(Credit to ZB)
Article found @ allafrica.com
Nigeria: I’m Still Waiting for Mr Right – Ofunneka
23 February 2008
Posted to the web 25 February 2008
Despite her successful but controversial outing in Big Brother Africa 2, BBA2 where she ended up as first runner-up; Ofunneka Molokwu has not had the time to look back because the lines ever since are falling for her in pleasant places.
Indeed, the Pure Chemistry graduate of University of Ibadan has a goodly heritage as she keeps rising and rising.
Ofunneka has just concluded a role in a movie which is awaiting release and she is at present pre-occupied with a new love; a youth project she is doing in partnership with Heart of Africa which she hopes to market around Africa and the world. Ask her, and the happy-go-lucky pride of Nigeria will tell you that this is a dawn of a new era in her life. And according to her, her success story started from her home.
So tell us, where did your success story in life begin?
It started from my upbringing. As a child, my parents inculcated in us the fact that success and hard work go hand-in-hand. And I was brought up in a strict religious background as a Catholic and I guess that has kept me going in life. I was never the one to be influenced by peer pressure.
I always had an independent mind and feared only God and my parents. I would not talk about my family that much but I can tell you my parents are very hard working people who don’t believe in taking short-cuts. The right way is the only way and I grew up believing the only way to success is the right way. My siblings and I shared this view when we were growing up and so, we never looked for any short-cut in life as a way of survival.
Where you are today, did it ever cross your mind that someday, you would attend a TV reality show like BBA2 which would bring you to the limelight and fame?
I’ve always had this spirit of adventure and I know that my adventurous spirit could take me anywhere. It’s nothing new to know. I’ve always known that I’ll embark on some kind of adventure. So, it wasn’t a surprise when I entered it. Of course things are no longer the same and I’m enjoying the limelight.
So, what’s going on with you now. What are you into?
Of course, you know I’ve been an ambassador for Heart of Africa Project under the Ministry of Information. I’m also working on a TV Talk show that would be able to address issues: people that are in distress, youths that need help. By the grace of God, by April, we should be on air.
Is it something like the Oprah Winfrey show?
Not exactly. It’s a make-over. We make-over the community, we make-over life and make-over people that need help: women, youths, children; even men. It depends. We reach out to those we can. We have done the pilot of the programme and there are a few individuals who are already benefitting. There’s a widow we are helping and a young man we are also helping with his school fees. It’s a project that helps people. You can call it a marriage between Oprah and a show called Esteemed make-over. It’s about changing people’s lives, especially the young people because they need help. We all need help.
Can you compare your life before and now?
It’s incomparable. You cannot. It’s like two ends of a pole. I was at one end of the pole and now I’m at the other end. Two different lives. People recognise me now when they see me. They want to talk to me; they want to hug me, congratulate me. And it’s all welcome. I appreciate the fact that some people who saw me on TV are happy with what I did. I’ve got a lot of commendations from people inside and outside Nigeria . It’s a good thing. It’s something I’m very happy about and I thank God for it everyday.
There was a lot of criticisms about BBA2 Africa especially the issue of nudity on set with the cameras rolling. What would you say about that?
I don’t know what to say about it but I hope you will ask me that question another time.
You had a boyfriend sometime before the programme and we learnt you have parted ways with him now. Have you reconciled?
My parting ways with my ex-boyfriend has nothing to do with the Big Brother thing. We have parted ways long before the BBA2 came out. People have their differences. Some work it out, others don’t. In our case, we couldn’t revive it and so, it’s over.
What if he comes back?
(Long laughter). Nothing. I’ve moved on.
You’re a woman. Even the Bible says it’s not good for man to be alone.
Yeah. But it has to be with the right person and right now, the right person is not there. I’m busy with my project and so, there is no right person. People are coming but you know I have to single out one person from the lot. But I’ve not had time for that yet. I want to focus on what I’m doing now. Along the line when I’m ready, I will pick the right man from the lot. Or he picks me, whichever way.
