MY MADNESS HAS FORMULA â€“ CHARLY BOY
My madness has formula - Charly Boy
By IKENNA EMEWU
Saturday , March 13 , 2010
Charly Boy and dad, Justice Oputa
Charles Oputa (Charly Boy) the weird communicator and grandfather knows the stuff he is made of. He does not shy away from the fact that his ways are rather out of sync with what many know and understand as the 'normal life'.
But an interaction with this 57-year-old who looks and dresses like he were 30 shows you that he actually is wise in every 'madness' he tries his hands on.
Sun asked Charly Boy if it is not absurd that he, a weird person is part of the struggle of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) to call weird Nigerian political system to order. And his response was a revelation: 'My dressing is weird. My rings, piercing all over my body could be weird and mad. But there is method in my weirdness or madness. In Nigeria, there is madness that has neither method nor pattern. It is far different from my ways. Come to think of it, is Charly Boy weird or mad when he has a family, has kept his marriage for over 30 years? I am a father and a grandfather. I know my roots and always in touch with the base. So I don't know what is unusual about me for adopting just my own style of life. I dress this way because I am a biker and bikers look rugged and tough. The rings I wear have meanings. The mask is like the shield to tell the biker to be cautious for his safety while riding. The cross signs on these rings (he shows his fingers full of heavy metals called rings) stand for spirituality to show that the biker is rugged but knows that God exists and is great.
These don't make me absurd because everything I do has a focus. That is the reason I fight against the bad system alongside others that don't like the way things are in Nigeria. I have always been part of such fight together with other Nigerians who love order and want to have a better Nigeria. If Nigeria should be weird, I think and advise it to adopt the charlyboysm formula. Nigeria is not like Charly Boy. While I have pattern, Nigeria hasn't. It is 'just dey craze dey go like that'. My type of weirdness is not the 'everything and anything goes operation. It is methodical and synchronized.'
Mr. Oputa, if that would not sound weird to him, recognizes himself as someone who has been a rebel from childhood and by nature. But his rebellion has a cause it champions. 'I left the bourgeois family I was born into because the lifestyle was not challenging. I needed challenges. I needed to see what I had not seen or known and I needed some freedom from the straightjacket life of the upper class. By aligning with the children of the mechanic, the artisan, the carpenter in my neighbourhood, I learnt another side of life existed. No amount of pressure on me to stop and retrace my steps made any positive impact on me.
So, rebellion has been part of me. That is also the reason I decided to be what I am and exist to satisfy my longing and make a name I would own. If I had been a lawyer, my reputation and career achievements in the legal profession would have been that of my father who became outstanding in the field earlier. So, I rebelled to find my way outside the family tradition.'
With such coinage as Charlyboysm, you would ask him what that means. The grandfather of eight children and nine direct children 'those in the register' as he puts it has an ideology he tags Charlyboysm which embodies being different, ingenious, committed to a goal, pursuit of a goal with undying zest and the ability to hold your own so long as the conviction is there that you tread the right track. Charly Boy is one of those that believe Nigeria would be great in their lifetime. 'I am sure it will happen in my lifetime, that is why I build my structure towards such a day. I am ready. I willingly and hopefully believe that our own Obama or Rawlings will be actualized in my days. I will live to see it.'
You may have heard that Charly Boy is up to another trick - to marry again at 57. As he said: 'You know I am really into the marriage business and has been there for long. It started when I was 19 when my mother married for me to stop me from wrecking more damage on girls. Then two had been done for me with babies, a boy and a girl. So my mother married for me.'
Charly Boy has not only been absolutely fecund in marriage, but has held the quality with contagious effect. He is on his fifth marriage, and would tell you that all but one he said could not be described as marriage produced offspring. 'The fourth can't be called a marriage in the real sense of it. It lasted maybe just for a month.' Funny enough, the marriages came in a succession of one at a time. You may be right to call that progressive monogamy. But his present wife, Lady Di is an exceptional woman who managed to chisel out exceptional marriage relationship that is over 30 years old with this enigma. It is like doing the impossible, and Charly Boy admits it so. 'I still wonder how she managed to achieve such a feat because I know that any woman that can live with me for that long deserves a global award'.
