+ N400 Million Mansion
You don’t need to be told that comedy is now big business. Like Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and their other foreign counterparts, who have achieved enviable success with their God-given talent, Nigerian comedians are really making money. For instance, the King of Nigeria comedy, Alli baba lives like a billionaire in a sprawling mansion in high brow Ikoyi,Lagos hood. He also has over seven posh cars and still buying. Glo Ambassador, Basketmouth is more than comfortable. So is AY (Ayo Makun) who has since moved to Lekki, Lagos where he’s also erecting a Nmulti million edifice. High flying entertainers, Julius Agwu, Gbenga Adeyinka, Tee A, Okey Bakassi and many others are equally in the privileged circle of millionaire Nigerian stand up acts whose talent has made rich and taken to places
And not long ago, stand up comic, Francis Agoda, fondly called I Go Dye, quietly announced his arrival with wondrous autos and a princely mansion in his Benin-Edo state base. He would further step up with yet another N400 million worth edifice (under construction) and a N40 million Rolls Royce Phantom.
In this exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly’s Associate Editor, UCHE OLEHI, I Go Dye explained he’s ordering the very expensive car- reserved for the rich and mighty- for his latest documentary project, I Go Dye, Pain to Glory. The Warri-Delta born showbiz entrepreneur also shared his success story, listing what has kept him on top of his game for over a decade...
What has been responsible for your fast and steady rise in the last seven years?
I don’t find it personal, because it’s divine grace. I attribute all to God Almighty, for His Favour upon me. Without my fans, I can’t showcase my talent. I hold my fans in high esteem. And everything around me is just a gift and present from God Almighty.
How have you been able to manage this uncommon success and stardom?
By just being simple, ordinary like a street kid, living my life like normal. I don’t struggle in life. I face everyday like a new day.
What have you enjoyed most as a star entertainer?
While stardom has given me a responsibility, I am so much indebted to the less-privileged in society. Stardom has given me the opportunity to speak about the challenges and struggles that we face in Nigeria.
You have definitely had pains, too?
No pains no Gains. It’s challenging seeing majority of us are living below poverty. What glory is there to share, if some children sleep without a meal? My pain is I wish I can make the world a better place.
How have you managed it?
I do my best, believing God will always comfort the weak, including me.
There is hardly any moment you are not outside the country. So, why are you always jetting in and out?
It’s all about events and shows. God had made it possible for me to fly like a dove. But sometimes, I also travel for leisure with my family.
What is the stage of your second Benin mansion?
Well, we still dey struggle o! You know say cement neva cheap. We started the project in March and we are still marching on.
When are you likely completing it?
Time belongs to God. In God’s time, it shall be ready!
How much do you reckon you would spend in the wondrous mansion?
I had a budget cost when I started, but you know in property business, there is always fluctuations. Some developers will evaluate between N400-N500million, while others can still get it done with 100 million, depending on the finishing. For such a project, I don’t think I will spend up to that, since I’m practically involved in the construction and supervision. You know I dey mix cement for there. Me, Warri boy? They can’t cheat me for my future!
How much have you spent so far?
I’m estimating as normal, but miscellaneous cost is often unpredictable. Since I’m not intending to sell it, some expenses are often ignored. But I know I have spent quite a fortune.
There has been a lot of speculations about the structure. Can you tell us what you really have there?
Just a small house, for minimum comfort.
We are sure you have other property in your area?
You are a car freak with loads of intimidating machines, hope you are enjoying the expensive toys?
Enjoyment no dey there o! Na fuel we dey buy o!
You will soon be cruising town in a Rolls Royce Phantom…
Well, the truth about the Rolls Royce Phantom is that I had a big production project. A documentary of I Go Dye, Pain to Gain (Glory). So, it’s part of the luxury cars we are using for the production. And this is just a moment for me to say thank you to Scott Tommy and the Honourable Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly for their support on this project. The project is a documentary to inspire youths to believe in their God- given talent.
So, you did order a Rolls Royce Phantom?
Yes! Just to compliment the beauty of what I’m feeling now. As we are recording The Pain To Gain project. It’s about the life Of I Go Dye. Everything is achievable, yet questionable to the low in faith. It’s somehow illusory, but to my kind,we are free to dream big. And big dreams come true. Yes! I have ordered for a Rolls Royce Phantom!
How much is it and when is it arriving?
N30million, as they said. Of course, you know 30million can’t purchase it. But besides, I have many projects to splash that kind of money on, I can’t forget in a hurry how I was evicted by my former landlord because of house rent. And also how Sir Azuh Arinze, your former Editor, in ENCOMIUM Weekly, gave me his suit to wear, and perform at Encomium AMEN Award of 2000. So, I know where I’m coming from. This is a mere dream, but I don’t know when it will come true.
Other than show business, what else gives I Go Dye money?
I’m into property and road construction. I run Revamp Company. We solicit for contracts. That’s what I do off stage.
Some even say you are Dangote, African richest man’s official comedian?
That one na lie o! I just be the area boy wey u know!
It has also been alleged that you have a personal relationship with Edo state Governor Oshiomhole?
The Comrade Governor is a simple and friendly man, he’s a man who supports youth development and I admired his humble nature.
Why did you put a hold to your proposed comedy show?
There wasn’t a hold. We have been working. I’m supposed to do a show with Flytime Entertainment in Lagos. It is themed, I Go Dye Standing. We are still working on it.
What’s new for Francis Agoda, now?
Since I’m done with the production of Game Changer, which will be released next week. We are already working on a new project. I Go Dye Pain To Gain.
Already creating controversies about cars and lot more, it’s a documentary projected for youths to believe in their dreams and to express that it is possible to achieve enviable heights with courage, hard work and determination. That’s the message. It’s not as if I Go Dye is flaunting his wealth. The gospel truth is God is blessing us.
How’s your family?
My family is fine, and it remains one of the greatest gifts that God has given me.
What are your projections for the future?
My projection for the future is discovering the next comedy street king. This is a project that is designed to help harness and discover young talented youths and showcase them to the world.
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, August 20, 2013