It’s been fantastic and I give God the glory because it is not by my doing nor by my power, but by the grace of God. That is why I’m still where I am today. There have been ups and downs, negatives and positives, because there are a lot of people who sit down in the corners of their homes and cook up stories, unpalatable stories, stories that destroy people, and that is horrible. I make people happy. I put joy in people’s homes, but how come people pay me back this way? The worst part of it is when you say things that are not true, it kills that person that you are talking about.
I’m happy in all of this because I have a God and if people could still say bad things about the dead, how much more Shola? Why won’t they say things about Shola? But I’ve said to some people that they are just envious of my success; that is why they are bent on spoiling my name. But despite all this, God Almighty has been raising me up. I have my God and I’m growing stronger each day. I travelled to England 12 years ago and returned 3 years ago. Then, few months ago, I produced a movie and it was well accepted and before you knew it, people started calling me to come on their own sets as well. I was surprised because I didn’t know that I’m still that relevant. That simply means that God has a hand in what I’m doing. While some people are protecting my interest behind me, some are calling me a pro*titute. All, I leave to God. But so far, so fantastic; so far, so beautiful and if there is another life, I’m still going to be an actress that will be loved and recognized all over the world.
Why do you think that bad stories are always written about you?
Because number one, you are a journalist, you have known me for ages, have you ever seen my interview before? I don’t grant interviews. I always say ‘let my job speak for me’. Some of the journalists are bad and horrible. When they don’t see you or get closer to you, when you don’t grant interviews, they say you are proud, you are too cocky and they want to pull you down and they do that a lot, but I don’t give a damn.
So many things have been written and heard about you, which one do you consider the most damaging?
I don’t give a damn. Nothing. They said they have killed me in America and at a time in Saudi Arabia. They even said that my hands were cut off in Saudi Arabia before they killed me. They said I begged the Saudi Arabian authorities that they should please spare my life that I’m an actress in Nigeria, but they refused my plea and cut off my head. When I got back to Nigeria after the story, everyone that saw me ran away from me because they thought I was really a ghost. They asked me, “Shola, but they said they have killed you?” I told them that I don’t believe in abracadabra. That it was magic that I used. I told them I commanded the head to come back, because I was coming to Nigeria and the head got fixed. I came from England again sometime for a meeting at the National Theatre and a colleague of mine saw me and marveled. She said, “Shola, but they said you are in Holloway Prison in England and I said yes!” That those people recognized me and gave me a break to come home so that when I’m done here in Nigeria, I will go back to the prison in UK. She said I wasn’t serious, but I asked that when they told you I was in prison, did you believe the story? And she said yes! So, I said fine, because she told me she heard that somebody came to Holloway Prison and saw me there and that the person even spoke to me; that all I could do was just to cry. She said it was that lady who came to Nigeria and told them. If I carried cocaine and got imprisoned in Holloway, there is no way the UK government would have kept me in England till now. I would have been deported. So, I have never carried cocaine and I have never been imprisoned. So, all they have said or written about me is none of my business, because it doesn’t bother me a bit.
But why do you think the allegations of drug peddling surfaced in the first place?
Why are you asking me? Let me re-direct the question to you. Why are you asking questions? (I asked because there is a general belief that there is no fire without a smoke). Okay. You will do me a very good favour by announcing to the whole world that anyone that saw Shola Shobowale where she was peddling cocaine should come out and I will personally give a monetary reward of one million (N1,000,000). But the person must be able to tell the world where he/she saw me, the time, the occasion, with who and who we peddled the drugs together. I think that will surely answer your question.
Why are you always at the receiving end of bad press?
God has given me a name. People know me. You attend parties, but I don’t attend parties because I’m a down to earth woman, I’m a mother. My children are my priority in life. I went to the UK because of my children and I became something else in the UK because of them. Let me bring you back to what I was doing in the UK. The documentary is being done already and it will soon hit the cinemas, starting with OH Television in England. People said I was sweeping in London, but I never swept. But I will leave that for the documentary to come out so that you will know the kind of job I did in London for my children to survive. I left stardom and everything in life for my children to be what they are today and glory be to God, because one of my daughters came out with first class in the University of Middlesex and the other two from Northampton University, with second class upper, even though I was sweeping, which I didn’t anyway. But even if it was that sweeping job that I did to sponsor my children, to God be the glory. Let me tell you this today, my father was a retired school principal, my mother was a retired headmistress too, so I know the importance of education and as God has helped me to sponsor my children, I’m happy. One of my children, a Computer Engineering graduate, just got married (Saturday, November 1, 2014). He works with Etisalat Telecommunications. So, if anyone says I swept in the UK, then glory be to God. Because if you want a perfect example of what they call dignity of labour, then you have seen me.
