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I have three sons and a daughter – Lolo 1 talks about being a single mum and more

Meet Nigeria’s Lolo 1
– the madam who is the face of Wazobia FM’s ‘Oga Madam’ radio
programme. Born Omotunde Adebowale David, she has over the years
excelled as one of the country’s best comediennes – on air, on stage or
on the silver screen. In this new interview with This Day, Lolo 1 talks about her family and
her relationship with her ex-husband and more!

How did your Igbo accent come about?
Well, I grew up believing in one Nigeria. All my father’s tenants were
Igbo. So then, I didn’t even notice that there was a cultural
difference. It was when I grew up that I began to understand that there
are differences among people, in terms of religions and ethnic groups. I
think I’ve always had that kind of affinity since I was a child. But
‘Wazobia’ was a challenge. I’ve never spoken pidgin before. I’ve done
Metro FM and Radio One but I like taking on challenges. If I’m going to
do something, what will make anybody like it is the fact that I did it
well. If I’m going to be impersonating an Igbo woman, then I must know
their culture. I must know what they do, how they cook and how they
dress. I never cooked like a Yoruba woman and you’ll not see me do
omiobe. I will cook every classic onugbu like they cook it and those are
the things I like to do. I research and listen.
Until your real name is mentioned people don’t place you as a Yoruba woman.
Yes. But it’s a good thing; that means that what I do, I do it very
well. The day you see me play a typical Yoruba woman, when my ‘Mama
Risika’ character comes out, you will be amazed. My Yoruba nature is
there; it’s just that I haven’t used it for anything prominent yet. But
if I have to play the role of a Yoruba person, you’ll see that my Ijebu
(nature) fluently displayed.

How did you learn to cook Igbo food?
I learnt that from market women. Whenever I go to the market and I tell
somebody that I want to cook ofe Owerri and ask ingredients to use. I
ask basic questions and I get useful answers. I love to cook. So, when I
get home I apply the instructions and the cooking always comes out
nice. So there is nothing you cannot do if you put your mind to it.

As a comedienne, how do you feel about your celebrity status, being one of the best comic acts in Nigeria?
Maybe, it’s because I am on radio. I’m constantly on air and so a lot of
people get to listen to me. it is also important to note that women are
different from men. Women multitask. Hardly will you find any woman who
is into comedy only. We have shops; we have other jobs; we have homes
to keep; and children are there too. Maybe it is because I do my comic
acts on a regular basis so that makes people see my face every day. Now
there’s ‘Jenifa’s Diary’ in which I play the role of Adaku. So people
get to see me in different shapes. I think that’s part of what is making
the brand a little bigger.

 You are also a master of ceremony.
I’ve been doing that for a long time. Of course, I compere at corporate
events weddings naming ceremonies, and many other events as long as I am
being paid well? There is nothing like being expensive. I tell people
that the premium you place on yourself endures. The fact that someone
says her shop is N50, 000 and that I might not be able to afford it,
doesn’t mean it’s too pricey. It only means it’s out of one’s league. A
Porsche is a car and a Toyota Corolla is a car, but it’s the
affordability of the two that makes the buying.


Some are beginning to feel you will soon leave radio for the silver screen. Is that correct?
Well, I want to say that everything has its own time. I love being on
radio. I’m not going to leave radio for anything. I love acting too but
as long as one can put set one’s priorities right, one can be on radio
and on the silver screen. So it depends on which side of me you’re
calling. If you want the acting side of me I give it to you and if you
want the MC, I give it to you. If you want the mother, I give it to you.
So everything is inside me. I’m not going to let any limit be placed on
my abilities because what we celebrate is the fact that one can do so
many things and do it very well.

You’ve had to work with Funke Akindele so fervently that one begins to wonder if you will have time for other things.
Everything is timing. We went to London recently to shoot Jenifa’s Diary
Season 7 and 8. I worked it out to coincide. Most of the scenes we shot
in Jenifa’s Diary were done in the afternoon. I close at 3pm
and once I closed in the office I went to the location for shooting.
Funke Akindele is an extremely hard-working woman. I’m not saying it
because she gave me a role but I’ve seen her work. She’s not a producer
that sleeps while you’re on set. She’s there so she can push you – and I
want to give her my best. I can’t say I’m tired if I say I want to
achieve good things. Bill Gate and other people we celebrate, they don’t
sleep. If you want to achieve something good in this life, you must be
willing to make sacrifices and that’s hard work – that’s what I do.


Can you talk about your family?
I have four amazing kids. I have three sons and a daughter. I am single.
I met a lot of people saying, ‘Oh my God, this entertainer is
divorced.’ Yes, my divorce is a mutual thing. It’s nothing to fight or
quarrel about. My family life is private. I will not drag the father of
my children on the pages of newspapers. He doesn’t deserve that. It’s
not a quarrel; we might have issues that we are dealing with personally
as people. But it doesn’t mean that we now have to go and talk about
each other (in the public). He’s the father of my children. I respect
him for that. It is an important reason we do not talk about it
(divorce) on the pages of newspapers.


You said if you would remarry, you’ll go for an Igbo man.
Well, it doesn’t matter where anybody comes from. I gravitate towards an
individual. It’s who you are as a person that matters. It’s not where
you come from. So, I’m not looking at anybody based on tribe even though
it’s not like I’m shopping.


Is that an indication that you want to give marriage a second chance?
I’ll leave that in God’s hands. You know, if you’ve gone through a
situation and you didn’t do well, I think it’s time to withdraw into
myself – learn a few things about why this (the marriage) didn’t work
and what I did wrong. So when I’ve learnt my lesson and healed
internally, then maybe I will consider it. It takes time for one to be
able to go through it (divorce). Marriage is not a walk in the park like
people think. It’s something one signs up for forever and one has a
break. That shows one didn’t do some things right. So, as an individual,
one needs to get internal healing and work on one’s own personality. So
that when one gets into another relationship, one would have learnt her
lessons from the previous marriage.


