While veteran broadcaster, Bimbo Oloyede, reigned as one of the glamour girls of Nigerian Television Authority in her heyday, veteran filmmaker, Tunde Oloyede, made a name as the producer of ‘village headmaster’ along with creating billboard and television adverts. It has been 35 years since the couple tied the knots. They share their experience
What is the secret of a long-lasting marriage?
Tunde: People ought to have been friends before thinking of staying together. A true friend is loyal, faithful and he would stand by you. He wants to give his life for you. But those things are nonexistent in some modern marriages, which are built mostly on economic decisions as well as family and social background. We have found a way of managing our situation such that our marriage has lasted for 35 years.
Bimbo: I think a lot of women take marriage for granted. Career women should understand that just as you make an effort to rise in your career, you also make an effort for that marriage to last. Marriage is very fragile and you need to water it at different times for it to thrive. I don’t think a marriage that is merely surviving is a marriage at all. It has to thrive for both parties to get some kind of satisfaction out of it. I agree with the basic foundation of friendship and I also agree that there are things you can accept from your friend that you would not accept from somebody else.
How long were you friends before you got married?
Bimbo: We were both friends and enemies, we were also colleagues.
Somebody once said Tunde removed Bimbo from NTA soon after their marriage because television broadcasters found it hard to keep a marriage…
Tunde: That is absolutely untrue. I left television first. After giving birth, she discovered that she needed to look after the family more. With that, she decided to stay home. It was difficult for her to go and cast the news before coming back home to care for the family.
So, you did not influence her decision?
Tunde: No. As a matter of fact, I resigned from where I was working and she also resigned from NTA. Neither of us spoke about it until the following morning when she woke up and I said, ‘what are you doing at home, you should be at work’ and she asked me, ‘what are you doing, you should be at work as well.’ That was when I informed her that I resigned the previous day and she told me that she had also resigned from her job. So many stories circulated at that time and the reason why people did not write about it so much was that we deliberately kept quiet through it all.
Did you at any point think you might later regret your decision?
Bimbo: No. My reasons at that time were two-fold. First, it was difficult to get people who could look after the children in a way that I would like. Then, I was not satisfied with the job at that time. So, having to take better care of the children was a good enough excuse for me to hand in my letter. I have never regretted it and as I have said many times, it was certainly out of the blue that I was invited to come back to the screen. All my children are now grown and so, I have all the time.
Were you threatened by the attention your wife received as a TV glamour girl then?
Tunde: No. I just lived my life. There was a close friend of mine who used to refer to me as a village mugu(fool). I remember when I told him that I was going to marry Bimbo. He went to my father-in-law to caution him against allowing his daughter to marry a village mugu. I knew the kind of person she was, she worked with me and at a time I was even her boss, she was real and I had no doubts about her.
In his line of work, he meets beautiful female models daily, what goes on in your mind when he is surrounded by these beautiful women?
Bimbo:In fact, somebody asked me this question and I responded that, as a matter of fact, I go out with the sole purpose of looking for a particular kind of face that I think would be a very good model for a particular product.
Do some of these girls throw themselves at you?
Bimbo: Oh yes. They do.
Tunde: Yes I was never short of such attention!
How do you react to their advances?
Bimbo: Sometimes I sit and observe. At other times, I just stay away because whether I like it or not, the kind of project that was going on at that time required him to talk to the young women, put them on camera and do the short-listing to get the models that were needed. He doesn’t get a lot of the attention nowadays anymore, maybe because he is now old.
How do you settle quarrels?
Tunde: Simple. It usually ends the way it started. By nature, both of us don’t hide our feelings but one of the things we have learnt to do is that when we are right, we shut up, when we are wrong, we apologise and move on.
Bimbo: Life is too short, also one is too busy about so many things to sit down and brood about issues that should have been forgotten.
How do you feel when he asserts his authority as your husband?
Bimbo: In the early days, I could answer back but as I grew older, I realised that talking at the height of anger is not going to solve anything. I would hear him out, take off and then maybe later, I could come back to the issue.
Tunde: The truth of the matter is that both of us don’t get angry at the same time. None of our children has ever heard our voices raised at each other in our 35 years of marriage. Most of the time, my attitude is silence and that is the weapon I use against her.
Bimbo: That can be annoying.
Who is firmer with the children?
Tunde: The children fear her more but they are afraid of me, because before I talk, they would have done enough and when I talk, I talk with the cane. We don’t create room for the children to run from one parent to the other parent. If she says no to a child, I will stand by her decision.
When you lost your daughter, did you feel there was something you should have done that you did not do?
Tunde: Not actually, because we knew the efforts we put in to keep her alive. If it were possible, we could have bought off the death but it did not happen. Bimbo was even stronger than me, I was like water melon— I just melted. It is still a painful experience for us.
Were you deliberately strong because he was weak?
Bimbo: No. It was not a question of weakness or strength. By the time she died, I had exhausted all my emotional, physical and mental energy. I was completely numb! In fact, you would have slapped me and I would not react. I was just going through the motions of daily life. The only thing I knew how to do and the only thing that could occupy my mind was work. Whatever I had to do at that time, I could do with my eyes closed.