Now Reading
Ace Yoruba Actor, Owolabi Ajasa Spills On Fatherhood And How Lessons He Learnt From His Father Aided His Smooth Sailing As A Father

Ace Yoruba Actor, Owolabi Ajasa Spills On Fatherhood And How Lessons He Learnt From His Father Aided His Smooth Sailing As A Father

Nollywood actor, writer and producer, Owolabi Ajasa, has shared about his journey into being a father and how he got to know about the plan to abort his first child.

In a recent chat with PUNCH, the father of three also talked about how lessons he learnt from his dad aided his smooth sailing as a father.

See excerpts below…

What is your view about the concept of fatherhood?

From my own perspective, I believe a father must be responsible for all the needs of the house, take good care of the family, do all the necessary things; pay rent should they be in a rented apartment, and do every other important thing to sustain the home.

What do you love most about being a father?

I love my children and my wife because someone can refer to me as a father because I have a child. When someone calls me a father, I appreciate God for giving me a child because without that, no one can call me a father.

Without a wife, there’s nothing like a child and without a child, you can’t be a father. People will only call you an uncle or a brother if you remain without a child.

Is there a difference between the way you were raised and the way you are raising your children now?

There’s a difference between how my parents raised me and the way I’m raising my children now because things have changed. Let me state an instance; all my children attended private schools throughout their nursery, primary and secondary school education while I attended public schools growing up.

My father and mother were farmers and the level of education and other things we were raised with were different compared to how we are raising our children especially on discipline.

Are there tips you picked from the way you were raised that you have found useful in parenting your own children?

Definitely! In terms of discipline, my father was a disciplinarian; he never tolerated nonsense. He didn’t allow us to do anything without his consent; these are part of the things we emulated from them.

My children now, despite the fact that their education had to be private, when they want to do something that I do not approve of and I wink at them, they’ll get the message. I inherited this from my father when I was growing up.

How did you determine that it was time to start a family when you did?

Well, that is part of what I mentioned the other time about how we were raised compared to how we are raising our children now. At the time we were 22 years of age, and our parents were already joking with us about not seeing any lady with us. It was part of the things that were in our heads.

By the time we were 26 years, they were already making it compulsory for us that we must have a wife. They told us then that as we were having children, we would know the next thing to do. It was at the age of 26 that I got married and started fathering children.

Currently, my first son is 23 years old and I have yet to see any girlfriend with him, but I have told him that I do not mind him having one but his education is the most important. These are the things that we were not made to know at that time.

Can you share the love story that culminated into the marriage with your wife?

We started our relationship at a tender age because my father built his house at Obantoko, Abeokuta, Ogun State. My in-laws came to rent an apartment in our house at the time.

I was living alone there because my parents were in the village and I was acting as the landlord of the house at that time, being in charge of the rent and all of that. That was where we met one another. We also attended the same secondary school before we started our relationship, and God approved it and it became what it is today.

How did you feel when your wife told you she was pregnant?

Honestly, it was strange because it was something I had not experienced before. When she started saying that she missed her period, I was telling her that it wasn’t what was next for us. I didn’t have a job and she also didn’t have a job. So, it was something shocking that we had to be hiding. In fact, we almost aborted it because we were already seeking counsel on how it was going to be aborted; we were not prepared.

Why did you have a change of mind in aborting the first pregnancy?

Well, she mistakenly went to tell her mum of the plans that we had. It was the mother that now told us that we had to be very careful and not do that (abort the baby), stating that whoever aborted pregnancy would die. That was how we scaled that and left the pregnancy to grow.

Some people are particular about the sex or gender of their first child. What was the situation for you?

You are right and that is very true because that was how exactly it was to us. Probably the way we see things then or rather the mentality of we, the Yoruba, who will always say that Ako ni ogidan bi meaning a virile and able bodied man, i.e. an alpha male is expected to birth male offspring. Thank God, we had that in mind; it was also a male child that we first had.

What hasn’t changed about you after you became a father?

Let me talk about attitude; my attitude didn’t change, but there were some adjustments. Like I said, I learnt a lot from my father as a disciplinarian.

That didn’t change anything about me; that is how I remain despite being a father. However, to the adjustments, there are things that one has to apply wisdom in doing as one grows older. If I tell you that this is what I want to do and I’m satisfied with it in my mind, that is what I’ll do. It has happened a lot of times and it hasn’t changed.

SEE ALSO: Actor, ‘Yemi My Lover’ On His Fatherhood Journey And Family Values: ‘How Can I Be Helping My Wife With Chores? For What?’

What has now changed?

When I was young, before I became a father, there were some little jobs that I did. After I left secondary school, I went to work as a fuel attendant at a filling station. At that time, I did not know how to spend money. I spent money lavishly, but when I became a father, I sat myself down and cautioned myself because there were now many responsibilities to cater to. It helped me a lot. That is one of those things that changed.

Will you say you were ready for the fatherhood experience when your children came?

