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My dad cut me out of his life for marrying a Nigerian – British comedienne

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British comedienne and singer, Chantelle Ladeinde, speaks with BAYO AKINLOYE about her first time in Nigeria and other experiences she has had living in the country

How did you come about the name, Naija Oyinbo?

I got the name, Naija Oyinbo, from my in-laws in Nigeria.

You are married to a Nigerian. How did you meet your hubby?

I met Segun (Ladeinde) at a wedding in 2010 in Nigeria. We immediately became connected (romantically) and one thing led to another. We had three children and got married. But unfortunately, we separated in March this year.

Can you tell us about your video skits on Facebook?

My video skits are something I’ve just got into. It is really fun recording them. I enjoy every minute of those skits.

I was inspired by the skits I watch on social media. I kept thinking I would love to do it. And, one day, I got a call to join in. I was very happy the day I got that invitation. I don’t have my skits DVD at the moment but by God’s grace (I hope to have them on DVD soon).

Is this a full-time job for you?

It is not a full-time job. I am a full-time student – studying midwifery. So, I do the skits in my free time alongside singing at events.

I am currently working on a full-length comic movie, which will be out next year.

Have you thought about working with Nollywood to produce a movie?

It is my dream to work with Nollywood, to act in a movie.

Among Nigerian comedians, who are your favourites?

There are a lot of Nigerian comedians that I adore. My top two favourite comedians are Julius Agwu and Basketmouth. I can’t help but laugh every minute (I watch them).

Have your European friends sought advice from you concerning dating Nigerians?

I have a few friends who have asked me for advice. I always tend to say ‘just try’. A few have loved it (dating Nigerians). A few of them have not really liked it much.

In view of cultural differences, how do you get along with your in-laws, especially your mother-in-law?

We get along amazingly – I get along well especially with my mother-in-law. She is an amazing lady with great wisdom. I love her so much.

Before you came to Nigeria or met your husband, what impression did you get about the country and its people?

Before I had any contact with a Nigerian, I always thought it was just another country. I didn’t know much about Nigeria and did not have any interest in knowing about the country – to be honest. But as soon as I gained an insight into Nigeria, I just wanted to learn more and more.

What Nigerian language do you speak?

I speak Nigerian languages. I speak Yoruba, pidgin English and small-small of Igbo.

What’s your favourite Nigerian food?

My favourite Nigerian food is efo riro ati iyan (pounded yam and vegetable). But I do love rice and stew too.

What was the first meal and drink you had when you first visited Nigeria?

The first meal I had on arrival in Nigeria was bread and stew. I had a delayed flight. So, by the time I got to my brother-in-law’s house in Ketu (Lagos) I was tired. So, I just wanted something small to eat.

Which place in Nigeria is your favourite?

My favourite place in Nigeria is Surulere, Ishaga Road (Lagos), to be exact. You can just catch fun easily there.

How many places have you visited in Nigeria?

I have visited many places in (Lagos) Nigeria – Ikeja, Ketu, Surulere, Iyana Ipaja, Kuramo Beach, Victoria Island, Ikorodu, Abeokuta (Ogun State) and many other places. I love all of them.

If you are to adopt a state in Nigeria, which will it be and why?

If I was to adopt a state in Nigeria, it would be Ogun State, and that is simply because it’s a beautiful state with so much history. I felt privileged to climb Olumo Rock in 2012. It is amazing the number of lives the Rock has touched.

Do you have a Nigerian name?

I have a Nigerian name – oruko mi ni Oluwafunmilayo (My name is Oluwafunmilayo).

What Nigerian book have you read?

Honestly, I’m not an avid reader. I rarely get time to sit down and read. But I do like to watch Nigerian TV (programmes).

How did your family take the news that you were going to be married to a Nigerian?

My family was split. My mother, grandmother, grandfather and my siblings were happy for me. But my father was not fascinated about the idea of his daughter getting married to an African man. So, he wasn’t very impressed, and therefore, he cut me out of his life.

What culture shock did you experience in Nigeria?

In terms of culture shock, I didn’t really have any. But the thing that stood out for me was how early in the morning everybody is out to earn a living. They are usually out of their homes before 7am. I was amazed by that. Another thing is how everyone is so happy and friendly. It is an amazing feeling to be welcomed to Nigeria with a smile.

Which Nigerian traditional wear is your favourite?

I love Nigerian traditional attire. I don’t have a favourite. I love all of the outfits.

Have you ever entered Okada (commercial motorcycle), Danfo (commercial bus) or Keke (tricycle) in Nigeria before?

I have taken a ride in all three. I love okada so much. It was my main mode of transport. I was nervous in the keke as I kept feeling like I was going to fall out. And in the danfo, I was very nervous as the bus is usually hot and crammed with people.

What gives you the fondest memory about Nigeria?

My fondest memory about Nigeria has to be spending precious time with my in-laws, meeting them and getting to know one another. It was such an amazing time in my life that I will never forget. I cried for the whole flight home and I can’t wait to return next summer.

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