The weird one and controversial entertainment, Charles Chukwuemeka Oputa, better known as Charly Boy was 60 days back. Obviously not looking his age, ENCOMIUM Weekly took him on how life has been.
Charly Boy also talked about his family, his love life, his struggles, the state of the nation. And more in this exclusive interview.
How did you celebrate your birthday this year?
I celebrated with my friends and family members who staged a party for me at my Abuja home.
Is there anything you can no longer do because you are 60?
Who told you I am 60. I don’t feel it. I feel 25. I know about being 30, 35. That is how I feel right now.
How come you don’t really look 60?
The most important thing I inherited from my parents is an extra ordinary good gene. Another truth is that regardless of what people think about me, I do things in moderation. On what I eat, I am more of a vegetarian. I take my exercise religiously.
Again the people I hub-nub with are young. In fact, my lifestyle is not that of a 60 year old man. I live like a young man.
Do you have any regret at this age?
I don’t have any regret. I am just praying to God to give me the strength to do more. I don’t believe in habouring regrets.
Did you set any target for yourself, and how far have you achieved them now you are 60?
Every year, I set a target before the year ends. I would have achieved it and set another one. Now, I want to train between 100 to 150 people in school in the next five years. My father, retired Justice Chukwudifu Oputa trained over 300 people in school. And I want to surpass it.
So, what are you most grateful to God for at this age?
I thank God for my gene, my health and most importantly my family.
Would you say that marrying Lady Di had helped you in many ways?
Yes. I would say that the marriage has given me a lot of peace. When your home is peaceful, you can go out there, fight and return home. But that is not the same when your home is hell. I am blessed with one woman for 35 years. It is not easy to live with one woman for 35 years.
What has kept the relationship all these while?
Great understanding and great communication to make it work. There may be challenges but when they come we analyse and resolve them. We are determined to make it work.
We know Charles Oputa and we also know Charly Boy as a brand. What will happen to that brand at 60?
Nothing is happening. It will live forever. It is a mindset. It doesn’t have a life span. I was born with is. It is a lifestyle. Charly Boy is an advocate of free-spiritedness. When somebody is happy with whom he is and not what he pretends to be, that is when he starts to live.
Do you think you can continue with the struggle for the emancipation of the downtrodden like okada riders, do you still have the stamina?
That is why I said I can never be rich. I have not done enough. There is nothing in this world that can move Charly Boy. I live a purpose-driven life. I am not here to make music of wear earrings. I am here to point the right directions to young people. How can I get tried when I am doing what makes me happy?
What informed your relocation to Abuja when there are still more to be done here in Lagos?
It is very funny I am doing more than I did in Lagos here in Abuja. Nigeria is my constituency. There are young people, who are derailing everywhere. There is also th internet where I reach out to over five million youths.
There are equally my columns in national newspapers where I mentor the youths and defend the masses. Where I am doesn’t really matter. It is the message I am passing on.
What happened to the youth centre you were building in Abuja?
That is the reason I am fighting government. We have a government of wuruwuru. How many times have they allocated lands to us and later said it was double or triple allocation? We want to do something for the youths and they are playing wayo with it.
Nigerians really needs a new kind of leadership. We need a leader who is ready to spill their (bad leaders) blood to make things happen. He has to kill all the rogue politicians in the system. We need a benevolent dictator who has the interest of the country at heart. We need a bloodbath and shakeup.
Are you now passing a vote of no confidence on President Goodluck Jonathan?
Na you sabi! You can’t run the country on luck. It is really sad. Look at all the people suffering. Whole politicians are looting our treasury.
Now, you are 60, are you going to be doing things in a different way?
I am more like a war General with my strategy. In no distant time I will storm Lagos to fight all the radio and TV stations owing artistes. They have to act now before I mobilize my consistency against them.
But do you have the mandate to collect royalties on behalf of artistes when there is COSON?
What is COSON? Where were they when I started fighting for artistes’ rights many years ago? I don’t believe we should have only one body collecting artistes’ royalties in this era of liberalization. It is wrong. I fought NDLEA. I fought Festus Odimegwu (NBL Plc). This is what I have been doing. So, it is either they pay or we close down their stations.
Nothing else has happened after your song, Ninja Bike?
I am battling with many things. I just finished an album. It should be better than what I did with Dr. Alban. Going commercial is not in mind when I sing. I just want to make my fans happy.
What is your assessment of the music industry when you look back at how is all started?
I thank God for what is happening. I have always predicted that our music would be bigger than football. We are the stars, bigger than politicians. We are the real stars. Without D’banj, PSquare, 2Face, Kanu Nwakwo, Chimamanda Adichie, etc, these rogues in power would soiled our nation’s image.
Going by what we read these days about untimely death, 60 is a milestone. So, what is the greatest lessons you’ve really learnt in life?
The greatest lesson I have learnt in life is from an old, wise man. I didn’t quite agree with him initially but now he’s my model and inspirator. That’s my father, retired Justice Oputa. He taught me the act of contentment. I am rich in my heart. If today, I find myself in a one-room apartment in Ajegunle, Lagos, I will still adjust.
I have also discovered over the years that you can’t really be happy unless you make people happy.
Back to your private life. What is delaying your proposed church wedding with Lady Di?
It is the church. And if I wait for them till September, I will take my wife to another church. After all, there are a lot of churches now (laughs).
Is it true you have nine children and 11 grandchildren?
We don’t count children in my side of the world.
The good Lord has really been nice to you. He has given you almost everything you need. So, what more do you desire from God?
More energy and more wisdom.
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, July 5, 2011