the engine of
the truck knocked after a few trips.

That was the end
of the firewood business. It took Moshood a while before he got
involved in a new venture. This was deliberate. His criteria for the right
venture had evolved by then. It was no longer only about profitability; it now
included immunity from external factors beyond his control, such as hostile
locals. By then he had become a teenager and had enrolled in a secondary school
named Baptist Boys High School. Finding a niche was his main priority
but it was not easy. One day he discovered exactly what he wanted to do.
The GDA in a hearty chat with the Author
He rushed to his
parents and found them seated in the living room. He greeted them and made an
announcement. “I want to form an
orchestra that will play at social functions. I will name it Kashy Mambo
His father, who
had become much older and weaker, still had his wits. “Is it the engine of your truck that knocked or your brain? How can you
think of becoming a musician?”
His mother, who
was surprisingly amused by the idea, intervened. “Don’t be so harsh on him. Hear him out, at least”
Salawu grumbled. “Okay, go ahead!” He sounded hesitant. “But don’t get carried away because I don’t like the idea at all”
Moshood was nervous. He
knew that his interest in the orchestra would fizzle away without his father’s
approval. He also knew that he could pressure his father to accept the idea but
he wanted him to be convinced willingly. “I
know it seems strange that I am moving from firewood to an orchestra. The
reason is that I need a project in which I will have full control”
He sat
beside his parents.
“If there is anything that people never get tired of
spending money on its parties. That means that my orchestra, which is going to
be the one in town, will be in a position to set the terms that are most
profitable for it to operate”

“I know, but my aim is not to be a trader. It has
never been. I want to finish school with the best grades. From there I will go
to a good university and graduate.
Soon afterward I will work in a big company and rise
to the top. This music is just a means to make all of these plans more

MKO & Dad, Chief  Salawu Adenekan
His father
interrupted him. “One in town; what
fanciful words”
He continued in a more serious tone. “There are too many bands already. Some of them are headed by
professional singers who have built solid reputations over the years. How will
you ever compete?”
Moshood had not
expected such a tough question. “You are
right, sir. This business is not an empty terrain”
He was stammering. “But these bands don’t have a personal
touch. Do you know that their members wear the same uniforms to different events?
It doesn’t even matter to them if they are going to play at a wedding or a
funera1. They wear the same colors. That, to me, is insensitive”
by his father’s positive facial reaction, he continued.”Kashy Mambo Orchestra
will be different because I know that my
customers deserve better. I can afford to sew different sets of uniform for
members of my band and buy all the necessary musical equipment with the last
part of my savings from the firewood business”
His father
looked stunned. “You seem to have thought
this all thing out. I am really impressed. But are you sure that band members
wear the same outfit to all events? That is hard to believe but if it is true
… “
Moshood interrupted him
excitedly. “It was a shock to me as well.
That is one of the areas I plan to exploit. But all of this will never happen
without your permission. Your support has always been a key … I mean the
His father
seemed perplexed. “I would have preferred
for you to remain in commodities. It is good to have a focus. After all,
experience is the best teacher and that has been your field for a few years
Moshood sat on the
floor. “I know, but my aim is not to be a
trader. It has never been. I want to finish school with the best grades. From
there I will go to a good university and graduate.
Soon afterward I will work in a big company and rise
to the top. This music is just a means to make all of these plans more

He stopped briefly to look at his mother as well before adding, “That is when I will take excellent care of
both of you”
MKO; The Star Child
His words were
music to his father’s ears. What his son had said was his exact wish for him.
He wanted to visit him one day in his office in a big company like the ones he
saw in Lagos from time to time. He nodded his head, which was the
green light for Moshood to actualize his plans.
The following
day was a very busy one. Moshood began his search for band
members. It lasted two weeks. Once his team was in place, he went shopping with
them for instruments. On the way, he declared, “Since you are the ones who will play them, you have to help me choose
On that same day
they bought a talking drum, bells, a set of drums, and a local instrument called an agidigbo. The next day they visited a popular tailor
where he spent almost all the money he had remaining to buy his band members
different sets of uniforms with different colors. He chose bright colors like yellow, white, and light blue for
festive events like marriages. Darker colors such as black, brown, and gray he picked for funerals.
Kashy Mambo

was a success from the start. In less than two months, the band was playing at
a minimum of three functions weekly. Moshood had made sure that stringent
rules, which applied equally to everyone, were in place at the beginning. As
the founder of the band, he allocated, with the consent of the other members, a
third of the band’s income to himself. He was solely responsible for equipment
procurement and repairs. The remainder of the earnings was distributed equally
among all other members at the end of each event, in accordance with an
agreement that they all signed when the band was formed.
But unlike the
days of the firewood business when Salawu played the dominant advisory
role regarding the decisions that Moshood took, his mother was now in
the forefront. She was the one who motivated him and solved disputes in the
band. She won the confidence of Moshood’s colleagues by never being
partial to her son. Within a short time, she became known as “the mother
of the orchestra”.
The orchestra gradually became more of a family than a
band. It acquired its own vehicle and played in events in other towns.
The Book that Cleared Bashorun MKO Abiola of all political blemishes
…And MKO becomes
Moshood maintained his
good grades, to everyone’s surprise, and even became the editor of the school magazine
named The Trumpeter. He
also found time to participate briefly in politics after he joined the youth
wing of the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons.
Moshood eventually left
the band after secondary school. He had secured a job in Barclays Bank in a bigger
city named
Ibadan, and had made up his
mind to relocate. He planned to work and save while he waited for a scholarship
that would enable him to further his education abroad. After his departure, the
orchestra was renamed Jazzy Mambo Orchestra.
(Excerpts from
the book, The President Who Never Ruled by Jamiu Abiola; get copies
in any book shop across the world or write Jamiu Abiola through Read How MKO lost mum on first work day @ Barclays Bank in our next post on this blog)


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