Twenty-seven-year-old Terseer Kiddwaya, son of Terry Waya, a business mogul from Benue State, an entrepreneur, and Nottingham Trent University graduate, talks about life, ambition, and career in this interview with Adedayo Adejobi

How do you feel being Terry Waya’s son and does he inspire you?

I feel like a god amongst humans. That’s the assurance he gives me. My dad had been a massive icon in my life. What he’s done for the country, what he’s done for the family and himself, the amount he’s achieved up until this point is nothing but short of spectacular. I learn new things from my uncles and friends about my dad every single day. He discovered Banana Island. I learn a lot of new things and he inspires me in very different ways. He’s an awesome person. It’s big shoes to fill, but I like to feel I am on the right trajectory. If I could just be one-tenth of the person he is, then I’ll be happy.

Being a controversial man, do you think your dad is misunderstood?
I don’t think he cares. He’s always done what he wants. He’s always been who he is. He came from a very humble beginning and made himself into something huge today. I don’t think he cares if people understand him or not, but I think that’s more of a question to ask him because I’m not really sure people think he’s misunderstood. What I do know is that even if they do, he wouldn’t even care.

Who will Kiddwaya be without the influence of his dad?
I’ll be the same person. First of all, I don’t think you can tie your success to anyone else aside from God. God first, yourself second. I think any other person is a bonus or an extra. Of course, I owe my dad a lot in life where he’s got me to. But I’ve got myself to this point now. I owe it to myself, my team, and God. No one can be the driving force behind your success because first of all if you did get success, you need to be able to convince yourself to become successful and it comes from your thinking. You don’t need a rich mother or father in life to go far in life. You just need ambition, opportunity, and a bit of luck.

How did you arrive at showbiz, entertainment, and the recent TV reality show?
Prior to that, I was doing much of these things anyway. I had a lot of powerful friends, political friends, and those in show business and the entertainment industry. I was behind the scene. Big brother provided me with the platform to put myself out there. I didn’t choose it. It chose me. I gave a lot of thanks to the fans who have made me popular. I’m grateful to them for extra motivation. I owe a lot of thanks and love to them for them being the driving force. They are the reason why I’m here. Being in the industry is interesting. You see things differently compared to what you see on television. You also meet a lot of interesting people. So far it’s been fun and I definitely owe it to the fans.

Before you relocated to Nigeria, what were you doing in the United Kingdom?
Mainly facing my studies. I had my primary, secondary, college, and university education in the United Kingdom.

Did anything change with your being on the reality show?
I trust people a lot less now. I now have a bigger target on my back. Apart from that, I’m still the same kid. People who know me can attest to the fact that I don’t form or brag. I don’t try to be someone I’m not.

Was there any time the name Terry Waya opened for or slammed a door against you?
A lot of doors get opened for me because of my dad and that’s because of the incredible things he’s done for a large number of people in this country. My dad is someone who’ll do something for you and not charge a penny. He does it from the goodness of his heart and you can ask most of his business and political friends. Bear in mind most of these relationships go about 20 to 30 years. He builds lifetime relationships, so these men when they see his son, they accord the same level of goodwill to me. They say my dad did some good things for them years before I was born.

My dad works behind the scene without telling me he’s done it for me. I’ll be lying if I told you his name didn’t open doors for me, and I’m grateful for that. One thing that people should understand is that it’s one thing having a door open for you, it’s another thing staying in that room, yes door opened for me but you have to have the personality, the characteristic, the charisma to stay in that room. As far as you have a very strong mind and they have to like you and that boils down to me: how I carry myself.

I’m very good with people. I understand people. I understand human behaviour. I know the right things to say. I have a good understanding of my environment. I’m well-cultured and well-travelled. I like the good things of life; like food, cars, and clothes. I am able to sustain a conversation with someone who likes things like spice, wine, or clothes. It is very important to have a good understanding of many different things, so you are able to relate with different people, not just things about food made locally but maybe different types of yachts, different types of private jets, poetry, prose, and history. When you are able to have these kinds of conversations it’s to network. All these and more are made possible due to my background, upbringing, and education which I owe to my parents.

What motivates you?
That fact that someone out there gets up earlier than me, faster, stronger, richer, better looking – that drives me. It makes me realise that I have to improve. I need to become a better version of myself before my time is up.

How have you been able to give back and influence other people’s lives in positive ways?
I hope by creating amazing content, I’ve been able to give back and influence other people’s lives in positive ways. I also have started a non-profit organisation, the Kiddwayya Foundation, one of the many platforms I use in giving back to not only the people in dire need, but to the country that has given so much to me, and eventually the continent.

Tell us about a time you failed.
I think there are many times I’ve failed. I failed when I drove through the streets and saw people begging for money and I didn’t give them. I failed that person to help him. These are times when I could have been a better person. Every day I fail, but every day I also achieve. So I think as human beings, we fail every day and our problems and failures are easily noticed, but we never noticed our successes. I fail every day, but at the same time, I also achieve great success every day. Life is a balance of both worlds. In that regard, I’ve been strong, weak, have achieved, and also failed.

So what does success mean to you?
Success means how many people around me I can make happy. Success means how many smiles I can put on their faces, and how many mouths I can feed. To me, success is not buying a private jet, a yacht, or a luxury item.

If you were to meet a global figure, who would it be and why?
It would be The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. The guy is awesome. He’s an amazing guy, He works so hard. He is so kind. He is a person that I look up to and admire. I think he has a great personality and he’s a great family man. He is always happy and has broken records. Coming from a poor background to become a superstar in wrestling and the highest-paid actor, he has done well for himself. I can see myself in him in some ways. He is just amazing.

