Victor Oyebode, the Nigerian actor and comedian, popularly known as Boy Alinco, tells GODFREY GEORGE about his parenting journey
At what point did you decide that you wanted to be a father? Was it a conscious decision you made?
Yes, it was a conscious one. I decided to be a father because of my job. Being a celebrity in a big country like Nigeria comes with a lot of challenges. I used to have a lot of female fans throw themselves at me. It came in the form of a crush but somehow managed to transmogrify into something entirely different. I told myself that if I didn’t marry then, I may start making babies out of wedlock. This might make me miss my track. Apart from the ‘baby mama’ issue, indulging in many sexual activities with multiple partners is just like digging one’s grave. I had to choose a wife so I could build my future. For how long would I keep gallivanting with all the ladies just because I am an actor? My future was at stake. I was 34. What else did I have to wait for? So, I told myself that I had to get married and settle down.
How would you define fatherhood?
Fatherhood, for me, is patience. The woman that one is married to may be from another background or even religion. The husband has to be able to manage all these differences and make sure one does not lose it. This is why you see more men dying and leaving their wives and children because they cannot manage all these. Many marriages, too, are crashing just because of impatience. I have found out that women love to be pampered and if the man they married does not give them that, it may be a problem.
An ideal father is one who is calm and knows when to react to issues. The home may never be a peaceful one if the father decides to react all the time. Patience is the only way one can still be the head and still live long to enjoy peace in the home.
How long have you been married?
I got married in 2014. My marriage is now eight years by the grace of God.
When did you have your first child?
Well, it was a blessing from God. People used to say, “When I get married, I would enjoy myself for one year before we start having babies so we’d have time to know ourselves better.” I didn’t really understand all that. It could be true but for me, I couldn’t help it. My wife and I met as a couple and she became pregnant in the first year of marriage thankfully. It was God’s doing. By God’s grace, my wife was a virgin when I married her. It wasn’t my intention to do so but it was God’s plan for me. I felt so blessed by God to have such a gift even though I felt I was undeserving, being a bad boy myself.
What is the sex of the child?
It was a male child.
Was the sex of the child a concern to you?
I didn’t care if the child would be male or female. I didn’t really even think about it. All I wanted was a healthy child to call my own. The gender was secondary. Children are blessings from God. I don’t discriminate.
Some husbands have said that they went through a tough time when their wives were pregnant because of some of the cravings and demands women have as a result of the change in hormones and all that. What was your own experience with your wife?
My wife is a career woman. She works at a financial institution. She was even going to work while she was pregnant. There was no chance for all those mushy demands and cravings because we were barely around each other. At instances when we were both at home and such cravings came, I made sure I was there for her. I am a homemade man. I love cooking and running errands for the ones I love. So, it wasn’t like I was stressed. I was enjoying it because I knew she was carrying my baby. Whatever it was I felt I was doing was for her and the baby so there won’t be any complications at the time of delivery. She enjoyed me more when she was pregnant. I didn’t see it as anything that strained me.
How did you feel when you saw your son for the first time?
Ah! I felt so fulfilled. It was like a new dawn for me. I felt the rush of excitement run through my body. There is a Yoruba saying that is interpreted in English to mean, “At last, I didn’t come to this world and be left alone.” At least, I left an offspring that would carry on my legacy. It was like holding another generation in my hands. Who knows? He may be the one person Nigeria is waiting for to better our country. It was a dream come true for me.
Were you there in the labour room when your wife had the baby?
I was there for a while but the nurses told me to get something, and by the time I returned, she had delivered. I knew I wouldn’t even be able to stay there to the end because of my phobia of blood. Since she was a virgin and the channel was still not too open, she had to deliver through a Caesarean session. I thank God for her life.
How old is he now?
He will be seven years old by September 11.
What are some of the changes you had to make when you became a dad?
