Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the family of the late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, of refund of £200,000 incurred as medical bill in London, a top government source told Daily Sun, yesterday. The president gave the assurance when the Ekwueme family, led by Oko Kingdom’s traditional ruler, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, paid…
For physically challenged Vershima Wilson Mende aka Krazee Legs, he’d rather starve than beg to survive. Now, even born without legs, the Benue-born act is making a living by performing at O’Jez Music Concert holding weekly at the National Stadium, Suruelere, Lagos.
In this chat, the 26-year-old Benue State indigene opens up on life as a physically challenged artiste, debut album as well as his love life. Enjoy it.
What has been the response to your album, Walangolo released on O’Jez music label last December?
The response has been overwhelming. Walangolo, my debut album has been making waves and people just love me. It is a five-tracker featuring songs such as Promise and Fail and I Need Somebody among others.s
How did you hook up with O’Jez Music?
I came to Lagos to pursue a career in sports after my coach invited me. He said that I had to move down to Lagos where the action was. In my state, there are many physically challenged people but they are not being supported. I realised that if I am to make headway, I would have to take my coach’s advice and that was how I got here (Lagos). But along the line, I realised that I just couldn’t do without entertainment, which gives me money unlike sports where it is only when there are events that money comes. But entertainment gives me money frequently, so I went out in search of a place where I could be entertaining people. When I came to Lagos, I was staying with my aunty on the Island. Sometimes when I went out for shows I hung out with my friends and slept under the bridge or in a Keke Marwa (tricycle) or at the stadium. That was when my friends told me O’Jez was the place to be. Then MC Shakara was the Master of Ceremony there.
The first time I performed at O’Jez, the audience was blown away, so I decided to stay put at O’Jez, and here we are today. Things moved very quickly and from here I started going for shows in Apapa, Festac Town and wherever my services were needed. All the while, my label owner, Engineer Joseph Odobeatu was giving me the necessary support.
Before you came to Lagos as a physically challenged person, what was life like?
It wasn’t easy; it was rough and tough. I was not going out because when ever I did go out, people couldn’t stop looking at me and pitying me. Some even made fun of me and discriminated against me. But I had a few friends who would have none of it and it fired me up and I began to hang out. I noticed to my shock that, with my change in attitude, people started coming around me and wanting to talk to me. From there, I realised that there is more to life, I
could mingle with anybody and be what I want to be.
Were you born with a silver spoon, tell us about growing up?
We were six in the family and I am number four. There was poverty and it was not easy. We lived in one-room apartment. My parents were struggling. Mum was a teacher and dad a civil servant. Things improved and we moved to a three-bedroom flat, but then dad died in 1999 and things became very difficult. It affected me seriously and I realised that it was only mum shouldering all the responsibilities, so I dropped out of school. That was when I met a friend, MC Bad Mouth, who loved what I was doing and he took me to a show at Silverbird Galeria in Abuja. That was what opened the doors for me. I was earning up to N50,000 per show. Sometimes we had big events and I made as much as N100,000 per show.
Last year, you won a bronze medal at an international tennis championship, can you tell us about it?
That was in June 2017 in New York. I was very happy. There was no prize money attached to it but I was glad I could make my country proud. I never believed I could travel out of Nigeria, but there I was making my country proud in the United States.
Tell us about your love life
I have a lover, she has been vey nice to me and supportive.
How did you meet her?
I met her when I newly moved to Lagos. I hardly toast babes; in fact, they are the ones that toast me most of the times. Initially, I was not interested in women because I felt they would look down on me, but I soon realised that girls were all over me and appreciate me for my music. I realised that they just couldn’t get enough of me. In fact, my lover appreciates everything about me and she does not care about my money because she naturally loves me. I have an apartment in Surulere and my lover is with me; she is the greatest gift God ever gave me.
Any plan to get married soon?
That is in God’s hands. Maybe, when I have made enough money, but people are telling me to get married now, so I am considering it. My boss told me that a good wife opens doors for her husband.
Can you describe your ideal woman?
She has to be pretty and sexy. She should not be too tall or short. I don’t like light-complexioned girls, I like them dark complexioned.
Many physically challenged persons are beggars and are making money. Why are you not taking the easy way out?
In our own tradition in Benue State where I am from, we don’t beg. That will be a disgrace to my family and tribe. I am too proud to beg. I am using my talents to get what I want in life, and God has been faithful.
What message do you have for physically challenged people going through tough times?
They should not give up. Yes, life is not easy but they should pray to God, because with him, everything will work out. You don’t have to go by the roadside and beg. You can empower yourself, discover your talents and the sky will be the limit for you.
Who would you like to do collabo with?
Tubaba, of course, he is my inspiration and means the world to me. After so many years, he is still hanging in there.
What are your dreams?
I want to be on top of my game. I want to prove to the world that disability is a gift. If I can rise from nowhere and win a medal at international tennis championship and become what I am today, that means there is ability in disability. So, hold on to your dreams and aspire to be the very best.