Audacious and unassuming, she has a clear vision not only about how she wants to live her life but also about how she wants to lead her generation (youths) out of the doldrums of unfulfilled dreams, mental laziness and prepare them for today’s opportunities and future fulfilments. Marilyn Oma Anona, a TV Show host, producer, an entrepreneur, and a motivational speaker, right from childhood has always exhibited a passionate desire to be of good use to her peers. She didn’t think being a medical doctor or a biochemist would drive her dream to give a helping her to Nigerian youths. So, following her graduation from the university and having had a stint in banking, she eventually listened to the call that has always made her heart beat since she was a child. Paul Obi and Marvellous Okeke capture the narratives of Marilyn and what odds she defied to stand for the nation’s youths through her TV programme, The Oma Living Show
The Oma Living Show
Ever since she stepped on stage, Marilyn Oma Anona was determined to go beyond window-dressing, but rather sticking to reality, and charting ways to make society better. To her, being in the public glare is more than the celebrity status it brings; impacting on lives, instilling confidence and motivating the young generation should count more. It is against this backdrop that the Oma Living Show is built.
“Everyone is doing talk show these days but I stand bold to say that Oma Living Show is first of its kind, because we are concerned about making real impact in the society. The primary focus of the show is the youths. Now someone might be quick to say why the youths? It’s the youths because we believe in transformation and the real use of human resources. Inasmuch as anyone can change, even an 80-year-old man can change; a baby can change but we believe that transformation and real change occurs at a certain level. When it occurs at a certain stage in one’s life, it’s more effective – that’s why we are concerned about the youth and that’s why this show is focused on youths. The main theme is ‘Youth and Value System in Society.’
“The show will also explore entrepreneurship and celebrate heroes that young people can look up to so that they can be inspired. We are all about talent exploration and discovery. Now when we say something concerning youths, it indirectly affects everyone. These youths are the ones who are kids and have parents as well; so, something that concerns the youths concerns everyone. Therefore, the show is about the society; it’s about you and I; it’s about positivity. Apart from the show, which is my main brand and what I am known for, I do many other things. I write; I think I started my career with writing. I used to blog; I blog everyday; those who follow me on Facebook and Instagram will tell you that my passion is always pure writing. Money has never been the driving force. I do more of creative writing; storytelling; pieces that are inspirational or motivational; those are the kinds of writings that I do. Apart from writing, I own a charity outfit called, ‘The Right Stage’ which is also linked to the show.”
“I am a big fan of self-discovery. I am actually supposed to be in a hospital; that’s what everyone thought I should be by now. Back in secondary school, if you were brainy teachers would recommend you should be in science class. They would think you would end up being a doctor, pharmacist or an engineer. So, I even wrote Further Mathematics in my WAEC and I had B2, but it’s not me. It was never me. Even while I was in secondary school I would always fight against being in science class. My principal will tell me, ‘Aha, you are one of our best students.’ I started my university education by studying Medicine but I didn’t finish up. From Madonna University, I went to Anambra State University where I completed my university education –not in Medicine though.
“Eventually, I settled for Biochemistry. I would pass my exams, make the As but I was never happy in the class. So, I discovered myself at an early stage but couldn’t start due to parental factor. I didn’t start early because even when I told my dad I wanted to act, I wanted to do this, he said no. It was his friends that saw me and were like, ‘Aha, is that not John’s daughter?’ They would call me and say, ‘Wait, so you are no longer with the bank?’ I said no; that was when my dad was shocked. But I was too passionate to look. And all the programmes I have done on TV have all been inspiration-related.”
“Naturally, I am a passionate person. As a child, I was so funny, my mom – God bless her soul – would always tell me ‘you’re such a fairy.’ There are some things I do or used to do even as a kid that most kids wouldn’t do. I was the kind of kid that would lose my piece if another kid in the class didn’t have something to eat. Or, if I felt someone didn’t know as much as I knew, I would often teach them in school while at FGC, Ibuza, and Redemption Model Primary School; even in the university, I was known to be that person who would call her classmates after lectures or classes and teach them. Secondly, I remember a time when I loved to take care of others; I love to take care of people and I think that’s where my passion emanated from.”
On the Youth
“Even as a youth, I still have a long way before I get to where I want to be. I see the youths’ future as great, but let the truth be told, I wrote on Facebook that the present youths of today, constantly give me a reason to be depressed. Sometimes, we are a lazy set of people – that’s the truth. I don’t want anyone to get offended, but that’s the truth. A lot of people don’t know what laziness is; laziness is a mental incapability not a physical inability. If you are supposed to be doing something and you cannot do that thing you are lazy. If you are in an establishment and you cannot contribute, bring up an idea; you can’t be proactive either where you are moving forward, but you are all about the money. You are looking at the Genevieve (Nnajis) of today. We all know where she started from. But you are looking at her on Instagram and you would rather spend the money you’ve collected from someone to buy Instagram followers instead of trying to nurture youths to become someone better.
“So youths want to get rich quick, trying to skip some steps. It’s a big problem; in fact, it has eaten deep in the society and it’s painful. I always say something in every interview I’ve granted, so I’ll say it again: the biggest challenge people often say in starting up a business is capital. From my experiences, the biggest challenge is finding the right team; the right set of people to work with. There are people roaming about the streets, saying that they are looking for jobs but when the opportunity is right in front of them, they are not there. They don’t even know what to do. There are a lot of things that are linked to the get-rich-quick syndrome, because our parent have told us ‘’go to school and graduate and some big company will employ you.’ Bu the system doesn’t work like that as it might have worked in the days of my dad.”