Habeeb Okikiola, also known as Portable or Dr Zeh, has become an ubiquitous sensation in the Nigerian music landscape. Since the release of “ZaZoo Zeh“, a street-pop banger featuring Olamide, Portable has enjoyed nationwide popularity, fame, and a considerable volume of magnanimity from major frontmen in the country and yonder. “ZaZoo Zeh” contributed hugely to the social buzz of the country by supplying Nigerians with another catchy colloquialism — “Zeh!” — and garnered thousands of views on YouTube. Till date, it remains one of the top Nigerian street hits.


But beyond the singer’s talent is his devil-may-care, thoroughly unfiltered, and passionate personality that enraptured a lot of people. The opinions that many have of Portable exist on two extremities — on one, he is the epitome of a sort of non-conformity, the type that tickles the liberal populace. At the same time, on the other, he is the complete personification of everything a “respectable, dignified, and well-composed person” should pray and work hard against turning into. Portable smashes norms and a lot of people find it deeply disturbing and uncomfortable. He brandishes his ghetto-like attitudes with a regalness that upsets classist ideals. From his looks, to his words and his actions, the guy tells you he is who he is and he is wholesomely unapologetic about it.


However, the artist has also proven to be a cauldron of steaming controversies leading to the speculation that he is who Poco Lee referred to on Twitter a few days ago where he stated,  “I wish I never took that talkative nuisance out of the trenches.” His infamous polemic against the renowned dancer, Poco Lee, his supposed benefactor, foreshadowed the long list of drama that the artist would later be immersed in. The internet was a minefield of hot takes when the singer released a video accusing Poco Lee of stealing, from him, ownership of his song and money. To expatiate, Portable insisted that he had been cheated by Poco Lee. According to him, he performed at a show where Wizkid sprayed him some money, but at the end of the show, Poco Lee bilked him and gave him far less than what Wizkid sprayed on him. He was severely called out by a lot of people including his promoter at that time, Kogbagidi, for calling out his ‘sponsor’ and his actions, concluded as ungrateful and indiscreet.


Portable is fond of sexist and misogynistic remarks such as his now-deleted tweet where he stated that women were the cheapest things on earth, just as cheap as biscuits. In February 2022, Black Cinderella, a Kenyan radio presenter accused Portable and his crew of harassing a group of ladies in Nairobi. He also hit the news when he sacked his crew members, including his manager, dj, and show promoter, Kogbagidi, lamenting that they were against his success by not showing heartfelt enthusiasm when big acts expressed interest in him. Before his feud with Kogbagidi, he was invited to perform at a show in Canada, only to be “barred” from the event a few days from it. The show’s convener, MC Morris, says he removed him “because of his indiscipline and self-centredness.” The singer has also been reported to be in numerous fights all over the country.


Recently, he has been placed under police investigation after claiming that he was the founder of the dangerous cult group — One Million Boys. He posted another video renouncing that claim by saying he was only referring to his fans and that what he meant by million boys is “millions of followers.” However, the police authorities do not seem convinced. In an interview with Daily Trust, the Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos state, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, maintains, “We are still doing preliminary investigation and afterwards he will have to report himself (to the police) or we will get him arrested”. Let’s not forget the threats that Portable made when he was nominated in two separate categories of the Headies Award: The Rookie of the Year, and the Best Street Hop Artiste. The singer relayed, with all sense of entitlement, that the organisers must not give “his awards”  to someone else or they will die. He apologised, however, when the organisers involved the police.


His success seems undeterred by his copious altercations as he continues to attract big deals. He was named one of the ambassadors of Odogwu Bitters, a beverage brand owned by popular billionaire, Obi Cubana. He has also been observed rubbing elbows with political elites (where he still managed to gain a number of issues). Also, he has gained a large repository of fans. In Stan Nation, the rule of separating the art from the artist is a leading law. In the streets where he is revered, his moral and ethical sides, or lack thereof, are ignored. Add it to him being an exemplary, motivational, rags-to-riches story and Portable may continue to be in our faces for as long as he can.

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