Farooq Oreagba: King of Steeze opens up on living with cancer, Ojude Oba

Tosin Brown

“You don’t know how much time you’ve got; you line up your priorities. For me, it is family first because I don’t know how long I’m going to be around, but by God’s grace, I’m 10 years and counting, and since I’ve been crowned ‘king of steeze’, I’m not about to just go like that anytime soon,” these were the words of 58-year-old Farooq Oreagba, who has been dubbed the king of steeze for his appearance at the 2024 Ojude Oba Festival.

In a television show appearance, Oreagba, the Managing Director of NG Clearing, who has been living with an incurable form of cancer, multiple myeloma, for 10 years, says he’s not backing down anytime soon.

Quite optimistic about what life has to offer, Oreagba says if he could live another 20 years battling cancer, being diagnosed with cancer will be the best thing that ever happened to him.

“I’ll say this to somebody, and it’s going to sound ridiculous. I’m 58, and if I could live another 20 years, I’ll say being diagnosed with cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me. It changes my perspective on life. What I’m there for. I’m there for it,” he said.

Continuing, the former Member of the Derivatives Product Advisory Committee of the Nigerian Stock Exchange said, “I’ve been counselling cancer patients for a while. I was diagnosed in February 2014. I had a bone marrow transplant in August 2014. I did chemotherapy every day, 21 days a month, for eight years.

“I don’t do chemotherapy anymore; I’m living my best life; I’m back working. That gives me a sense of fulfilment because people ask me why I am so happy. ‘I’m alive!’ And as long as you’re in the game, you can win the game; each day is a blessing.”

Oreagba also revealed how he has lived on the Lagos beach for four years, and that the Ojude Oba festival is an expensive venture.

“What I did in my spare time up until last year was that I lived on the beach for four years. I lived in Lagos, on a beach, as my primary home for four years. I did not have a home in Lagos at all. I did not worry about security; I just lived my life.”

On his fame with the Ojude Oba festival, he said, ““Ojude Oba has evolved over the years; I’ve been doing it for 15 years. Within my family, the Oreagba family, my grandfather was the main rider going back to the 1960s; he died in 1967, so we only had one rider. My uncle took over, and he was the main rider from ’67 to ’84.

“It’s a family affair; it’s not about one individual, and it’s a very expensive venture. But for me, it’s just an expression of who I am. I didn’t choose the clothes; the family did. They’ve started arranging clothes now for what we will wear next year.

He also gave credit to the photographers for how his pictures from the event went viral, stating that it wasn’t planned that way.

“This is a total shock to me. I didn’t nail it; the cameraman nailed it. The only thing that was curated is that it used to be two men at the front, and this time it was three. I was at the front.”

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