Omotunde Adebowale David, widely known as Lolo1, is a versatile Nigerian entertainer, who has made significant contributions to the creative industries. With a background in law from Lagos State University, in fact, she initially practised before transitioning seamlessly into the dynamic fields of media and acting. Omotunde gained prominence through her role as the host of the popular radio programme, ‘Oga Madam’, after which she took on new roles and responsibilities. Her life could best be described as a symphony of passion, resilience, and purpose. She paints a narrative of transformation and triumph with the Guardian Life team since her transition from the courtroom to the centre stage.
A Pivotal Moment of Transformation
In a heart-to-heart conversation, Omotunde Adebowale David, a multifaceted personality in the entertainment industry, opens up about the moment that sparked her transition from practising law to pursuing a vibrant career in media and acting.
Recounting her days in the legal chambers, Omotunde revealed the emotional weight of chamber meetings where derogatory and harsh remarks about her capabilities were hurled.
Those challenging moments served as a wake-up call, leading her to question her path and realise that she aspired to be more than just another lawyer. With conviction, she packed her bag, left the legal realm, and never looked back. This pivotal moment became the catalyst for her pursuit of a passion she had harboured all along – the world of entertainment. She said every time they had to review cases at their chamber meetings, it was always one moment she never bargained for. She described that moment as “One of the most difficult times of my life. They will look at me and say derogatory words such as, ‘are you sure you went to law school?’ And I was a young lady at that time. They will, sometimes, also say things like, ‘I think your head is filled with sawdust’.”
She said: “On one of such days, I just decided that, no, I think I’ve had enough. I can be better than this. If I stayed in practice, I probably would just be one of the many lawyers, but I knew that I wanted to be more than just a lawyer, and that was when I decided that this has been my passion all along, so, why don’t you start to pursue it? And I just took my bag, took my wig and gown left, and I can honestly tell you, I have never looked back from that particular day.”
She added, “That was the pivotal moment for me. And I just knew that I had to begin to pursue what I really wanted to do. And that was entertainment. And as I began to pursue that, of course, other channels and avenues began to open from that particular moment onward.”
As a graduate of Lagos State University, Omotunde’s step into the world of entertainment wasn’t devoid of influence. While she described her university life as academically oriented and conservative, her active role in the Christian Lawyers Association and leadership in various musical capacities laid the foundation for her future endeavours. From the religious circles where she reigned as the ‘queen’, Omotunde drew strength and inspiration. Over the years, she has had diverse mentors shaping her professional and personal growth.
Balancing Entertainment With Legal Wisdom
Even though Omotunde left her wig and gown behind, and has never looked back, lurking in the shadow was her background in law, which has been the bedrock to many other things.
She acknowledged her legal education as the foundation upon which she built her career in the entertainment industry. The legal background, she said, acted as a guide, preventing the misuse of words and ensuring a careful approach to character and reputation.
“Law as a background is a great foundation for everything I’ve been building on over the years as a radio presenter. It helps me to be able to know the boundaries and the lines to toe; I look over my contract through my legal side.”
Going on, she said her law foundation has been very instrumental. “It helps me to think a little broadly and widely.”
Beyond this, Omotunde highlights the broad and balanced perspective that her legal education affords, incorporating elements of psychology and statistics into her creative endeavours.
Challenges, Triumphs Of A Master Juggler
When asked about the challenges of juggling roles as an On-Air Personality, comedian, emcee, and actress, Omotunde modestly admits to being a “master juggler.”
Emphasising the importance of attitude in facing challenges, she noted, “Everything you choose to do comes with challenges, but it’s your attitude to challenge that is the first challenge. And I’m very thankful that everything I’ve chosen to do, I enjoy and when you enjoy doing what you’re doing it makes the work easy. So, every time I’m faced with, a seeming war, I look at the end goal most of the time, asking what do I want to achieve, and that’s what I pin my focus on.”
She expresses gratitude for the enjoyment she finds in every role she takes on. Balancing work life, she believes, is key to overcoming challenges, and the unwavering support from her family adds an extra layer of strength to her journey. “And I’m very thankful for the home support that I have too. I have wonderful people that help me to pick up the slack especially when there is a slack.”
Building Bridges Across Career, Personal Life
The discussion moves to the delicate balance Omotunde maintains between her numerous career responsibilities and her personal life. With candour, she admits that perfect balance may be elusive, but the end goal remains her guiding light. “I can’t tell you that one will always have a balance between your work life, your personal life and every other thing that you do.” Acknowledging the need for occasional “me time,” she shares her newfound commitment to self-care – a journey that includes beach outings, spa visits, and investing in personal improvement courses.
Passion Beyond the Screen
Lolo I, known not just for her on-screen charisma but also for her unwavering passion for the craft, discloses a role that has etched itself deeply into her heart. Adaku from ‘Jenifa’s Diary’, a character she portrayed for eight years. She described it as “one of the most fulfilling and engaging characters that I’ve played over time.”
The character Adaku comes forth as challenging and fulfilling. “I’ve not even been able to divorce myself from the character, no matter where I go,” she said.
Adaku’s complexities, from peculiar food preferences to her unapologetic nature, captivated audiences worldwide. The character not only brought prominence to Omotunde but also became an integral part of her identity. Even in her travels, people couldn’t help but associate her with the lovable, albeit unpredictable, Adaku.
“It has given me a lot of prominence across the world because a lot of people watched ‘Jenifa’s diary’. It even got so bad that almost everywhere I go, if people want to play me as something, they will be thinking of a character that is similar to Adaku’s, though if you don’t reject such roles, they’ll just stereotype you but it’s been one of the most funny characters to play.”
Evolution Of Nigerian Entertainment
Reflecting on the transformation of the entertainment industry, Lolo I expressed gratitude for the strides made so far: Afrobeats dominating the global music scene, a booming comedy industry, and Nigerian filmmaking gaining international recognition – it’s a moment of pride for Omotunde. She acknowledges the industry’s technological advancements, “positioning Nigeria as a frontrunner in embracing new innovations.”
Lolo I passionately believes that as long as one can afford it, there’s nothing one desires in filmmaking that isn’t accessible in Nigeria. “There is hardly anything you want abroad in the filmmaking industry, that you cannot get in Nigeria, it’s just that thing called affordability as long as you can afford it, trust me it’s available.”
The narrative of advancement and adaptation defines the present, and Lolo I is excited about the endless possibilities.
Navigating Challenges, Triumphs, And Giving Back
Breaking stereotypes in the comedy scene, Omotunde like many, faced skepticism about her ability to thrive on television owing to her appearance. Undeterred, she pursued her passion, breaking barriers and achieving milestones. Challenges, she believes, fuel growth and elevate one to the next level. She has successfully produced films and a 13-episode series, showcasing her resilience and Omotunde’s relentless pursuit of excellence.
Beyond the glitz and glamour, Omotunde is deeply involved in philanthropy through her non-governmental organisation, Caring Sisters Ministry. Established over two decades ago, the ministry focuses on outreach to women, extending support to various causes. While Omotunde humbly downplays her philanthropic efforts, her commitment to the community shines through. The ministry, under her guidance, continues to grow and make a positive impact, “The ministry is growing every day.”
Credit: Guardian Life