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A Prayer for Mustapha Amego

A Prayer for Mustapha Amego

 

By Jude Arijaje, Philadelphia, PA

Yesterday, October 19, 2013, I went on my Facebook account and there was this chilling message about my very good friend, Mustapha Amego. So chilling was the message that my first thought was that his account had been hacked.

But a phone call to Marrie who posted the message confirmed that indeed, Mustapha is in dire straits. He has been battling colon cancer for the past 3 years and all medical options have been explored.

 

To many who still remember him, he is the "Funky Mallam". Pony tailed, long haired 6 footer who rocked the Nigerian music scene in the 80s and 90s. He anchored the soul train like music show which aired on Sundays for so long and taped at the then Lords Night Club in Maryland, Lagos.

 

He later went on to become the president of the Performing Musicians Employers Association (PMEAN). Shortly after his tenure ended in 1997 or thereabout, he relocated to the United States and had not been back to Nigeria.

 

But to some of us, he is not Mustapha Amego, he is not the "Funky Mallam", he is Musty, your friend, your brother, your confidante, he is Musty who loves Nigeria. He is Musty who would give his last dime and inconvenience himself for his friends, family and colleagues.

 

I met Musty in 1989. I was then a brand new journalist' finding my way around the news room. I was introduced to him by Azuka Jebose Molokwu. Musty, though he was a celebrity then, had no airs around him. He was very friendly and we became good friends. We would spent hours talking about Nigeria in his Maryland, Lagos home then and he was very mad that the rulers of the country who he would call four letter words have made the country unlivable for geniuses.

 

When he made the decision to relocate, I was perhaps one of the few people he confided in. A few years later, I relocated myself and naturally, Musty was one of the first few friends I reached out to when I got the the US. As soon as the pleasantries were over, he asked for my address and days later I got $200 in the mail. I did not ask for it, but Mustapha Amego is that kind of friend who knows his friends and knows that he has to be there for them.

 

For the past 15 years, we've been in constant contact and every single time he is passing through Philadelphia to New York, he calls to check on my availability to do lunch and a few years ago, we actually had lunch. He stopped by my office and we again spoke about...you bet Nigeria.

 

Reading the Facebook message gave me chills all day and all night. How come I didn't know Musty was going through this? We speak regularly...I spoke to him about the health issues I had a few years ago?

 

This morning, October 20, 2013, at 9.25 am, I was at the University of Maryland Medical Center to visit my dear friend Musty, and it was the most sobering moment of my life... his words were "Jude, I fought the good fight... I didn't succeed... I couldn't make changes... I love Nigeria."

 

We spent the next 2 hours talking about life... we spent all the time talking about his beliefs, his daughter... he wept at the thought that he won't be around to see his daughter go to college. We talked and talked and talked and talked about very subject under the sun. Then I asked him, Musty what is that one thing you want me to do. He didn't have anything to ask. He just wanted to get well. He just wanted Nigeria to stop treating her citizens badly.

 

He was too tired to talk at this point. He tilted his head and couldn't talk. He passed out.

 

Mustapha Amego is a true friend... seeing him today was an amazing experience for me. It reinforced the fact that God is an awesome God. He is the author and finisher of our destinies. He is an all knowing God, and God will perfect His will in Musty's life today. Only God knows that answer. but for now, I will be the friend he had been to me and will pray with him.