You may not have heard so much about her, but she is a prototype of her father in terms of hard work and doggedness. In this interview, Yvonne Oputa, the first daughter of Mr. Charles Oputa(Charlyboy) has debunked the numerous rumours surrounding her father’s sexuality. She has also denied the rumour that her father sleeps in a coffin and has a python as a pet.
Q: Let’s meet you.
Ans: My name is Yvonne Mimi Optua, I am the Executive Director of New wave productions, I also manage The Taakra Group. We are into public relations, real estate, home décor to mention a few. Yes, am single now, but not in a hurry to make another mistake, I have a child, who is in the university now. She is already 18yrs. I really didn’t grow up with my farther; we only reunited some 13yrs ago or so. I am focused, I love to learn new things and I love people who inspire me, I have a good heritage and I’m happy most of the time. That is me.
Q: How has the name Oputa, or Charlyboy helped you.
Ans: Humm! Neither I nor any of my siblings carries it as a badge. We are proud of whose children we are but none of us plays it when we are prospecting for anything, because our dad from the get go has drummed it into our head, that for us to win his respect we must be able to stand on our own two feet. As soon as you are done with school, he will ask you what you want to do, and you will get his hundred percent supports to start whatever. I guess it’s part of his own way of reminding us not to ever take anything for granted and to early enough be able to stand on our own two feet. I can appreciate that, after all if you look at his life he is a self-made man and he will prefer each and every one of his children to depend on their hard work and creativity and not on him. We are all proud that we have a father like him but being his child is not an easy thing ooo, we try always to do our own thing and for each one of us, I know it’s by our own merit that we have made the small progress and success we have now, not just because he is our father, I guess in a way his training and influence has made us all very hard working and independent.
Q: You said it is not easy being Charly Boy’s child, please explain.
Ans: The moral obligation from the family side is very high not to talk about expectation from friends and peers who think one is swimming in money and sometimes when he pulls his stunts and he gets bad press, we sometimes suffer too, on his behalf. We all know him as a very spiritual and disciplined father and husband, the kind every child will be proud of, but when we read gossips of his sexuality and spiritually, it’s annoying because we know that’s not true and can never be true. At home, everybody is on a time table, you cannot do anything you like, you can never stay out past 8pm, you can never use swear words in the house, when some of my sibling where in school, you dare not come home with bad grades you.
You can never get a penny from dad unless you work for it. All my sisters who are not yet married can never live on their own, unless they are in America. That is why some have decided to stay there, too many rules. But as long as you are obeying the rules you can ask for anything. For the boys, ones you are 24yrs, you are on your own; you must live in your own apartment. My dad is really old fashion and can be a bit igbotic sometimes, but one thing is for sure, regardless of all his rules and regulations, home is where his heart is, and we are happy in that knowledge.
Q: What would you say you have learnt being charly boy’s daughter?
Ans: I’ am not charly Boys daughter, Charles Oputa is my father I can’t say I like Chary boy that much even though I understand the character and what it was designed to do. From my father, Mr Charles Oputa, I have learnt to be contented with life, I have learnt from him the art of humility, my father is very humble person. I have learnt that life is not a bed of roses and that whatsoever we want out of life we must be willing to work tirelessly for it. I have learnt that there are no short-cuts. I have learnt to believe in myself; in fact that I can be whosoever I want to be as long as I am passionate about it and work hard towards it. I have watched my father change the lives of so many young people in this country, so I have learnt to be a bit more sensitive towards other people, so you can’t blame me if one of my requirements in a man is doggedness and courage; my Dad had the courage to be himself.
Q: Do your friends tease you about your father’s eccentric behaviours and funny life style.
