Controversial entertainer and activist, Charles Chukwuemeka Oputa a.k.a Charly Boy granted an interview to Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke of Njenje Media where he bared his mind on a plethora of issues. Below is a concise report of it:
I was born into financial comfort. I won’t say we were wealthy but we had more than enough to eat and spare which made me a spoilt brat as I initially lived a sheltered life far from the harsh realities of day to day existence which many people faced.
When I faced an identity crisis later in life as I was tired of living in my father’s shadow, I decided to fully embrace the streets which made me experience my first bitter taste of poverty. I am grateful for the experience as it shaped me into what I am today.
Eventually I succeeded in my chosen career and my initially reluctant father came round and proudly identified with me as his father in public.
I never tried to please anybody as I have always lived by my own rules. I have been a rebel right from childhood even in my sheltered cocoon and I recall insisting on eating my meals in my room rather than in the dining table as was the custom then. This gave me the grit to fight the status quo and it was even one of the reasons why I co hosted Zoom Time – to show the world my intellectual side which Charly Boy never exposed as I wanted to let the world know that I also had brains for active intellectual engagements which I did in my interviews with the high and mighty whom I convinced to come to my show.
My passion for the Charly Boy brand got me into trouble with my conservative father who was of the opinion that Nigerians wouldn’t understand me and will dismiss me as wayward and a misfit. I didn’t care about their opinions and lived my life the way I wanted to.
The secret of my ever youthful looks despite recently turning 71 is my lifestyle – I don’t drink, I am currently battling with nicotine though I am confident that I would win the battle, I watch what I eat and what I hear and whom I associate with as well. Also my genes has a role to play – My father lived till nearly 100, my mother passed on at 101, two of my grandparents lived till past 100 and I also regularly exercise. One other secret is that I hang around many young people a lot and their energy is highly infectious.
I featured Falz in my song ‘Oduduba’ because I admire the young man a lot. I have also worked with the late Sound Sultan, W4, Terry G and look forward to working with Don Jazzy and Flavour. Their passion for entertainment and the high quality of their songs is very commendable.
I was never paid by the Buhari led government for my ‘Our mumu don do campaign’ as it was borne out of altruism. I have fought for Okada riders; does that make me involved in the okada business? I have fought for the LGBTQ community; does that make me gay? People can misconstrue my intentions but I don’t care a hoot. You cannot bribe me with anything which is the secret of my long term staying power. My first child is 52 and so I am not a spring chicken.
My father was my greatest influence as he brainwashed me with a lot of values and principles like equity, fairness and justice. Fela was also a sturdy influence on me as I greatly admired his consistency over the years despite his trials and tribulations.
I sang ‘1990’ over 30 years ago because I never believed in our leaders right from then till now. Many Nigerians do not blossom until they migrate abroad which shows a gargantuan failure of leadership. We including myself are all guilty of the collective failure of leadership. We only criticize the government when it doesn’t favour us but turn a blind eye to its shortcomings when we are benefiting from it.
My 45 year marriage has helped me as it has made me a better person who can resolve crisis more effectively.
The arrests of Sunday Igboho and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is hypocritical as the government has turned a blind eye to the activities of the kidnappers, bandits and terrorists who wreck more havoc on the Nigerian State.
I hope good governance can still come to the country but I doubt if it will be feasible in my lifetime with this present crop of leaders.