Posted by Richard Eghaghe on
Sunday, June 19, the Area Fada and President of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Charles Oputa a.k.a Charly Boy, celebrated the day he was born on earth.
Sunday, June 19, the Area Fada and President of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Charles Oputa a.k.a Charly Boy, celebrated the day he was born on earth. In this exclusive interview with Entertainment Correspondent, Richard Eghaghe, the weird artiste gave insight into his person, life, family and marriage.
How old were you on Sunday?
I have heard people speculating that I am 57; can you imagine that? May be because I already have grand children. Any way, I feel like 27. And that is it. You are free to guess and I don’t mind. I was a year older on Sunday and that is the big thing about Charly Boy. I have not told anyone that I am celebrating so, so birthday. If you come with gifts, you are welcome. But don’t come without something for the boys. My age is close to my chest. It is not for general because I am the “General”,
At what age did you become a grandpa?
I became a grandpapa about nine years ago. My first grandchild is about eight and half years old now.
How many grandchildren do you have now?
I have about six and half grandchildren; half in the sense that one of my children is expecting a baby now. So, in essence, I have eight children and six and half grandchildren now.
At what age did you have your first child?
I had my first child before the age of 21, between the ages of 15 and 21. I think before 21 I had two or three babies already. It is a long time, but I can remember.
You had your children here in Nigeria or in America?
Here in Nigeria, of course. I only spent five years in America for schooling. I spent the rest of my life here in Nigeria.
Why did you go after women and having children very early in life?
The truth is that all the Oputas start early. It is really not their problem, even where people think the Oputas start off as womanisers. It is really not their problem. It is as if it is there punishment so to say, and like my father would say, they really don’t have a choice in the matter. Whatever they do, these women keep running after them. Most of the Oputas start early. They have women problem created by the women, not by them. As they mature they handle themselves in a very sophisticated manner. Most of the Oputas I know have never married another wife. They only have one wife at a time. Come to my village at Oguta; that is what they know the Oputas for. Their men make good husbands and their women make good wives.
You mean the Oputas are not polygamists?
Yes, we are not polygamists in nature. You can always see my father with my mother. They have been together for almost 60 years. And even though I started early, I made a lot of mistakes. I have been married to the same woman for about 27 years now. As you know, that is not easy.
But this is not the same woman you started with?
Yes, of course. There is no denying that fact.
How many women do you have?
Well, I have been married three times. That is before Diane. I think she is the fourth and the last. I couldn’t handle responsibilities then, and the other marriages didn’t work out. As you know, I don’t associate with things that are not working out. But now that I have found my rhythm, I have realised that this is where I ought to be. Living my life with my present woman.
At your (undisclosed) age, and as a grandpa of six and half children, how do you see life generally?
At my age you got to learn to take things easier, the things that worried me 20 years ago are not what worry me now. These days, it is not all about people, people, people. I am thinking more about my children. How they are going to do great stuff and become great in life. I am thinking about everything but me. I now discover that day in day out I am either working for my family or for the young people out there – the youth of this country or people ready to work in the system. So, I discovered that when you start growing older a lot of things don’t mean much to you. Now, I hardly go out at night. I am in bed from seven, eight, or nine. I wasn’t like that before. Getting to a party or a function these days is an assignment. All I take joy in doing now is when I have a job to execute I go about it to ensure success and then return home at once. Even where I am surrounded by a lot of people, I try to find time for myself. I think I am beginning to find joy in being alone with myself. In the past, I couldn’t do without having a crowd around me.
As a grand father, do women still run after you like before?
It is a different setting now because when I was in my twenties I was an incorrigible flirt. Now, I am still a flirt, a big flirt. It is common knowledge. But my flirting can only go so far. Again, there is a big difference because right now there is little I do to tickle myself. But way back, 20, 30 years ago it was big business. There was no other thing to do than going to school and seeking women. I had a better body then and I was happening. So, that was it. It is not that I am not happening now, but then it is a different thing. It is a lot difficult right now. Even to have an affair with a woman is like an assignment. I see it now as a waste of time and I am becoming too lazy for it, in the first place. So, even if they run after me now, I may not respond the way I would 20, 30 years ago, or the way they expect or want it to be. It’s a big difference.
You have for a very long time not been happening on stage as a performing artiste, with your grandpa status, do you still hope to return to the stage with your music?
Very well, I hope to come back big time and with the biggest bang ever. I really hope to put a lot of people out of business and put a lot of people to shame. And shut up a lot of my critics. It is going to be Charly Boy in his true element. As I get older, I am getting better. I had a rehearsal last week with the band I am trying to put together. By the time I made some moves and did some stunts, a number of them were like whaoo!… Surprise! And I was surprised there is still such energy in me. So, after being away for a long time, I would want to stun anybody who comes to watch whatever show I would be putting up. I am looking forward to a big comeback. I am looking forward to my first show.
What have you to say about your parents as a grandfather, and how did you see them in your twenties and thirties?
Before I used to think my father was a devil. I hated my father. I saw him as too troublesome for me. You know boys are always closer to their mother; I used to be very close to my mother and my father used to always say to my mother that she is the one spoiling me. When I became my own man and I started to live my own life, I began to understand my father. But then, we were sometimes at each other’s throat, which is not unusual in the family because we tend to think in a logical way.
Everything about us is like you are going to court, you have to present your facts and make your arguments and something like that. I remember while I was growing up with my siblings, it was like you can never be good enough for the old man, you know. No matter what you do, it was like you haven’t started. I use to be a problem to him. But when I now started to realise life, I started getting a little closer and we started understanding ourselves.