I CAN SEND FLOWERS 10 TIMES A DAY... I’VE NO SHAME EXPRESSING MY LOVE’-----RMD
I'm happy where I am. I'm the marrying kind. I don't think that without a wife I'd be stablised. The reason why I can wake up every morning and do what I have to do is because I know the wife I have is there.She's taking care of my children, taking care of my needs and all that. It gives you the confidence to step out and be what you want to be.
With people like you, one would easily assume that you have seen and done it all. Is there anything else you'd like to accomplish?
I've not even started anything.
So what then are the next dreams you want to chase?
I believe that ultimately serving people is the best thing you can do, which is what's I'm doing already. I'm serving people in different capacities. For instace White Waters is a P.R company and we provide services to companies that we work for and I will like to see that expanding. I like to empower young people. I'm constantly trying to motivate young people. I go to schools, universities, churches and all that. Ultimately, I want to have a one-stop place, where if you come into that place. whatever your dream is in terms of entertainment, whether as a film-maker or as a theater person or as an actor or whatever and you come in there, we'd be able to help you in terms of advice or we'd be able to help you develop your materials. We'd be able to help you finish your materials or help you start and finish it. That's ultinately what I'm hoping for.
Have you started doing any of those?
We have started laying the foundation for that one-stop place.
Your face is everywhere and you are more or less a role model to a lot of youths. When someone is this popular, it places a burden on you to watch what you do in the public. What are the things you used to do that you can't do anymore because you know some people are watching you?
I don't really consider myself a role model. That is a judgment that people would have to make for themselves. What I think is that; when I exhibit some positive things in my life, I think that is what people should look at and get inspired by. I would rather inspire people than stand out and say, 'oh, I'm a role model'; I'm not by any means perfect. But having said that, I know that I've won all kinds of opinion polls of role models for young people. They've sent me all sorts of certificates for opinion polls conducted in different places and they've come to say that I'm a role model. What that does for you is to moderate everything you do. But sometimes people even take advantage of that and do things to you that they know that ordinarily you would not take. There are times you find yourself in situations where somebody is cheating you out of your own money or whatever and he's saying, 'enh, you're RMD now...' and I'm saying, 'so...'you know, somebody hitting your car and you cannot protest too much because he says, 'ha! ha! oga, you're RMD now...'. So you have things like that but those are just the lighter sides of life. I think that when you make a success out of everything and you're out there in the public, people tend to say, 'oh, I know him or I used to know him or I'm from the same place as he is. Maybe if he can do this, that means I can do that', which is what I work on. I tell the young boys from Warri or people I went to school with who probably are not at the point where I am in my life that if I can do it, you can do it. It starts and becomes a mantra if you like people you meet. When I go to some places, I tell them, 'I might not be your ideal role model, but I'm just saying that there are things I have done in my life that I believe that if you have even half the courage that I have, you should be able to surpass them'. Young people come to me and say, 'I want to be like you' and I say, 'No, don't be like me, be better'. And I always say that my prayer for them is that they should be better than me because that is how life gets better. The next person you inspire wants to be bigger and better than you. That's what gives influence to things that I do in public or even in private. You know, you have to moderate things. I grew up as an only child with a mother who always told me that humility and service to mankind is what should define anybody's life; and she wasn't even educated! She was not even a Christian at the time. But I guess having just a child at that time she lived gave her philosophical approach to life. My mum was an area mummy. She was a mum to every child on my street. When she made clothes, she bought for every child. If she bought things for me, she bought for every child within the vicinity. I remember most times when I was in school, I had a room in my father's house... my mother's space...there would be an average of three boys in my room at every given time who were her direct responsibility. And before she died, she always had a minimum of 3 children with her. So that was the kind of environment I grew up in. I always say my mum is my hero. So, it is the things she taught me that formed the very foundation of the principles I run my life with.
Did your mother live to see you become what you are today?
Yes... She died in 1999 and by the time she died she had pretty much seen me become popular or become famous. For her, it started in 1982. When I was in the university I was privileged to be on TV in Bendel at that time. She has always been a mother of a person on the television so she saw all of that. They always called her to come and see me on television or something. Perhaps, my only regret is that I didn't buy her enough things before she died but she knew I loved her, there was no doubt about that. We were an item. My mum and I were friends and I'll love to have that kind of friendship or boldness with my kids.
Were you the only child of your parents or just your mum?
