My Bro is a biweekly Zikoko series that interrogates and celebrates male friendships of different forms.
Oli Ekun and Ajibola Grey have a friendship almost as hilarious as the skits that have made them trending names within Nigeria’s bustling pop culture scene. Connecting over their mutual love of humour and rarely passing over a chance to drag each other for filth, these two understand that to do the job they do, they’ll need to be each other’s ride or die (Ajibola might not feel comfortable with dying though).
In this episode of My Bro, they talk about being friends online for a year before meeting in person, navigating a friendship in which no one wants to be the serious friend and how they plan to share their money as business partners.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Ajibola: I remember I was a fan of your work even before we met. I bought your “Koni Baje” shirt in 2019 and sent you a DM to introduce myself. We started talking, and I found out that you’re not that bad. You also looked to me like you needed love in your life, so I decided to show you some brotherly love.
Oli: Jibola, you’re sick.
Ajibola: But, let’s be honest. It’s been a very difficult ride being your friend. It’s been really tough.
Oli: Wow! In this life, it’s important to help the less privileged, people who have nothing to do with their lives, and that’s what I did by responding to your DM that day. LOL. But seriously, do you remember the first time we met? It was at Mr. Macaroni’s house on the 27th of June, 2021, when we had to shoot a skit.
Ajibola: Of course, I remember. It was an exciting experience for you. Getting to meet me and all. I could see you were dumbfounded, and I’ve had to take you under my tutelage since then.
Oli: I was in awe of your stupidity. I don’t think I’d ever met anyone worse than me. We got on set and you didn’t even need a script. You were just killing it. I just saw you and I was like, “I love this guy so much”.
Oli: Our first real conversation felt good. We didn’t talk about anything serious, but we bonded almost immediately. It helped that we had been talking before then.
Ajibola: Can we not use the word “talking”? It sounds romantic, and I wouldn’t say I like it.
Oli: But are we not romantic?
Ajibola: You’re romantic with your father, not me. Anyways, I lived in Abuja and you lived in Ibadan, and that’s why it took us that long to meet and hang out. But now, I’m in Lagos, and any small thing, you’re in my house disturbing me. I knew we were going to be friends after you tweeted something one time, and in my head, I was like, “This is my nigga”. I can’t remember the tweet, but it was stupid, and I’m stupid too. That’s why I understood it. Getting to know you, I also realised that you’re a kind person just like me, which is rare.
Oli: I can’t even remember the tweet you’re talking about, but your humour and kindness drew me to you. You’re the type of person who would cut off his arm to make sure his friend is okay.
Ajibola: You and who, abeg? I’m not cutting my hand off for anyone!
How do two funny guys maintain a friendship?
Oli: It’s all about understan—
Ajibola: Ogbeni, kill this your motivational talk. I’m always shouting because you’re annoying and never take anything seriously. Whenever I try to have a serious conversation with you, you start laughing. Let’s not pretend.
Oli: Why do you keep attacking me? You know what? I think we have a balance. When it’s time to be serious, we’re serious; when it’s time to play, we play. I know I stress you out, but you stress me out too.
Ajibola: Fair. The game is the game. I’ve learnt that I sometimes have to be tolerant no matter how serious I am. Because when it’s my turn to misbehave, I’ll do it well. Another issue is your lateness. We work together, and I’m always punctual, so your lateness can be annoying.
Friends who hustle together, survive together.
Ajibola: I think work has brought us closer together. We share the same goals, and we both know what we’re capable of when we work together. If I’m being honest, you’re the easiest person to work with, and you’re fucking creative. Before you say it, I’m a very creative person too.
Oli: Not what I was going to say, but okay. I love working with you. I’ve been doing skits since 2019, and sometimes, I get lazy, and I don’t have ginger to work. Collaborating with you keeps me on my toes. We’re constantly complementing each other’s ideas.
Ajibola: If that’s a thank you for the impact I’ve had on your life, you’re welcome. People who work together sometimes complain about money, but we don’t have that issue. First of all, I’m bigger than you, so if you try nonsense, I’ll beat you up. But seriously, I don’t think we’ve had issues with money. Or am I lying?
Oli: Nope! We get paid differently, and even if we get paid together, I don’t think we will have a problem.
Ajibola: Yeah, remember we have a couple of things coming where we’re going to get paid together? We’ve agreed that we’ll be splitting the money equally. There are pros and cons to this, but to hell with them. Even when we’re together and have to take care of bills, we don’t start taxing each other. We just pay them. I’m glad that we’re mature enough not to allow money to be a major issue in our friendship. We love what we do, and it supersedes money.