I had nothing to really change per se. I just had to work on the way I related with my wife so that our son does not see us having issues. I saw that a lot while growing up in a polygamous home. I never had parental love so I told myself that I would never allow my son to go through that. I want him to have a better orientation of what an ideal home should look like. I became more cautious with the way I spoke and the way I acted, knowing that I now had someone who might want to model his life after mine.
You are an actor; your wife is a banker. How were you able to be physically and emotionally available for your son?
The truth is that we both are not that available for him at the moment because of our tight schedules. My son is staying with my mother-in-law, his grandmother. This is confession time. The only time he comes home is when he is on holiday. That is when we calm down to ‘spoil’ him and create time to take good care of him as parents.
Whose decision was it for him to be taken to his grandma?
We both sat down and looked at the matter critically and we agreed that it would be best for him to stay with my wife’s mother. My wife leaves for work around 5.30am to beat traffic and she is usually not back till 8pm. I am always on set, and this may, sometimes, take months. Who would be with him (our son)? We just knew it wouldn’t pay us both so we simply decided to seek an option, and that was where his grandma came in. I would say that this has paid off. He behaves like a mature man now even as a seven-year-old. He knows what to do and the appropriate time to do it because he is always around older people. Grandma is teaching him the ways of the elders – to be respectful, cautious, generous, forgiving, and trustworthy. He is not behaving like kids of his age at all.
Don’t you have fears that you two don’t have enough time bonding as father and son should?
We always communicate over the phone. That was why we made sure that we got him a phone and asked him to memorise our numbers so he would always call us when he needs help or needs someone to talk to. Every time, he calls me. When I have my free period, I still go there to take him out. Last weekend, we went swimming. I make him see that he is the best with the little time we have with ourselves. I don’t think we have lapses at all.
Since he does not stay with you, do you discipline him when he does some naughty things around you?
Ah! Of course o! I whip him o! The Bible says, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” The life I am living now is a result of the whiping I received from my own parents, so I would not deny my child that training. He is going to be the head of a home someday so he needs to be disciplined. He needs to be useful for himself. At his age, he is already in the kitchen with me, helping me cook. Even though he does not see the pot, he would use a stool to make sure he sees what I am doing.
Is there any trait in him that shows that he will go into comedy or act like you?
Yes, of course. My child is a funny boy. He has his own destiny so I wouldn’t be too hopeful. He can grow up tomorrow and say he wants to be a pastor or a teacher. I will support him till the end.
What inspired the name you gave to your child?
As a singer, when she told me she was pregnant, even before we went for a scan to know the sex of the baby, I told myself that I would love my child to take after my singing. So, a name popped up in my head – Orin-ayo (Joyful song). I also wanted him to be God-fearing, so I gave him an English name, Godson.
How did you meet your spouse?
We met in a church. I attend the Redeemed Christian Church of God while she attended Deeper Christian Life Bible Ministry. She had moved to Redeemed and became a Sunday school teacher when we met. I was in the choir. I was the choir director of the parish at the time and so we used to see ourselves. One day, she was outside the church and I walked up to her and said, “I feel like eating bread.” She called the bread seller, bought the bread, bought me water and gave it to me. It made me enquire about her even more. She was so kind. The following Sunday, I took her to an eatery beside our church. I had just been paid by Papa Ajasco and Company and I had enough N1,000 notes in my wallet. I gave it (wallet) to her to order anything she wanted. She only bought one egg roll and bottled soft drink. She even kept the balance back in my wallet.
Did that come as a surprise to you?
I couldn’t believe it. If it were some women, they would have ordered the whole restaurant. So, I saw that she wasn’t a money monger but one who would support the husband even when the man didn’t ask. I wasn’t one who went into fasting and praying for a spouse. It was glaring that she was right for me. Fortunately, when we got married, she told me that she had prayed for a husband and God revealed that her husband’s name would be Victor. She didn’t even know my name as everyone called me Boy Alinco. It was when I revealed my name that she knew I was the right man for her
Source: The PUNCH