Watching Cohbams’ recent instagram post, where he unveiled the process behind crafting the theme song for this season’s Big Brother Naija reality show, stirred up cherished memories of a profound encounter I had with him several years ago.
In my early days as a journalist, I was determined to interview individuals who were making exceptional strides in the Nigerian entertainment industry, and Cohbams Asuquo, the visually impaired maestro known for his dual roles as a music producer and songwriter, was at the top of my list.
My familiarity with Cohbams dates back to our shared undergraduate years at the University of Lagos, where he too pursued his education. Little did I know that this fellow student would go on to become one of Nigeria’s pre-eminent music producers in the years that followed. His ascent in the music industry was nothing short of remarkable.
What captivated me was not just his artistry, but the extraordinary fact that he achieved it all despite his visual impairment. I was deeply intrigued by the mechanics of his creative process and was determined to uncover the essence of his craft.
Opportunity knocked when I encountered Cohbams and his wife, Ojuolape, at an event hosted at Eko Hotel in 2011. I approached him with a request for an interview, to which he graciously agreed. We scheduled the interview to take place at his residence in Ogudu GRA, Lagos, in a matter of days.
Upon arriving at his house, I was welcomed by his wife, who ushered me into the living room and advised me to wait for Cohbams. To my surprise, Cohbams descended the stairs unaided a short while later. My expectations of him being guided by an assistant or a white cane were instantly shattered. He confidently made his way towards me in his expansive living room and extended a friendly handshake, saying, “Mr. Timi, how are you? My apologies for the brief wait.”
Then, with remarkable self-assuredness, he uttered, “Come with me,” and proceeded to lead me through several staircases within his sprawling mansion. His navigation was as impeccable as that of someone with sight. I couldn’t help but be concerned about the possibility of him accidentally bumping into walls or losing his balance, but not once did he falter.
Upon reaching his office, he opened the door and guided me to a seat positioned directly in front of his own. I was left in absolute awe of his remarkable abilities, further deepening my curiosity about the seemingly effortless manner in which he accomplished such tasks.
During our interview, Cohbams revealed that he had been blind since birth. Despite this challenge, he had fervently pursued independence during his formative years. He recounted stories of his childhood, where he actively engaged in various physical activities alongside his friends, even daring to leap over ditches independently.
Cohbams, apart from his talents as a producer and composer, possessed a remarkable singing voice that had garnered him numerous commercial advert opportunities. He lent his voice to many of the adverts we hear on radio and television, solidifying his status as a music genius in his own right.
In essence, Cohbams Asuquo’s story is one of sheer determination, unwavering independence, and boundless musical genius. His accomplishments, despite the obstacles he faced, serve as an inspiration and a testament to the limitless potential of the human spirit.