…For 32 years I lived in sin with lady Diana
What possibly could be said of Charles Oputa a.k.aÂ Charly Boy today that would make an astounding headlines, you may ask?
But on a day this musician, revolutionary activist, a general of the peopleâ€™s army and an acclaimed area father stormed Vanguard’sÂ corporate office, in Apapa, Lagos,Â it was with a pinch of salt that the Showtime crew gave him audience.
Soon, Charly Boy settled down to unwrap yet another bag of his mythic life. He astounded the crew when he announced his plans to marryÂ again. Charly Boy admitted that for 32 years, he had lived in sin with his American born Lady Diane. Who is he taking to the altar? Why the sudden realization of the fact that he had been living in sin for the past 32 years with belovest Lady D? Find outÂ this and more asÂ we bring to you, Charely Boy uncensored for your weekend delight..
We read youâ€™re separated from your wife. Is it true it?
Eeh! Iâ€™ve not heard about it. I never read am too. Iâ€™m yet to be informed about it.
Are you saying that your marriage is intact?
No be dis issue we come talk about….
Na part of am. We canâ€™t talk about you and not mention your wife…
Yes, okay.Â Iâ€™m getting married again on May 25th.
What happened to your marriage?
Are you tired of her?
How can I be tired of her when weâ€™re the best of friends?
So are you still married to her?
Well, spiritually, yes.
So, is she going back to her country?
Iâ€™ve not said sheâ€™s going back to her country. After staying in Nigeria for 28 years, I mean she has no other country.
So, who are you getting married to and where is she from?
Whether sheâ€™s from Jamaica or Imo State, doesnâ€™t count. All that matters is that Iâ€™m getting married again. Iâ€™m happy.
So, are you going to keep your first marriage intact?
Iâ€™m an African man and polygamy is allowed here.
Were you married to Diane in the Christian way? Did you wed her in the church?
No, we werenâ€™t even married in the first place. There was no marriage certificate. Weâ€™ve just been living together for 32 years in sin because if youâ€™re married but not wedded in the church, youâ€™re living inÂ sin.
Youâ€™re talking like a man who just woke up to realise that heâ€™s been living in sin…
(Laughs) Is this why Iâ€™m here?
Living with Diane helped to stabilise the man called Charly Boy because behind every successful man is a woman. So, itâ€™s heart breaking to hear that youâ€™re separated from her…..
If I hear that it will be heart breaking for me too, so I can understand why it is so for you.
Where exactly is she now?
Sheâ€™s in Lagos now. If you go to my house, youâ€™ll find her there.
What about your kids?
Most of my kids are abroad, except the last one whoâ€™s still in school.
How does she feel about the next marriage?
You can ask her when you see her. And the truth is that we are not living together. She lives in Lagos and I stay in Abuja,Â but we visit each other. Sometimes, we equally arrange to meet in a hotel for short or long time. It doesnâ€™t really matter.
I know that you have really come a long way with your wife. So itâ€™s sad that youâ€™re separating.
I know that there are some married people who are living together but they donâ€™t talk to themselves, which is a crime. I also know there are so many women whoâ€™ve been battered by very irresponsible men but they still live together,Â and that for me is a crime. And I also know that the friendship which I share with Diane cannot be compared to all the rubbish I hear out there.
You said both of you arrange to meet for short and long time. Do you still have sexual intercourse?
Laughs. Wetin you think say we dey do for short time and long time? You think say we dey go there go look ourselves? Weâ€™ll keep having that because sheâ€™s my friend. That was the kind of friendship I had with Tina but it wasnâ€™t anything sexual. You know friendship is misused in this country. People meet today and begin to introduce themselves as friends, which is wrong, or you see people who are in no way related and they call themselves brothers. Iâ€™ve grown past intercourse. I can have sex without penetration.
What does that mean?
Well, if you donâ€™t understand then youâ€™re analog. That means youâ€™ve been going about things the oldÂ fashion way. For me, Iâ€™ve gone digital now.
Is this gold ring you are wearing a wedding ring?
This one. (Pointing to the gold wedding ring among many others on his fingers)
With Diane or the new woman?
Why would you want to leave Lady D for another? Is the new one digital and Lady D analog?
No, Lady D is very digital.
Is she not sexually creative anymore?
How can? Itâ€™s just like saying Iâ€™m not creative anymore. Sheâ€™ll always be creative till she dies. At 56 years, Iâ€™m still very creative.
You have been everything from the street boy, the musician, the writer, the photographer, a music director and most recently a publisher. And this is the first time in this country a man would decide to publish a magazine in his own name…
Iâ€™m always the first. But, Iâ€™m not interested in how much it will sell. Itâ€™s like when I go into the studio and produce a song and someone is asking how much it sold. It doesnâ€™t matter to me. The connect is that each time I set a target for myself, I go out and achieve it, thanks to God Almighty. My joy is that I have fun doing these things and they give me fulfilment, I also learn from doing it. So, by the time I finish doing it, if you like, you buy. If you like o no buy. My joy is that I did it. Anything I set out to do, I do it. Like right now, I want to build a centre that can house 10, 000 disenfranchised youths. And I know it will cost mega bucks and I donâ€™t know how it will happen. But Iâ€™m a dreamer, even the concept of Charly Boy started by dreaming. So, I donâ€™t calculate my gains before doing things.
One thing Iâ€™m confident of is that the brand, Charly Boy, can never be ignored. Itâ€™s either you like it or you hate it so profusely. Some people will definitely pick up the magazine just to see wetin this craze person wants to say. Iâ€™ve equally tried to go round and ask other publishers how theyâ€™re doing theirs and Iâ€™ve learnt a lot from that.