My father had other children.
So yours was a polygamous family then?
Yes, it was. We were 18 in my family but we lost 2.
It would be nice to affirm or correct the on my impression about the competitive spirit in polygamous settings, it makes everybody want to succeed more than the next person. Did you experience that?
I think my mum just wanted me to be 10 children since she couldn't have much more. She just wanted me to be everything. Fortunately, the kind of polygamous family I came from...we were not that competitive. My father was able to bring us all up someway without having to creating a basis where everybody would want to be better than the other. We were all friends, we were brothers and sisters and it was a huge family. My grandmother lived with us all the while and we were in the same compound.
How many wives did your father have?
At the height of his wealth he had about five, as the money went the wives reduced (laughs). Polygamy wasn't the basis of my success. My mum just wanted me to be all that I could be. And I think that even if my mum wasn't there my father was an educated man and the generation that I grew up in, going to school was all that a child needed to do to be a good child. I always wanted to be a good child so I went to school and passed all my exams as best as I could be. I don't think 'polygamy' in the sense of the word makes a child unprogressive or makes a child better. No. I don't think so. There are all kinds of elements and I don't want us to even begin to go into all that because we would need a psychologist and a sociologist to analyse and de-analyse it.
How old are you now?
I will be 46 this month.
There are so many award plague all over your office, on the tables, on the wall unit, on the floor, this is intimidating, you know. And from the look of it, you've only just started. How does it make you feel seeing all of it and knowing you'll still get more before the end of your full life?
Well, coming from where I'm coming from its humbling. You can only say and hope that all of these will lead on to better things... will humble you to want to make sure that the person sitting next to you can do same and do better. I can't just wake up and look at all my awards and say, 'Oh, I have done well, so let me stop', otherwise, the Dangotes and Ibrus and co would wake up and do nothing anymore. This just gives you an impetus to what you're doing.
Let's talk about the real RMD when he's not in the public eye. You're married; people say they are married and some say they're happily married. What category does your marriage fall into?
The question does not even arise. People just like to tag everything. I'm happy where I am. I'm the marrying kind. I don't think that without a wife I'd be stabilized. The reason why I can wake up every morning and do what I have to do is because I know the wife I have is there. She's taking care of my children, taking care of my needs and all that. It gives you the confidence to step out and be what you want to be.
What kind of father are you to your children?
I'm the roll-on-the-floor kind of father. With my grown-ups, we're friends and we talk about everything possible to be talked about. I'm young... I've taught Sunday School for a while so I can identify with young people and because I also had kids early. I had my first two boys when I was 22 so I can relate well with them. My kids are like my friends.
Sure they've started having girlfriends now.
(Smiles) One is in Canada and we talk about everything.
Everything like his babes?
Everything! His babes, his fears, everything. He's 23 and he's in the university.
Is he the eldest one?
No, the eldest is 24. At 23, the second is going to finish university soon... next year, so there's nothing he can't tell me and that's the beauty of it.
How old are the younger ones?
The smaller ones are six and four. I have three boys and a girl. The girl will be five in November. I didn't get to work early today because I've been away for a week, so I spent time with them till about past one. With the little ones I just roll on the floor, on the bed, make sure I have enough quality time with them. In fact, one of them wanted to come to the office with me today. They're on holiday so they have a lot of time with me before they'll travel with their mum and I'll join them at one point. They need things to occupy them so I stay with them till after 12 and then I have to go to work.
Are you the kind of father that changes diapers for his children?
I did all of that and I was there at the birth room and I did everything. I'm a domesticated person, I cook, I clean, I wash. I grew up doing all the chores. So changing diapers or doing rounds. When mummy is sleeping, daddy does baby watch. I did all of that, I guess because I didn't have the opportunity of doing that with my first two kids. I made sure I created the opportunity of doing that with my two younger kids so that I can participate in their lives from the very beginning.
You have played very romantic roles in films and movies. It is one thing to play those roles in films and another to practise them at home. Are you a romantic husband?
For me, the question does not even arise here. Being romantic is being sensitive to the needs of my wife.
What would your wife say about that if she were here?
She knows...she knows... I mean, you need to ask her. I'm very romantic if you're asking if I'm a chocolate or flower person. I can send flowers ten times a day if I have to. I send love texts and I have no shame about expressing my love. I don't think affection should be hidden. A typical urhobo man does not express his emotion because we were brought up to be tough.