The link between entertainment and alcohol/drug abuse is becoming increasingly connected in recent times, a worrying trend for medical personnel especially as the cases of complications from addiction have been on a constant rise across the country and worldwide. In Nigeria, the increased popularity and indiscriminate usage of local enhancement drinks like Opa Eyin, Afato, Ponkriyon, Burantashi, among others have become a major concern for many. In fact, so popular is Ponkriyon that Olamide, one of the biggest names in the Nigerian music scene, sang about it recently.
‘E funmi l’eja e je ki n yan’, t’ori mo ti mu pokriyon, (please give me fish to roast, because I have taken pokriyon), were the lyrics of his lines in the song.
Another Nigerian musician, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said that the importance of alcohol, drugs, and ‘enhancement’ herbal mixtures to his colleagues could not be over emphasised.
“You people do not understand the enormous responsibilities we shoulder. As artistes or entertainers, we have to ‘appear’ happy at all times to our fans and keep them happy. Most of the most sought after artistes are depressed or undergoing one form of challenge or the other but we must appear to be ‘living our dreams’ to our fans. Yes, it may be a façade but that is why it is called ‘show business’.
“Let me give you an example. In a typical month, I travel out of Lagos like five or six times. During such trips, in between flight delays, locating hotels, sound checks and media tours, most of the time, one rarely finds time to eat. At the same time, our fans always want the best performance. To achieve this, we find solace in alcohol and spirits. Also, we cannot be said to be lacking in sex, since in most of our songs, we portray the alpha male status. This is where Ponkriyon, Fodo, Afato and the likes come in. It has never failed me”, he said.
Renowned Nigerian trumpeter and music act, Victor Abimbola Olaiya, in an interview with YES magazine, shared his opinion on why most male musicians cannot stay away from women and alcohol. He said most musicians believe that they need alcohol, sex with women or hard drugs to put them in the mood during performance.
The legend said, “It’s a question of habit. It’s a very bad habit which they copied from somewhere, which I cannot describe.
“Musicians believe that for you to be able to be in the mood, you must have to do certain things, but it’s a wrong belief. I do not take anything to put me in the mood for recording or performing. Not marijuana or cigarette. I don’t take anything. I go to the studio solo. Over the years, I did not drink. It’s only nowadays that I started taking some shots of wine. I don’t smoke, but I am with the company of the opposite sex,” he said.
Another artiste, who simply identified himself as ‘Mike’, said, “Though I am against indiscriminate drinking, it is an occupational norm to be predisposed to alcohol, drugs, women and sex in this business. Most of today’s new era music glorifies the aforementioned. However, controlled drinking is the key. For a mainstream Nigerian artiste, club gigs are a regular occasion and such artistes are normally entitled to some free drinks. Over time, one gets used to this lifestyle and if care isn’t taken, it shapes one’s behaviour. Our female fans are also in awe of our status and want to be seen with or around us whenever the opportunity presents itself. In order to ‘perform’, one must rise to the occasion. However, like I said earlier, moderation is the key word”.
Last week, a young man in his late thirties, popularly known as Oluaye at the Odo Ona Elewe area of Ibadan, apparently trying to ‘rise’ to the occasion, allegedly died from a supposed herbal mixture overdose. He was said to be addicted to Afato, Opa Eyin and other mixtures of the like which, according to residents in his area, he claimed helped him dominate his women in bed.
Oluaye was said to always rely on the enhancement mixtures and was often seen with numerous women. In fact, respondents claimed that his sexual prowess was a generally discussed topic. His death, last week, came as a shocker to as many who heard about it because, as claimed, he looked healthy. Friday Treat’s investigations however revealed that Oluaye had collapsed during one of his many sexual bouts. Sadly, he was said to have died while been rushed to the hospital.
While the enhancement drugs could not be verified at press time to be responsible for Oluaye’s death, medical personnel have at various times, warned about the indiscriminate usage of unlicensed nor clinically tested herbal enhancers which have become very popular.
Doctor Tope Akinola, who practices at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, in a chat with Friday Treat said that the daily usage of such herbal purifiers/enhancers could be potentially dangerous to human health.
According to him, “The pharmacokinetics and dynamics of such mixtures are not known nor quantified. Most of these people take it every day and at the end of the day, the kidneys and liver are overworked. At the end of the day, the organs fail. Many people are affected today but only the cases of prominent people or entertainers get to the media. Recently, one of my patients, who liked all these mixtures suddenly discovered his skin was turning pale white. After thorough medical examinations, it was discovered that the sexual enhancer/herbal mixture that he mixed with a certain energy drink had affected his blood and bone marrow. People must really be careful with all these mixtures being peddled by women who claim to be herbal experts.”
Another fertility doctor in Abuja who spoke under condition of anonymity said, “Recently, I have had more patients who complain of being unable to achieve erection. Many of these patients, after cross examination, reveal that they had, at one point, relied on Agbo Jedi, or Opa Eyin or whatever they are called to impress their women. Little did they know that after years of such use, the body gets used to such mixtures and would need even stronger mixture to do what was achieved before. So when they fail to achieve erection, we discover varying degrees of penile blood vessel damage among others. I have also discovered that our Nollywood movies and music videos encourage the use of such drugs to withstand multiple sexual partners. It is a dangerous trend that must be addressed.”
While doctors may be discouraging the use of herbal performance enhancers/flushers, many of its sellers are smiling to the bank. Iya Abass, as she is called in the Ring Road area of Ibadan where she sells her wares in front of a popular club, told Friday Treat that her herbal mixtures were ‘traditionally certified’ to cure and enhance its user.
“My grandmother taught my mother and my mother taught me”, she said excitedly. “I sell Okpa Eyin, Afato, Eruku flusher, Fodo, among others depending on what the customer wants. I have been selling this for years with no complaints. Men constitute 95 per cent of our customers and most times, they want to flush their systems or enhance sexual prowess.
In fact, I have a mixture which can make a man perform for two hours. My mixtures cost from around N50 to N1000. Even bankers, lawyers buy from me in bottles because they don’t like to sit by the road side. But my major patrons are club boys and fun seekers. In fact, some women now buy for their men when they hear the testimonies of their female friends who feel our impact from their boyfriends”.
She also said she makes about N5,000 to N10,000 on a daily basis.