Omotunde Adebowale, popularly known as Lolo 1 of Wazobia, tells ’Nonye Ben-Nwankwo about her career and why she became an on-air-personality
How did you get to be on radio?
I am not on radio because I couldn’t find another job. It is just passion- based. I enjoy entertaining people. I wanted to do what I was passionate about and not just about what I read in school. I was once with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria. When I heard about Wazobia, it became a challenge for me. I wasn’t even sure I could do it but I went for the audition.
How did the audition go?
It was a tough one because a lot of people came for it. By the time I was auditioned, it was almost over. I was invited four months later. That was how I started. It wasn’t easy at first because I had to go through the teething problems. Some listeners criticised me. But every criticism I got made me stronger. The more you do something, the better you get at that thing.
Did you become a presenter just as soon as you got into Wazobia?
No. I was a news reader. That was even where I got my first award. It was wow. It made me happy. It gave me focus. I kept at it and after two years or so, I got my own show. That was when I started the ‘Oga Madam’ show. The appeal to me is always amazing.
Do you enjoy radio?
I like the appeal of radio because a lot of people don’t know you. They are more in awe when they meet you. But it can be stressful. You would wonder if people would like you when they meet you. It keeps you on edge at times. Amazingly, people are always impressed when they meet me. Radio is a medium where you cannot take back what you say. You must have presence of mind all the time. You have to read wide. People expect you to know a bit of everything. People call me to ask me when is the West African Senior School Certificate Examination is taking place. Some call me to find out about WASSCE result. I have become a radio shrink. I am even a relationship counsellor. People want to relax and you must be everything to them.
As popular as you are, don’t you feel a bit sad that people can’t put a face to the name because of the platform of radio?
The world has gone online now. You just ‘google’ the name and my picture pops out.
At what point did you turn to a comedienne?
I don’t like calling myself a comedienne. I would rather say I am a humorous person. Once you start to call yourself a stand-up comedienne, the pressure starts. You would start wondering if you are really funny. Humour comes to us in different ways. I do stand-up comedy on demand. I have been having my annual comedy show, ‘Oga Madam Comedy show” and my brand is getting bigger. I felt I had found my feet and I decided to expand the ‘Oga Madam Show.’
We hear you are getting into music as well…
Yes. My music is something people would get to listen to this year. I didn’t just get into music. I have been a church girl all my life. It isn’t because I am just righteous but I love music as well. A lot of people who knew me back then would wonder why I didn’t have an album yet.
Are you then a jack of all trades?
It is not really like that. It is all encompassing. It is normal that a person who can act can sing as well because acting involves singing at times. It is still within the ambit of what I do. I can do poetry; I write short stories. I act. I have done some stage productions. For my leisure, I read. I love to watch films. I would want to direct my own movie.
Where does your family come in now?
I have my family and I like to keep them private. I juggle motherhood with work. I have four wonderful children. Having a family should not limit you. Your children live after you. When you are at work, your children are in school; you are not with them. At some point, they are grown and they will be gone. You would wonder what you achieved in life. You cannot keep your children free from sickness. You must have something you want to achieve on your own aside being a mother or a wife. I keep my work separate and I keep my home separate. None suffers, I am dedicated to both. My children even call me ‘Lolo’especially when they want to get something from me.
Don’t you think you would have been a better lawyer than a broadcaster?
I don’t think so. I don’t like academic reading.
So why did you study Law in the first place?
Some of us are products of what our parents wanted us to be when we were growing up. My parents wanted me to be a lawyer. I was told I used to talk a lot when I was a child. They just assumed I would make a good lawyer. How many parents, at that time, would have been happy if any of their children said he or she wanted to study Theatre Arts? Now, we are more liberal. Before, if you were not a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer, you were nobody. But being a lawyer has taught me a lot. It has helped my thinking pattern. Before I do anything, I understand certain things. I understand libel. It puts me on a higher pedestal because I know a little bit more than my colleagues. I would have been just an average lawyer if I had taken it up as a profession. But I want to be the best in everything I do.
So you may likely not dust your wig and gown at some point?
Never! I might be a consultant at the side and that is just that.
Do you at times wish you were not this big?
I am yet to see any woman who is so contented with her looks and body. There is no plus sized woman who wouldn’t wish she was slimmer. I don’t want to be slim anyway. I would have liked to have a Beyonce or Niki Minaj kind of body. But I have decided to make the best of whatever I have. I exercise every day. I jog. It is not even because I have a problem with the way I am but I just want to stay healthy. I think I am pretty enough. You can never have it all.
Who gave you the name Lolo?
I love the Igbo. I love everything about the Igbo from the double wrapper to the George wrappers. When I got on radio, I did a show and I told my listeners that I needed an alias. I got well over 3000 entries. People gave me all sorts of name. But I wanted a name everybody could relate with. Lolo was simple and I liked the fact that it meant royalty. That was how I decided to go for it and it has become a brand.
How have you been able to shoulder the responsibilities that come with being a celebrity?
We are normal people. We have challenges like other people. Some people just like to cause trouble anyway. But I try to keep a low profile.
But as much as you tried to keep your private life private, it still got out that you were having some challenges with your marriage…
People can say what they want. That was the funniest story I ever read about myself. I wondered where and how that story came about. You don’t even know me. This is something I don’t even want to talk about.
But are you having problems with your marriage?
All I can say is that I don’t have any problem. My marriage is fine. There is no wahala. I like my private life to be private. I will not even talk about my marriage. I have said all I would want to say about it.
We even learnt the marriage broke up because you got tired of running your home…
A lot of women run their homes. But I don’t even know where that story came from. I still insist I don’t want to talk about it. My husband is a very private person. But I am tougher now; such stories come with the job. Anybody can say anything as long as they are not saying anything that would cost me my children or my job.
Did you consider quitting your profession?
No way! Life is full of ups and down. It is those who are tough that can make something out of their lives. If you let what people say about you affect you, you will not achieve anything. How would I move on if I allow this type of thing to affect me? Whether you are good or bad, people would still talk about you. I have loads of things I want to do with my life.
But are you happy?
I am very happy. I don’t worry. No matter the kind of challenge you have, if you look to the right and left, you would see people with worse challenges. I am a very jovial person. I am always full of smiles. I don’t let what people say get to me.
Can you remember when you fumbled while on air?
It happens every other day. But the most important thing is that you correct it immediately.
What do you intend to do in future?
God knows the future. I want to be able to call myself an entertainment guru. I would also want to have an entertainment outfit someday. Punch