That’s good news, reaping the benefits of his labour in the entertainment world. Kudos to those that supported him.
Mid 2013, news went viral that veteran actor, Chief Lere Paimo (Eda Onile Ola) was down with partial stroke, which confined the holder of Nigeria’s national honour of MFR to his bed for months. Chief Lere Paimo then opened up that he would be fine, and true to his words he has since bounced back to tell his story. The Ogbomoso Oyo born role interpreter was on the popular TV money game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Easter series where he won N1 million cash prize. He was assisted in this money spinner by banker, Babatunde Oni (one time N5 million winner on the show) and actress Gloria Young.
This millionaire series was in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the show sponsored by MTN Nigeria and anchored by Frank Edoho. In a chat with Encomium, the veteran actor expressed his joy at becoming N1 million richer and revealed his plans for the money.
Two people (Babatunde Oni and Gloria Young) have just played with you to win N1 million on WWTBAM. Congratulations, sir?
I am grateful to God. Thank you.
How does it feel to be N1 million richer?
I feel great. I am happy. God is good, you people are good. Those that were with me in the hot seat are good as well.
We heard about your illness, can you tell us how it happened?
On that day, I was coming home. I was actually near my gate. I got down from the car, only God knows where the wind was coming from, it blew at me and I fell. The person that saw me raised an alarm. My wife came out and my children, they saw me rolling on the ground and they were crying. They immediately rushed me into the car and I was taken to the hospital. The car was driven by one of my daughters. Later it developed into high blood pressure and high fever. In some people’s cases it would result to permanent stroke. But in my own case, God took control. I thank God, glory be to God. Here I am today.
We can see that your recovery is fast, and we pray you come back in full health very soon?
By the grace of God. Thank you.
You are an awardee of MFR?
Yes. And I am glad about it. Thank you.
When exactly were you given the award?
That was in 2005, when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was the president.
Who are other people that got the award?
We were many, but I can remember a few. I remember business magnate, Alhaji Aliko Dangote got as well as another personality, Dr. Mike Adenuga. I remember Mr. Sunday Ehindero, the then inspector general of police, Mr. Sogo Agboola, popular Custom Officer then, Chief Ebenezer Babatope and Chief Jimoh Aliu. Those are the names I can remember for now.
What do you think would have made the government to come up with an award for the person of Chief Lere Paimo?
Even me I have continued to wonder, because I was a mere bata dancer who never thought anybody was paying more than casual attention to what I do. Three of us were awarded from Oyo State – one professor, one doctor and I. You can imagine, I don’t even know how I fit in. But when such a thing happens, one just needs to thank God. I know people really love me, Nigerians love me so much and I don’t want them to relent. I want them to continue to show me love, pray for me and come around me, so I can really get back to my theatre profession and achieve my goal by the grace of God.
Your goal you said, do you have any project that you are nursing an ambition to establish or that you are possibly working on?
Yes, I am praying to God. If He grants it, I want to build a Theatre Village of my own, no matter how small it may be. So I can employ professionals to teach our boys and girls the art of drama, dancing and all the rest, to become fully developed in the knowledge of theatrical works.
Do you have any word for Ultima Limited, producers of WWTBAM?
They are really doing good and showing love. No doubt, the N1 million I just won would go a long way. The Yoruba would say Eni ti o ba n fe teni, olorun lo maa n fe ti e naa’ (God loves whoever shows love). I pray God would continue to show love to them, grant them peace, make this company to grow and bless them forever. They have made us to see how good Nigerians can be, from when they visited me in my house, through my stay with them here, till I got to the hot seat. I have kept wondering if this kind of hospitality can be found anywhere in Nigeria. This is a very impressive experience for me at my age! God will bless the organisers.