Reporter Spills the Beans about Vanguard Interview Omotola Denied

Ghen ghen! Vanguard newspaper published a story about Omotola saying
she had been tempted countless times to cheat on her hubby only for
Omotola to quickly take to Twitter and deny granting the newspaper an
interview in years. The columnist who published the interview is vexed
about Omotola’s denial and has released a statement to set the records

Let me start first by saying that I am
humbled by the popularity of this column, only six weeks after it made
its debut here. I am told, and this has been verified, by random Google
search, that this column has been culled and appropriated by practically
every social media platform including the leading bloggers all over the
world. One of such bloggers called me, to say she has been eagerly
awaiting my column every Sunday, and updates on my blog:
so she would be the first to post my stories. I must say that I am

Last week, I published on this page some
excerpts of an interview that Omotola Jalade Ekeinde granted my New York
based newspaper, The Diaspora Star  in December 2009  and also, on my
blog: . The interview, though done some years ago, was
still relevant and current- (the kind of interviews that have no
time-limit or currency.) The story has become a hit on social media and
some other newspapers here. The popular blogger, BellaNaija culled the
story, and a day after, Omotola through the same BellaNaija denied ever
granting the interview to Vanguard. She, however, did not
that the said interview did take place and that some other excerpts of
the same interview were published in The Diaspora Star, which she had
read when it was first published.

 Since her ambiguous denial, there has
been a feeding frenzy on the social media, with some misguided fellows
thinking that the interview did not take place and I am offended by
this. The notion that I, Ekerete Udoh, one of the pioneers of this genre
of journalism in Nigeria, a man  whom God has used  to promote and
project  Nigerian pop culture and its practitioners  both here in
Nigeria and in the Diaspora would publish an interview that was not
properly conducted is to say the least, stupid ,puerile and utterly
objectionable and I AM MAD AS HELL! 

Let me for the records, state that the
said interview took place in Omotola’s HOLIDAY INN, hotel room in
Yonkers, New York. Now, this is the fact of the story. 

I first met Omotola in 2008 or thereabout,
when her then manager-Jim Bass, asked me to help promote her in North
America. Omotola had a musical performance at Lehman College, the Bronx,
as part of an event that was put together by former Beauty Queen and
Nollywood actress, Regina Askia. Because I was her big fan and was proud
of what she was doing, I agreed to help promote her in the media. 

We were formally introduced at that
occasion by her then manager, Jim Bass. Since then, Omotola and I struck
a very professional relationship and in 2009, during another of her
visits to New York for the premier of an HIV/AIDS movie produced by
Nollywood actress and producer, Chisom, I helped alongside her then
manager, Jim Bass, organize a meet -and -greet session for her at the
popular Nigerian watering hole-Tropical Grill, a restaurant and lounge
that is located about ten minutes away from JFK Airport and has played
host to many prominent Nigerians including former president Obasanjo. My
friend, Ms. Bola Jawo, the owner of that restaurant agreed to give us
the hall free, to host Omotola.  Ms. Jawo can authenticate this. 

 At the event, Omnotola was so impressed
by the huge turnout of fans and our friendship deepened. It was at that
event that I asked her for an interview that was going to be different-
where emphasis was going to be placed on her private life, her marriage
and other angles that the media had not explored. She has told me

“Thank God, this is
going to be different form all those generic questionnaires I have been
used to, from Nigerian journalists”.

The next day, in the company of my two daughters, Ekaete Bukola and
Uduak Temitope Udoh respectively, (my daughters , Ekaete who has already
graduated from college and will be starting her law school in the
spring 2015 and Uduak who is a freshman in college are huge Omotola’s
fans and had told me they will not forgive me, if I didn’t take them
along to see their idol), I drove to Yonkers- a distance of about 30
minutes from New York City, and the said interview took place right
there in her room at the Holiday Inn. It was a meeting of two friends
and I remember her even jokingly telling me not to take pictures because
she just woke up and “looked a mess”. We all laughed and told her she
was as beautiful as ever. 

Since then, I have done other stories on
Omotola and she has regularly sought my help in helping tamp down
negative situations that arose about her. When in 2011, a picture
surfaced on the internet showing a man with his hands firmly grabbing
her butt, and it sparked a media frenzy on the state of her marriage,
with most accusing her of cheating on her husband, it was me and my news
paper-The Diaporan Star that she ran to, to help debunk that story. 

 Not only did she grant me an
interview, she also made me speak with her husband, who had stoutly
defended her. That interview finally put a lid on that scandal and is
all over the social media. I reproduce below, that interview and her
confirmation of the initial 2009 interview that she denied was ever
.  This is how The Diasporan Star edition of May 2011, reported the story: 

In our last
edition, we did a cover story which was titled “Omotola in the eye of
the storm! Husband angry over butt-grabbing photo at the Grammys…Why she

The story centered around the rumors then spreading all
over the world about the state of marriage of Omotola-by far, one of the
most visible and popular stars in the Nollywood firmament following a
butt-grabbing incident by her escort at the 2011 Grammy Awards in Los
Angeles-an event that had Omotola, as the first Nollywood star to ever
walk the Red Carpet at the star-studded event.
The picture had
elicited wild rumors and innuendoes – with some speculating that her
relationship with the guy, whose hands was on her backside, had more to
it than meets the eye.

Some had openly stated she was playing games with her marital vows.
We had reported in the same article our inability to get Omotola to
state her own side of the story, since she was shooting a movie in
Ghana. We had, however relied on close sources to piece together our
facts which provided the background to our story. 

A few days after
the story hit the newsstands, I received a call from Omotola, who
expressed the desire to finally speak on the issue. “I am now going to
use this platform to put this issue to rest once and for all.”

