“I HAVE FALLEN OFF STAGE BEFORE” – IK OSAKIODUWA
Popular television and radio presenter, IK Osakioduwa, recently talked about his career, struggles with childhood, dyslexia and being a family man in a new interview. Read excerpts from interview below:
How did you get into presenting despite getting a degree in Economics?
I’d always dreamt of being a presenter. I would make audio recordings of my cousins and me using cassette players when I was a child. So, it was always something I desired to pursue. My mother was also very supportive. After graduating with a B.Sc. in Economics, I mentioned that I wanted to work at a radio station and she encouraged me to go after jobs at several stations. Eventually after several months of showing up at Rhythm 93.7, I got the job.
Most people get a college degree and try to pursue their passions and dreams and fail but you succeeded. What was the secret to your success?
I can’t stop mentioning my mother’s support because it played a major role. She believed in my gift and wanted me to explore it. In fact, after I graduated from the University of Lagos, I was a bit torn between following my passion for entertainment and following my degree in Economics. My mum decided to show her belief in my gift. She went to a printer and she made me business cards that labelled me as an ‘Entertainer’ and ‘Master of Ceremonies.’ That really did me a world of good. I decided to explore entertainment and it is why today I’m in the media/entertainment industry.
What was your first major live presenting project?
My first year in the university, I was hired by a gentleman named Silas Hassan to present a TV show called Campus Circuit. That was my first major TV presenting attempt and I sometimes forget about it because it happened very long ago. I was actually quite scared and I occasionally failed, but in the end, I did pretty well with it.
As a live TV host, what’s been your most embarrassing moment?
I’ve made so many mistakes that I don’t know for sure which the most embarrassing one was. I have had wardrobe malfunction that exposed parts that should have been covered, fallen off a stage before. I have made ridiculous mistakes with scripts and even stumbled over saying my own name. Whatever the blunder, coming back from it is always the same road. Acknowledge the mistake (sometimes even to the audience); dust it off; then give it all you’ve got after that. You will find your feet. You are only human. Mistakes will happen.
When did it hit you that you had become a superstar?
Funnily, even now I would never use the term superstar in reference to myself, but I understand that this is referencing the fame. It started hitting me when I’d travel to various countries and people would recognise me. I’ve had immigration officers gather from out of their booths to take pictures with me. The police in South Africa pull me over, and make me speak to their mums on the phone saying, “Hi, this is IK from Big Brother.” Those are the things that could make you realise that you are no longer just the Regular Joe.
As a dyslexic kid, what were the difficulties you faced?
Back then in Nigeria, there wasn’t a lot of clarity about things like dyslexia, autism or other challenges that affect educating a child. So, teachers were mostly at a loss on how to handle such kids. I remember I had serious reading issues. I thank God for the parents I had and the patience they showed. My father would read with me for about an hour every day. My mum would also take out time every evening to take me through various reading books. By this time, my sister, Ifueko, who is two years and some months younger than I am, was reading very well. She would finish in one hour a book that would take me weeks to go through. And even in that time, I would require supervision.
In school, I was also having trouble writing. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand letters and words. It was more like there was disconnect between my head and hand. So, when I wrote, it came out in mirror images. Teachers could not understand it and so, one day, they asked my parents to come to school and proceeded to inform them that I was still not able to write and believed that I needed to be withdrawn from the class. They had drawn their conclusions based on the fact that they couldn’t understand a word of what I had written. It really wasn’t their fault. My letters were in mirror image and the words jumbled. Luckily, my dad asked me to read back what I had written in their presence, and to everyone’s shock and amazement, I read it all back to them. The teachers accepted that they were wrong, and my parents got to keep me in school.
How does dyslexia affect you today?
Well, my parents’ training really helped me a great deal; so, I can mask it to the general eye. However, my words still jump occasionally and my reading is certainly slower than a lot of adults my age (and even slower than many kids I know). But none of that has stopped me from having a brilliant career on television where I often find myself reading scripts on live television to all of Africa via teleprompters.
How have you and your wife been able to have a successful marriage even with the spotlight on you?
Simply put, we don’t ‘do it for the Gram’. That doesn’t mean we don’t post things on social media. We certainly post a lot of stuff, but we’ll never post something that isn’t true. We don’t do things, go places or post pictures just to “pepper dem.” We live our lives and keep it real with ourselves. We also prioritise ourselves above everything and everyone else. We won’t go to a party and be smiling at people while we are fighting each other. Instead, we will stay home and fight till we make peace.