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If I were not married, I wouldn’t have featured in BBN –Mike Edwards

For Mike Olushola Edwards,  staying focused and committed to his marital vows all through the 99 days in the just concluded Big Brother Naija Reality Show was not a tea party. He was newly married to his beloved woman when the call for the three months confinement in the House came. In spite of the distractions in the house, however, Mike did not only make it to the final day, he was the first runner up. In this interview with MUTIAT LAWORE,  the Chief Executive Officer of a cigar company, the first  owned by a Black in Africa, spoke about his experience in the BBNaija House, the strategies that saw him to the 99th day, why he is called the president of the Cruisetopians, his passion for modelling and plans for the future.

Many people commended you for being truthful to your marital vows, as you cautioned yourself with all the ladies in the House. Would you have thrown caution to the winds if you were not married?

If I were not married, I would not even have been in the house at all. I commend the other guys, who went into the house unmarried because they really proved themselves and gave the audience a piece of themselves. They tried not to be distracted by the number of women in the house too.

You stayed in the house till the last day, what do you think worked for you?

It is an amazing feeling. I don’t even know how to describe the love and support I got from people I have never met in my life. They decided to keep me in the game till the last day. I know a lot of people have been rooting for me; they genuinely wanted me to succeed and I don’t take it for granted. I don’t want to disappoint them and I don’t want to fail myself as well. So, I am trying to strike a balance so that we can all be happy about the man I have become and what I would still become.

Were you at any point distracted?

I was not distracted by the women in the House, not because I was married but I knew that I didn’t come into the House for distractions but for the real game. I played my part as much as I could and ended up in the finals. I was very close to winning the big prize.

The game is over now, how ready are you for the real life?

Right now, the game is over, the reality stares us in the face and we have to rise to the expectations and be a better people. It is not going to be easy but I am ready to give it what it takes to be counted a worthy ambassador.

After 99 days in the BBN House; Which aspect of the entertainment industry would you like to explore now?

The truth is that I am open to every opportunity that comes my way. At this stage, It is not about what I want to do or what I am capable of doing; it is more about trusting the process. Right now, what is essential is to build on the platform Big Brother Naija has given me. It is a big platform and I have to be careful not to ruin my chances.

So, the next plan for me is to sit down with my team and build a solid foundation with them so that we can know which part of the deal we will be concentrating on.

The entertainment industry is big and it is expanding everyday. So, one must have a solid team of thinkers, who would put you through and help you grow. No matter what you might have learnt, you can learn more and even unlearn. So, for me, right now, I want to learn new things, new innovations, branding and more.

Many young ones want to learn from you and take a cue from your life. How are you going to handle this moment in order not to fail them?

Like I said, I don’t want to fail myself neither do I want to disappoint those who look up to me. I think the people would get nothing but positive vibe from me all the time. I understand how hard things could be, but I am not worried about that. I always want to see people succeed.

Are you saying you are not under any pressure?

As a matter of fact, I take people’s success as mine and their failure as mine as well because we are here to support one another. So, I can’t afford to let them down. Their support got me to this point. I want to keep the fan base intact and keep entertaining Africa with my gifts, passion and drive. I hope that we will have many interesting stories to tell at the end of it all. I am grateful to the people and I like the fact that they look up to me, as their role model.

Let’s talk about your cigar company, which is the first bBlack-owned in Africa. How has it been so far?

That’s my baby company and I have been growing it for the past five years. It is the evolution of who I am and what I have been working on as a young entrepreneur. It is not something I take for granted and I don’t rush it as well. It is a business I want to pass on to the next generation. I want to pass it over as a legacy to my coming generation; they don’t have to struggle from the start. They just have to make sure it keeps going on.

Talking about your passion for modelling and the new attention your career is getting at this time, how do you intend to manage this new life?

One of the characteristics that helped me in the House is being truthful to myself no matter what happens. All my life, I am always trying to evolve, improve and get better. The athletic part of my life is really going to keep going on. I don’t think I want to stop doing what I love doing. One of the things that helped me pull through in the house was my athletic nature. It has become a part of my life and I am looking forward to pushing it on.

It was hard for many people to believe that you are a Nigerian. Are we going to be seeing more of Mike in Nigeria now or you are going back to where you came from?

Well, Nigeria is home and has always been home for me. The fact is that I feel more connected to Nigeria now than before and I feel strong being around my people in Nigeria. I have been given the biggest opportunity in my life to show Nigerians and the rest of the world what I am capable of doing with my talent and personality, which I have built over the years.

So how are you going to deal with your coming back home?

I am just going to take each day as it comes. For me, coming back home now is the best feeling for me and I want to make every moment count. I had barely slept in the last few days because everything still feels quite unreal. I don’t want to push things too far. I am taking my time to understand the terrain and who to talk to with regard to my work and brand.

What does this new fame mean to you now?

It means a lot to me and I owe it all to my fans for always having my back. The truth is that I wouldn’t be standing here having this conversation with you if they didn’t support me. So, I give all the love back to them.

How do you intend to work with other housemates despite the strategy that caused a lot of bad blood among some of you?

I don’t have problem with any housemate. I think from me, it is all love and much love. We have been bonding very well since we left the House and as you can see, everybody is relating very well around here. So, don’t let us start nursing what is not necessary. As far as I am concerned, all the games we played ended in the House. This is the time to get serious and embrace all the opportunities, as they come our way.