Now I have who’ll call me mummy’ (Actress Binta Ayo Mogaji in her 40s)
For popular actress, Binta Ayo Mogaji, marriage is better late than never. Binta recently got married to her heartthrob of over a decade, but that was on the down side of forty.
If there were some doubting Thomases that she would ever walk down the aisle with a man, before they even realised it, the actress that cut her teeth for her translation of roles in both stage, television and video dramas dropped a bouncing baby boy.
The birth of her baby was one joy that the irrepressible actress found too hard to hide, and she went out of her way to flaunt it to whoever cared to hear. So when it was time to throw the owambe party and give the baby a name, she named him Ademide (my crown has arrived).
Why would she associate her baby with crown? She named her baby appropriately because he came when most of her mates were already grandmothers.
“You wonder why I called him Ademide. He is my crown. Of course, you see, in Africa it is not common to see a woman well over 40 to give birth to her first child. Considering that this is an age that your mates are already grandmothers.”
She told us that pregnancy and eventual delivery of the baby boy had confounded many of her critics who had for long derided her as being an unserious fellow. To prove to her detractors that she is indeed a complete woman, Binta said she went everywhere with her bulging tummy when she was pregnant. Even when her husband wanted her to go abroad to have the baby, she insisted on having it in Nigeria.
“I sure confounded many people with the pregnancy. You know our people, many would even say several bad things about me to my face. So when I got pregnant, I carried my big tummy everywhere for them to see. The father wanted me to travel to London to have te baby, but I wanted to put to bed in Nigeria. Eventually when I agreed to go, my boy arrived a day before my departure. I loved it that way. You know, they can even say that I went abroad to buy the child or something like that.”
Binta, who became a household name among the Yoruba movie watchers for her role in the chart bursting movie, Igbanladogi, waited that long to have her first child, not for lack of suitors or for any anatomical defects. Her husband, Ajibola Daboiku, also an actor and lecturer had been her friend for close to twenty years. But while the man wanted her to join him in USA, she preferred to remain in Nigeria.
That dragged on for sixteen years before he finally returned home last year. Explaining why it took her that long to settle down, she said: “The man waited 15 years to reconcile himself with my madness.”
Asked to explain, she said she found it difficult to consider a relocation outside Nigeria at the time.
Considering that the clock was fast ticking past her time, was she ever under any pressure?
“Yes, there were several toasters here and there, but they amounted to no pressure for me. You get pressurised if you give room for it. There were also concerns from my family, especially my mum. But I asked them which they preferred, for me to move into a man's house today and pack out tomorrow, or to move in permanently. And that did it.”
On how she was able to survive those sixteen years, the Ibadan, Oyo-state-born actress said she got involved in her job and plays, aware that there was someone out there waiting for her. “God was really with me. I played, work and behaved like a normal person.”
Jibola, Binta's husband is an old hand in the business. He told us that he is an African, therefore a polygamist. He's been married to women from America and Britain in the past. But he confessed that he is home at last with the woman he has loved for sixteen years.
Ajibola explained that the love has survived this long because they are both lovers and friends. This much the couple demonstrated in the course of the interview. While Binta would shout her husband's name from the inner room, he would answer: 'Yes Princess'. And like two young lovebirds, they followed each other round the house. The affair, which started at the National Arts Theater where the couple met during a film show, went through several stages before they eventually tied the knots last year.
Binta got introduced to acting by her elder brother who took her to the production crew of the 70s popular TV series, “Why worry the barber”. From that point she has steadily progressed into the stage dramas and ultimately to home video. She stared in the popular mainframe's production Ti Oluwa Nile in 1992, and till date she has almost 400 home videos to her credit, though she confessed that the number had not translated into wealth for her.
In spite of this, Binta is proud of her achievements in the industry. She told Sunday Sun that she would easily pick up an Oscar award if there was any for the best African actress category. For her numerous fans, she promised that they are about to see her best now that she is married. To show how serious they are, both husband and wife are set to appear together in movies, and maybe baby Ademide too will join them to complete the trio.