Ogechukwu David popularly known as Elder O is arguably one of the busiest entertainers in Nigeria. He performs live numerous times a week at the popular celebrity handout Ojez, located at stadium, Surulere, he’s a standup comedian, an MC (master compere), voice-over artiste, an OAP with Inspiration FM, he hosts a mega annual comedy event, he’s a Nollywood actor, and he’s always on set shooting immensely popular skits. One wonders when the amiable comedian rests. In this interview with ONITSHA GRA, the Abia State born funny man talks about life, career, love for Chizzy, remarrying, and more.
Kindly introduce yourself once again to Nigerians.
My name is ogechukwu David. I am from Amarum Amaediaba Nkpa in Bende Local government area of Abia state. I am a standup comedian, master compere, voice-Over artiste and an OAP with Inspiration FM 92.3, Lagos. Last month I unveiled a new alter ego Ichie Yoppy and people will see more of that in movies next year.
Are you also into movie production?
I have taken part in other people’s productions and I want to produce my first movie next year. I have done so many short movies on my own anyway but no major project yet.
Tell us of your journey into comedy?
Yesterday, I celebrated my 16 years on stage and 10 years with O’jez, so you see how far God has taken me, and I give him the glory.
I started from stage acting back then with several theatre groups. I was always cast as the funny character in all our presentations then. In 2004, at a friend’s wedding, the MC refused to show and I summoned courage and took the microphone to save the day, because people were waiting. I did the job very well and two other guys booked me for their events. That’s where my journey officially started. Then I began to build myself as a standup comic by registering at different comedy talent hunt competitions including the AY Open mic.
How did you arrive at the name Elder O?
I wanted a name that could stand the test of time, a name that will follow me and still be relevant at my old age (laughs). Just imagine, Niggaraw grew older and changed to Mr Raw, Wizkid is still planning how to change to wizman or wizpapa, you can imagine a man with many kids still answering a kid (laughs).
So, I decided to chose Elder and then add my first initial O. Even at 90 I will still be an Elder.
We also noticed that your dressing is often a mixture of western and native attire. What inspired it?
I call it cooperate plus native, that is cooperative. At some point I needed an identity to stand out and the idea just came, now it has been accepted across board by my clients and fans.
How did the show at Ojez begin?
The O’jez Restaurant is a regular rendezvous for celebrities and top people in the society for the last 20 years. The system has produced several entertainers and great production teams. So, back then, it’s a great achievement for an entertainer to perform at O’jez. I was begging to be allowed to perform there for free, but they refused. On December 18 2010, I went to anchor an event inside the national stadium, the O’jez band were there too, their band leader now called the MD that he saw a comedian that is very good, and he asked him to bring me the next day. Na so our marriage take start o and ten years on we never divorce.
You’ve been holding the comedy nights at Ojez for a decade. What’s the secret?
Yes, for 10 years now, I’ve been doing it and I am the first comedian to clock 10 years with them and also the first to host it Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The secret is talent, grace of God and spontaneity. I am a very spontaneous comedian. Sometimes I just hold the mic and play around with our audience for hours without even cracking one joke. I give God the glory.
We learned that you always give up-and-coming entertainers the chance to showcase their talents. How would aspiring entertainers reach you?
Yes, we support budding talents, but they must be exceptional. Over the years, we have been able to groom so many of them and they are doing well for themselves.
They can reach me through my Instagram handle officialeldero. I like serous people that are passionate about the hustle. This new generation want to make money before making the name, but during our own time, we tried to make the name before making money.
Tell us about your annual comedy event.
The name of the show is Comic Relief With Elder O And Friends. It’s my annual comedy event that comes up every last Sunday of November. Last year was the fourth edition and Surulere is still basking in the euphoria of the success. I made up my mind not to take it to the island because entertainment started from the mainland. So, it has been a mainland show and it’s the biggest comedy show on the mainland. The likes of Koffi, Okey Bakassi, Charles Inojie, Lolo1, MC Shakara, Shaggi, and many more have been regulars over the years, with so many Nollywood veterans coming through to support.
What challenges do you face in hosting the event?
The biggest challenge is finance. These days, it’s not easy to get companies to come in and sponsor shows, but gradually, we are getting there. From the third edition in 2018, we started having partners…still working and hoping for the main sponsors. But it’s on record that I am the first to host such a big show in the Lagos mainland that attracted the big boys, brand BRT buses, do billboards and tv/radio adverts without sponsors. So, na my small hustle I dey burn every year just to put smile on the faces of people…money wey I for take go rent house in lekki and follow others dey shout, I stay in lekki!
Tell us about your radio show.
The program is called Orijinal Naija of Inspiration FM 92.3 Lagos. It’s a very serious program but laced with a little bit of comedy for soft landing. We discuss serious national issues.
What should fans expect from you this yuletide?
They should not expect o. I am the one that is expecting from them this period. Na me dey do giveaways every Christmas, but this year, na me need the giveaway. But seriously, if there is no lockdown by then, we will gather to thank God for life, because this year is so challenging. Lagos is getting ready for another lockdown this week, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.
Tell us some of the movies you’ve featured in.
I acted in Little Ryan, The Class Of Kabuki, in TV series like My Flat mates and The Johnson. I can’t remember all their names now.
On the private side, it’s been many years since you lost your wife. Are there any plans to remarry?
Hmmm…I never thought of that, but recently it dawned on me that I have to move on, so hopefully it will be soon. Because, I don dey approach menopause.
Who would you thank for the rise of your career?
God first, then my pastors Rev Chris Cephas and Rev Enwezor, my Ogas in the industry: Okey Bakassi, Charles Inojie, Koffi, Dauda, Chief Odobeatu (O’jez) and many others.
Which Nigerian celebrity would you like to date?
Chizzy Alichi…Been crushing on that babe since 1942. She no dey even reply my chats, but I know sey e get guys wey dey ignore her chats too, so na 1-1, this life no balance (laughs).
Is there something else you’ll like to say?
Yes! I am a man and I have five siblings, all boys (laughs). I am also a fairly-used husband with a lovely son.
Thanks for talking to Onitsha GRA.
My pleasure, sir.