It’s become a trend for reality show celebrities to immediately gravitate towards acting. Any plans to go into acting?
Growing up, being an actor was one of my dreams, aside from being a footballer or a rapper and it is only one of those I can do. So, acting is something definitely I want to go into. As for me, I want to take my time, get mentally, physically fit, and very prepared because acting is a very hard job. It’s not an easy job to get prepared for a role. So, I’m looking at the first quarter of next year to get into acting. But for now, I’m enjoying creating amazing content, working with notable brands to promote and endorse their products.

What do you do in your leisure time?
I love to sit in the garden to think and reflect on how far I have come; where I want to go. I create time out to meditate. It’s important. It is also good for the body, mind, and soul. Another thing that I do but I am so sure works is I literally in my head count how many things I appreciate in my life, how blessed I am and it makes me smile. I don’t know if that is a hobby. I thank God for waking up, the fact that my head, legs, my eyes, ears are all intact. Counting my blessings elicits happiness within me.

People always feel because they don’t have a new car, the new iPhone 12, wristwatch that their lives are miserable. I spend time to count my blessings and that makes me happy. I have a deep understanding of life: what is important, what is not important, what makes it important, and that’s why I’m real.

You sound deep and introspective. Do you love and read books?
I love books. I don’t read 10 books a week. I don’t read as much, but I love books. Robert Greene’s books, Mastering and 48 Laws of power inspire me greatly. It is a lot deeper than actually it is given credit for. I love the way he spins words in tapestries. I love the way he refers to people and history. I love how he tells the story.

You have a thing for red wine.
I love red wine. I drink red wine to appreciate and really enjoy the different pallets, flavour, taste, the thickness. I fell in love with wine not just for the drinking, but for the experience of learning about grapes, where it’s produced, the bottle, the cork, the label and the rich history that comes with bottling wines. Drinking red wines for me is akin to a history lesson. Drinking red wine is one of those things that give me joy because I learn.

You have an eye for fashion. What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is a state of mind. Whenever I wake up feeling I am in love with my body, I could wear jeans, tight tops, or shorts. Next, I could feel like I want to be noticed, or I feel like confidence in the past week has been low. If I feel like being noticed, I might wear Versace. To me, fashion is a state of mind. It’s about how you feel or how you want to feel and that is what we should focus on how. For me, fashion is a state of mind.

Do you feel lonely at times?
I feel it every day. I feel lonely every day. Life is lonely especially when we become adults. We are not children any longer. Your parents run around you every time. You have obligations, duties, a lot to think about; taxes to pay, work to do, rents to pay, bills to pay, and loads of expectations. So this life, in general, is very lonely. I feel that everyone is lonely, but we always find a way to fill the void by going out, drinking, partying with friends, going on holidays, and having friends around us. We just find ways to make us feel like we are not lonely but really we are.

What are your favourite fashion designer brands?
I really like Zara. I like simple brands. Zara for me is nicely fitted; because you know I am not an extra-large. My body is quite muscular and as for me a lot of brands can’t fit my size. All these high fashion brands are not for people who are thin. But for me I like Zara. I love jeans clothes. If you notice I wear a lot of jeans clothes that’s just who I am. I like simple things. If I were to pick an outfit that I like, like my dad, it would be Versace.

What kind of woman would you like to marry?
A God-fearing woman, that believes in God strongly, a woman that is confident and knows how to have fun. A woman who is driven, and has the utmost respect for people, less privileged, mostly. I hate people who are rude or look down on others. You have to treat everybody with respect and it can even mean, for example, in the restaurant the wrong food is served or the food you don’t like. Say it politely. I want someone that has so much respect for everybody.

Any plans for marriage?
I don’t think I am ready for marriage. I think I have so much to achieve and so much to do. I am not saying you can’t do that with marriage, but for me, I’m not ready to give myself 110 percent to somebody else and I believe when you enter marriage you need to be willing and absolutely committed to that person. I’m not in that position right now. I feel it is very important for people out there to understand that: don’t force yourself into marriage unless you are ready mentally. It is not by force to get married. A lot of people force themselves to get married when they are not ready that is when they commit adultery. One has to be ready mentally before going into such commitment. For me, I am not ready. I will say God’s time is the best time. One day, you will wake up and you will know that it’s now time to get married you will definitely know.

You come across as some with some deeply-rooted spiritual inclination. Are you spiritual?
Yes. I think I am spiritual in a way. My understanding of life, my mind, and body are already out there: I’m spiritual that way. I feel like I’m really here. My physical body is here but my mind is elsewhere. My mind can be in a place where this is the subconscious side of me which is my mind and that is why I said mental health is a very funny thing that needs to be taken seriously. Sometimes I could be physically here with you, but my mind is elsewhere. There are two sides to man, his physical and spiritual state. So, I will say I am very spiritual.

What do you think is the role of Nigerian youths in ‘taking back’ Nigeria?
I think we do have a role to play as youths. The elders, the media, the blog; everyone has a role to play in ‘taking back’ our country because this country is for all of us. We all have a role to play and that starts from the bottom to the top. It is not just about changing the government; it is about changing our morals and way of thinking.

How do you intend to spend your Christmas?
I’ll be spending Christmas with family in Benue State. I’m home. My sanctuary. My people.

What’s your new year’s resolution?
My new year’s resolution is to be better than the person I was yesterday.