Omotunde Adebowale David, popularly known as ‘Lolo 1’, is a typical role model when thinking about, ‘someone can be Jack of all trades and master of all’. She is not only an award-winning On- Air Personality, she is a comedienne, a television presenter, a master of ceremony and an actress. Now, she is on her way to becoming an author. In this interview with IFEOMA ONONYE, she speaks about her movie projects and the first book is set to unveil before her birthday in 2022
It won’t be wrong to say you are multi-talented. You are a very popular on air personality for many years, an event compere, a comedienne and now you are an actress, which is like the cherry on top of your fame.
Tell us how you do it.
It is 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. I have been a master of ceremony for many years. My sojourn on radio brought the fame. And I believe that paved way to so many other careers that follow. 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.
Tell us about your latest film project
This is my second project. The truth is that I love to do indigenous movies. A lot of people think that we can’t tell stories in our languages and I wonder why. For this reason, my latest project is in Yoruba and it is subtitled. It is called ‘Deja Vu’.
How would you describe the story?
It’s a great story. It’s a love story with some kinks. I like to do a little bit of something supernatural.
There is something called sleepwalking, and a `lot of people do not know that it is a psychological thing. In my first movie, I toyed with multiple sclerosis.
I put a little bit of light on it, and it is called ‘When love is not enough’. People would generally ask that ‘Lolo, why are you doing this kind of movie?’
I want to tell stories that let people know that there is more to life than what they know or think. My goal is to expand their minds. I think people should look forward to this one too.
Is it a Cinema project?
I really want to put it on Youtube but if I can try the South West, why not? Especially because the movie is in Yoruba Language, I might be able to do South West. I will decide with my team. Right now, we are just editing and we are almost at the tail end of editing.
Who are those we can expect to see in there?
Mobimpe Oyebade, Lateef Adedimeji, Lola Idije, Toyin Alausa and a few others. It is going to be really amazing.
In a recent interview, the head of local original content at Amazon Prime said they are looking to work with Nigerian producers that are interested in exploring diverse genres.
Seeing as you are already making some of those kinds of movies, are you looking to tap into that? Yes! I think it is great that they are beginning to focus on this. You know in Africa, especially Nigeria, we are just kind of timid to tell our own stories the way we want it told.
I know how many movies I have watched in Swahili, Zulu, Tanzania, and I keep watching it because the content is great. So, why can’t we do the same in Nigeria now that we are having international platforms that are interested? I would definitely want to be a part of it.
Many still don’t believe you are a Yoruba woman. Do you still get that question?
I do still get people who ask me to confirm that I am but I wonder why I should still be getting that because people can simply Google now. But, it’s okay. There is nothing even wrong with you being thought to be from a certain tribe. I grew up with the ‘One Nigeria’ mentality.
In fact, my earliest influences were Igbo. All our tenants were Igbo. So, I would eat my mother’s Ikokore upstairs and go to Mama Chinedu’s house and eat Egusi and Onugbu, (bitter leaf) Edikang Ikong and all that.
It is now that we are fractionalising and making everything about tribe and culture. We forget that we are Nigerian, and that is who I am.
Was this how you were able to blend into radio easily?
Like I said, 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 (watery soup).
I will cook every classic Onugbu like they cook it and those are the things I like to do. I research and listen.
How would you describe your childhood?
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.
How many languages do you speak?
I speak Ijebu, regular Yoruba, a little Igbo and English. I am learning French, and my daughter wants to teach me Korea. So, I am trying to learn that also because who knows where we are going.
Did your parents approve of your decision to pursue a career in the media?
Not at all! Like how many parents were back 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 herself ‘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.
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.
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 artinclined. 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. 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 believe 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 else do you have cooking?
I am writing a book presently, and I hope I can finish editing before my birthday in April. I am believing God that it will be ready.
Is it a biography?
It’s about me, maybe, a mini-biography because my life is not done. It has a lot about my experiences, my unique life as a single mother. The title is ‘I’m Still Flawed’.