By Ori Martins
It is exactly 20 years since Chief Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna but widely known to the rest of his admirers and music lovers as Dr. Sir Warrior joined his ancestors.
Warrior was not the first Igbo highlife musician but he sensationally revolutionized it. He brought Congolese and Cameron music flavour to highlife music. His music genre was peculiar as his sonorous voice was not just appealing but exciting. His idiomatic expressions were both pungent and poignant.
Warrior was the third person in what became known as the fiveOriginal Oriental Brothers International Band led by Kabaka and later Dan Satch. The other two members of the group were Acquila and Ichita. Warrior and Acquila are from Mbaise while the rest are from Ngor Okpala. Only Warrior and Ichita are dead. The group took off in 1972 with its album entitled “Ihe Chinyere M Onye Ananam”. However, its most popular three hit tracks were Nwa Ada di Mma, Ihe Oma and Mgbe G’asa.
In 1978, Kabaka who wanted to play a fast one on the group by withdrawing money without the consent of the other band members was frustrated out as their bankers notified Warrior who quickly stopped the transaction.
On several occasions, Kabaka denied this allegation. Based on this, Warrior and Kabaka had a frosty relationship ending in the latter’s exit. He therefore released an album in 1978, singing loud and clear: if you encounter a snake and an Mbaise ward first eliminate the latter before giving attention to the former.
Although the album was destroyed to the last copy its message still radiates till today and enemies of Mbaise nation have continued to manipulate its notorious popularity.
After the exit of Kabaka in 1978, Dan Satch who actually garthered the group and branded it as a musical band took over the leadership. He stayed with Warrior for just two years and by 1980, Warrior and Dansatch got estranged. In the same year, Warrior came out with a debut album entitled Ana Eri Aku. It was an instant hit.
In all, Warrior had 17 albums while the Original Oriental Brothers International Band recorded 13 albums including Onye Egbula Nwanne Ya released in 1987 which brought the group together for the first time since 1978 when Kabaka left and 1980 when Warrior went solo., as well as Oriental G’ebi of 1995. Warrior’s last album was Who Goes There which was released in December 1996.
Before that, there was rumour that Warrior’s health was failling. It was true. What was not true was that he was administered a fatal injection having been caught with hard drugs in one of his trips overseas. Warrior, himself a musical comedian, released an album in 1993 “Ihe Anyukwu Eme Anyahunaya” and it was wrongly interpreted to support the false drug and fatal injection claims.
Warrior died on June 19, 1999. To many analysts, before the emergence of now Governor Emeka Ihedioha, Warrior was ranked as the most popular Mbaise man. He was a great Mbaise ambassador.
Warrior brought fame, honour and glory to Mbaise. Warrior was to Mbaise what C. Ronaldo is to Portugal today. He made Mbaise popular and proud. In fact, nobody has given Mbaise more popularity than Warrior. At his death, the entire Mbaise gave him a befitting burial that almost a state event.