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Ik Osakioduwa: On His Personal Style, Living In Lagos and Life

Everyone has their favourites of mostly everything, right? A favourite actor, singer, designer… So it’s no secret that when it comes to us and TV/Radio personalities, IK Osakioduwa is a no contest. You know like when you see someone who does their job in a way that they just make it look so easy, but you know it’s not? (I can barely speak in front of a crowd without my voice running off and leaving me hanging, so I know!)  yep, that’s him… it also doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eyes too.

About 38 years old and yet IK’s portfolio is boasting the top African jobs in the industry…In 2001, soon after school, he went on to work with RHYTHM 93.7 as a radio presenter. After that it was onto hit TV shows like MNET’s Studio 53; the quiz show “Temptation Nigeria” (…that was our first sighting), three seasons of MNet’s “Comedy Club: Live in Lagos and most notably 6 seasons of the most popular reality TV program in Africa— Big Brother Africa which helped to establish him as the most sought after live TV host in Africa-

We were able to get him to take time out to answer some questions … OK, a lot of questions. This of course meant making this article a two part Q&A – Hey, it’s been a long time coming, we had to know everything! So hang on till Monday for the second part. For now, here goes:

 How do you start your days?
  I get out of bed. Say a word of prayer, brush my teeth, then head off to the gym (yes, before I have a bath 🙂  I’m stinky like that). After the gym, I shower and get into the business of the day.

Tea, Milo or coffee?

Coffee on most days. But that’s mostly because I love the smell of coffee. I like sweet thinks though, so you can be sure I’m not doing black coffee. (Please hook up my Sugar and Milk)
What makes you laugh?
I laugh a lot, and I’m kinda easy to please. I laugh at so many things. Goofy dancing, bad singing, good comedy, fun videos, and most of all, I laugh at myself a lot everyday

How long have you lived in Lagos, What’s the best part about living in Lagos?

My dad was an army officer so we moved around a lot, but since 1992 I’ve lived in Lagos. The best part of living in Lagos is also the worst part of it. It’s the energy and speed of the town. Everything is constantly in motion. People are always caught up in their own business and never stop hustling. I hated that about Lagos when we first moved here, but as the years rolled over, it grew on me. I became a hustler too. And now I live for the grind of the town. (Even though it’s good to get away from it from time to time).

What’s the most Nigerian thing about you?

The fact that I still believe in community. I believe in looking out for the next guy. You might say it’s an “Old Nigeria” ideology though. Things are changing around here. But I will never give up that mindset that we are all brothers and sisters.
The second thing that I consider to be very Nigerian is the fact that I don’t allow anybody walk over me, my family or my country. We may insult ourselves within closed doors, but outsiders MUST NEVER take that as an invitation to speak bad about us too. I never let a foreigner feel free to run any aspect of my country down. It’s MY country and I will take you on if you try.
3 words to describe Lagos people?
1. Busy 2. Fast and 3. This isn’t an English word, but you’ll understand… GRAGRA

What’s your philosophy about style?

Appropriate comfort and classy subtle style. In other words it must always be right for the Occassion, comfortable to wear and show some personality without necessarily shouting…
What’s your idea of a perfect date/surprise?
Now a perfect surprise is too relative a thing to describe in one small paragraph. It would really depend on where I am and what’s going on in my mind at the time. But a perfect date will always be a visit to any place with a nice energy and enough sanity to hear each other’s conversation.  I like to have the right energy in a location but I definitely prefer to hear the person I’m with, than getting caught up in loud music.

How did you meet your wife?

I met her in school. She and I attended different universities. I was in Unilag and she was in LASU. I had heard about her from an aunt of mine. So one day when I was visiting LASU, I asked a friend to facilitate the introduction. He drove off in his car and came back with her and a bunch of people shortly after. We were instant friends. Though we were both seeing other people at the time.

Any habits of hers you’ve picked up? …Did she pick up any from you?

