IK Osakioduwa is the host of Big Brother Africa and an OAP. He tells Ademola Olonilua about his early years, scandals and wife.
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up for me was fun. My dad was in the army, so we moved around a lot. We were always the new kids in the school. We had to learn to interact with a lot of people. It was interesting, lots of fun, lots of locations and addresses. In my secondary school, I was a very quiet person. That was my life until one Valentine’s Day.
What happened on that Valentine’s Day?
There was a girl I was interested in. I was crushing on her and she was crushing on another guy. I was shocked and was wondering why she was crushing on another boy. In my own opinion, I was finer than the other guy. But I also thought that he was a sociable guy, he had friends. I learnt that being sociable had its perks; people tend to forgive you when you are sociable. I said to myself that it seemed being a quiet boy did not pay. If being tall, dark and handsome are the requirements for getting a good girl, I am tall, dark, even if I am not handsome, that is two out of three. I decided that I needed to be sociable and in my SS1, I decided to make friends. I told myself, to get to know people, get out of your shell and talk to girls and entertain people.
Has moving around a lot while growing helped you in any way?
I would not deceive you; it really helped me. It had its advantages and disadvantages. It helped me because now I adapt very quickly to situations. If anything is going on, I don’t break down crying. I think of the next step, solutions and how to move forward. I think of how to adjust to the situation because in the army, one minute you are living in Lagos in a big house and the other, they move you to the north where they put you in a bungalow. Life was very unpredictable. So, being an OAP, it has really helped because if you are going to be in entertainment, you would have to learn to be able to adapt. If you look at all the great entertainers in music and on television, they are people that have learnt to change their styles and go with whatever is trending at the time. You learn to adapt.
Did you ever consider becoming a soldier?
I thought I was going to be a soldier. I was convinced at one point that I was going to be a soldier, more so that I look a lot like my dad and I hear sometimes I behave like him. People were already telling me that I would be in the army like my dad. Some said I would make a great soldier. When I was leaving secondary school, I realised that I had not seen my dad for a while because between when I was 10 and 17 years, he was always transferred. We would move to go and join him and he would move somewhere else. He was always on transfer. So, for a long time, we only used to spend holidays with him. He would come home when he was on leave or had business in the area we were living. I decided I did not want that for my kids. At an early age of about 16, I decided I did not want that life for my kids, so I knew I would not enrol in the army. That was when I began asking myself what I wanted to do outside the army.
At what point in your life did you decide to be an OAP?
It was during my extra year in the university. I decided to try out some radio stations and Rhythm FM was my first point but it did not work out. After I had tried out a few radio stations, I went back to Rhythm and eventually got the job. That was when I knew I liked it. I liked to talk for a living and decided to make it a career.
Why did you spend extra year in the university?
My course adviser told me that he lost my entire year two results. I had found an extra year because of that. After my extra year, he told me he had the results. I wasted an entire year because of that. When he told me, I was not angry. I just moved on with my life because I believe in God that everything happens for a reason.
Shortly before your marriage, you changed name from Wildchild, why?
The name change did not have anything to do with my marriage. When I decided to go by my real name, IK Osakioduwa, people thought it was because I was about to get married. It really had nothing to do with it. It was for business. I was trying to rebrand for business. The name Wildchild had become very big brand. What happened with the name Wildchild was that I could not use it on television and I just started a television career. I could not use the name on television because there was a Wildchild in South Africa; there was one in America and then Wild Children in the UK. There was no room to grow internationally with the name. You would not want to come out now and call yourself D’banj or say you are a Dre. People would look at you and think you are not creative enough. I did not want to play second fiddle to anybody’s name, so I decided to change my name. It was just a matter of time. A few things also triggered it. There was a job I was supposed to do for a bank but the proposal the event planner submitted made the bank MD angry. When the event planner submitted the name Wildchild, the MD of the bank was furious and asked the planner to look for a more responsible MC. He wondered how somebody who called himself Wildchild would host such event as CEO awards. The name was just useless. I realised at that moment that there were some corporate gigs that would be a challenge for me to get because of my name. The planner called me and asked for my name and resubmitted the proposal and I got the job. Same event, same MD, just a name change; I decided then that I was going to open myself up. Also, Wildchild is a name I can never leave for my kids. My child cannot proudly say that he’s Wildchild Junior. It would never be an advantage to them; so I thought if I used my real name, when they grow up; the name could open doors for them. If Dangote’s son should introduce himself, people would say which Dangote and welcome him properly.
Are you a shy person?
I used to be terribly shy. I have come out of it but not completely. I don’t like crowd unless I am talking to them. I generally don’t like attending weddings, except I am the MC.
Your recently tweeted tips on how to get a wife material; this is not the first time you are doing it. Is it when your wife excites you that you post such tweets?
Sometimes, she does some things and I have to tell her she is a good girl. Then I decide to go and talk about what makes a good girl. I am very honest and current with my show. What I do with my show is that I pick topics that are real to me at that time. If I am angry, I am going to have a show that is anger-related. You know these days, boys look at girls and say one is not wife material and on the other hand, you see your friend with another girl and you tell him, guy, marry that girl, she is a wife material. I don’t remember what inspired those tweets but I know I had done the flip side the week before.
You have hosted Big Brother Africa for over eight years. How did it all happen for you?
The truth is, it is the favour of God. I could tell you it was my charisma, my charms, my hardwork but that would all be a lie because there are people more charming than I am, better looking and more hard working than myself. It is the favour of God. I auditioned for it and it was not great. I am sure some people had better auditions than mine. It was probably my worst audition, so it was just the favour of God. You know when God just wants to give you something, other people can only try to get it. It is like the local Nigerian slang that says, ‘the water you would fetch in the well would not pass you by.’ That is my strong philosophy of life; what is mine, no man can take it. I had taken part in a few auditions that I did not get and I went away with the believe that they were not for me and right after that rejection, God would bring something that was much better. For instance, just before Big Brother, there were two shows that I auditioned for and I did not get either of them. Rejection is disappointing but I thought to myself, if I got the job, I probably would have been on an unsuccessful show. If I had got any of those shows, I would not have got to Big Brother and most of those shows were not successful. They did not have a second season; so it was the favour of God that preserved Big Brother for me.
You used to throw wild parties as a bachelor and as expected, women would flock around you. It surprised not a few when your wife came to your defence against speculations on twitter concerning infidelity.
My wife is a sweet girl. She goes up in arms for me whenever she needs to. That is the beauty of our relationship. One of the reasons why I would never answer any of the girls on my case is that I know who really has my back. When it comes down to it, my wife has my back. There are fights she would go into on my behalf that I don’t need to worry about. If I have no money and things are not working out in my life, the one person who would be there for me is my wife and I don’t have a doubt about it.
How did you meet your wife?
I met her years ago. We were both dating someone else but we became friends. I found that I could talk to her and she could talk to me. We would gist all the time. Sometimes she would ask me a question and I would jokingly say that I would answer her when we got married. We never took it serious. I think I dated three girls between the time I met her and when we started dating. I feel she is beautiful, attractive, and she makes a very good friend. So I told her I knew she was dating a guy I knew but I just realised that she was the kind of person that I could spend the rest of my life with. It took me another seven months before she said yes and we have been best of friends since then.
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