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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW! I Grew Up To Meet My Parents In Abject Poverty – EOB, Fresh F.M (105.9) Ibadan

Enitan Olusegun Bamidele in the studio

The interview team of SOJ WORLDWIDE ONLINE NEWS paid a courtesy visit to the Head of Programs (Yoruba), Enitan Olusegun Bamidele popularly known as EOB Omo Iya Elewedu at FRESH FM (105.9) Music House, Challenge in Ibadan on Friday, July 3, 2020. EOB welcomed the team of Adesoji Omosebi, Editor-in-Chief and the Editor/Online Advert Executive, Josephine Kolawole.

EOB is a talented man of many parts who has gifts in music, broadcasting, comedy and so on. He is also a Master of Ceremony (MC) per excellence. He took us to memory lane on how and why he was named ENITAN, his childhood days, his family background, his advent into broadcasting, how he met Yinka Ayefele and how he ended up in Fresh FM.

 

EOB and Adesoji Omosebi- Editor-in-Chief, SOJ WORLDWIDE ONLINE NEWS

 

Let’s meet EOB

I’m a normal person. I was born in Gbongan 46 years ago. My parents hail from Ihima in Kogi state, but they were also born in Ibadan. They met in Ibadan and got married here. Immediately after my birth, I was brought back to Ibadan. After seven years, I was enrolled in a primary school due to some stories behind my birth…

(Cuts in) If you wouldn’t mind, we would love to know those stories.

The name Enitan was given to me the day I was born. According to what I heard from my parents, my father took ill immediately my mother conceived and I spent 15 months in my mother’s womb. It got to a point that all herbalists lost hope that my father was going to die. The very day I was born, my first cry healed my dad. My father asked my mum if she had given birth and she said yes. He asked if it was a male child and she said yes. She asked him how he knew and he replied saying that in his sub-consciousness, he saw someone resembling an angel present a baby boy to him. Then he say ‘Eni itan lomo yen o nitori oluwa ti segun fun wa’ (there is a story behind his birth because God has given us victory). That is where the two names were coined – ‘Enitan’ and ‘Olusegun’.

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I went to St. Leo’s Catholic Primary School and later Eyinni High school not far from each other. There was no silver spoon, golden spoon or wooden spoon. I grew up to meet my parents in abject poverty. I really tasted poverty and I was the first of three kids (one is late now). As I was about to write my WAEC in secondary school, my dad called me to say he has tried his best and I might be unable to further my education because he can’t sponsor it. He said I should learn a trade so that I can become somebody in life. He blessed me and prayed for me. After secondary school, I went to get a menial job in a plastics industry. I was there for five years. After realising that the owner’s son that was in secondary school when I got there graduated while I was still there, and lost respect for me as he progressed, I knew that was my prompt to further my education. I told my parents about my decision but I knew I had to sponsor myself, because I had been told that they can’t afford to finance my education.

At that point, I didn’t have English and Mathematics result; I had to enroll for GCE to clear my result. Afterwards, I resigned.

Meanwhile, people tell me that I’m talented in talking and that I’m eloquent. Some of the things my dad says are included in my speech and people marvel at the words of wisdom that I emit at such young age.

Later, I was admitted to study Mass Communication at Polytechnic of Ibadan, Adeseun Ogundoyin campus in 1995/96 till 2000. I was very popular and left for my HND at the main campus, Polytechnic of Ibadan. When I got there, I was also popular. I was involved in Student unionism in Eruwa and when I got to the main campus in Ibadan, I was also engaged which further made me popular.

Where did you start your broadcasting career?

It started right in Eruwa campus. There is this lecturer that I can never forget. He taught us Yoruba language. His name is Gbade Akinteye and he is from Igboora. He fell in love with me when he discovered my potentials. I was a member of ASCON drama group in my department then, which he headed. I took a role and he was marvelled. He said that since I am eloquent and make people laugh, he could get me a radio programme. After my 4 months IT in BCOS, he got me a sponsored programme in OGBC 2 (Ogun State Broadcasting Commission) at Abeokuta. There, we started a programme called ‘Gbarada’ from the bill of Ibarapa Central Local Government, Igboora, Oyo State. That was how I started.