I hope you are not a liber?
Not in that sense. I believe a woman should be seen and be heard because they are also human beings who exist in the world. And we should be given our own regard which is what has been happening anyway. And for crying out loud, we have a woman president in Liberia today. And look who’s running for president in America ! Hillary Clinton.
In Nigeria , we have women who are making impact in the lives of people. We have the Ndidi Okereke-Onyiukes the Oby Ezekwesilis and so on. So, it’s a good thing. A woman doesn’t need to sit at home to prove her humility. All these women are married but they are making a difference in other spheres of life. A successful woman can be good at home and at work.
What happens if you meet and marry a man who wants a conventional wife; not a house-wife but one that is not in the limelight so as to have her undivided attention?
Me housewife? No, never. I will never be a housewife. Whoever I’m going to be with will have to accept me the way I am right now because it’s not something I’m willing to put aside. The level I am, I feel I can be able to make a difference in the lives of people.
So, the man I will end up with eventually should have to appreciate that; because I will also have to take cognisance of what he too is doing. I cannot be able to put aside my youth project.
One would have thought that after BBA2, you would go into the movies or something like that.
I’m doing many things. I just finished a movie about few weeks ago. There are other projects I’m working on which will come out with time. I was invited to act a role in a movie and I just finished that. If I get another role and I like it, I would go for it. And no, it’s not something like BBA2. It’s different and when the producers are ready, they will talk about that. And it’s not a movie to replay what I did in Big Brother. Not at all.
Women in the movies complain about sexual harassment but I want to believe you are too big for that now?
Sexual harassment is everywhere. In Nigeria . Outside Nigeria . But everything depends on the way a woman carries herself. She can be able to put that off because, really, everything depends on the woman.
That means you are coping well with the cat calls and hungry looks from the men?
I’m too big for cat calls (laughter). A man would always make passes at a woman whether she is a celebrity or not. It doesn’t matter.
How have you coped with life’s challenges?
Everyone has challenges but people also overcome challenges. Nigerian women are getting more respect than they were years back and I’m happy about that. Again, I’m happy that the women are beginning to excel in their field and I hope that this trend continues. The Nigerian woman that I know is a home-maker and she loves her man very dearly.
Would you be a politician someday?
No. I don’t want to go into politics. And I don’t want a political appointment either.
What things would you do differently if given the opportunity to do them again?
Mistakes made are mistakes and one moves on with life. You don’t continue to depend on what was done in the past. Things done in the past cannot be undone and I don’t dwell on things that would make me keep beating myself to say, I hope I didn’t do this. No. I don’t dwell on such.
What does friendship mean to you?
I have a lot of friends from school and even though I don’t see them most often, we speak on phone all the time. I have friends of thirteen, fourteen years who have been there for me. I don’t want to mention their names but they have been friends indeed.
What attracts you to a guy?
Sincerity. That is what I like most in any human-being. If you are not a sincere person, you cannot be my friend. I like sincerity in a man. I look out for inner attributes, not basically the outer person that the eyes see.
My man has to be God-fearing and he has to be sincere. It’s not about being tall, dark, handsome and tall those outward considerations. I want the man inside. And he has to be very intelligent. This is very important.
(Laughter) I hope he is taller than me o. But I’m look for inward beauty. My man has to be beautiful inside.
What’s your advice for young people for whom you are starting your project?
That’s a good one. I want to tell young people to be focused in life and ensure what you are doing is what you want to do. Do not let anyone distract you from what you are doing. Be determined on following the right path and with God there is nothing you cannot do. Get focused. Be determined. Don’t go for shortcuts because it leads to nowhere. A lot of challenges could come but keep on the right path.
Where would you want to be in the next two, three years?
I would wish my youth project has taken off. I want to take it outside the country with my partner in the project and I want to take it as far as I can within Nigeria and beyond.
What about family?
I will settle down to family life when I meet the right man. I know one would come someday. I’m still thirty. Some people find real at thirty, or thirty-five or above. I will find my kind of man someday.