Chibuzor Idowu, aka Chichi of Africa has been married to her pilot husband, Jibola Idowu, for almost seven years. In this interview, the couple discuss the highs and lows of being a couple.
How long have you been married?
Jibola: We have been together as man and wife for almost seven years.
Can you recollect the first time you met her?
Jibola: I remember she was wearing black the first time I met her. She did not have a good impression of me because I had a cigarette with me and my hair looked funny. We met at Sheraton Hotel.
Chichi: Then he worked with Air Nigeria. I called him Pastor Chris because his hair was a big afro and it was curly. In addition to that, he was smoking. I just didn’t like it.
Did you know who she was when you met?
Jibola: I did not know who she was for the first eight months after we met. I got to know by accident when we were having dinner with some friends and one of them called her Chichi of Africa. Interestingly, all I remembered about Chichi of Africa was a little girl in a white dress jumping up and down. I did not think anything of it because she never carried herself like a celebrity.
Did you deliberately hide your identity from him?
Chichi: I did not hide, I only did not put it in his face because I am one who likes to be myself and wants to be treated so. Growing up, my dad managed me and a lot of restrictions were placed on me. Since then, I have always tried to be myself; I am more of a tomboy and carefree person.
How did he propose?
Chichi: His proposal was horrible. He just said, ‘Will you marry me? It’s yes so don’t bother.’ Till tomorrow I still laugh about it.
Jibola: We were friends and hung out all the time. I was not in a relationship, she was not in a relationship and we were spending all our spare time together. If I had a flight, she would drop me off and will be waiting to pick me up. If she had to go to work and I was not doing anything, I took her and brought her back. As close as we were, I just figured out there was no way either of us was going to have a relationship with anyone else because if someone else was also going after her then, there was no space for that person since the only times we did not spend together were the nights which she had to go back to her father’s house to sleep. I knew she actually belonged to me.
Chichi: He used to call me a witch because there was this girl he wanted to date and for some reason, any time they were going to see, I always took ill. There was a major one that I had to be taken to the hospital and she actually complained.
Did you always take ill because you were jealous?
Chichi: I was too much of a tomboy to get jealous. Besides we were not even attracted to each other then so there was no way the issue of jealousy could have been the case.
What qualities caused you to be attracted to her?
Jibola: The first time I met her, I was not attracted to her .It was not because of anything but I just did not see her in that light. The relationship took a long time because at the initial stage, we just saw each other as good friends; it was never a love or attraction at first sight. That came much later.
You belong to different tribes. Did you encounter any form of opposition from your families when it was time for you to get married?
Jibola: The whole process of getting married is a story for another day. It’s a novel on its own. A very long story but we are grateful to God for where we are today.
In the face of opposition, did you experience turbulence in the early days of your marriage?
Jibola: For the first 18 months of our marriage, we were not together because I was in aviation school in America.
Chichi: I was pregnant before he left and my mother was with me. He came in after I had the baby. We have two kids now.
Did you stop singing because he asked you to?
Chichi: Funnily enough, he has been harassing me to return to music. I had an album and we did a video for one of the songs where he made a cameo appearance. The record label actually messed things up and that was what made me pull back for this long. I was very frustrated about how the album was handled. It was a very good album where Don Jazzy produced about three songs, Dbanj featured in one of them, Jeremiah Gyang produced one, there was Sheyman, Rugged Man and OJB to mention but a few.
How do you feel every time he has to fly?
Chichi: Since he is a pilot, he has no choice but to fly. It is something you get used to after a while and you just commit him to God. Whenever he lands, he calls me, so I know where he is at every point in time. It gets scary when there is a plane crash somewhere but for me it is God all the way.
What do you do now?
Chichi: I work in an event management and experiental marketing company.
Are there things you would like to change about each other?
Chichi: For me, he is a great dad and an extremely wonderful husband. I think I just need him to be less laid back.
Jibola: Maybe her temper. I wish there was a switch controlling her temper so I would keep it off all the time.
What are the favourite gifts you have exchanged?
Chichi: He is a game freak like my brother. Towards my husband’s last birthday, I asked my brother for the latest consoles and I got them for him. I like everything wrapped up, I like a surprise but my husband always asks me what I want. My birthday is in October and I already know what I am getting, so the element of surprise is gone with the wind. No matter how small a gift is, I like to be kept guessing.
Do you have pet names for each other?
Chichi: I call him Ayo mi. It is when I am upset with him I call him Jibola.
How do you deal with getting suspicious of each other?
Chichi: If I notice anything , I tell him immediately because as far as I am concerned, we are all human beings and in his line of work, he deals with a lot of cabin crew and ladies would throw themselves at guys, married or not. Sometimes I tell him to step it down a bit in his relationship with some members of the opposite sex so that he does not find himself in a situation he has to start explaining to me or there is a break down of trust.
How do you react to such advice from her?
Jibola: I listen, so that I don’t incur her wrath.