Ans: Let me educate you, to begin with my Father is an entertainer and not a banker. The Charly Boy brand is synonymous with social justice and peaceful, nonviolent action for the protection of human rights and human dignity, since its very inception, it has developed a broad appeal with young people especially students, and the less privileged. The brand extols the virtues of individuality for ones future and creativity. The brand is a gift to Nigerian youths. The brand means different things to different people. While some will think he is wild and crazy a lot more people now know it is all a put on. It is called showbiz I guess…
People must realize that Charly boy is a character and not a person. it’s like superman or Spiderman. After all, he had explained that the brand was created to shock and entertain ignorant and over-religious Nigerians out of their myopic ways. You know my father loves to push people’s buttons, and he gets tremendous kick from people’s reactions. Initially it used to worry me but when I kept seeing how it amused him, and how he will always try to outdo himself, I started to enjoy people’s reaction too. My father understands on one hand that they are people who will never understand, and believe me he doesn’t suffer ¬fools gladly¬- and on the other hand, he has built a cult followership that not even the government can ignore. He is an artiste, so if he is not eccentric who will talk about him. He has made his name from being Charly Boy so why should he stop now because a few people are still ignorant, well you can’t win them all.
Q: How many wives does your father have and how many are you in the family?
Ans: What do you mean how many wives does my dad have? He has been married to the same woman for 37yrs of his life or so, and she is our mother, end of story. You know her, Lady Diane Oputa. Yes my father was married before, but it didn’t work out until he met mummy Di, a great woman indeed, an angel to the family. They have stayed together all these years because they are two committed people. . Dad has over 40 children all over the place, but biologically we are eight, my elder brother is an Associate Professor in MIT, Boston-USA. We are four boys and four girls, but Dad has so many adopted children he takes care of, pays their school fees, sometimes he can just pick a child from the street and say, you guys come and meet your new brothers or sisters; he is simply that kind of person.
Q: All the illuminati story, sleeping in a coffin, being gay, where is all that coming from?
Ans: You tell me, sometimes it is the imagination of the people, I don’t know; my dad is still a Christian, but very deep into yoga and meditation. We don’t have a coffin in our house and we don’t have a python as a pet. But sometimes I blame him though, because he likes to act different roles. My Dad knows how to engage Nigerians. They are the ones looking for something to gossip about, So he sometimes generate these stories. I think, because it all fuels the bad boy swagger. The so called nude pictures were taken almost twelve years ago and in my book there was nothing nude about the pictures which were taken BY my Debbin and Lady D directing, so?. Dad can be a bit vain sometimes. I understand that; because when you work as hard as he does, to keep in shape, you can’t help but be a bit of a show off sometimes. At his age, he is very fit. As for his sexuality, people have forgotten how Charly Boy started. He started with that feminine character. He used to wear lipsticks and makeup, so it didn’t start today. Then, people use to compare him with British Boy George, so what’s the big deal. Our grandparents are not complaining, mummy Di is not complaining, we the children know who our father is, even though sometimes we wish he tone down his creativity, so I don’t see why people are gulping panadol on his matter. Don’t mind my daddy; he is more normal than you. That is why when people meet him they are the most confuse; because who they see is soft spoken and gentle but who they read about is a big radical and rascal. I guess he enjoys the attention sha.
Q: When will you marry again?
Ans: When it is time and I meet the right person.
Q: Why did your previous marriage fail?
Ans: Nobody’s business.
Q: People say you are emotional and passionate just like your father, what would you say.
Ans: like Dad will say, an apple can’t fall too far from its tree, so we all have bits of him, that’s our DNA, it is strong. Yes we usually don’t have time for nonsense or rubbish, but Dad is softer except when you piss him off, then you will be welcomed by his other side.
Q: There is a strong bond between you and your father, what’s the secret.
Ans: I worked hard to earn his respect; he knows that whatever I set my mind on, it’s already done. He knows I will never give up on my dream or on my goals. He knows I take care of business. Aside that, the family is my Dads backbone, my grandparents live with us, and I’m inspired watching him take care of them and the family, I am proud of the love we all share.
Q: You have a daughter who is already in the university abroad, what if her father comes calling, will you accept him back?
Ans : We will cross the bridge if I get to it