It was a joyful thing to be on radio and hear people talk about me. Some of my colleagues equally listen to criticise me. That was how I started in 1999/2000. The programme ran for a year and the sponsorship stopped when there was a change in government. The programme portrayed the activities of the local government chairman’s activities and projects. Then, I quit broadcast and started arranging various events. I was in charge of getting the musician, MC, cakes and so on. I still continued after starting my HND. Then, I became a jingler.

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Due to what I saw when I was in BCOS for my IT, I thought that if you aren’t fetish, you can’t go into broadcasting because of some scary things. I already thought I wasn’t going into broadcasting because of that and wanted to travel out of the country but all my efforts yielded no fruits until 2010 that I met Yinka Ayefele and everything changed.

EOB in action

What other challenges did you have while you were starting out?

The challenge that I faced then was acceptability. At times, you have great contents that you think people will listen to. But funnily, after three or four months you are still not accepted. There are some big names in the industry that people listen to. I found it very difficult that I thought they belong to a cult not until 2010/2011 that we started the online radio station with Yinka Ayefele.

A Yoruba adage says that ‘the big hens won’t let the little chicks be heard’. In broadcast industry, some big names want you to be their stooge and bootlicker but my nature doesn’t support that.

Do you have any role model in the industry?

Something happened while I was in my ND. Whenever I talk, people ask if I have dealings with Late Gbenga Adeboye because I talk like him. However, we were so poor to the extent that the only radio we had in the house was meant for news and preaching. We didn’t listen to any other programme. Until I gained admission into Polytechnic of Ibadan in 1995/1996, I didn’t know there was any person named Gbenga Adeboye. So, I was forced to be listening to his programme.

The first time I was told about him, I didn’t know who he was. I thought he was one of our lecturers and asked what course he was taking us. The lady was amazed at my response and said he was a presenter and I share some similarities with him. That forced me to be listening to him. During one of my radio sessions at OGBC, someone entered the studio thinking it was the Late Gbenga Adeboye. That made me look forward to meeting him and I was opportune to see him once in 2000, which turned out to be the last time.

What was it like?

He asked if I had been told I will make a living out of my eloquence and I said no. He said I will make a living out of it and will first be heard and known abroad before Nigeria. He told me not to presume he is drunk because I could perceive some alcoholic smell. He said I’m like an orchard with various fruits and there is no one to take care of that garden but I couldn’t understand it. He asked me to get him an Elderly drink, so that he will pray for me. Someone tapped me to get him schnapps which I brought. He prayed for me and asked me to meet him in Lagos but I didn’t go until I learnt about his death years later. I wept. I was looking forward to a relationship with him to find out why people say I talk like him. I didn’t listen to him until my friends say I talk like him. In fact, I ask people if I really talk like him. I equally ask myself if I speak like him but I reply myself saying I don’t sound like him.

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Was your meeting with him planned?

No! I didn’t know I will meet him even though I have been eager to meet him. When I saw him, I didn’t know he was the one because I was expecting someone huge. He was in casual wears and a long gold chain, around many people. He pointed at me and told someone beside him that I am a star in the broadcast industry. Later, I heard that he was a seer. He said I will be travelling overseas as if I’m going to Lagos. Everything happened later. By chance, I met Yinka Ayefele in 2010 and got to know that he was planning to have a radio station.

How did you meet Yinka Ayefele?

A friend had an issue in his home and stayed with me for a while during the early stage of my marriage. He is the one that had contact with Yinka Ayefele and always come to the music house from my home. Since I do jingles, event host and event planning, I’m usually free except on weekends. Sometimes, I follow him. Because I have heard some negative things about Yinka Ayefele, I didn’t like him. I will just greet him from afar and that’s all.

