Eddie Quansa is a popular myth in West African pop culture history. Poems have been written about him and songs have been sung about this particular character who is a household name in Nigeria, yet many have had a glimpse of a picture of him.
Let us go on a little history run.
When Nigeria was still young, when exotic birds still graced the skies. There was a young man called John Obikewe who lived in a town in the Eastern Part of Nigeria.
Owerri, Imo state to be precise.
He had three brothers of which he was the youngest.
John Obikwe was really a sight to see. Smashingly handsome, tall, and dark in complexion. He gave off good-looking vibes and a lot of masculine charm wherever he went which attracted many beautiful young ladies to him. Especially as he was a veteran guitar player who struck many a romantic chord to win the hearts of his feminine disciples.
John Obikwe was also an extrovert. A trait which he always used to his personal advantage. He always toured all the fun spots and party spots in the city looking for a bit of pleasure and extravaganza.
In a stroke of bad luck, the Nigerian Civil war broke out, bringing to an abrupt stop all the glamour of the little, gay town of Owerri.
John Obikwe and his brothers took to lying low and keeping to the bushes to avoid forceful conscription by the Biafran army.
When the war ended in 1970, Owerri was in total shambles. The once-great, fun-filled city of the Eastern Heartland was reduced to a smoldering mess. Life had to go on and live they did.
In a twist of fate, John Obikwe and his brothers came to know about a large piece of land in Port-Harcourt left for them by their late father who was claimed by the ill-fated war. After a bit of deliberations, they resolved to sell the land and share the money usually among themselves.
The land was sold, the money was collected.
But his brothers had something else in mind, an evil plan was hatching. They had decided not to give poor John a share of the huge allocations realised from the sale of the land.
When John came to the fore on this, he confronted them and he was rebuffed and told to come back for his share when he was 40 because he was too young.
Embittered John cursed and swore!
He threatened to leave the family. Be gone! They echoed.
Heartbroken and sad, John Obikwe packed a few possessions and funds he had left, bid a few friends farewell, and traveled due south for the Gold Coast in company of a trusted brethren in search for a new start, a new identity.
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15 Banyard street off Yadi layout Accra was the location chosen for the fresh start, Eddie Quansa was the new name.
From one odds job to another, he eked out a living in the harsh but friendly streets of Ghana.
His big break came when he joined a highlife band in Accra, the festive capital of Ghana.
A year passed, two, three, five and then ten.
Mr. Eddie Quansa was now a rich man in Ghana. He had gotten married to a beautiful young lady named Meena Sarpong. Meena with thick swaying hips and succulent chocolate skin.
Eddie Quansa became one of the prominent men in Accra. He was a rich merchant and a highlife musician. His band was popular and played at many shows.
Good news travels fast and travel it did into Owerri his place of origin. His brothers on hearing of his massive success sent emissaries to beg him for forgiveness.
But Eddie had sworn not to have anything to do with them again.
They tried visiting but they were chased away with their heels beating the back of their heads.
The Ballad of the Peackocks
Returning home, they made a plan. They approached a new highlife band in Owerri called the Peacocks Guitar band.
They begged the band to write and record a song for their brother.
After months of pressure, the band recorded the track. It was titled “Eddie Quansa” and it became a hit track in Owerri and Eastern Nigeria.
The chorus went:
“Eddie Quansa bia bia o”
“Izu ka mma na nne ji”
“Bia oo bia oooo!”
It was a heartfelt appeal to Eddie Quansa to return home.
Eddie Quansa heard the song but blatantly refused to heed to it’s wordings.
A few years later The’ New Masquerade show’ came on Nigerian Television. It starred Chief Zebrudaya, Ovularia, Gringory, Jegede and others.
The producers decided to use Eddie Quansa track as their signature tune. The song became very popular throughout Nigeria because of the show.
Yet Eddie Quansa refused to return home.
Legend has it that he has been long dead and buried in Accra. Others say he is still alive but is living in a secret location in India.
Some say his ghost roams Owerri at night. They say if you step out of your house at midnight in Owerri and sing these lines,
“Eddie Quansa bia o bia”, the ghost of Eddie Quansa will appear in front of you.
The ghost will take the form of a handsome young man with a long beard. The ghost will scream “Mba! I am not coming back!” while baring its teeth and snarling at you and then he’ll vanish!
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK