…As NCC probes operators’ strength status There are concerns in the Nigeriaan telecom industry on the financial and technical status of operators, especially with the exit of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services (EMTS) investors from the Nigerian market. Industry watchers are of the opinion that these operators may not be as strong as the way they…
By Bolatito Adebayo
Uche Ogbodo is a household name in Nollywood and she has starred in many blockbuster movies. The actress and producer who is at present working on Stolen Vow, which will be premiered in August in London, spoke with us about her relationship with her mum in this touching interview.
What’s your mum’s name?
Her name is Ada.
What does she do for a living?
She is a businesswoman.
What’s your relationship with her?
She’s one of my sisters. We are very close.
Has she always been like a sister since you were a child or she is now, because you are a grown woman?
As long as I can remember, my mum has always been like a sister to me. Except, when I was pretty small, like maybe in primary school, you know, she had power over me and she could give commands. But as I started growing into a woman, my mum became like my elder sister.
When last did you see her?
I saw her last month.
What’s her favourite food?
I don’t think she has a favorite food, because I don’t have a favorite food too. I don’t have a favorite anything because I am more like her. My mum will accept anything you give her. So, I never really grew up knowing she had any favourite but she likes meat a lot.
What food does she cook that you enjoy more?
My mum is a very good cook; I love the way she makes our native soups. She cooks different kinds of native food and she taught me how to make really nice native foods. I like the food from her town and the food from my daddy’s side. She taught me all that, she cooks really good food and her soups are very tasty.
What was your relationship like when you were a teenager?
In my teens, my mum was very understanding and was always supportive like I told you earlier. She has never been domineering but she has always said to me “I’m here if you need me, I’m your friend.” So, no matter what mistake you make, she would never judge you except, sometimes when you are lagging behind or you are slowing down to do something. She would say, “What are you doing slowing down, you better pull your ass, your mates are out there doing stuff”. That’s when I feel her together authority over me.
Probably because you are not the first child that was why she was lenient with you. There’s usually pressure on every first child; wouldn’t you say?
No, I don’t think so, because she was firmer with me as I was perceived then as the very stubborn one. My elder sister is very quiet.
As the perceived stubborn child what pranks did you play on her or your siblings?
My mum hardly beat us and it was my dad that did most of the beating. Oftentimes, when she is angry she can throw stuffs and whatever she threw would hit you. This mark on my face was a result of that.
What did you do?
I don’t really remember, maybe I didn’t wash the dishes or something and they were all stacked up in the kitchen. I think I feigned illness and my mum knew I was pretending. After that thing hit me, I became well. But my mum has never really been aggressive.
As a teenager, what did she tell you about boys?
My mum told me about pregnancy; that I should be careful and that I should not be deceived. She told me that I should always stand on my two feet; you know, be strong, work hard, go to school. She taught me to be successful. She told me “You cannot rely on anybody, you have to be what you want to be”. She always laid emphasis on education. Boys were not even in the picture, because my dad didn’t give us the room for boys. His cane will make you sit down in the house.
What makes her happy?
My mum is a happy woman. I also like the fact that she calls me her husband sometimes, because I take care of her. It’s not like my dad doesn’t take care of her, my dad does; but I moved my family to grade one. She’s like “This child is more of a man than a woman”. My mum is very proud of me and I have made some mistakes in my life but she prays for me. She is very happy that I am at the level I am, although she prays that I get better.
What’s her relationship like with her grandchildren now that she’s older?
She has never been hard and she is even softer than she was back then. Now, I see her with her grandkids and they are like her friends. She treats them like they are her mates and they are all growing together. When I was younger, I knew that in the street we lived, they used to refer to her as the best woman. She was really sweet; they used to call her Stainless. All those names back in the days; and they used to call her Trophy, because she was like a trophy to the family.
What attributes do you share with her?
That will be strength and endurance. I inherited a lot from my dad and my mum too. My mum has inner strength while my dad is more of the physical.
Did she apply any pressure on you about marriage?
There was a bit in the past; my mum used to pressure me when I was about 26 or 27yrs old. She used to say “You are getting old, you need to get a man” and I was like I am not getting old mum, I’m just 26 to which she retorted “26 is 30, 27 is 30, you are 30, stop saying you are 26” and I would say mummy don’t you know my birthday anymore and she would say “It doesn’t matter, 26 is 30, you need to get a man.” She would say “There are so many men now, there are so many men around you, just choose one and I would not bother you again, just choose one of these men”. And I would be like mummy, I’m at the height of my career just let me focus. But she would go on again, she would say no, this career you know how they see you people and I was like okay let me choose a man. Then, I made my decision and I chose the worst of them and I made the greatest mistake of my life. After the whole thing, I sat down with my mum when I came back from America and I was like mummy sebi I have respected you, can you leave me alone, so that I can now focus on my career? I have a child now, because I don’t want to get her as broken as I am right now. She said, “Yes my daughter I understand, I’m so sorry.”
What about now, does she still pester you about getting married?
Once in a while, she does.
So, is there any suitor now?
Nobody, my mum still comes to me and will say, “Just try and forgive and forget”. I understand she is coming up gradually that I should give another man a chance now. That is another strategy, so I’m like mummy don’t go there.
Can you share an experience of a sacrifice your mum made for you?
Well, my mum has done a lot for us by supporting my siblings and I. She sold jewelries, clothes and many things to support us at a time. There was a point in our lives that we didn’t have so much, I couldn’t even write my JAMB, I don’t know where my mum got money and I wrote my JAMB then. My dad didn’t have the money, I remember when I couldn’t write my WAEC, my dad didn’t have enough money to pay my school fees, my mum did. Where did she get it? She sold her stuffs obviously. She made sure we were never hungry no matter how bad the situation was. She always made sure that there was food on the table. There were days she made soup in my house with no fish, not even crayfish. It was a watery soup my mum made and we ate it.