MY ONLY REGRET IS THAT MY MUM IS NOT ALIVE TO SEE WHAT I'VE BECOME-Omoni Oboli
Omoni married too Nnamdi Oboli is one of the screen divas in Nollywood today whose artistic disposition and a physique to go with it has added credence to her intimidating movie career. She is not just an actor but a script writer and producer that has made significant remarks in the industry. She has acted in numerous movies and has produced a few too. Her acting works include but not limited to Unfinished Business, the Rival, Sweet Tomorrow and the recent chart-buster, The Figurine produced by the banker turned movie maker, son of the late entertainment sage, Ade Love, Kunle Afolayan. In this interview with Michael Alonge, she reveals the dirtiest thing she ever indulged in while growing up and iher only regret in life. She also talks passionately about her career, love life and of course aspirations. Enjoy your reading…
How would you describe your background?
I grew up with my mum (God rest her sweet soul) and my sister. Although my mum wasn't rich, she worked in Delta Steel Company and the job came with a lot of privileges. We lived in a nice estate, we attended the best schools, had very good hospitals with experienced doctors and good recreational areas with swimming pools and nice club houses. Anyone who grew up in DSC when I did had loads of fun. So I can safely say I had a privileged background.
What would you consider as the difference or similarities between your early-childhood environment and now?
I live in an estate now which is one of the best in the country and in my childhood, I lived in a very nice estate as well so it really is quite similar. I guess living in an estate when I was young put the love for estates in me (smiles)
Where did you grow up and would you explain how the environment you grew up influenced you?
Like I said earlier, I grew up in Delta Steel Company; it was a lot of fun. I grew up with some of the brightest kids in the country at that time, so everyone had to work hard to be the best. There were lot of healthy competitions in my primary and secondary. We were trained for debates around the country; we went for French Competitions both state and national level, Mathematics and Science competitions etc. This instilled a leadership quality in me and a passion for excellence. That is why I strive to be the best in everything I do and to raise the standard.
Why have you chosen this career, or did it choose you?
I chose this career because ever since I was a little girl, from age 3, I discovered that I loved acting so much. I wanted to act more than anything and as I grew older, the passion and the love for the art grew. In my secondary school, as head of the literary and debating society, I wrote, produced and directed plays which were presented in front of our parents and teachers. In short, if you met anyone that went to school with me, they would tell you that I am where I was born to be. It came naturally to me. I didn't have to force it.
Would you consider it challenging or difficult? Rewarding/satisfactory or unrewarding, please elaborate?
It is challenging no doubt because I have to be a mum and a wife as well as being an actress but it is very rewarding not necessarily financially but the satisfaction of doing what you love to do cannot be bought with money. I am fulfilled
What challenges do these pose to the youth today? How can the youth be encouraged to meet present day challenges?
The youth in Nigeria today face so many challenges. First of all, their moral upbringing from home is so bad. Parents are so busy and never find enough time to train their kids. I know it's not easy because of the economy and the fact that both parents have to work in most families to make ends meet but we must do our best to spend quality time with the kids. I am blessed to have been brought up by a great God fearing woman who instilled in me such values that even today as a grown woman, there are certain things I just cant do thinking it wont make my mom proud (even though she's no more here)
Also there's a stronger influence of media now than before. The young people today are being educated by every Tom, Dick and Harry on a TV and on the internet. When I was growing up, our TV was very sane. We were basically brought up by our parents and our teachers.
I believe that we should have more role models. Those who are in positions of power and entertainers like me should always remember that the young people are watching and learning from us. So we need to weight our actions carefully. When we fail, we discourage the younger ones and they have no more hope.
Can we have an insight into your family life? Would you consider it a fulfilling experience? Kindly give a few tips on how to achieve the appropriate balance?
As you all know, I'm a wife and a mother of three very boisterous little boys. I got married pretty early a few months after I graduated and I have been married for over 9 years. I love my family dearly and they affect my choices in life. Being a wife and a mother to those precious boys is the biggest of all my achievements in life. I would say first of all, that God has been a great source of help to me. He has helped me keep it all together. I could never have done it on my own. I do not take every job that comes my way, aside from wanting to appear in only good movies, I also want to spend time with my family. I make sure my husband and I have some "alone" time because you can't be so busy chasing career; you actually start to loose focus of the things that really matter.
People say “Imitation is the best form of flattery' is anyone of your siblings following your footsteps? Do you know of anyone you have inspired to do so?
