Of laughter and tears: A tribute to CD John

by Odilu Richard

He had just put up a brilliant performance at the ‘Industry Nite’ and was headed home in a black Gulf 3. Surely nothing could have prepared John Chijioke, popularly known as CD John, for the tragedy which lay in store for him in the early hours of the 24th of March. According to sources, the comedian rammed his car into a stationary vehicle, crushing the former automobile and leaving the driver, CD John in critical condition. From the scene of the accident he was taken to emergency ward of St Nicholas Hospital, Lagos Island, where he lost his life due to injuries sustained.

His death shook fans and colleagues in the entertainment industry. ‘If I had known that would be his last time on earth, I would have given him more time to perform,’ said Mr. Matthew, organizer of the event where the late comedian put up his last performance. Matthew told YNaija that he learnt about the sad news from the corporate brand manager of one of the sponsors of the event.

The comedian was considered to be a promising sensation, with a fresh and unique style. Ayeni Adekunle, Editor-in-Chief, Nigerian Entertainment Today, told our correspondent that he could not but notice CD John’s genius at the Time Out Lounge owned by his friend and a veteran comedian Tee A. ‘I was fascinated, and I wanted him to perform more. He was a promising young man and it’s so unfortunate that this happened,’ he said.

Other industry professionals who mourn the comedian’s untimely death are his producer Funke Akindele and co-cast member Seun Chukwuemeka from the much hyped movie ‘The Return of Jenifa’. Ms Chukwuemeka informed YNaija that she still feels very touchy on the subject, and is yet to accept the fact that the comedian is gone. She, like many others, had read the news on Twitter but in doubt, had called on Funke Akindele to confirm. Still, she had to make other calls before she embraced the truth.

‘He is a rising star. I had listened to his comedy before he came on board and when I heard Funke was going to cast him in the movie I was excited and encouraged her. I don’t think anything has hit me this bad; probably it wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been close to him,’ she said with emotion. When asked if the yet-to-be-premiered movie will be dedicated to him, she said she hoped so, and that she would do so if she were producer, Funke Akindele.

Funke Akindele agreed with Seun, saying that dedicating the movie in his honour would be the honorable thing to do. She said the deceased had been recommended to her by a friend, Westside. After seeing him in musician Tope Alabi’s video, Funke invited him for an audition to find out if truly he was as good as everyone claimed. According to her, since he turned up for the audition she hadn’t stopped laughing until she heard the news of his demise.

‘He was the perfect person for the role. After filming, I invited him to my house for a party during the Christmas period. We had fun. We even remixed some popular songs like ‘Roll it’ by P Square and ‘Implication’ by Tu Face. I did the Yoruba version and he did the Igbo version. He was not just a colleague, he was a friend. I don’t keep friends in this business, but I couldn’t help but make him my friend because he made me happy. I even wanted to feature him in Omo Ghetto 2, but he told me he had been involved in an accident but was fine. He asked me about the movie premiere of [The Return of] Jenifa. I was going to take him round for the premieres. I am sad – very sad – and I am not sure I will attend the AMAA, as I have to mourn him,’ said the distraught Funke.

Many have compared his death to the demise of the late Dagrin. They were both young and promising. Their careers were just beginning to take shape, and both ran their own cars into stationary vehicles. In addition, both had been driving in the early hours of the morning, and both passed away in hospital. Is it a coincidence?

Adekunle of the NETNG did not agree, but thought that both accidents were a parable of the state of the nation – bad roads, being the bane of the existence of many.

‘This shows the value that government places on the lives of our people. I have a colleague who lost an entire family in a road accident. I don’t know about the Federal government, but still have some degree of belief in the State government. I think we need to redefine our values – we need to check our values as a people. An election is coming up and we need to put the facts right,’ he said.

KJV, another entertainment industry professional who met the late comedian at an OANDO event last year, thinks it would be ridiculous to compare both deaths. ‘We live in an unsafe world,’ he said.

Miss Akindele agrees with Ayeni Adekunle that such tragedies are preventable with good roads and top-notch medical facilities. According to her, what happened to the deceased could have happened to people in other industries.

‘I heard the hospital asked for a deposit before treatment. I don’t know about that, God forgive me, but if it is true, such things shouldn’t be. They should concentrate on saving a life first before anything, and people should stop keeping things to themselves. If something happens, they should shout out for help and not cover it for fear of embarrassment or anything. There is no perfect situation or condition. People should not drink and drive, and I pray that every drinker of blood and eater of flesh in the entertainment industry will eat and drink their own flesh and blood in Jesus name, amen!’

Our correspondent tried to speak to some of his other colleagues including Basket Mouth, Seyi Law and Emeka Smith, but could not get statements from them at the time of writing this article.

Comedy in this part of the world is no longer a side attraction for never-do-wells. It has evolved into a serious sect of the entertainment business and CD John was clearly headed for the top before his demise. We pray that his will be the end of such untimely, tragic deaths, and that all who mourn for him will find comfort and closure.

Photo credit: olorisupergal.blogspot.com

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