At a time my friend owed me and had left my place, I came here unexpected and requested for my money. He then took me to a small studio that had a laptop, a microphone and small console. I reminded him that I had worked with OGBC and BCOS, and knew what a proper studio looked like. He replied saying it is an online radio and I laughed. I made jest of him saying people haven’t listened to the normal radio talk less of an online radio that requires data. I asked how advert would be gotten but he said he will attend to all my questions after I do an hour programme and also discuss my money.

I was happy because I will get my money after the programme. During that one hour programme, I talked, cracked jokes and uttered some words of wisdom. It was very powerful. An engineer named Muyiwa Akinsoji removed a flash drive from the computer and took it to Yinka Ayefele’s office. That’s all. My friend didn’t even give me the money. He only cajoled me and pleaded that I shouldn’t raise my voice because he could lose his job and there will be no means of repaying me. He asked me to remain calm while he re-strategise how he will be able to pay me.

The following morning, I received a call from one of the workers that Yinka Ayefele wanted to see me. I was dazed and obliged him. He recognised me on seeing me and marvelled that I am a broadcaster. He asked if I had worked in a broadcasting firm and I said yes. He requested for the details and I told him that I did my four months IT at BCOS and I have anchored a programme at OGBC too. He asked if we could do a programme together and I said no problem. He led me to the studio again and arranged for two microphones this time. He asked what the programme should be called and I suggested ‘Let’s Talk About It’. He inquired what we should talk about and I said we could talk about people’s issues, problems and all. That was how we started. I remember it is a story that I heard from my dad that we used to test the audience and they responded well. Since it was online, they sent messages and offered suggestions. Gradually, the programme started.

Later, Yinka Ayefele called my friend and told him I am talented. He said he will be arranging some token for me weekly which was a bonus to me because I love talking anyway and the talent was wasting. I got into broadcasting again even though I had been running away from it. Then, it was Yinka Ayefele, my friend and I. Later, some people joined like Mr Sports and others came to drop their resume. Our audience equally grew.

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Later, we expected that we would get license for terrestrial transmission but we couldn’t get it until the fifth year. At a point, I took it upon myself to open the radio station. I will buy newspaper and come on air to read out the news and I was just doing it. People will call me to say I will be used and dumped because he is only interested in my talent. There were a lot of negative things flying around. My wife kept on telling me to just continue. I was like that for close to five years without salary. By the grace of God, we got the license in April 2015. It was during the ‘E Ku Iyanju’ show on Thursday that my boss screamed in his office. I was scared thinking he had a crisis. On getting to his office, he was really excited. He pointed at his phone and I saw the message that ‘your licence has been approved’. We were over joyous and terrestrial transmission started in September that same year. Since then, we have had a very good relationship.

EOB and Josephine Kolawole – Editor/ Online Advert Executive of SOJ WORLDWIDE ONLINE NEWS

How would you describe your relationship with him?

Everybody has his or her own shortcomings but if you understand him, you will enjoy him. Do not go against his laid down rules. He hates lies. If you admit where you are wrong and apologise when needed, he will let you go. He can test you too. He will do as if he doesn’t see you while he is noticing some things about you, especially if you work hard. He wants to know if you are money conscious.  

He called me at a point in time and said he isn’t paying me even though I am very good. He suggested I find another station. I asked him to let me go if I don’t have a future with him. He’s easy going and he has listening ears. When he’s angry, he talks and later apologises. If you don’t know him, you might pick offence.

During ‘Let’s Talk About It’ for instance, we relate as friends. People usually say we have the same voice though and it is difficult to tell who is talking at a point in time. That’s probably because we are born in the same month – February. While he is February 1st, I’m February 28th. We have some things in common too. He can endure many things but once he says NO, you can’t stop him (I have that same trait). He is a nice person if you know him. Don’t touch his money. Be straightforward. Don’t play pranks on him or play on his intelligence. He understands the street language. He may behave as if he doesn’t see anything but he does.

