Ik Osakioduwa: The Real McCoy of Entertainment

IK Osakioduwa

His exapnsive smile and the glitter in his eyes are some of his striking features. Always dressed to the nines, he has mastered the genius of keeping his fans and audience asking for more. In all his endeavours, he gives the best and never settles for less. With his melliflous voice, handsome looks and talents, he is one man with a difference. Meet popular TV host and on-air-personality, IK Osakioduwa. From hosting Big Brother Africa to Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, Vanessa Obioha writes that Osakioduwa has recorded a good number of milestones in his career

From the moment IK Osakioduwa walked in, the atmosphere changed to that of camaraderie. Looking a bit tired, he went around greeting everyone while apologising for his lateness.

His expansive smile and the glitter in his eyes are some of his striking features. Always dressed to the nines, he has mastered the genius of keeping his fans and audience asking for more. In all his endeavours, he gives the best and never settles for less. With his melliflous voice, handsome looks and talents, he is one man with a difference.

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Arguably, IK is one of the most sought-after master of ceremonies in the entertainment industry. His charm and mettlesome mien have endeared him to many Nigerians. He was once called the real McCoy by veteran broadcaster, Soni Irabor. He is one of the few media personalities who have been able to maintain a streak of successes both in the media and the entertainment industry. He can sing, dance and crack jokes as well.

The broadcaster was first beamed to Nigerian audience when he joined the radio station, Rhythm FM as an on-air personality in 2001, shortly after he graduated from the University of Lagos. His boss, Femi Sowolu, who was then the head of programming gave him the opportunity to create a crazy magnetic character on air.

The magic worked and IK, once a shy child became the Wild Child. On air, he was unpredictable and funny, drawing more listeners with his spontaneity.

Sowolu would later lead him to the path of greater opportunities when he suggested that he ahould audition for an Africa Magic TV show, Studio 53.

The TV host had no idea that few years later, the MultiChoice channel would give him a bigger platform that would beam him to millions of Africans in the continent.

He recalled with a tinge of nostalgia how he received the news of hosting the Big Brother Africa reality show in 2009.

IK said, “I was driving on this street (Adeola Odeku) when I got the call that I have been picked to host Big Brother Africa. I have to pull over, then started screaming. I put the call on mute so that they wouldn’t hear me scream. After I finished screaming, I unmuted the call and told them in a calm voice ‘That’s very nice. Thank you so much, very kind of you’.”

Yet, he was all nerves in the first show to the extent he didn’t think he was worth a second chance.

“I wasn’t expecting to be called back because I really bombed the first show. It was a struggle. It’s nothing like what people imagine it is. That is why I have a lot of patience for presenters than most people do. Big Brother Africa is not only a live show, it is a huge show. Not only are you live on TV, you are live to TV all over Africa. It’s a lot of people. They are all watching you live. If you stutter they hear it, if you fall they see it, if you make a mistake they watch it and turn it to social media meme.

“While you are dealing with that, you only have one ear while you are on the show because one ear is blocked out with an earpiece for the producer/director to be able to talk to you. While you are talking, you are listening. It’s actually multitasking because as you are talking, you are listening and also reading from the autocue machine while trying not to make your reading too obvious.

“My first day was a disaster. I got out there to face a maddening crowd, screaming they love you. (Well, they have been taught to love you). They are being nice and doing what they are supposed to do. But now that they are screaming, you can’t hear yourself speak over their screaming. You can’t also hear the director so you are panicking. Nothing prepares you for that moment when all things hit you at the same time,” IK recounted.

Having regained his confidence, IK wormed his way into the hearts of many. He brought the wild and spontaneous radio personality and people loved him more. He would tease the contestants and often pull pranks on them to enliven the show. His savvy looks also added to his growing fame.

Quite a few expected that he would be the host of the rebranded Big Brother Nigeria when it returned in 2017. However, lawyer and media personality who once wrote a column in THISDAY, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, was unveiled as the host.

“The danger is that people wanted presenters they are familiar with. I experienced such. But now I understand it. It is not that I’m better than Ebuka Obi-Uchendu but people just wanted to be familiar with the presenter,” IK added.

From being the host of Big Brother Africa, IK was once again chosen by MultiChoice to host its Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards. He has been a co-host since the inception of the awards.

In 2014, he veered into TV production, starting a talk show, Highlites with IK, on the Africa Magic channel. The show had a similar format to late night talk shows with commentary made on social issues and a good dosage of comedy.

“Highlites with IK was a yearly contract. It was a season programme that was renewed every year so it ran for three years and the channel who authorised the show, that is Africa Magic said they wanted to go a different direction for the year it stopped, 2017; which I totally understand because they are the market leader. They are creative and constantly adjusting and rejigging, re-evaluating the market.

“So they told me they wanted to pause the show, perhaps it may be revived eventually because they needed to rejig and they needed to berth some new shows. I don’t have a problem with that because it helped me to recalculate and look at the best way to do what I’m doing. Again, it gave us time to reassess the show: what were the pros, cons, what do people like most about the show,” he explained.

For that three year, the show ran, IK said he got positive feedback.

The OAP said: “The feedback was good. I think people loved it because there was a spontaneous thing about the show. Humour was good. I think if there was any area I will say Africa Magic wanted to bring change was to make it a little more grassroots in its orientation, to reach out to more of the demographics that watch TV and consume the media.

“So we decided to think about it a lot more and comedy sells in Nigeria and humour was one of the greatest selling points of Highlites with IK. So we decided to extract all the humour and make it grassroots, fun, friendly, simple and no packaging to it. It’s user friendly, so we decided to give them a combination and over time we have been able to bring out content that we are giving the channel to make sure that we haven’t lost out on the talk show.”

For his new show which will start airing this February, IK is tilting towards comedy. He calls this one ‘Comedy Nites with IK’ which he described as a comedy club that will feature three comedians each episode. About 13 episodes will be recorded for the first season.

Known for his great sense of humour, one wonders if comedian is one of the hats the presenter will like to wear someday.

“I am happy to be a funny presenter. I doff my hat to all the comedians who could do great comedy. I think it’s a hat I could wear. I think I have some measure of the gift of a sense of humour. I’m not one for many labels. I’m quite content with being a funny presenter,” IK said.

Being popular also comes with its loads of troubles, particularly in a social media era. IK admitted that he has been a victim of fake news and is not quite surprised how people get infamous on social media, just to be famous.

He stated: “They take your views, smear it and rubbish it because it will get them views and likes. So they are willing to do it. I remembered sitting in my house, watching a show on TV – this was before I got married – and they showed a picture of me walking into a venue with a girl and they said it was IK’s fiancée. I don’t remember who the girl was. But I was holding her hand. She might have been a friendly person who said ‘hi’ and we shook hands for a second. But she was called my fiancée. Meanwhile, I was sitting at home with my real fiancée. They spread all sorts of rumours about me. After a while you get thick-skinned. You don’t get affected by it.”