Dad was a car freak — Gbenga Adeboye’s daughter
BY GBENGA ADENIJI
Damilola is a daughter of the late radio presenter and comedian, Gbenga Adeboye. In this interview with GBENGA ADENIJI, she talks about her cherished moments with her father
Please introduce yourself.
I am Damilola Gbenga-Adeboye. I am a 300-level economics student of Houdegbe North American University, Cotonou, Republique De Benin. I also act part-time. I have two younger brothers.
What memories of your late dad can you recall?
I was young when he died but we were close enough for me to appreciate the kind of father he was. My father was a wonderful man. I was very close to him and he used to take me out to places he went to. One day when he was drinking alcohol, I was curious to know what it was. He gave me a sip at least to satisfy my curiosity. My father was a man who liked to make his children happy. He ensured he gave us what we needed and not necessarily what we wanted. It was after his death that I became close to my mother.
Did he take his family out?
Yes, he took us out a lot. He never compromised our enjoyment. We were always at LTV 8 and some other fun spots to have fun.
How did he discipline you when you or your siblings misbehaved?
My father was very caring and free with his children. Notwithstanding, he was not one who over-pampered his children. He corrected us whenever we did something wrong. He used to beat me with a wire or a hose whenever I did anything wrong. My father never condoned indiscipline of any sort. He never allowed me to go out and play when I should be in my room studying. He was very particular about education.
Was there any time you watched him in the studio anchoring any of his radio programmes?
No, there was no time I witnessed him presenting any of his radio programmes. In fact, to be sincere, I did not know what his job was all about until his death. Anytime, he was at home, I noticed that he cracked jokes and people laughed but since I couldn’t speak Yoruba fluently then, it was difficult for me to understand what he was saying. He was generous, humorous and lively. There were no boring moments whenever he was around.
Are you saying you didn’t know your father was a famous radio presenter until his death?
I did not mean it that way. I knew he used to talk on radio and that many people listened to him. I didn’t know it was something that big and serious until I saw the crowd that came during his burial. I was surprised and had to ask if it was the way people attend burials. I was told that he was a celebrated radio presenter. I heard my father was a legend in his own way.
Did you enjoy any special attention in school because of your father?
My father died when I was in primary school. The only thing I often heard my teachers say when I was to be introduced was, ‘That is Gbenga Adeboye’s daughter.’ I enjoyed good attention from my teachers because of my father. I receive favours from people each time I introduce myself as Damilola. I only add ‘Gbenga-Adeboye’ when asked my surname. Otherwise, I keep that part. Some people know the name instantly while others do not. For the latter, I don’t explain who he was.
How did he relax at home?
My father enjoyed writing scripts. He was always busy writing scripts while at home. We never disturbed him whenever he was at home. I was the only person that had the privilege of disturbing him because I was too close to him (laughs).
What was his favourite meal?
He liked pounded yam. It was his best food. He was the one that made me love pounded yam. I always refused to take dinner until he returned so that we could eat together.
Did he have any best drink?
I don’t think he did. My father enjoyed any type of alcoholic drink.
How did he like to dress?
He was not the kind of person who was particular about clothes He wore what looked good on him. My father was a car freak and did not attach much attention to clothes. He however dressed very well to suit every occasion. I remember that before the jeep brand became popular in Nigeria, I once saw one in my father’s compound. My father loved good cars.
Was he the one who influenced your interest in acting?
I love entertainment naturally. In a way, he did influence me because his popularity earned him respect and fame. I love the way people talk about his talent. My father was a good man. He was generous to a fault and loved seeing people happy. I love dancing and acting naturally. I started acting when I was in primary school.
Did you feature in any of his videos?
Yes, I was in one of his music videos, Extravaganza. I was young then. I love the way my father exhibited professionalism in all he did.
Did he pay you for the performance?
(Laughs) Sincerely, he did not need to pay me. His fatherly responsibilities in paying for our school fees, feeding and clothing us were enough compensation for me. He didn’t have to give me money to feature in the video. But being a very considerate man, he gave me some money. I cannot remember the exact amount. I cannot remember how I got into the video. I only saw that I was shown briefly dancing in the video.
Why did you choose to study Economics?
It was my mother who advised me to study Economics. She reasoned that as an economist, I would be a professional and can work in any financial institution. She also said with mass communications, I would be limited to work in some places. I agreed with her. Besides, as an economist, I can still combine it with my entertainment activities.
What are the things you miss about him?
I miss everything about him from his eyes, nose, legs, head to arms. I also miss his care, attention, humour, promises and presence. I miss him a lot. Every time I remember him, I cry.
What were the things you learnt from him?
The first value I learnt from my father was humility. He told me that no matter what I achieved, I should be very humble. He was not proud. My father received many visitors ranging from young to old whenever he was at home. They would joke and chat. He also taught me to be God-fearing. Despite the fact that his job was demanding, he created time for God. He was the one that taught me how to pay tithe. My father was a giver. He encouraged me to always give and help people in any little way I can.
How did he react to misunderstandings with your mother?
I never witnessed any disagreements with them. My mother is a quiet woman while my father was very humorous. It was hard to provoke him. If he was angry, it did not take long before he calmed down. He was too funny a man. Sometimes, visitors would continue laughing several minutes after he had cracked a joke. There was no way one would want to provoke such a man. I wish he were alive to witness my wedding whenever it holds. I wish he were alive to see us grow and reap the fruits of his labour.
What kind of life would you say your father led?
He lived a good life but it was very short. Considering the kind of person he was, he should not be the one to die early. I believe that good people don’t last. My father did not deserve to die so early. But who am I to question God? If not for his death, I cannot imagine where his talent would have taken him to or where we would have been by now.
Your father had many nicknames. Which of them do you like?
I love calling him, ‘Alaye Mi Gbengulo and Funwontan.’ He was popularly called Alhaji Pastor Oluwo, Abefe, Jengbetiele, among others. He also had a knack of giving people nicknames. For instance, he called me ‘Iya O.’
Was he fetish?
My father was not fetish. Some people felt he was because he had the gift of a seer. His funny manner made people misconstrue certain things about him. There was a time a classmate was bullying me. I tried to avoid him but when he would not bulge, I told my father. He promised to teach me some skills to use in fighting him. He playfully taught Karate and said I would be given a ring to also fight him. While it was time for school, I approached him innocently and demanded for the ring. He looked at me and laughed, saying “You are not serious. You indeed think there is a ring. Go to school.’’
Where were you when he died?
I was at home when my father passed on. He told me he was travelling before I heard that he was dead. There was a time my mother took me along with her to a hospital. She said she wanted to see her friend. When we got there, she told me to sit down that she was going to see her friend upstairs. I later realised that it was my father she went to see upstairs. He was in the hospital. She did not want to tell me because of my age. Some days later, I saw my half-sister crying that my father was dead. I kept laughing because I believed he travelled. It took some time for me to know that he had passed away.
When you heard of his death how did you feel?
My father and I were really close hence his death shocked me. When I saw his corpse displayed at the LTV 8 grounds, it was as if I should follow him. Initially, I did not know that he was being mourned by the crowd. His lifeless body showed me that he was dead. With his death, I felt there was no reason living. He was everything to me. He was a father in every sense of the word.
How has it been coping without him?
It has not been easy but God has been assisting us greatly. He is the father of the fatherless. Each time I remember there is God, I feel happy and relaxed. Occasionally, when my friends tell me how their fathers took them shopping and bought them nice things, I remember him and wish he were around. The pain is always there but I console myself with the fact that there is a greater father above. As long as we have God, the children he left behind have a hope of a better future.
Source: The Punch