ALMOST two years after Aroma Ufodike set the record of carting home N10 million, the top prize of popular money spinning show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, another contestant almost equalled that feat. Mr. Babatunde Oni, a banker with Zenith Bank, Oregun, Lagos branch won the second star prize of N5 million playing on the hot seat.
The father of one child was just one question away from winning the top prize of N10 million. He took a walk pocketing N5 million when the clue to the N10 million question was not within his grip.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with the 28 year-old dude at the Ultima Limited office, Omole, Lagos.
Congratulations on your enlarged bank account. How does it feel to be N5 million richer?
It feels great, I thank God. It’s God, honestly.
When did you get to know about the programme?
Over three years ago and I started striving to become a contestant since early 2009. In fact, there was a time they called me to answer one of the pre-qualification questions but I missed it.
Can you recall the particular question?
Yes, the caller asked me how many member countries make up OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries). I didn’t get it and so I was not invited. Even for this one, I was a reserved contestant, that’s why I said it’s the Lord’s doing.
You were a step to winning the ultimate prize of N10 million before you opted out, what happened?
Even getting to N5 million was a landmark for me. I didn’t want to take a risk that’s why I walked away with the N5 million. I had no idea of the answer to the last question. So, I had to stop there. If I knew it, I would have given the answer and go home with the N10 million.
What will you say took you to that N5 million level?
One needs to be open to knowledge all the time. If you are a doctor you must also be open to other areas of life’s endeavour and not medicine alone. That is what worked for me. As a banker, I read a lot of newspapers and magazines, a lot of luck also played a huge role. I was just lucky to be on the hot seat, I had wanted to go that day but something told me to stay back and participate and that’s it.
You read a lot, who are your favourite authors?
I do a lot of reading, I love John Grisham novels and Robert Ludlum. I also access the internet by going to Wikipedia for information.
How many of your family members have congratulated you?
A lot of them. They have been calling and sending text messages.
Give us a brief background of yourself.
I am Oni Babatunde Oladipo. I was born 28 years ago, I live in Ogba, Lagos. I am a banker.
Which of the bank and where?
Zenith Bank, Oregun branch, Lagos.
When did you join the banking industry?
Where are you originally from?
I am a native of Ido Ile in Ekiti State but I was born in Lagos. My parents have been living in Lagos. In fact, my mum lives in Alakuko, Lagos.
What about your dad?
He is late, he died two years ago.
How about your wife?
She is doing well. She would have loved to be here but for our one month-old baby. She is taking care of the baby at home.
What is the baby’s name?
So, how are you going to spend your N5 million?
There is this mortgage arrangement I am working on at Papalanto/Sagamu axis of Ogun State, I will just use the money to buy a house.
What is your wife’s occupation?
She was a banker, we met in the bank. She withdrew and will soon begin to do business which she has all along fallen in love with.
Where did you school?
University of Lagos, B.Sc Accounting. I graduated in 2004 and did my youth corps in Akwa Ibom State.
What was the experience with Frank on the hot seat?
I now know what it feels to be on the hot seat because of the suspense Frank creates with some other drama. I used to think he is not friendly and would not want people to win much but my encounter with him proved otherwise. He is completely neutral. Whatever he does should just be seen as part of the show’s format.
Any words for Ultima Limited and MTN, the show sponsors?
Yes, words of gratitude, a big thank you to Ultima and MTN for this kind of programme. They should keep up the good work, I really appreciate them.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, March 29, 2011