We didn’t set boundaries, but we know they’re there.
Oli: I don’t think we’ve had any major issues in our friendship.
Ajibola: I’d like to think it’s because we’re two emotionally intelligent people who discuss and move on from things before it escalates. We both understand boundaries even though we didn’t have to spell them out first. I don’t walk on eggshells when I’m with you. There’s just this ease that comes with being your friend.
Oli: We could get to the point where we almost argue, but we manage to call each other back. I was on set for a whole week recently, and throughout that period, you came to pick me up every night at odd hours. How do I fight with you when minor issues can’t compare to what you do for me.
Ajibola: You’re living with me, and if anything happened to you, people would blame me. That’s the only reason I did any of that. I don’t care about you.
Oli: You’re a dirty liar! You picked me up at 2 am. Jibola, admit it, you love me.
Ajibola: I love driving at night.
Coming through for one another
Oli: I can’t even single out one moment when you’ve come through for me because you do it all the time. I feel at home living with you because how many of my friends can wake me up with food every day?
Ajibola: You do so much for me with editing all my videos. I know it’s a lot of work because you’re working on your own stuff, but you still take time to edit ALL my videos. You also do the whole invoice thing because I’m not tech-savvy. And then, there are the random credit alerts. You know what? I’m giving you too much credit. Maybe it’s because I’m high.
Oli: That’s when you’re truthful and vulnerable. LOL
What holds our friendship together
Ajibola: Love. I love you. And honestly speaking, you’re my nigga. I know I’m a very annoying person, but you deal with it, and that’s love to me. I don’t have to hide parts of myself. I’m fully myself. If you were a woman, I would’ve put a ring on your finger.
Oli: Yes! I recently shared one of your tantrum messages on Twitter, and people were commenting, “This is gay”, blah blah. I don’t reply to tweets like that, but it’s wonderful that we can express our feelings. And looking at you — your stature, the way you behave — one wouldn’t expect that you’re this soft.
Ajibola: Hold on. I need you to dead this “soft” talk that you always do. I’m as soft as I’m tough. What I was going to say: People say many things under our tweets. If there’s anything I’ll never be in my life, is rattled by strangers on the internet. I’m a free man — mentally and physically. I’m going to live my life to the fullest. I’m going to express myself to the fullest. I miss you when you’re not around me for a couple of days. Why can’t I tell you that? People who say stuff like this is gay; it says a lot about who they are, not us.
If I could change something about you.
Ajibola: I’d like you to stop being poor, and probably, get a house in Lagos, so we don’t have to live together again.
Oli: I’d like you to start gyming. You run your mouth more than your muscles.
Ajibola: Wow! I feel like you care about people to the point where you worry too much about them. I’m a much crazier person than you are, and I’d probably say, “You know what? To hell with you guys,” when I feel like people are pressuring me. You need to do that sometimes. When you get all moody, I know it’s not about you. It’s probably someone close to you going through something you’re trying to but can’t fix.
I want you to tell people, “You know what, fuck it. Just leave me alone”, once in a while.
Oli: I feel you. It’s something I’m working on.
I want you to know
Oli: I’m grateful for the day we met. It’s been a jolly ride, and I hope nothing breaks us up. It’s been fantastic being your friend. You’re a fantastic human being.
Ajibola: Noted. I don’t think I have anything to say like that.
Oli: Na wa o!
Ajibola: LOL. I genuinely want to say thank you. I know I’m difficult to deal with, so I appreciate you for being my friend. If there’s anything I’ve had to deal with in my life, it’s being misunderstood every time. To eventually meet someone who understands and loves me means so much to me. I don’t take it for granted.
I wish you were richer, though. I wish you had money with this lovely friendship.
Oli: I like the fact that you’re not uplifting me. It’ll drive away people that are always begging me for money. So, thank you. I’m not rich.
Ajibola: Anybody who looks at you and thinks you’re rich, is either blind or lying to themselves. You look poor. Bro, you look like you came out of an IDP camp.
Oli: Jibola, you know you look like Job when God took his blessings. You look like God blessed you and took his blessings back.
Ajibola: You look like the corpse of Fela Anikolapo Kuti.
Oli: You look like you’re about to die.
Ajibola: It’s been a fantastic ride. I love you so much. It’s been 100% real, and I want to see you at the top. I want to see us do those things we’ve talked about. I’m grateful for our friendship, and I’m thankful for you. You’re a real one, my brother. I love you.
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