Mrs. Rose Idibia is the mother of Nigeria’s multiple award-winning music star Tuface Innocent Idibia. The seasoned teacher and mother of four, spoke to Daily Trust on her celebrity son.
Daily Trust Saturday: What is it like being mother of a famous Nigerian like Tuface?
Mrs. Rose Idibia: I am very happy about it. Any mother will be excited and proud to have a son like mine. It is something I am really proud of.
DT: How early in life did he show an interest in music?
Idibia: It was very early. Very, very early indeed, though his father and I took it to be child’s play. But he continued with it until he got to secondary and he came out in full force. When he showed the traits that early in his life, we really did not encourage him to go with it. Like the typical mother that I am, every mother’s wish is for her child to become a lawyer or doctor, accountant, engineer or any of those professionals with big names attached to them (laughter). We really had such big dreams for him. And you know at the time he showed interest, music wasn’t taken seriously in this country. We were not too happy about it initially. But when we saw that there was a genuine trait in him, we decided to give in. From then we began praying for him and supporting him in any way that we could.
DT: As a teacher, how did you handle the fact that he didn’t want to go back to school anymore?
Idibia: As a teacher, I had to counsel him. Most of our children miss the right path because of lack of counselling. When I detected his unwillingness to continue with his education of course, I began counselling until I discovered that his interest was really in music. Then, I decided to go along with it and since then I have been happy with him because he is doing well. You can’t force a child to do what he does not have an interest in. And most of the mistakes our parents make are things like this. Everybody is craving for a child to be in a profession with big names. But in many cases they end up not doing well and in the end you blame yourself.
DT: Most boys are closer to their mothers than their fathers. Was he that way and how did he take the death of his dad?
Idibia: Tuface is very close to me. But interestingly, he was also close to his father. His father’s death really devastated him. He was ill for a long time and Tuface saw his father throughout the entire period. He was there with him in all the pains and struggles in the hospitals at home and abroad. Tuface always was there and gave his all. He really wanted his father to live. When he gave up, it was a big blow for him. But then when God calls, nobody can stop it. It has affected him. If you look at him, he’s not as vibrant as he used to be. He is trying to recover. He has lost a lot of weight since then. The loss affected them all, but all the time I keep encouraging them and we support one another as a family to pull through. Gradually they are pulling through.
DT: What kind of person was he as a child?
Idibia: He was an extrovert. There was never a dull moment around him. He was very mischievous and could crack jokes. He made us all laugh at home. The one joke we enjoyed from him was when he mimicked the Tiv accent which he did perfectly. He would do it with such a seriousness and straight face that would have cause to laugh all the more. He was so hyperactive and couldn’t seat in one place for five minutes. He has calmed down a lot now. He has some comedy traits in him.
DT: What were things he enjoyed doing?
Idibia: He would try to force a beat from any ‘instrument’ he could lay his hands on. Wood, bucket, door, table, whatever. But you could hear that the beats had rhythm and were songlike. Children would gather around him and merry with him. Our house used to be a beehive of children because of him. He is not one who is easily influenced. He is always himself and believes strongly in himself too. I feel very proud about this attribute.
DT: Did he run away from doing chores?
Idibia: No, he was quite helpful in the house and enjoyed running errands for anybody who sent him. He was very attentive to people’s needs. Even today, he still does it with his wife and children. I have visited severally and met him in the kitchen. His wife loves to eat anything he can cook and she calls whatever it is, ‘special meal.’
DT: Does he have a favourite food?
Idibia: He is not a choosy person with food. But I know he doesn’t like swallow. He eats it once in a while. But he likes ‘okoho’ our (Idoma) native soup. He loves it a lot. That’s what he requests anytime he is visiting me.
DT: Which of his songs is your favourite?
Idibia: I love a lot of them but I think ‘African Queen’ is my favourite. There is a lot of meaning in the lyrics and most of his fans love it. There was a day I watched him on TV singing that song on stage. I was in my room and I cried so much that day because of the standing ovation he received. I was like, ‘is this really my son whom people are appreciating this way.’ It was a touching moment for me indeed.
DT: A lot of people condemned his having children by several women. When these things were happening how did you deal with it?
Idibia: Every mother who hears negative comments about her children is definitely unhappy. There are times things happen in your life and you just can’t control them. Maybe his having the children was destiny for him. I say so because things went out of control and due to the fame; maybe he didn’t know how to manage it all from the onset with pressure from the opposite sex and all that. He isn’t somebody who can deny his children. As a family, we became supportive because as practicing Catholics, abortion is not at all an option. He accepted them as they came.
One thing I want to say is that it is better what he did than what others might have done because of shame. Some may have aborted their babies and their own stories of women having babies for them may not be heard. This doesn’t mean they are innocent. He accepted al his children, instead of getting rid of them. On this account the family is happy with him.
DT: Did he have a favourite dress or shoe?
Idibia: Oh yes! He had a pair of canvass I bought for him. It was a normal pair but Innocent would wear it round the clock. I remember if we were preparing for church then, after dressing up, if I wore him a different pair of shoes, he would cry for the canvass. It didn’t matter whether it fit the outfit or not. I eventually had to hide them.
DT: Many mothers are over the moon about their child’s wedding and sometimes steal the show. Was that the case with you?
Idibia: (Laughter) No, not at all. But when he came to tell us, I jumped, I danced and praised God. Who would not have danced? I was over the bar with joy and was making all sorts of preparations. In fact, I outdid myself. Only for me to go to the wedding and the crowd was overwhelming. So I couldn’t have stolen the show. He came to his father and I about it and told us who. We already knew her and were very excited. We had been on his case to get married. We weren’t particular about any woman. Whatever choice he made was fine with us.
Culled from Daily Trust
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