Prolific producer and musician, Babatunde Okungbowa a.k.a OJB Jezreel and his wife, Mabel, talk about their 20-year-old marriage and why she gave him her kidney.
How long have you been married?
OJB: We have been married for 20 years.
When and how did you meet?
OJB: We met in church. The church just opened in the area and she came with her younger sister who was my friend. The sister was the matchmaker. To a large extent then, I think I was looking for a partner. As with everybody, you get to a stage where you feel you have to make your life more grounded and I was looking in the direction of marriage.
What are some of the challenges of your 20-year-old marriage?
Mabel: There are several. OJB himself is a challenge, his music, lifestyle are all challenges even though he is not a night crawler. Sometimes, the children and I don’t get to see him because he is either working late or he is out of town. Overall, he ensures he remains a good father and husband.
Are there times you have felt like quitting the marriage?
Mabel: It has never crossed my mind. Marriage is for better or for worse. God keeps me going in this marriage and also my husband. Even though he did not see my inner person when we met, I saw his and I realised he is compassionate and has a wonderful personality. Even when he does wrong, he easily admits his fault and apologises before you go off on him.
What are some of the high points of your union?
OJB: That will be when you consider the fact that in every relationship, you definitely have your ups, downs and through it all, you still find yourself surviving it. That, I think, is laudable. A lot of relationships go through that and they don’t survive it.
Why did you decide to give him one of your kidneys?
Mabel: I did not even think twice about it, I had it and I gave it to him. He is my husband, the father of our children and I love him. This is somebody I have been with all my life. I did not tell anybody before I decided to, not even my parents because I had foreseen their reaction. There was no reason to inform them. When I married him, I told God I wanted the both of us to grow old together and live to see many generations. I am sure God knew this situation before he brought us together because not only am I a match for him, we are the same blood group and we are both stubborn.
How did you sail through the health challenge he had as a couple?
OJB: A major illness can break a home. Sometimes, instead of one partner seeing the other through the period of sickness, they would rather walk away. It could be draining them psychologically, financially or both. When you talk more as a couple, you create that atmosphere where you can actually share what you feel about the situation. I did not want anybody to donate an organ for me and I was very stubborn about it. I thought I was going to come out of the situation without a transplant. I was ready to go through any other route to make it happen. Above every other thing, I have always believed in the God factor and that is what has kept us going because Nigerians are very skeptical.