Shoes, the Only Inheritance My Father Left Me-Omonla

wapTV’s unusual presenter and actor, Kalu Ezeawa C., commonly known as ‘Omonla International’ in this chat with FRANCIS OGBONNA talks about his work, family and major challenge he has had to grapple with doing what he knows how to do best. Excerpts…

How long have you been doing this?
I have been doing red carpet officially for six years, but I have been presenting longer.

What is the greatest challenge you have had to grapple with doing what you do?
That would be the fact that Nigerians like pretending. You know my show is done in pigin? Usually when you ask questions in pigin and then expect Nigerians to respond in pigin, they keep saying “I don’t know how to speak pigin”, which might not be true. Now to get the job done, you give them permission to reply in English and that becomes a problem, because they don’t even know how to speak the English they claim they only know how to. So why don’t we keep it real and just flow in pigin that we speak all the time with our friends and families?

Do people sometimes get scared when they see you because of the way dress?
Yes! In fact that is another challenge. When they see me approaching them with my funny costume and several beads, especially before I became popular, some use to think that I was a ‘Juju man’. But when they see my flow and creativity they become relaxed and say “Oh! It is just his style”. They end up appreciating me.

Did your family object to you dressing like this while working?
No! Not at all! Surprisingly, they have always known what I will become in future and so allowed me to do my thing. The only thing they say once in a while is that “why not tone down your looks a little bit”. I just tell them not to worry, that I will be fine…

Do you have any regrets choosing this path?
Regrets? No! I don’t dwell on my mistakes at all. The only regret I have in life is that I never knew my father. This may sound funny though; do you know that the only thing the man (my Father) left me was shoes? (He laughs) No mind the man, others they leave house and money for their ‘pickin’, him leave shoes.

Did he leave your mum while you were young?
No! He died a few months before I was born. As I was coming in, he was leaving. Every time I remember this it always bring tears to my eyes.

Sorry about that…

You seem to have conquered presenting, so what next?
What I want to do next is act a little more. Not that I have not been doing so before. I have been involved in a few productions, both in and outside wapTV…

I thought this your look (costume) is exclusive to wapTV?
I don’t dress like this when acting on other sets, except on wapTV-that is on ‘Papa Ajasco Reloaded’ set, ‘Kookoorookoo’ show and when I am on the streets.

What you do would pass for comedy anyday. Are we likely to see you migrate to stand up comedy in future?
Maybe! Though I would say I’ m already doing something related. I M.C. shows and weddings a lot.

Thanks for your time.