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As at the time you started the online radio, what other thing were you into?

I was really committed at that time and had nothing else doing at that time. I just give all the glory to God. At times, we will finish a programme and I won’t have transport fare back home. I will just hope my boss gives me and wait by the gate. Sometimes, he will call me by my name (Segun) and give me a token. Other times, he won’t – especially if someone annoyed him. There was a day I trekked from here to Elebu where I stay. I was expecting something from him and someone infuriated him. Sometimes, my wife will call to say our baby’s food is almost finished at Creche. I sometimes use sweet tongue for the woman selling provisions into giving me credit for my child’s baby food. It has become history now.

It’s like you do some other work apart from broadcasting, like MC?

This is what I have been doing since, even before I gained admission.

When did you start it?

I started it in 1995. I went to a party and there was no MC and I said, “Let me make you laugh”. They asked, “Can you make us laugh?” I said, “All of you will laugh here.”

I am free with everyone. That is my nature probably because of the way I was brought up and what I have seen in life. I normally say that in the remaining days I am going to spend on earth, ‘let’s be happy.’ Happiness is free. Even if there is none, create one for yourself.

I am little bit into farming now because COVID-19 caught us unawares.  The impact of COVID-19 in the economy would be felt many years to come.  Many people would lose their jobs.

Since my father was a farmer and my mother hawked vegetables (Ewedu), it already runs in my blood. Let me have something like EOB Farms (Poultry and Crops).

While broadcasting is still going on?

I love broadcasting and I pray I have a radio station in future.

EOB and Adesoji Omosebi during the interview

The last time I saw you, you were praising God at a ceremony

Yes, I started while broadcasting at Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation (OGBC) Radio. My father would want to listen…

(Cuts in) Is he still alive?

I lost him in 2002. My father would listen but won’t commend me. And other people would be saying, “Segun, you really tried.”

My father was the kind of person that I couldn’t just confront like that. I had to ask my Mum to inquire from my Dad if there’s anything I wasn’t doing because even my mates commend me. Instead of uttering anything, he would tongue lash me saying “for one and half hour, you were just saying rubbish on air.” (Laughter)

My mother talked to my father and asked him, “Is there anything Segun isn’t doing?” and my father said, “Can’t you see he is struggling on air? I can feel it in my spirit that he is struggling on air instead of committing the whole program to the hand of Almighty God. Let him praise God. When he praises God, he would release what he is going to say freely and people will be impacted.” I heard it because I was eavesdropping and held on to it.

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Afterwards, I would try to praise God, but it was not easy until one encounter. I usually fast and hold a vigil once a week. After the vigil, I went to sleep. In my sleep, I found myself in a trance and a scroll was coming down with all the encomiums of God in different names. I can’t forget those lines but it wasn’t written in Yoruba language. It was written in Arabic but when I want to pronounce it, it would be in Yoruba. I understood what was written on that scroll. It was a very long one close to 10,000. I couldn’t see the person that held the scroll but I knew that somebody was holding it. It was a very long one. When I woke up, I was sweating profusely and I started chanting it “aiku, aisa, aiti, aidibaje…” I can’t forget it.

In events I host afterwards, instead of starting by cracking jokes, I would go on my knees and reference God first. People started saying I am doing that for people to notice me but I don’t care then. Now, some presenters are doing it.

There was a day I was praising God and someone stood by me spraying new notes, while my eyes were shut. The person begins to say, “O yes, beeni” as I was calling God different names. It got to a stage that the person was even speaking in tongues. I was also lost in the spirit, and that speaking in tongues was pushing me the more. It was as if I was in a trance, because I knew my mouth was working but I was no longer the one putting out the words. I could perceive the smell of the new notes and it tempted me while praising God to look out for who was in charge of the money I was sprayed. This money can tempt! You know you can perceive the scent of new notes (laughter).

