Tayo Odueke, a.k.a Sikiratu Sindodo is one of Nigeria’s most popular actresses. She has been around for a while now. But few weeks back, she was under the weather to the extent that she was on the hospital bed for a year and half. While she was sick, there were a lot of rumours about the cause of her illness. At a time she was rumoured dead. But the mother of one child is back on her feet hale and hearty. She even celebrated her birthday recently.
After a long pursuit, we were able to track her down for an interview where she revealed to ENCOMIUM Weekly many things about her illness, the amount spent to get her back on her feet, those who supported her during her ordeal and much more.
Let’s first congratulate you on your birthday.
How does it feel to be alive to celebrate your birthday?
It feels good. It’s good oh, there is nothing worth more than life. So, it’s good to be back.
Since you came out of your illness, you have been attending one party or the other. It’s like you couldn’t wait to start having fun again?
It’s good to be back amongst my friends, my family and everyone. It’s good to be around. It’s not easy to be on bed for so long and not seen at all.
Did you miss them?
Obviously, I did.
For how long were you on sick bed?
Like a year and half.
It must have been very depressing for you to be on bed for a year and half?
So, what was going through your mind when you were on sick bed?
I just wanted to be fine. I wanted to leave the hospital. I wanted to get back to work. I wanted to be around everybody.
What was the cause of your protracted illness?
At first, I didn’t know I had malaria, I had typhoid, I did various tests, I was taken to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). At LUTH, I did various tests and x-ray and at the end of the day, they discovered it was a liver problem.
What kind of liver problem?
My liver shifted. It shifted from where it was.
When you were told it was liver problem how did you feel then?
I didn’t know, I was helpless. It was my family that told me so.
Was there a time you were unconscious of what was going on around you?
Yes, sometimes I was unconscious. I was in the intensive care unit. I was on oxygen and stuff like that.
For how many days were you unconscious?
For four or five days.
When you became conscious what were you told happened?
My doctor was just saying that you this girl why are you stressing us? Why are you doing this to us because he already told my mum that my chance of survival was 50/50.
Is it true that you visited some spiritual homes in the cause of your sickness?
No way, never.
What about a native doctor?
Not at all.
Were you aware of the rumour making the rounds then that you were in a native doctor’s home to seek solution to your health problem?
When I was not in a native doctor’s home, why would it affect me? People were just saying what they liked.
How will you describe your state of health now?
I am fine.
Have you gone back for check-up?
Obviously, I will do check-up now. That is a normal thing. Do you think that everybody that is walking around is healthy? It is not everybody now. You just hear people slump, people fall down. Even if you’ve not been sick, you should try and check yourself. Before I fell ill, I didn’t know something was wrong with me. I was still going everywhere. I was driving around until I started having headache.
How often do you go to hospital for check-up?
That I cannot talk about, all I know is I go to hospital.
Did your doctor tell you what caused your liver to shift and what to do to prevent reoccurrence?
I live my normal life, I eat everything other people eat. I eat everything. I am just coming from KFC, I bought ice-cream. I eat all stuff. I don’t have any problem anymore. The only thing I don’t do is to drink alcohol. From time, I never drank alcohol and I don’t smoke.
Were you deserted by your friends when you were on sick bed?
Life is unpredictable. You don’t expect anything from any human being. It is those you see, you see, you don’t blame them because you don’t know what is going on in their lives too. So, I am not blaming anybody for not coming to see me on sick bed. I am really glad my family stood by me, my blood relations were with me. So, if some people did not come to see me I am okay with that. I thank God I didn’t go around looking for money.
Who else stood by you apart from your family members?
Few of my friends were with me and the love of my life was with me so, who else do I want? Even if I don’t see my friends, I am not bothered.
Who are those friends with you?
I don’t want to mention names because I don’t want to step on people’s toes. Few of my friends were with me and few were not with me.
Who is that love of your life that stood by you?
The love of my life na ni.
Don’t you want to tell us about the love of your life?
No, I don’t want to. You don’t need to know. Don’t you have the love of your life? Leave the love of my life out of this.
Is it the same person that people have been talking about?
Who is that?
Malaika in Yoruba means angel so he stood by me like an angel. Yes, that is who he is, my angel.
When you were on sick bed did you hear about the rumour of your death?
Obviously, I was told. I read the papers –ENCOMIUM, City People, all of you were not nice to me. If not for Uncle Yemi (Oladeinde), I will not grant you any interview. But as long as I am in this industry, I don’t have a choice but to talk to you guys, though you have not been nice to me.
So, how did you feel when you heard the rumour of your death?
I felt really bad but later I just had to let it go because I realized that that’s the price you pay for stardom. If I am not relevant and well known, who will want to know anything about me? Who will want to write about me? Who will want to know about any Tayo? It is because of my profession, so, I have left you people to God.
What will you put as the conservative estimate of the cost of your sickness for that one and half years?
About N10 million.
That is a lot of money, how did you get that?
It is good they spent that much and I am alive. What if they had spent so much and lost me? The money does not worth anything. It is just good that I am alive.
How did you raise such huge amount of money?
Ha ha, I work, I made money and I saved. My family were there for me, my baby was there for me as well.
Which baby are you talking about?
This angel (Malaika, general laughter).
What are you doing now that you are hale and hearty?
I am working on my script. The script is ready and I am getting ready to shoot.
Where is the shooting taking place?
I don’t know yet. But I am thinking of using Lagos, Dubai and Ghana.
Aside being the producer, what other role are you going play in the film?
I am the lead actress because I haven’t acted for so long.
Is the storyline about your recent illness?
Not at all.
Your relationship with Malaika seems to be going stronger every day, will it ever lead to marriage?
How do you want me to answer this question now?
Tell us the truth.
I don’t know. Everything is in God’s hand.
You have a daughter, how old is she now?
Does she live with you?
Where was she all the while that you were sick?
She was always there to see me. She was with me.
Aren’t you going to have another child?
I will, I feel like having twins –two boys.
You seem to have a lot of admirers these days despite the fact that you have not acted in recent times. What do you think is responsible?
It’s God’s grace. As Yoruba people will say, Olorun ki fi awon eniyan ti e sile (God does not leave His own people to suffer). It is not by appearing in one million movies, you can do a movie and win people’s heart.
But a lot of people believe you are admired because of your bust?
(General laughter) E gba mi (help me). My bust ke! When we have the likes of Ronke Oshodi-Oke, where am I? It can’t be so.
It is the way you pack your own?
(Prolonged laughter) My God, it can’t be. Maybe the way I act. Maybe the way I talk. Some people tell me I have a lovely voice.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, April 10, 2015