Just as I said, we were not ready. Not even one bit, not at all. What were our ages? My wife was 23 and I was 26. It was an issue, but when things happen, one has to accept it as fate, but it wasn’t what we were ready for.

People identify you with the name; police officer, than your real name, do your kids also call you police officer?

Yes, they do, especially when they meet their friends in school and they (friends) tell them that they saw their father play the role of a police officer in a film.

You went to school, even as a father; why did you do that and what was the motivation behind it?

As I said, my parents were farmers; they were struggling and didn’t have enough. Despite that, you know these fathers had many children at the end of the day. So, it didn’t allow them to give us that needed education then.

Meanwhile, the level at which we understand the importance of education now wasn’t the level our parents did. It was different. I could remember that my father told us that immediately he had seen us through secondary school, he believed that he had tried his best.

Also, getting married earlier also affected me because I already had it in mind that if my father didn’t sponsor my education, when I start working, I was going to sponsor myself. Unfortunately, marriage came in and children also joined it.

These responsibilities were much and didn’t allow me to be stable until God gave me the privilege to be among those who became a boss at what they do. I now had the opportunity to now further my studies.

How did your children feel when you told them that you were going back to school?

They were happy because they knew how much effort I put into their education. It surprised them that their father who understood the value of education wasn’t educated. They didn’t say it, but they showed it through their reactions. However, when they heard that I got admission, they were happy. In fact, we joked about it at home.

What impact has fatherhood had on your career as a media personality?

See Also

As a writer, producer and an actor, we experience different things everywhere and we try to bring these experiences into the films we make. We do this so that the audience will receive our message and gain one or two things.

What are some of the aspects of the Nigerian ‘street culture’ you would have wanted your children to learn?

None of it! I’m raising my children in line with the Yoruba cultural heritage. You see these foreign ways of children’s upbringing; I don’t know what to say about it. However, if one is not very careful, may our children not be guided to a different line with all the experiences we have witnessed.

One thing I’ve always let my children know is that we were also born here just as they were, and when they see things that are not meant to be or when we as parents see something that we believe should not be adopted, we will issue repeated warnings against these things so that they will not be found doing that.

It’s only the fair part of these foreign lifestyles that we allow them to experience. So, apart from the normal Nigerian culture which I stand with, all these foreign ways of raising a child, I don’t have anything to do with them.

ALSO SEE: Comic Actor, Sanyeri Shares His Fatherhood Experience And Raising Kids In The Western Culture

How do you handle conflict among children so it doesn’t seem like you have a favourite?

That happens. No matter how it is, one must not allow them to know. The eldest of them has to play the role and the younger ones will act like the younger ones. That explains why I spoke about the Yoruba culture the other time.

We make them know that a younger person must respect the elderly ones. In cases where the older one is at fault, we make him know that he is at fault, such that those involved will not think that someone is biased.

Is it healthy for parents to have a favourite child?

There’s no way it won’t happen. You’ll always like one child more than the other. However, responsible parents will not allow it to reflect in how they relate with their children. Once the children realise that one of them is being favoured the most, they will start breeding some bad thoughts towards one another which is not good for a family.

Considering your busy schedule, how do you create time for your family to bond with you?

Well, it is what they have all known when they were younger that this is the lifestyle of their father. My wife also understands that it is what the job of her husband demands; they have accepted it in good faith. However, it is not all the time that we go on location; it is not all the time that we are busy.

So, when I don’t have any location to go, the time to bond will be available where we have the opportunity to gist and all of that in order for them to know that I, as their father, will give them time when I have it and not that I will just leave them without looking back.

Meanwhile, when we are also at different locations, we tend to talk more over the phone in order to establish that we didn’t forget the home; it’s the job that warrants it.

Have you seen any trait that any of your children will follow your footsteps as an actor?

It is the children that God has given to me that I trained in our line of job. It’s all of them that act. Being a production manager, all my children have experience on how to manage production because this is what I do almost every time in their presence and I call them to it as well.

They know various things; in the area of scheduling, they know when to fix this person and that person’s time in order not to clash and all of that. Back then, when we needed children on the set, I permit them to join the set. I’ve had one of my child play the role of my child in a film before and the child of many others.

What method of discipline have you adopted in correcting your children when they err?

Well, it is very simple. When they err, there are different ways of disciplining a child. There are those who need to be flogged and those that need mere words of caution or warning. Even the Bible stated in Proverbs 22:15 that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

When a child commits an offence that attracts flogging as punishment, one will flog such a child and the one which deserves to be talked to, that is also done. However, for a child that is ready to learn, such a child won’t go back to the same thing tomorrow.

No matter the discipline I instil in them, I do not punish them with food or anything that has to do with their education. Again, it’s not every time that children are flogged. Also, they know me and the things that I do not want; so, they stay away from those things.

Copyright © 2021 Motherhood In-Style Magazine. All Rights Reserved.