Photo provided by Jerry Mateola
The next time a group of seven, proud, voguish, soccer-devoted and comical Nigerians are spotted strolling along the campus sidewalks, it is safe to assume they are the “Kozy Gang.” A better place to find them, perhaps, would be the couch on which they fiercely play FIFA or a white wall in front of which they snap many photos.
The friend group formed one by one as they each clicked with the others, and, ironically, they all happened to be Nigerian. Although only three of the members, Joseph Campbell, Manny Okenye and Emeka Okoroafor, were born and raised in Nigeria, all of them have Nigerian parents and accents. Others grew up in London or the U.S. but managed to obtain distinct accents from their families.
“We became friends by roasting each other,” joked Manny, who is referred to as “Manny The Goat.”
It became clear that the friends could not go unnoticed on campus as ORU students coined the terms “the Africans” or “the Nigerians” when referring to them, whether they knew them or not. In an attempt to have their own distinct name, they first titled themselves “Dead Guys,” for no apparent reason.
“Everyone just called us ‘the Africans.’ There are too many Africans here for only us to be called ‘the Africans,’” laughed Joseph. “We had a Snapchat group and decided we needed to come up with a name.”
After a short time, the group jumped from “Dead Guys” to “Kozy Gang,” and the name stuck with them. The group shares an Instagram account called “TheKozyGang” and plans on releasing a line of merchandise in the near future.
There are various personas in the group: Jerry Mateola is “The Blabber Mouth,” Tobi Sanusi is “The Jokester Who’s Low-key Sketchy,” Michael Omokaro is “The Complainer Who Does Nothing,” Manny is “The Drama Queen” who thinks “everyone is out to get him,” Joseph is “Jay the Dreamer,” Mark Omokaro is “The Lazy One” and Emeca is “The Godfather.”
Two play on the ORU men’s soccer team, two write and produce music and three pursue fashion. They are each “killing the game” in their different areas, according to the group. After a brotherhood level relationship solidified the Kozy Gang, they started a YouTube channel with videos that primarily promote fashion trends alongside their entertaining antics. They admitted that they wish they could dedicate more time and effort to make it as great as they believe it could be.
“We started a YouTube channel because we are an interesting mix of people, and we know we’d do well if we really try,” said Jerry. “One of our goals is to get a video on chapel where we’d do Bible pick-up lines.”
They hope to accomplish more than simply catching attention on campus. though. The Kozy Gang also looks to launch a “Kozy Scholarship” that requires participants to spend a day with the group at the beginning of a semester. The gang would choose a student to whom they would present a scholarship of $500. In theory, this fund would increase as the scholarship grows more popular over time.
The Kozy Gang also seeks to create an event aimed at styling up less fortunate children. Each member would choose an article of clothing they treasure and give it to a child who cannot afford nice clothes. The Kozy Gang truly elicits the word “kozy” in the way they support one another and those they do not yet know, according to those who do know them.
ORU has an immense variety of students, and while most connect with those similar to them, there are also opportunities to relate with students from around the world. Although they may appear intimidating, the Kozy Gang enjoys the company of new friends and wants others to know they are relatable and friendly.