Iâ€™ve always told people that Iâ€™m really not a musician but an intellectual, an entertainer. But people are just too busy looking at gimmicks that they miss the point. You canâ€™t see Charles Chukwuemeka Oputa until you can see past the piercing, the rings and all the ratzzmatazz. And that is not what Charley Boy is all about. Heâ€™s about consistency. I urge every youth to go after their dreams and whatever that makes them happy.
Do you know that I am a soul winner. Do you know how many youths that come to me for inspiration? Just for hope, just because somebody like me was able to walk into that bush and come out successful.
It means nobody should have any excuse for failure because as long as you believe in your dreams and follow it with aggression…. I chase my dreams without minding anybody, therefore, no one can stop me and nothing can discourage me. Whether your papa is poor or rich doesnâ€™t really matter. What matters is whether you believe in yourself.
Charly Boy is really difficult and confusing because,Â like you were talking about the youths,Â So, I still wonder what the youths will learn from you?
What have all these got to do with the man Charles Oputa? I ask you. What has the shape of Coca-Cola got to do with the liquid content? Will you eat the bottle?
But that forms the whole character of the person.
If youÂ recall in the beginning, I said this concept was created for dumb and shallow minded Nigerians whoâ€™re timid and myopic. I represent the things that I stand for and the things that Iâ€™ve fought for. That is why we have the kind of government we have sitting for too long in power. IsÂ it the agbada or tie that weâ€™re interested in or what that person can offer this country?
When you emerged during the military in a rebellious way, it was acceptable. Are those things you were known for still part of you?
My dressing is all about style. I wasnâ€™t rebelling against anything. My take is that every human being should be a free thinker as long as it doesnâ€™t affect others negatively. Tying your tie around your head instead of your head doesnâ€™t make you a bad person. Itâ€™s all about style. And I wonâ€™t judge you by that; remember never to judge a book by its cover.
What are we expecting from your publication? What sense will it make to the common man?
Iâ€™ve never done anything that didnâ€™t make sense. In fact, my problem is too much sense that some people donâ€™t understand. You have to have depth to be able to understand what I do. The things I do are not for Standard six or WAEC people. I wanted to do something like Readers Digest. I didnâ€™t want something that would limit me in anyway. I wanted to do something that can be published in January and still remain fresh in December. I wanted to do something that will motivate and inspire people, something that can talk about other peoples life in the way that it will inspire people.
My reason for existence is to ginger people and make them understand that everything is possible.
The magazine represents the values that we have forgotten- hard work.Â I want to interview someone who can tell me where heâ€™s coming and heâ€™s success story so that I can learn from the story. At the same time, weâ€™ll try to build new role models and also entertain people.
Youâ€™ve spent about 17-18 years of your life in Lagos. One now wonders why you decided to relocate to Abuja? Is it because that is where the money is?
No, that is another misconception. I remember those days it used to bother me a lot about how Iâ€™m going to make my own name because everywhere I went, people talked about my father and I was wondering, canâ€™t they see me as â€˜Charly Boy?â€™ They should talk about me when they see me and not my father. In fact, I thank God so much that I didnâ€™t study Law. IÂ would never have been able to leave that shadow because people would have trailed my success back to my father, Oputa.
I donâ€™t want to be tied down in the shackles of competition. I donâ€™t want to buy hummer jeep because people are buying it and na im make I dey ride motor bike, nothing spoil. Iâ€™m comfortable as long as I have enough to pay my rents, children fees and other bills.
What drove you into music?
I didnâ€™t know what I wanted to do with myself,Â simple. So, after youth service, I didnâ€™t want to work for any establishment, having to do a 9-5 work hours. I had too many creative things in me that wanted to burst out and there was no other place to be than in entertainment business which will also afford me so many excuses as regards my style.
Again, I wanted to be famous. But not too long after I became famous, I found out that I didnâ€™t have respect and money. You can imagine someone as famous as myself that time jumping from bus to bus. Not because I wanted to but because I didnâ€™t have money. I couldnâ€™t even penetrate the corporate organisations because they had no respect for me.
Which was why I consistently involved myself in continuous metamorphosis and rebranding. From Charly Boy Show, which had a lot of civic message then but people missed the message because they were looking at the ratzamattazz. I did it for 12 years and discovered that these Nigerians are really…. o!
Then I rebranded and gave them Zoom Time, bringing Babangida, different ministers to the show. That was when I started gaining some kind of respect because it wasnâ€™t easy to put up all those people on stage. People started wondering why all these people opened doors for me.
Maybe because of your father….
Whoâ€™s my father? My father is retired, heâ€™s become my baby.
In fact, he doesnâ€™t even recognise one person from another. Heâ€™s out of the generation.
Maybe his name….
No, I have a bigger name because my father is known by people in the judiciary and the elite class but I am known by all. Thereâ€™s hardly anybody who doesnâ€™t know me. From truck pusher, militant, children and so on.
You went through a lot of difficulties in life. Can you share some of them with us?
When I came back from America, I had to do my youth service and when I finished, there was a job waiting for me. A PR job in Mobil Oil company but my father was scandalized when I rejected the offer and said I wanted to be an entertainer.
He asked, â€˜ how can you go to school and come out to be an entertainer? Thereâ€™s no future in that and that was where our problem started from. That was the time he was made the Supreme Court judge. So he moved to Lagos and I moved down to the village. Initially,Â when I moved to the village, it wasnâ€™t too bad because I had to put some few things together and called it a studio. So, people were coming and patronising. But after one year, everything closed. I was in the village with Lady D, a place where thereâ€™s no light, no water.