None of my siblings are following my footsteps but I meet so many young people everyday who tell me they want to be like me when they grow up and I am determined to be a positive role model for them. Oh and my son is following in my footstep. He acted in THE RIVALS and THE FIGURINE and he says he is the best child actor in Nigeria.
What issues influence or govern your worldview of things? Are there things you are doing now that many failed to do which are helpful? Please explain, if so.
My Christian background governs everything I do. I strongly believe that if we all have the fear of God in our hearts and love our neighbors the way we love ourselves, then the world would be a much better place.
In your opinion, does Nigeria's Entertainment industry have any future? Will good times ever return to the generality of Nigerians? Why do you take that view? Or how do we get there?
The entertainment industry definitely has a future. The music industry's booming right now and I know that the bad patch the movie industry is going through is great for it because it will serve to separate the wheat from the chaff. Only serious minded people will be left when all this is over and even in the midst of the hardship the industry is going through, someone like Kunle Afolayan still produced a multi million naira movie THE FIGURINE which has come as a huge breath of fresh air and has changed the industry forever.
Honestly, I pray that good times return to Nigerians. The only way we can achieve this is if we have good leaders. Leaders that genuinely want to serve because to be a leader, you have to be a servant. Leaders that love their people and whose hearts will break at the sufferings of the people. We are too blessed as a nation to be suffering this much. I am proud to say I belong to a generation who believe in Nigeria. In the last couple of months, I have met some great young Nigerians who will move this nation forward when the mantle falls on us. Together we are very proud to represent Naija!!!
Do you ever relax considering your tight schedules? How do you relax?
I always make out time to relax. I go to the movies and every once in a while, I go dancing. I love staying at home too and just cuddling up with a good movie. I also play in the garden with the kids sometimes.
What would you personally consider your major achievements in life?
Being a wife and a mother is my greatest achievement. I won't be me without them.
Talking about your husband, where and when did you meet?
I met my husband a long time ago when I first came into Nollywood in 1996. I was doing a movie with Obi Osotule and as Obi's nephew he was around the set a lot. We had a gist once or twice and even though he liked me, I wasn't interested in anything serious because I was really young then. I met him again four years later and by then I was in my final year in school. I fell in love with him because he was so real and so loving. It's been over 9 years since then and we are still going strong.
Your husband is handsome, don't you nurture any fear of being swept off his feet as some people in the industry do?
My husband is very God fearing and even if he could go astray in spite of the love he has for me, I believe he wouldn't because he genuinely fears God
When did you people get married and how many children have you?
I got married in 2000 and I have 3 lovely boys
They say your husband is the major financier in your career, anything contrary to this rumour?
My husband does his best for me financially. Everything he has belongs to us.
What's next for Omoni Oboli?
I have so many things planned for 2010 but top on the list is the next movie I'm producing. It will be a big movie so watch out for in Nollywood. I'm about to do you proud.
What are your regrets in life?
My only regret in life is the fact that my mom is not here now to see what I have become. She invested so much in me and my sister and she passed on just when it was time to reap the fruits of her labour.
What would you have become if you had not been an actress?
I honestly don't know. Maybe a home maker (smiles). I have a good head for business and I'm sure that's what I would do because working for people is not for me.
In the turn of things, can you start all over again?
Everyone has it in them to start all over again. I have had to do that at different times in my life. All it takes is determination, the zeal and God's grace to press forward.
What would you not be caught doing?
I won't be caught in a fight.
How do you cope with pressure from your numerous admirers, most especially men?
The truth is that it's not by force. Everyone has admirers. All I do is politely tell them am not interested and they eventually get the message when I stand my ground.
A child of God must not lie; could you candidly tell me, the dirtiest thing you ever did while growing up?
The dirtiest thing I ever did growing up was not taking a bath for 2 days (laughs)
Are you romantic? Can you ask your husband for sex first?
I think I am very romantic.
Some people say you're beautiful, why do you think they say so?
I think you should ask them why they say am beautiful (laughs)
What is your most challenging movie?
The Figurine and Sweet Tomorrow.
What are those things you used to do before marriage that you have stopped doing now?
Before I got married I could read novels all day because I love reading, but now with a husband and 3 boys, not a chance.
Which movie shot you into limelight?
I would say it's a culmination of UNFINISHED BUSINESS, SWEET TOMORROW and BEHIND A SMILE but my fame has tripled since THE FIGURINE hit the cinemas nationwide.
Can you act nude for $1m if you were a single lady?
How do you ward off advances?
Women have been warding off male advances since the beginning of time. I don't know if I have any particular method. I guess it depends on my mood but generally I just smile and say I am not interested.
Thank for your time
Story by Alonge Michael