CHRIS AND OLA, former Big brother housemates
Olamilekan Bakare and Chris Asekomeh, Nigeria’s representatives who departed the house on voluntary grounds leaving fans shocked explain to Omolola Itayemi and Ada Igboanugo the reason behind their shocking decision
Nigeria have emerged tops at the Big Brother reality show four times. The competition’s stakes are always high financially for these two are no shy birds. But despite the common ambition that led them into the Big Brother House, fame might not be new to these two models/entertainers and fashion designers before participating in the reality show.
Natives of Ogun and Edo State respectively, they’re a contrast in picture. While Olamilekan Bakare known as Ola is huge, dark skinned and attractive, Chris is of medium height, small-framed and light skinned. But that’s where the contrast ends as they both sport same haircut and beard (which Ola jocularly refers to as his initiative and Chris is copying). Chris like most non-Yoruba was born and bred in Lagos and speaks Yoruba fluently, while Ola has a grasp of Chris’ Fugar native language, his not as fluent as Chris is with his own language.
Ola is the more boisterous partner and this is evident in the way he runs through his words. Chris on the other hand is less taciturn, takes his time with his words and more observant of the two. Could it be his background in fashion designing where attention to detail is very essential. But that doesn’t mean Ola is less observant, his personality just bubbles over.
While Ola’s voice booms in a high octave, Chris’s voice is of a lower pitch, almost drawling. Ola drives the conversations by taking charge but Chris’s intelligent answers however few give a good balance to their conversations. The constant friendly bickering from the two was a sign of their close relationship, though could rattle some nerves, that’s if one is not patient enough to see beneath the surface, one might mistake this for rancour, which is not. These guys understand each other better than that and a quarrel or fight is the last thing on their mind. It’s no wonder they chose each other as partners for the 91-day show.
For Ola, Big Brother experience was fun, different, exciting and gives an adrenalin rush. He kept describing the show as un-expectant, unpredictable, despite having followed previous seasonal shows with prior knowledge of what to expect. ‘’It’s a mixture of emotions and feelings put together. Overall its fun, you get to learn about people. You’ll be amazed at what you learn about people’s cultures, beliefs and norms. Asa ti wa, ewo ti elomi (our culture, other cultures taboo) is an excellent example of the BB house. It was more like an eye opener for me to understand that Africa is actually deeper than what we actually think it is.’’
On the other hand, Chris thinks that bringing people from different culture, races and countries into one house is a big inch deal. ‘’And trust me you think you’re crazy, you think you’re calm but someone else is a little bit more or less than you. So you have to manage and deal with you because at the end of the day, it’s either you run into trouble or you’re misquoted. For me a lot of patience, culture, norms and beliefs is brought together’’, he breaks into pidgin language, ‘’as I said earlier on, you think say you get craze, you go see person wey craze pass you.’’
However, if you say they are part of the most popular pack in the show, you won’t be wrong. Despite leaving the popular reality show, almost at the beginning, they left their marks on the minds of fellow housemates and endearing viewers but if you think otherwise, their countless TV, print and radio interviews confirm their celebrity status and its no PR (public relations) spin. But did they think they were taking too much of a chance in the first place with Nigeria producing the highest number of winners in the past?
‘’I factored all of that in before I decided to participate. Chris is a very busy person naturally and wouldn’t have given it a chance on his own. But for me, it’s something I’ve been chasing since and I had to take time out to convince Chris to come along. So if I’m going to pick anybody, I need to pick someone that is strong as me and someone whose personality complements mine, Chris fits the bill perfectly. I need someone that understands that for every ten I give he needs to give an eleven and for every eleven he gives I need to give a twelve. Nobody is overshadowing anybody, we’re just at par, Ola said.
“People see us as a strong pair and at the end of the day that’s what we gave Africa because we knew before we went in that it was going to be tough but that’s why we went in, in the first place’’.
Being candidates of Downville and later realising that Upville exist right after been sent to homeville, the duo would have chosen the Upville house if given chance. ‘’We saw how they were living the posh life of style, affluence and we said okay. Upville is actually where we wanted to be but after sometime we said, you know what, Downville rocks. It’s different in both houses. In Downville we’re playing for nothing but Upville is playing for money. In Downville, because there is no cash involved there, all 26 of us just bonded and became friends. In terms of amenities and other things, Upville is Ikoyi and Downville is Ajegunle.’’
Chris studied human kinetic in Ibadan in 2006, but became a fashion designer and entertainer before BB came calling. ‘’My journey into designing started six years ago and designs, Chris & Steeze and has high profile clients like Stella Damascus, Tosin Martins, Ali Baba, Mike Aremu and Yinka Davies amongst others. I’m still a designer, na wetin dey give me money be that. It’s the love, the passion that has put me in the position I am in now. That’s one thing I would not leave for anything. Even if I have a million things to do, fashion remains primary to me and for fashion that has kept me in the business so far and will keep me there’’.
Fashion basically runs in his family so its no surprise that it came natural for him to tow such line. His aunty (Kaine George of out of Africa designs) and uncle run fashion houses as well. Ola on the other hand majored in Public Relations and Advertising in Osun State University in 2005. But he later discovered his newfound love for Interior decorations. In a friend’s house, he stumbled on his designing streak where he helped the friend design and that led to the start of Big Dreams design.
“I’ve worked with hotels and different organisations since then. For me basically creativity is key, I was a model and appeared in Tuface’s album, ‘Capable’, in Happy Boys entertainment where I was the manager, producing shows and so on’’ he said. But despite his new-found skill, his love still remains in entertainment, in every niche possible.
With given power, comes a great responsibility. This is something the duo would have to memorise for a long time to come; alongside the fact that technology is a dicey tool once in the hands of the ambitious. In the case of Chris and Ola, their power came enveloped in their celebrity status gained from their brief stay in the Big Brother house. Prior to this, going to a place such as the popular local Buka, Olaiya wouldn’t have posed as a threat to them or their demeanor but their first visit after the exit brought about stares from fellow buyers and the impact of such act wasn’t pronounced until Chris’ sister called him, asking if he had visited a local eatery, as a picture of him buying food was fast circulating in phones and websites.
The true reason for their sudden exit from the Big Brother House still remains a mystery and the curiosity could easily be read on the minds of many. Speculations ran out of context insisting they left due to the fact that Chris has developed new symptoms to existing health issues but that is in fact far away from the true reason he insisted on leaving the house.
‘’Blood pressure wasn’t my core situation. Everybody gets checked before they proceed into the house; so one’s good health condition is ascertained. Blood pressure was far from the reason I left the house. It was actually the pressure from the house. The morning medical check-ups, the medical facilities used, being shut out from the rest of the world, the new diet, the entrapment of space amongst others there is only one word to describe it that wouldn’t be detected by a doctor’s microscope and that’s Claustrophobia. I am extremely claustrophobic. That was what raised my blood pressure and it stabilised the moment I left the house,” Ola said.
A parody he should have been alert of knowing that the Big Brother House would definitely reek of it but on the contrary as the closest Chris has ever experienced claustrophobia is in the confines of his car. They got along well with a few in the house being that his perception of people are those who understand and value friendship and the housemates that fall into this category are Seydou, Luke, Junia, Maneta and Zainab whom he is close to as well as Yadel.