Are there chances for reconciliation with your ex?
Oh well, I’m not God. Everybody is a work in progress. It’s just that
people in the media judge very harshly; because we live our life before
people. But I’ve done my best to make it (failed marriage) work and I
don’t make it a general topic. It’s a family issue. We’re dealing with
it our own way.
What kind of childhood did you have?
I had a very independent childhood. I stayed in the hostel from primary
three. So, I’ve been independent for a long time. I schooled in
Ijebu-Ode Anglican Girls and I stayed in the hostel half of the time.
That’s where my independence and creativity came from. I was always
called to make impromptu speeches. I won a lot of laurels for my school
in debates, impromptu speeches and so on.
Did your parents approve of your decision to pursue a career in the media?
No. You know how parents are then. Even my legal profession was chosen
by them. I just got my JAMB form and they filled it. When I told my mom I
wanted to act and go into media work, she cried, thinking I would end
up earning meagre income despite the years I spent in school studying
Law. But now my mother will tell me she’s my fan. She calls ‘Mama Lolo’
and that’s because I have been successful. God is helping me to succeed
in what I have chosen to do. And I think that settles everything.
.

What’s the issue between you and Princess?
Well, the princess saga –of course, nobody is infallible – I’m just
human and that means I can just get angry. We had a little
misunderstanding, even though she might not see it as a
misunderstanding. We were on stage together and I felt she slighted the
rest of us there. I reacted to that slight because I believe that
whatever we do, we should think of other individuals involved in it.
It’s not just one person as a brand. I knew I vented (my emotion) but I
didn’t let it stay too long. I didn’t take up to five minutes from my
timeline before bloggers and everybody picked it up and it became
something like a war. But you’ll notice that I didn’t make further
comments because it was just in the moment. I’ve said my mind and that
is it.


But have you resolved the issue with her?
Princess and I are colleagues in the industry. It doesn’t mean everybody
is your best friend. We’re industry colleagues. Of course, when we meet
at events we greet each other. It is not like I have a real
relationship with her. But it doesn’t mean that we are enemies. She’s
one of the prominent women who have stood up for comedy in time past, so
she has that respect from me. It was just a personal issue that we had.


How do you relax?
I love to watch movies. I love water – I love swimming pools and I love
the ocean, sea or anything water. It (swimming) is very relaxing for me.
I love to read but I haven’t read as much as I used to. And I like to
cook too. I cook for relaxation because I’m a foodie. A lot of times I
just like to cook for people.


What’s your biggest cooking blunder?
It took me a long time to learn how to cook cow leg because I didn’t
cook it as long as I should. So sometimes it could be so hard. Imagine
when you have dinner and everybody is pulling on the meat. I had to
learn how to cook cow leg and that it takes a long time and patience to
boil it.

Are your children showing interest in the arts?
My daughter is very close to me. I know she’s going to do a lot of
things that are art-inclined. My first son gravitates towards catering,
food and engineering. My third son is basically an athlete. He loves to
run; he loves taekwondo. But my youngest son is still forming his
personality. We’re watching – he is going to be five. My first son is
going to be 10. The other one just turned eight and my daughter is going
to be 12 in February. As a parent, I don’t believe in deciding for my
children. I groom their talents and by the time of their manifestation I
want it to be that it’s something orchestrated by God. Let it not be
that one is pushing one’s children out too early. I want my children to
build their own personality and be their own person. So that when it is
time for them to do what they have to do, they will do it well.


What outfit do you relax more in?
I think I like gown. I just love a dress that is easy to wear. You can
dress it up, you can dress it down. But my least liked dress is boubou. I
think it makes one look old and cumbersome. I’m not too tall so boubou
is not my thing.


Which higher institution did you attend?
I went to Lagos State University where I studied Law. I went to Law School and I did all the honours.
You’ve been with Cool FM for some time. Did you start Wazobia with the radio station?
Well, I didn’t start Wazobia with them basically. I joined them like two
years or a year after Wazobia started. So, I’ve been with Wazobia for
eight years and still counting.


Did you meet Yaw while you were in school?
Yaw is my boss. We existed in different worlds while we were in school. I
was in the Law department and I didn’t really gravitate towards the
theatre in school. I just did fellowship. I was a fellowship girl. I
didn’t really meet Yaw in school.


Despite your celebrity status, what makes you to be down to earth?
When I started, I got a word from God and He made me understand that
there is nothing that I have that is not freely given to me. So what is
the big deal? Something you didn’t create, why would you have special
ownership of it and attitude? If you see me not smiling you should know
that maybe I’m tired. But that I would become unapproachable is not
something that I think I would ever do. That where my joy comes from. No
one stops doing what brings her joy. Maybe when I get too big I’ll be
thinking of security because some people might want to harm or hurt me
and even if I do, they’ll just be somewhere. It’s not like I would walk
on the street and everywhere you see me, there are battalions of guards
protecting me. I didn’t steal anybody’s market, so I think I’ll be
alright.


If you didn’t become a radio presenter or an actress, would you have established a big law firm?
I don’t think I would have carried on with legal practice to that point.
I love entertainment law. If I was to choose I would have gone with
entertainment law. When I was writing my project, it was on the rights
of a performer; quite ironically. It was the only thing that I could
really identify with and I did my project on it and it was excellent. I
knew then that entertainment was inside me. Even if I wasn’t doing all
this, if it had to be law I’m sure I would have focused basically on
entertainment law or copyright law.

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