OSAMA AKPUNONU INTERVIEW
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Osama Akpunonu PCFR Packaged Comedian of the Federal Republic. I am a comedian of the federal republic; I’m based in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, Africa.
Give us a little bit of your background?
I was born in a family of six, I am the first. I am from Edo State, Irrua to be precise. I was born in Ibadan, Oyo State. From there my dad was transferred to Kainji in Niger State, I grew up there but I did part of my secondary school in Edo State before I came to Ilorin in Kwara State where i finished my secondary school. And from there I moved down to
Federal Polytechnic Bida in Niger State, then after my Pre-ND in Business Studies I relocated to Jos Plateau State where I am presently based. I went to University of Jos to study Theatre Arts. I finished from University of Jos. I am a JTown ambassador and a Naija hustler.
How did you fall in love with comedy?
It was when I came to University of Jos to study Theatre Arts so I noticed I have the talent in me and because of the training in the University I became who I am today. I got discovered by a friend, a brother who is also into comedy business, Bethel Njoku known as Senator. He is now in Lagos. We were partners; we were just two, Osama and Senator.
Senator and Osama
When did you make up your mind about doing comedy for a living? Because a lot of men might be scared about becoming a comedian in this country where the quest for a white collar job is everything?
That is why we tell people once you notice any talent in you, discover it. By the grace of God I discovered mine and that is what is putting food on my table now, I have travelled to different countries, I have worked with the top A List comedians, I have worked with Basket Mouth, I’ve worked with Julius Agwu, I’ve worked with AY, I have worked with Opa Williams the owner of Night of a Thousand Laughs. I don’t think there is any big show in this country I have not played, the big shows like AY Live, Night of a Thousand Laughs, Crack your Ribs, Basket Mouth ’show, Glo Tour, in fact none of the shows in this country that I have not played, I’ve played shows in London and all that.
What is the secret? I know you are in Jos, and even the Lagos comedians; some of them don’t even play in all these shows…?
It’s just grace, just leave it to that
But apart from grace Sir, we want you to give us some tips?
It is just grace, like my pastor will always say. That time we had crisis in Jos 2009, 2010. Then it was hot, I wanted relocating to Lagos but I met my pastor, I attend Living Faith Church, he is a spiritual father, I met him I said I want to go, he quoted one thing and till tomorrow that thing has worked for me. He said, it is not in relocating that matters but seeking the favour of location from God. That is what I am a testimony of today. There is no where I have not been but I live in Jos, I am based in Jos.
I also saw you on AY Live
I have been doing comedy for years but that was the stage that God used in changing my level. And now it is in the history of AY Live that I was the first comedian that was sprayed on AY Live and that happened 2014. Also you can go to you tube just type Osama in Ay Live 2014, you will see it
I saw your picture with Basket Mouth in London
That was February 2015, we call him the king. And the show too was awesome, that was the biggest platform for me.
How did you meet Basketmouth?
I met Basketmouth through Senator, through Julius Agwu ’show, you know once you are good, they will see you on a platform and they will call you. So we became friends and we are close. So in 2015 he took me to London and it was something else.
How was the London experience?
I have been going to London since 2010 with Julius Agwu but this is the first time I went with Basketmouth and it was something else, my name is registered in London, because I have always gone there to represent Jos, Plateau State, Africa.
A lot of Jos boys are running out of this town to Lagos because of what they see on TV but you are in Jos and you run things big time
It is how you package yourself; it is how good you are. My pastor will always say, you don’t need to give people your numbers, once you are good, they will look for your number; your phone will ring. If you like dey inside hole, your phone will ring. I am a testimony of that grace. Once you are good, shows will come. Now I am an ambassador of Jos but Naija hustler. I dey jos but I dey hustle I dey everywhere.
How are your 24 hours like?
I am always in my office, I try to respect myself, you know the way the job dey now, if you too mingle with all these boys they will see you finish. So I am always in my office. I carry myself professionally, if you want to see me, come to the office. Once I’m done from the office I visit one or two places. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t club. If you see me in any night event, I’m paid. I don collect my money, as I don see alert God win.
What will you say about those who just want to hate somebody?
Don’t tell haters to stop. I love haters because they are the ones provoking God’s glory in my life. One thing you do for haters, just make your heart and your hands clean as they hate you, God blesses you the more.
How do you cope with the girls?
You see, if you can be very careful with drinking and women; there is no man that has kept away from these two things that will not make it. Because you will be focused, you will be able to safe more. Even if you drink, drink responsibly. I don’t hang out unnecessarily, I don’t drink. I like girls but to some extent, I no be gay so I like girls.
So what do you look out for in a woman, your ideal woman?
Intelligent, creative, supportive, you must support my profession my ministry you have to be obedient, loving, respectful, truthful and above all fine. You need to be fine.
There is no employment in Nigeria these days
Then you create one for yourself. You just need to be creative, just do something out of the box, money will come. No be only me be comedian for this country. Na me funny pass? But the grace and the way you take package yourself, you go get work. As I dey now, once you just say Osama in this country. They will say the one in Jos with colour beard. I just sit down and carve out a niche for myself. I like something unique, I like something extra ordinary, I like something odd.
You were part of The Night of a Thousand Laughs’ 20th Year Anniversary
That is my happiness, for me to be part of the comedians that celebrated Night of a thousand Laughs 20th anniversary God You too much.
Are there guys who impacted you when you were starting out?
Bethel Njoku (Senator) Ifeoma Odogwu (Surface) these are my big brothers. Mix Master Brown who is now in America, these were all the guys that God used in linking me to where I dey today. MC Shakara, Funny Bone, they’ve been there; those are the guys that encouraged… we were all together. And respect to my late colleague and a friend MC Longs may his soul rest in peace. We were all in the struggle.
Is there anybody in the industry that you admire?
There are people that are my mentors; Basketmouth is my mentor here in Nigeria. Kelvin Heart na my mentor abroad. Basketmouth is my mentor, then Julius Agwu. Then in terms of the business angle of comedy, you know I do my own shows too. My show is known as Rhythm of Laughter, that I do every January in Jos
So how do you make money from Plateau?
I don’t make my money here. Let’s be real here. I don’t make my money in Jos please. I stand to be corrected I make my money outside Jos but I’m based here. I live in jos because I love the people of Jos. The soil in Jos made me what I am today and that is why I’m here. And that is why I tell people it is not in relocating but seeking the favour of location from God. If I am in Jos and I have attained the level I am today, then Jos is the best place for me. I no lie you oh, Jos people I hail una, I no come from here but una prayers don carry me reach where I dey today.
But somebody might be reading this and might want to give you a call in Jos for a program
They watch all my shows outside Jos, they’ve seen my profile, they’ve seen what God has done in my life, those that have been following me on Facebook, Twitter and all that, they’ve seen the levels so they don’t call me. Truly, I can’t lie to you; I can’t be going for events in Abuja, Lagos, and Port Harcourt for five hundred four hundred. And you now call me in Jos for fifty thousand seventy thousand, because there is this price range in Jos: sixty, forty, thirty five, thirty, my brother, don’t insult me, don’t even insult my profession.
But sometimes we do see you in churches
If you see me in churches ministering, I go to the church to thank God for the talent and His grace in my life. So I tell churches, if they call me, you will not leave the man of God empty handed but do to man of God what God has instructed you to do to me. In churches, just appreciate me, take care of my logistics, I’ll be there.
What is your philosophy in life?
Hold on to God, be creative, be determined, you go reach where you dey go. Na only one letter; na im dey between all these things wey I dey talk, ‘‘T’’ Time.