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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Farooq Oreagba on Cancer and Ojude Oba Festival: “I’m Here to Stay”

Farooq Oreagba on Cancer and Ojude Oba Festival: “I’m Here to Stay”

“Being diagnosed with cancer was the best thing to ever happen to me,” says Farooq Oreagba, also known as the ‘King of Steeze.’

Farooq Oreagba, an investment banker and Managing Director of NG Clearing Limited, has shared his journey with cancer and how it has profoundly changed his outlook on life.

Reflecting on his diagnosis, he said, “When I was diagnosed with cancer in February 2014, it was a wake-up call. It’s an incurable form of cancer, so your priorities shift. You realize you might not have much time, so you focus on what truly matters. For me, family comes first. By God’s grace, I’ve been living with this for 10 years, and as the ‘King of Steeze,’ I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.”

Discussing the impact on his social life, he added, “Back in the early 2000s, I had what felt like five million friends. After leaving the Exchange in 2010, that number dwindled to a million. When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, it went down to a hundred. It taught me to cherish true friendships and to stay grounded.”

Oreagba also finds purpose in helping others, saying, “I counsel cancer patients and have been doing so for a while. I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of bone cancer, in February 2014. After a bone marrow transplant in August 2014, I’ve been in remission. I did chemotherapy every day for 21 days a month over eight years. Now, I’m no longer on chemo, I’ve gained weight, and I’m living my best life.”

He emphasized the importance of positivity, stating, “People often ask why I’m so happy. It’s because I’m alive. As long as you’re in the game, you can win. Every day is a blessing, and I live each day like it’s my last. I’m passionate about my work in financial services and raising awareness about cancer. I even run marathons to support cancer charities because I know how much hope meant to me when I was struggling.”

Oreagba, now 58, reflects on his life, “If I could live another 20 years, I’d say that being diagnosed with cancer was the best thing to ever happen to me. It changed my perspective. I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. I focus on what’s truly important, like counseling cancer patients and advocating for better healthcare access.”

Regarding the Ojude Oba Festival, Oreagba shared, “Ojude Oba has evolved over the years. I’ve been part of it for 15 years. It’s a family tradition dating back to my grandfather in the 1960s. It’s a significant event that brings families together. The festival involves getting horses, traditional attire, and celebrating together.”

He added, “The entrance is a special moment for us. My family and I take pride in representing our heritage. When we ride through town, people recognize us as the Oreagbas. I tend to stay at the front, but I leave the more daring stunts to my younger relatives. Given my condition, a fall could be serious.”

Oreagba explained the festival’s meaning, “For me, it’s an expression of who I am. My family picks the clothes we’ll wear each year. It’s a tradition that showcases our unity and pride.”

Dubbed “King of Steeze” after his striking appearance at the festival, Oreagba noted, “People notice my tattoos. I’ve had them for years. They’re part of me, but I keep them covered in corporate settings. Each tattoo tells a story. One says, ‘I live each day as if it were my last,’ and another, ‘Only God can judge me.’”

He also sees potential for festivals like Ojude Oba to boost tourism and the economy, stating, “Festivals can attract visitors and benefit the community, but it requires government support. Infrastructure, like roads and accommodations, needs improvement. If done right, it’s a great opportunity for growth.”

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