Hmm… that’s a tough one. Let me see. I’ve certainly picked up some of her slangs. I never used to say things like “Free me “, until I met her. Lol.
Also she is always very quick to tell me I got my style from her. And it’s not a lie. I wasn’t a guy given to colour before. All my clothes were what you would term ‘Manly’ colours. Now you’ll find me in Pink socks, salmon tops and even some “Out there” outfits (not always oh). She definitely brought style into my life. She’s very stylish.
As for what she picked up from me, it would be the power of making friends. I have a contact in almost every sector.  And I make friends everywhere I go. She does the same now.

What’s the biggest misconception about your industry?

Well the biggest misconception about entertainment and media is that our lives are the same as the hype that surrounds us. It’s so bad that even some of the entertainers themselves find it difficult to be truthful to themselves.
Another common misconception is that “All female entertainers are loose”. This is NOT true at all. I have met quite a few respectable female entertainer/media people. Unfortunately people still struggle with believing that in Nigeria.

How would you describe your personal style?

Comfortable and Classy.

What’s the most memorable show/ event that you’ve been a part of?

On TV, it would be Big Brother Africa. And that is simply because it’s the biggest TV show in all of Africa. It is also one of the best platforms to learn the business of presenting  for TV according to international standards. The Voice is just as amazing to work on, even though in terms of viewership it doesn’t cover Africa quite the same way Big Brother does.

All time greatest clothing purchase you’ve ever made?

Now that is tricky, if you are referring to the item I consider my best investment, then I’d say it’s a black suit. For someone in my profession, a black suit is the most important thing you could have in your wardrobe. They always come in handy.
However, if you mean the item I am most excited about it would be a watch my wife bought me. I really like watches. Even though I wouldn’t call myself a collector. But I have a very specific taste in watches and thankfully Olo (my wife) understands what I like. In fact she bought me my two favourite watches. (Which also both happen to be more expensive than my black suit) :))

What’s the best thing about being a dad?

I love being a dad for soooo many reasons. I love being a dad because you get to learn so much from the relationship you have with your kids. I would say I couldn’t even understand God’s love for me properly until I was fortunate enough to have children to love. That relationship with my kids has really helped me understand who I am to God. And just how into me He is.
I also love how becoming a dad puts life in TRUE PERSPECTIVE for you. You start to live for your family and the well being of your kids.
And the time spent in conversation with my kids is the most precious thing ever.

What’s the hardest thing about being a dad?

Being a dad, can also be a heavy burden when you consider that the lives of those children are your responsibility. The fear of not being able to provide the best leadership, wisdom, wealth and opportunities can be tough…and also wondering if you are a good enough example for the kids can weigh heavily on you. But trust me when I say, It is all worth it.

What advice would you give your 17 year old self if you could?

I’d tell myself not to panic about life because “You’ll turn out ok”. I’d tell myself to make a little more effort to keep in touch with friends but to hold on tight to those principles your parents taught you. Don’t change your personality but be more open to that of other people.

If you could change one thing about your job/industry what would it be?

I’d make it madatory for people to pay EVERY entertainer what they are worth. Then I’d also sanitize the industry a bit. There are far too many people dropping out of school to become entertainers/ media people without realizing the opportunities they are setting themselves up to lose. So if I could I’d make more entertainers go to (and finish) school.
What’s something people don’t know about you?
People have no clue how strict I can be with myself. I hold myself to a high standard… much higher than that I hold others to.  I play so much that people are always shocked by how resolute I can be about my principles.

What’s something you’re not missing right now?

I have so many party friends that one would think I would be one too. Well I don’t miss those wild clubbing days at all. It really isn’t my scene.  I think I’ve always found Lagos clubs far too pretentious for me.
Don’t get me wrong oh, I love to party. I have been known to throw some crazy parties. But I always keep it real. Never ever do I have a party that ends up being pretentious. My parties and the people who attend them all live up to the hype…
Photos: Ik Osakioduwa