“My Rough Experience As Cold Water Hawker In Ekiti”-OKIKI Films Founder, SUNDAY ESAN Reveals His Touching Story
Esan, who founded Okiki Films & Music Productions many years ago, a business being managed by his beautiful wife, Omowunmi Balkis, a pastor and an entrepreneur, said his wife really helped him so much to make a living when his wealthy father died in Ikirun, Osun state in 1979.
After the death of his father in Ikirun, he was taken to Iropora Ekiti, his hometown, where he learnt the rudiments of farming. His mother eventually fought the family to return him to Osogbo, also in Osun state, where he went to Primary school before moving to Lagos to stay with one of his Uncles.
In his words with Yoruba Movie Gist, Esan narrated that “my father was a very rich man but when he died, I was taken to Iropora Ekiti to start farming because my father’s family took over his properties.
That was what brought me to Osun State where I started hawking on the streets of Osogbo. It was so bad that I was at a stage moving from one party to the other to chant Yoruba poetry “Ewi” to get some money. My mother was a petty trader in Osogbo, she was always selling her clothes to pay my school fees. I suffered in life, my brother.
My mother didn’t have enough money to pay my school fees and it was my wife that paid for my West African Examination Council (WAEC) and also bought the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) form for me and that is why I adore her above any other woman on the planet, he said.
He continued: “There was a day my wife bought a shirt of N120 for me for my birthday and I couldn’t sleep, thinking the shirt might be stolen from the room”
How was it like going to parties to chant “Ewi” for money? Esan further said, “ It was very difficult but I had to do that to survive.
That was where my interest in the entertainment world began. But I eventually met my wife when I was about leaving secondary school in 1987 and my story changed for good. My wife was always giving me N2 (naira) every day.
I used N1 for my afternoon food and N1 to feed myself at night because my mother relocated to Ibadan then. It was tough: I was following a band then in Osogbo called Jombe Fuji led by Walikuli. I would go out every night with him during Ramadan to do “Were”. Growing up was very challenging for me and that explains my attitude to the simple life I now live.
My father was a very rich man. He had houses and cars in Ikirun but when he died, everything changed for us. I hawked cold water and coke. It wasn’t iced water then, we call it “cold water”. We used one cup to scoop it from the bucket and give the 2nd cup to the customer to use for drinking. In fact, there was a day my mom borrowed N5 from “Alajo” a daily contribution collector to buy a bucket for me to be selling the cold water and that same day, I mistakenly broke the bucket.
We were both crying so deeply because there was no money to buy another one. But glory be to God today, I have built a house for my mum in Ikorodu but growing up was very hard and tough for us. I am happy she is very proud of me now. God has been so good to me and my other siblings.
Where my wife was getting money to give me? Her brother, a captain in the Nigerian Army, was giving her N5 daily for school and she made sure we spent it together.
On why he allowed his wife to be the one managing Okiki films.
he said: “ You know I am a corporate guy. I don’t have time for Okiki films but I am happy that my wife has done so well for the brand. I was dazed to see the number of awards Okiki won at an award recently. I am so proud of the brand. I have always loved the entertainment industry.
In fact, there was a time I told my mother that I will rather follow Jimoh Aliu theatre group than go to school and she made me sign an undertaken that I wasn’t going to school again. I give God the glory that while I am aggressively pursuing my corporate life career, my wife is helping me to make an impact in the entertainment industry”