Omotola went on to add that “people have insinuated all kinds of things
and read numerous meaning to what was nothing but an innocuous picture
taken of me and a member of my new management team at the Grammys. The
picture was an innocent one, signifying nothing. 

I have been married
to my husband for 15 years now, and I say this loud and clear that I
have never cheated on him, and would never do so ever! Remember I said
in an interview I granted you in 2009, that yes, I have been tempted
numerous times to violate my marital vows, but I have always resisted
the temptation to do anything that would bring dishonor to my marriage
and my children. If I told you – as a popular actress that we have not
been tempted, I would be lying to you. But should one sacrifice all what
one has built, nurtured and worked hard to establish just because you
want to indulge in some ill-motivated affair? No. I don’t believe in
that. I count myself blessed to have married a perfect gentleman, a man
who has supported me throughout my years in the industry, and is still
there, as a rock of Gibraltar. My husband is a rare find, and no amount
of temptation will ever make me cheat on him. 

So the notion or
the rumor that my haters and nay sayers have spread to the effect that
the guy at the Grammys was my boyfriend, is ludicrous to say the least.
If I wanted to cheat on my husband, would I do that in the open? Would I
advertise my boyfriend for everyone to see and at such a public
function? Just analyze that logically – would that be a commonsensical
thing to do? 

This rumor is
really a sick one and I’m offended. My husband is my soul-mate and I
will never soil or put that trust in jeopardy – no matter what and the
extent of the temptation. It is not worth it.” (At this point, she
handed the phone to her husband).

My wife is no flirt – Husband
It was
obvious from the manner Mr. Ekeinde sounded, that he was pained and
frustrated by all the unfounded rumors about his wife’s glorious outing
at the Grammys. 

My brother, I am
very proud of my wife’s accomplishments and I join other well wishers
and millions of her fans to toast her success. I’m a little surprised
that instead of Nigerians celebrating her appearance at the Grammys and
her, being the first Nollywood star to walk the red carpet; they are
busy spreading tales and rumors that do not exist. 

Truth be told, I
was not angry with my wife when I saw the picture. Why should I be? I
know who I married, how self-respecting she is and also the nature of
her industry. She is an actress for God’s sake, and it is not out of
place for actresses to appear in scenes that may look a little out of
place for a married person. 

The key thing is
that my wife respects her marital status, and in our 15 year marriage,
she has been the best woman any man could aspire to have. In spite of
her stardom, at home, she is my wife. She cooks for me, takes care of
the home and above all, is a great mother to our lovely children. 

I sincerely would
implore her fans not to buy into rumors and speculations about her
marital life, because I, the husband the one that is lucky to have her
as my wife is so proud of her and I continue to thank God for bringing
her into my life. I could never have asked for a better wife than her”
Mr. Ekeinde a commercial airline pilot had concluded.

 Now, let me address the point she made that she did not grant an interview to Vanguard. 

About six weeks ago, I became a columnist
in this newspaper, and since one of the planks of this column rests on
popular culture, I have been publishing AUTHENTIC AND CREDIBLE
interviews that I have had with leading personalities over the years.
There is no ethical kerfuffle involved with this practice. 

A writer or journalist who did an
interview with a given subject can use same interview in any other
credible media platform of his choosing, as long as the said INTERVIEW

That was what I did, with the Omotola
story. She granted me an interview, and I am now a columnist with
Vanguard newspaper, a credible and easily one of the leading mainstream
newspapers in Nigeria, and I decided to use the story, with my byline
boldly displayed, which should suffice. Her story is not the first I had
done along this line, which I may add, is a universally adopted
practice by journalists all over the world. Journalists are free to
syndicate their stories in whatever medium or platform they deem fit.   

For three weeks, I ran an interview I did
with Her Excellency, Mrs.  Bianca Ojukwu, the beautiful and erudite
Nigerian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain last year in her home, in
Enugu. When I did the interview, I was not yet a columnist with Sunday
Vanguard, but I exercised my editorial judgment and used it to flag off
this column.
When the interview ran in Sunday Vanguard, Her
Excellency, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu had called me while I was on a quick trip
to South Beach, Miami, Florida about three weeks ago, to commend me on
the  interview and even told me she couldn’t get a copy of Sunday
Vangaurd in the entire Eastern states because the paper had sold out. 

She called me from New York where she had
gone for a socio-cultural event and I told her that I was now doing a
column in Sunday Vanguard and she wished, me well. Mrs. Ojukwu did not
deny the interview on the account that the said interview was not meant
to  have been published in this paper, she knew that the interview had
the full complement of my integrity and professional bonafides, and was
happy for me.   

In the weeks to come, I will use other
exclusive details of interviews I did with other popular figures in our
politics and pop culture worlds on these pages. 

Omotola is my friend and even at this very strange moment of our friendship,
I will still count her as a good friend. She has been a great
ambassador of our arts and a role model for millions of women and I will
not excoriate or eviscerate her, even though I am so massively tempted
to get REAL ANGRY and to use the American street slang “wild-out” but I
will hold my fire for NOW. 

I count myself as one of the standard
bearers of this genre of journalism and thus, acutely aware of ethical
issues and concerns. So I take ethics and professional conduct very
seriously. I have preached this to all the reporters and journalists who
have passed through my tutelage and I will continue to hold aloft the
ideals, values , ethos and ethics of our profession. 

Let me also add here that not only do I
hold a bachelors degree in journalism, I also hold bachelors and masters
degrees in political science, where I was the Best Overall Graduating
student of my class of 2006, International Relations at the Brooklyn
College of the City University of New York. I have an acute sense of
right and wrong and have mentored hundreds of journalists who today, are
publishers, editors, top op-ed writers  commissioners of information,
special advisers and corporate affairs heads of several agencies. 

I will continue to do this, as long as the good Lord gives me the strength to do so!

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