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Friends disappeared after cancer diagnosis, says Ojude Oba Steeze King

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Investment banker and Managing Director of NG Clearing Limited, Farooq Oreagba, recently shared how being diagnosed with cancer has profoundly impacted his life.

Speaking with ARISE NEWS, Oreagba, also known as the “King of Steeze,” discussed his journey with the disease and his new perspective on life.

“Being diagnosed with cancer was the best thing to ever happen to me,” Oreagba said, highlighting how the diagnosis in February 2014 shifted his priorities. “It’s an incurable form of cancer, so your priorities change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got, you line up your list of priorities. For me, family first because I don’t know how long I’m going to be around. By God’s grace, I’m 10 years and counting, and I’m not about to just go like that anytime soon.”

Oreagba reflected on the changes in his social circle after his diagnosis. “I was a senior executive at the Exchange back in the early 2000s, and prior to that, let’s say I had five million friends. When I left the Exchange in 2010, my five million friends went down to one million. When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, my one million went down to a hundred. It’s very important that you hold your friends close, keep your feet, you know, ten toes down all the time, be yourself, as long as you don’t hurt anybody.”

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As a cancer counselor, Oreagba has found fulfillment in supporting other patients. “I counsel cancer patients, I’ve been counseling cancer patients for a while. I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which is cancer of the bone, in 2014 February. I had a bone marrow transplant in August 2014, been in remission since. I did chemotherapy every day, 21 days a month for eight years. And I don’t do chemotherapy anymore. I’ve put on a bit of weight, I’m living my best life, I’m back working because it was difficult to take a full-time job when I was doing all that, and that gives me a lot of fulfillment.”

He emphasized the importance of maintaining a positive outlook. “The first thing they ask me is why are you so happy? I’m alive, and as long as you’re in the game, you can win the game. Every day is a blessing. I live each day like it’s my last. I’m very passionate about my work in financial services, I’m very passionate about getting the cancer message across. Some of you may know I run marathons to raise money for cancer charities, just to give people hope because I know how much it meant to me when I was really feeling the pain and one or two people just gave me that hope.”

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Oreagba shared his perspective on life and gratitude. “I’m 58 and I say to you now, if I could live another 20 years, I would say being diagnosed with cancer was the best thing to ever happen to me. It changed my perspective on life. I don’t sweat the small stuff. Counseling cancer patients, trying to improve access to better healthcare, I’ll do that all day long.”

Oreagba also talked about the Ojude Oba Festival, an annual event in Ijebu, and its potential to boost the Nigerian economy. “Ojude Oba has evolved over the years, I’ve been doing it for 15 years. It’s big, it’s a family affair, it’s not about one individual, and it’s a very expensive venture. You’ve got to get the horses, the attires, everything. So, it also brings families together.”

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Discussing the festival’s significance, he added, “For me, it’s just an expression of who I am. I didn’t choose the clothes, the family chose the clothes. It’s a great feeling when older people see me, they don’t know who I am, but by looking at me, they just know I’m an Oreagba.”

Oreagba, known for his distinctive tattoos, also touched on how festivals like Ojude Oba can boost tourism. “If we’re going to reap the benefits of such festivals, it puts a lot of pressure on the government. If you’re going to have people coming in, someone’s going to have to fix the infrastructure. The roads will need to be fixed, accommodation will need to be provided. But it is a great opportunity which can grow.”

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