“Starting a career as a young girl of 16, all I wanted was to help my widowed mother provide for our young family. I stumbled on the opportunity to model freely, and by fate, I was invited to a movie casting. Who knew as frightened and vulnerable as I was then, that I was starting the journey of my destiny?”
These were the words of celebrated actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde, when she addressed the pupils of Stella Maris College in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as part of the events marking her 20th anniversary on screen.
It was a fulfilled Omotola that told the pupils and the school management to give their best to education and stop at nothing in developing their talents.
She added, “Twenty years later, not only did I provide for my now late widowed mother, I also helped to train two younger ones and earned myself a career in Nollywood, an industry that I helped to start with practically nothing, but which has gone on to become the second largest English- producing and third largest movie industry in the world.”
The famous star had also used the event to start her tour of 20 cities in the world, as part of the programmes outlined for the celebration
She noted that the encounter with the pupils gave her an opportunity to encourage younger generations to believe in themselves for a better nation.
“That was my motivation: to meet with young children.”
She also used the occasion to launch her pet project ‘I gat value’ and also motivated the young pupils by sharing her experience while growing up to stardom.
She said, “What is lacking most among us in Nigeria is value. We don’t feel valued. I wonder if our government cares about us. What is the value of a Nigerian child? How many people died in France and the whole world was in France? Even our President is sending commiserating messages to them and he is not acknowledging all the things happening here in northern Nigeria. Are northerners not part of Nigerians anymore?” She asked.
She, however, emphasised the need for Nigerians to value themselves, irrespective of whether the government cared about its citizens or otherwise.
Fascinated by her story, the students described Omotola as a living legend and a role model to many of them. They celebrated her as a humble wife and great mother who has kept her marriage intact unlike her contemporaries and urged her to share her secret of success so they could grow to be like her.
Representative of the students, Isigwe Chiamaka, in her opening remarks, celebrated the actress’ achievements and thanked her for choosing their school as a flag-off point for her world city tour.