But has that made the enigma slow down. Maybe, not. Charly Boy is ready to take a go at the sixth marriage and he is ready to make it happen now. Don't you worry your head grey about Lady Di and where she fits into this plan. This time, Charly Boy would not take a subsequent wife to drop the previous. The progressive monogamy has at last been put to rest in peace. While the new wife comes, Lady Di stays. 'Forget the bravado and the way of life outside, at home my wife is the boss. She decides what happens and what I do. So what I am saying is that but for her approval, I would not have tried. It is also because I have had the best of friendship with my wife that I decided to marry another wife. She has been a great and outstanding friend, and if it is this pleasant to have one friend, having two of such would be greater pleasure. So I decided to have two wonderful friends now.' But this time, as Charly Boy elects to have two wives at the same time, quite unlike before, he also decided that this would be a no-child affair. Maybe, at least, for now.
Away from his family, Charly Boy has come up with another dimension to his prolific creativity. It is this time a magazine in sleek gloss colour and presentation. It is a work of class and taste in line with the Charlyboysm philosophy of excellence and the penchant to stand out in anything his hands find to do. There is no prize for a guess on what the monthly magazine that has already rolled out its third edition is called. Just call it the brand name of the owner - CharlyBoy (CB)
'The magazine looks like just what Charly Boy can do. It is not tailored after anything before it. If there is similarity with anything elsewhere it should be the Readers Digest. I want the magazine to stand out and represent all the values of Charlyboysm. The fad of Charlyboysm is doggedness, inspiration and consistency. The publication has a humble beginning and aims to dig out new role models among our people. The target is the young and upwardly mobile Nigerian. And our catchment audience is people between 18 and 40. The publication will aim to build a structure for everyone. Since we are just starting, it would be too early to assess the response of the market, but we are sure it has created and would sustain a visibility and we are happy that our readers commend the effort so far.'
The brain behind the publication, the latest addition to the newsstand is not worried that Nigerians don't read publications as to get cowed. 'I know Nigerians are lazy and intellectually shy, but we will find a way around it. Definitely, business is about profit, but that comes in several ways than money. If we can sustain the assignment for sometime, knowing that publishing is long-term investment before the profit starts coming, and at last get satisfaction for the zeal, that is another profit we can't quantify.
'We have made sure the design is really captivating in line with the Charly Boy attitude. It is unorthodox, and we will continuously improve on it – the photo splash, depth and also the average literature content. We don't want it to be verbose or windy in tales. Let the tale be short and the picture do the rest of the explanation. Our team is not the core professional or well-known character type. It is a group of committed people with the flair to pursue their goal with zest and creativity. The promise is to abide by the driving principles of the project, which is the stubborn expression of creativity in a different and peculiar sense.'
The satisfaction Charly Boy finds in this project and others before it is what he described as the real value of his efforts, a core value he had always been searching for. 'When I started, my major intention was fame. I wandered off into its search without actually knowing how, where or when to find it. At last I captured fame, and it brought its challenges of seeking the inherent gaps. The gaps were money and respect. Later I laboured and acquired the respect. The fame came with my usual lifestyle and my creation of the Charly Boy Show on TV. The respect and bigger substance came with the Zoom Time. By the time I started interviewing the powerful and famous in society - former presidents, ministers, business giants etc. people started changing their minds about me. Oh, it seems this persons we had castigated was not really what we imagined, maybe he has some brains. It seems we judged him in a hurry. I gained the respect 13 years ago and I have liked it while the money gap remains. But I have learnt to adjust and manage myself at my level.'
Listen to this in low tone. Don't shout on reading this. Charly Boy goes to church. Hope you read that right? Yes, he does, and guess what, he was there last just two weeks ago. 'But I am not the regular church going type of person. It might also interest you to know that I am supposed to be a Christian. Initially, I was meant to be a clergyman. I was in the junior seminary for one year before I ran away. That is how it ended. Sure Charly Boy is a Christian, I am Catholic and I go to church.'