Temptation, real one!

Something kept on telling me people would steal my money. I just tried to open my eyes to see if anyone was looking out for my money. As I closed my eyes, I couldn’t link again. I tried. I struggled. I just repeated what I have said before and I started singing, “Oh Lord my God how excellent is your name, in all the earth, how excellent is your name.” People joined me in singing. You know I have really pushed them, such that some were even lost in praises while others were speaking in tongues.

There was a church I went that three spiritual men went on trance while I was praising God. They told me it had been seven years they last had such experience.

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You know, many prophesy are coming to pass that I will be so great.  I thank God today because when I am on air, people call to tell me that I have impacted their lives. I tell my people that I am not after these earthly awards. The award I want is for someone to walk up to me and say, “You have changed my life.” That is the best award.

EOB during the interview

What is your advice to the upcoming broadcasters?

Yes, they shouldn’t put money first. You look for fame first, money will come. There are some things my name has given to me, that money can’t. Do you know in my office here I can call Auto Dealer that I want to buy a car of any model of any year, I know the cost is N3.5 million but I would drop N1.5 million, I won’t leave here and the car would be delivered. They would say, it’s EOB, he would pay.

When a Club was formed in my name by people old enough to be my parents, saying they want to start following me and named it ‘EOB Fans Club’, I was shedding tears. I would sometimes undress myself in the bathroom and start asking myself if there is anything on me. Or, has my parents done any charm unknown to me?

Do you know that in broadcasting, we normally write scripts but I don’t have script? I would write, I love to write but I won’t use it. After Chanting God’s praises, something would be telling me what to say. There was a time I asked a question that I don’t have an answer to. The question was, “Kini dukia to ju dukia lo? (What is the asset that surpasses all assets?)”.

The programme went as scheduled and I asked the question without knowing the answer. That day, Yinka Ayefele came to the Fresh FM studio and said “Segun what is the answer? We have been arguing in my office”. I asked, “How many of you in the office?” and he replied, “me, and Engineer Akin”

Why are you arguing? He said they want to know the answer.

Ayefele said, “Dukia to ju dukia lo, is it not Omo (child)? I said, no. He gave other suggestions which I said were wrong. People kept on calling and also gave various answers. I had the hunch that they were, even though I didn’t know the answer.

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After a while, I put one long Tungba Music titled; ‘Gratitude’. I left the studio and went to the toilet. I knelt down and quoted a scripture for wisdom. I said, “God don’t let me be put to shame. I don’t have an answer to the question I asked”. God answered me and said “Truth” is the answer. Anything you do without the truth is bound to fail. Anywhere you are, truth will find you. I had this privilege – after telling me the answer, he taught me what to say.

Go for fame, integrity and then be steadfast. Listen to others and find out your own style. There should be something that will be attracting you to your defined audience.  You need to define your audience and do a lot of research. You should know a little about everything. Don’t be in a hurry because in broadcast, money may not come in time.

Who is your role model, sir?

My late Dad.

Sir, can we just know a little about your immediate family?

I got married 2010 to one beautiful lady from Ondo State. God has been so faithful for 10 years now. To the Glory of God, I have four children. I had one child when I was in ND, and I have three kids from my marriage.

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What about mum?

She is not far from my house in Ibadan.  They normally call me “Omo Iya Elewedu” to water me down. Is it “Omo Iya Elewedu” you are playing with, as if “Omo Iya Elewedu” does not have a future. It was like molesting me. Do you know that one of my best friends then asked, “you too wants to go to secondary school, you!” We were that poor. I said ‘yes’ and he told me to go and learn something else instead of going to school. My Mum went there and told them, “the same God who created Rabi Elewe created Rabi Alaso (the same God that created the poor also created the rich). As you are going to get the money to send your own children to school, the same God will help my son too.”

END

EOB (left), Adesoji Omosebi (Centre) and Josephine Kolawole (Right) during first visit to Fresh F.M.

 

 

 

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