Tell us a bit about the documentary you spoke about.
Don’t worry, it is coming. The whole world will know what I did in the UK, but let me brief you about it. It wasn’t pros*itution, not drug peddling, not 419, not yahoo, not rituals, but it is called dignity of labour, because (owo igbe ki run). Money from shit doesn’t stink.
But is it true that you were working in the mortuary over there?
Just leave it till the documentary comes out. Some said sweep, others said I was washing dead bodies in the morgue. But I will tell you this, as I am talking to you now, I am an Assistant Manager in a care home in England. So, I never swept. Let me also say this, when I got to the UK, I became a student, I went back to school and I got my certificate in everything. But leave it for the documentary to come out. Those who are saying rubbish about me are only being envious and jealous because no one can know the source of my grass to grace story. I am 51-years old and I’m proud to say it. I can hide my age and let any 25- year old lady stand me and see who is stronger. God created me complete and I’m a hustler, because my foundation was as solid as a rock.
You pride yourself as having single handedly sponsored your children, how does this make you feel?
It’s God. I’m a mother. There is a difference between a mother and mothers in my own case. I’m a mother, not only to my children, but to the young ones and that is why I’m in Nigeria today because God has given me the name that everyone loves. So, I give glory to God. I’m now a crusader which has made a lot of state governments to know me more. This crusade with Tade Ogidan is called Family on Fire, I’m being loved the more and this is where I want to use my good name to bring children out of moral decadence.
What has being an actress done for you?
Hmmm! I’m loved (Claps for herself). I am well received. I won’t mention this woman’s name, but she’s an MD of a bank. I don’t know her, I have never met her before, but I was in the UK when Tade Ogidan called that somebody wanted to meet me in Nigeria and I asked him who the person was, because I was busy. I was curious what she might want from me, but I was told that the woman said to her husband that she doesn’t want any gift for her birthday because she has all she needs and that the only thing she wanted was for her to meet me, because she watches my movies. I was shocked because the woman was celebrating her 60th birthday. I have never flown first class before, but I flew into Nigeria in first class, from London, with a return ticket as well. They used me as a surprise birthday present for her and when I saw her (Crying now), she held me firmly and asked me what I’m doing in England. I told her, she looked at me with surprise and today, she has become part of my family. When my children graduated in England, she came with me to receive them and she gave them job experience here in Nigeria during the NYSC period. So, what else do I want? She has already promised my children jobs when they finish their Master’s degree programmes in the UK and she has since been a member of my family. I’m ordained to do this job and I know that I’m going to change lives with the job.
You have achieved a lot so far, what else do you want from God?
Long life, good health, so that I will reap what I have sown. That is all.
Your children are successful and getting married one after the other, how does this make you feel?
I feel on top of the world because Jesus is Lord. Halleluyah!
Why do you think that a lot of our celebrities can’t sustain their marriages?
I am not there. I don’t know what happened in their homes, because all I know is my own home. But the only thing I will say is that if anybody, not even celebrities alone, wants to go into marriage, they should go in for love, not for money or any other thing because love supersedes everything. So, how can you make your marriage work? You can only achieve this when both of you move closer to God. I don’t poke nose into another person’s home, I’m a very private person. If my husband will kill me, I won’t say it out because a friend you tell might deceive you and advice you wrongly and you never can tell; a friend you tell might be passing through a worse situation, but she would advice you wrongly and break your home. So, if you can keep to yourself, then think, focus and pray to God.
Being a celebrity, why don’t you like attending social events?
I was not exposed to that kind of life. When you have parents that are socialites, definitely the children would be socialites. But my parents were academics and we all lived within the school compound. We read all the time, so that has been me. But I’m not condemning those who go to parties anyway, because look at me now, thank God I have friends who understand me very well. They know it wasn’t because I was proud or hated them; they know that it was as a result of how I was brought up. As you know, if you don’t attend other people’s events, no one will attend yours.
Do you think this has made people to tag you snobbish?
I don’t think so. Proud, yes! But a lot of people don’t know the difference between being proud and being principled. When you are principled, they would tell you that you are too proud and pompous, but I’m a very principled person. I will call a spade a spade. I’m not diplomatic in any way. If it’s white, so it is.