‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ host Frank Edoho is still legally married to estranged wife, Katherine, who told NET last week that the pair should never have become husband and wife.Katherine Obiang, who has three kids for the TV host spoke to our correspondent in a compelling interview how the 7-year old marriage should never have been and how the couple should have rather stayed friends.
Do you miss being on the television?
I had an amazing time on the then television but I don’t really miss it. My boss (at Nigerian Info FM) recently told me we will be going television soon, so I just might be going back to television. It doesn’t look like I have a choice.
Why did you sacrifice the television for the radio?
Television is more natural for me than radio but I soon became tired of the constant harassment it brought my way and then I had reached a point at NTA where nothing really excited me anymore. I wanted new things and to an extent, the bureaucracy there (NTA) didn’t have plans for that. Again, there was too much attention from the press, I couldn’t go anywhere without being recognized, it is still the case now though. Television was an intrinsic part of me but radio was a place to hibernate for me and it allowed me to be more vocal and impact more through my words as against the many distractions on the television.
What would you have been if you weren’t a broadcaster?
I would have studied Theatre Arts but my mother convinced me it was a profession for ‘no-gooders’. I did not understand then but I saw it as normal for parents to want their children to chart a professional course of life. I studied Accounting in the end but I would have been a Theatre Arts practitioner or perhaps Medicine because my father is a surgeon and I wanted to help people live a better life but I just could not pass Chemistry.
Let us into your background.
I’m Cameroonian. My dad is from Cameroun, my mom is from the Efik tribe in Nigeria, but somehow, we have been living there and here. My mom was a Head of Department in a tertiary institution, it was natural that we lived in Nigeria. I have no sister but brothers as siblings and even my aunt had only boys as kids, so I grew up among boys. I had different influences. We travelled a lot and to an extent, the experience helped shape who I am and how I see things. It was generally an OK childhood.
Having spent over ten years in the media, what is the big picture for Kathrine?
I would like to own my own talk show and get people to talk and share experiences in a different way from what we see here. A platform where I can talk with people and help them laugh even as we share their problems. I want to bring on board all sorts of personalities; the serious minded or light-hearted people and it would be on TV.
How did you start your journey in Nigerian media?
It was during my one-year internship. I was working with the account section of a radio station and one day, the programme manager called me and asked me to read something for him, after which he asked if I had thought of doing something on radio. I gasped but because I am always up for a challenge, I said yes when he asked if I was interested. I used to script everything I said so I can sound interesting and gradually, I grew into it.
How are your kids?
They are great.
And how are they taking the whole divorce issue?
We are not really divorced. It’s still a work-in-progress kind of thing but we are taking it well. When its time for him to see the children, he does and when its time to return them, he does. On my part, I have carried the children along and make them understand they are not stained because of it. I wouldn’t want them to develop a complex because of it. We didn’t design for these things to happen but they do. Its like people who have lost their parents, they didn’t plan for it but they have to move on. I watch them and I think they are doing pretty okay especially because we talk about it every time there is a reason to.
You mentioned that you aren’t really divorced. Does that suggest possibility of reconciliation?
No, it doesn’t. We just started the process but there isn’t any hope for reconciliation. We know we would always be in each other’s lives because of the children, so we have to be civil. When the children are getting married for example, we have to hide our differences and make it work.
What if he (Frank) came back, would you consider it?
No. Three years have gone by. It will be a whole entire process of knowing somebody all over again and I don’t have the energy to do that. We’ve let it burn and I don’t think he will do that.
Do you sometimes miss him?
He had such a great sense of humor. I don’t know if he still does. His sense of music too, being a radio presenter, and we used to exchange thoughts on things regarding that, but otherwise, I don’t miss him in that nostalgic way of…It’s a part of my life I have come to terms with. I am a solution oriented person. He was part of my life for more than 10 years (dated for four years and got married for 7 years).
Looking back at everything, do you wish you never got separated?
No, I think Frank and I should not have gotten married in the first place. We should just have been friends because he was an awesome friend. While I was dating someone else and he had to go back to his country, he (Frank) was there all through and I had known him all the while he was in the University of Calabar and we started our career together. I think we shouldn’t have pushed it to marriage and just stayed as friends.
Any regrets about that?
No. I have three lovely kids to show for it and of course, every thing happens for a reason and a purpose. They can only make us better or stronger people and it has done so for me. I have grown from what went wrong.
What is usually the cause of the fight?
I think it impatience, anger and not knowing how to deal with issue in the now, so you react before you think. It goes like, ‘huh, how dare you say this to me…is that what you will say?’ I can’t remember any one in particular, it has been long now, I have moved on and it’s not a thing that can happen to me again but I always say no matter what, a man should not raise his hands on a woman. A woman should also not goad a man too much. It takes nothing from the man who walks away because once he hits a woman, he starts to think it is justifiable. Unfortunately, we are in a society where we have friends that will give you thumbs up for doing that. A man should be calmer and not react on the now.
Are you making efforts to ensure that your son isn’t wrongly influenced by this?
I have a son and I talk to him all the time. I let him know he must be there to protect his sister. They should look at him and feel safe with him and he knows that. The girls also push him and I caution them, so it’s a balance.
Were you hit by the rumors of his recent marriage?
I didn’t want to believe he was because we are still married (legally). We are not divorced, so I didn’t see how that was possible and didn’t loose sleep over it. I’m not asking him not to go on with his life but things should be done properly. We are separated for three years and now in the divorce process. If he found happiness and love, then I’m happy for him.
Will you be trying your hands on marriage again?
You just never know.
If you would, what kind of man would he be?
You come to a point in your life where you can’t afford to do things out of adrenaline but with great thought. It would be a more mature person, someone who is calm and has a fine sense of how life should be. Someone who is mature, wise and seen life and the ways of the world and knows what he is doing at every time.
When you think about all that has happened, does it bring tears to your eyes?
No, I feel a sense of disappointment instead especially now when the children come home with questions that I need a man to answer, if he (their father) were around. For example, someone to be there for my son at a time when he is writing his common entrance examination. It’s a feeling of disappointment, but you know, we have to rise above them and you go on.
What was your reaction the very first time it happened?
I’m like these things happen in marriages but we think of reconciliation and getting families involved. It is your first trial in marriage and nobody gives a guideline about how things are going to be.
Apart from being part of the Project Alert, what other steps have you taken to help women who are battling with domestic violence?
I talk to them but in the end, I let them know, the decision is theirs. A friend of mine was involved in this and after we talk, she will go back to him. No matter what platform there is, it rests on the individual. It is what I have arrived at. I still share my story when I have the chance to.
What inspired the set up of your media outfit, 2PM?
I wanted something different and unique and 2PM media was born. A small representation of what I do and all the things I can do.
What else do you do apart from being an OAP and actress?
I emcee events, sell fabrics and do a little bit of everything.
After you stumbled on your first script, you seem to be doing well. Are you considering dumping radio for movies?
I don’t think so, I think I will just try to blend it the best way I can. I don’t know which way this road is leading me to but I am flowing with it for now. I can’t say what I will do or not.
Having spent over 10 years as a practitioner in the Nigerian media, how would rate the sector?
I think we don’t have good broadcasters still. People are overlooking the part of professionalism and thinking that because an individual has an accent or speaks well, he or she is qualified to be a broadcaster. On the good side however, everything is digitalized unlike before. I feel if we can slow down and do things properly, the world is our oyster.