Ajegunle (The Warri Connection )
Richard Mofe-Damijo in December 2004 founded the “Made-in-Warri” show, a music-and-comedy concert showcasing musicians and comedians who remarkably mostly have a bond with the Lagos shanty Ajegunle.
Marvelous Benji of Ajegunle combines the music and comedy of Ajegunle while Fragrance (real name: Bright Kayo) was born in Warri but is today recording his music out of Ajegunle studios.
Obus Bezalee Brodo formed the music-and-comedy group known as DC Envoys, a group that has wowed crowds from Ajegunle to Warri. The legacy of Warri and Ajegunle is extended by the likes of Rymzo and Gzay.
The jokes combining Warri and Ajegunle are so much such that there is hardly anybody who can truly trace the copyright of the jokes to any particular comedian. The multi-ethnic jumble of Ajegunle and Warri makes it imperative that the lingua franca is Pidgin English. The galala music that accompanies the jokes is equally rendered in pidgin or broken English.
Ali Baba, who is generally acclaimed as the godfather of comedians in Nigeria, is an “original Warri boy” as he unabashedly admits. He has taken comedy to such heights as to compete with top-rated corporate gurus in the field of take-home cash. Ali Baba is a splendid advertisement that one can rise from the ghetto to take over the high street. Struggling comedians from Ajegunle and sundry slums such as Orile, Amukoko, Badiya and a lot more have been mentored by Ali Baba.
Some of the comedians have taken after his Warri style of delivery, with a particular young comedian actually taking the name Omo Baba, after the maestro.
Celebrated comedian Bright Okpocha hails from Abia State but was born in Ajegunle. The Sociology graduate of University of Benin uses the city of Warri as fodder for his jokes, quite like other comedians such as Ali Baba, Okey Bakassi, Julius Agwu and so on. The blending of Ajegunle and Warri can be likened to Siamese twins joined at the navel of jokes.