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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Actress Omotunde Ogundimu: ‘Save Me From Death’

TOP Yoruba actress, Omotunde Ogundimu fondly addressed as Mulika n kako is, not enjoying good health at the moment.  The Ibafo, Ogun State born mother of three children is down with acute fibroid, leading to profuse bleeding.

The emaciating thespian is now crying for financial assistance from the public to enable her undergo surgery, which will cost at least N500,000.  After which, she will still need a lot of money for treatment before she can be back on her feet. In this interview at her Ibafo, Ogun residence, she narrated how it all started and what she has gone through and much more

Some days ago, there was a social media report that you’re down and you need N1 million for surgery, what is the ailment about and when did it all start?

Thank you so much.  The whole thing started about four months ago.  I started noticing that my menstruation was running non-stop which I thought was still normal because when you’re over 40, there are some changes that may occur in a woman’s life, including menstrual cycle, until I went to the hospital and complained to the doctor.  

After explaining how the whole thing was and how I was feeling, the doctor said I have fibroid. And I needed to do some tests which I did. It was confirmed that I have fibroid, a very big one. 

The doctor said it has overgrown. He recommended that I will need to undergo surgery which will cost me a lot of money.   Unfortunately, ever since then, I have not been able to raise the required money for the surgery.  

A journalist friend visited me because it was long he saw me, he said he called someone to ask after me. The person gave him my number.  So, when he called me, I explained to him about my health.   

I told him I can’t even go out let alone to location.  The following day, he was surprised to see how my look was. He noticed that I have emaciated.  He was angry with me, accusing me of toying with my life by not crying out to public for assistance so far I couldn’t foot the bill.  And that’s how the story got to the internet.  Since then, people have been responding in their little ways.

What do you think could have caused the ailment?

I don’t really know.  What they told me is that every woman has it whether you have given birth or not.  It depends on the way it grows in every individual.

Could fibroid lead to profuse menstruation which you’re battling now?

Yes, that’s the way it is. It was when I started going to the hospital that I started learning one or two things about it.  I was told that it was because the fibroid is in my womb, that’s why I am bleeding continuously.  If it were to be outside the womb, it wouldn’t have been causing so much bleeding.

Now, how often do you bleed?

Presently, I am still bleeding but it’s not as often as before.  It has reduced, probably because of the medication prescribed by the doctor.  Since I have been taking it, I have noticed some improvement. The blood now comes in trickles.

You have lost a lot of blood, no doubt about that, what changes have you noticed in your body system now?

I am so weak, I can’t walk well. I can’t even eat well.  I have lost weight.  Sometimes, I purge, I am not feeling comfortable at all with my body system.

Is that the reason you developed swollen face?

Maybe, but it may also be due to the fact that I sleep a lot now due to the medication I am taking.  Before, I couldn’t sleep at all but since the doctor prescribed the medication for me, I have been sleeping well.

How much are you now looking for to undergo the surgery?

At least, I need N1 million because after the surgery, it may take sometime before I can be stabilized.  Throughout the period of staying at home, I will still need some money to take care of myself and my children.  It won’t be easy for me to just start working like that.  I would have to remain at home, recuperating.

What of your husband?

My husband is dead.  He died about two years ago.

We commiserate with you on that?

Thank you.

What’s now happening between you and your husband’s family?  Are they seeing to the welfare of the children and yourself especially your present predicament?

I have not communicated with them since this thing started.  But one way or the other, after the death of my husband, it has been once in a while.  Ever since they shared my husband’s property among the wives he left behind, including myself, it’s only his younger brother that has called me, I think twice.

That means they are not aware of your present health challenge and nothing like monetary assistance might have come from them?

There is nothing like that.  No monetary assistance at all.

Have your colleagues been informed?

Yes, through the post.  Since they saw it, they have been calling me.  And they promised to raise some funds among themselves to assist me.  Although, I am yet to see anything from them, I still believe they will definitely do something.

Don’t you think the public may read a lot of meanings to your situation, seeking financial support for a surgery that will cost you N500,000 not even a million and you’re a famous actress?

The reason I kept quiet was that I thought if I start asking for help from the public, they may ask me why, after all I am a star actress and I have done a lot of movies.  But unfortunately, the job is not what people think it is.  Fine, you need something extra that will be raking in money for you.  For instance, one can be into business because the job we do and the way we do it can’t fetch us what we need to survive.  It’s a kind of rub my back and I rub yours.  It’s not as if one can charge professionally.  The money we collect is nothing to write home about.  That’s the reality.

Is that the reason for poverty in the industry?

Yes, that’s the truth of it all.  You go to one location today, they give you peanut, you go to another tomorrow, you also collect peanut, and you have a lot of responsibilities within and outside your family.  How do you now marry the situation?  But I think if the government can come to our aid, things will improve.  

And at the same time, most of us act and we still produce.  It’s not supposed to be so.  Let’s have producers apart so that those acting will have the opportunity to negotiate their fees with them. But it’s not like that in the industry, that’s why we’re still suffering.

How many movies have you produced on your own?

Three. The first one is Temidun, followed by Origun meta, and the last one is Abiamo Tooto.

When exactly did you start acting?

I started in 1990.  I started around late April.  I was with the dance group, Sunny Wonders Performing Troupe.  Gospel singer, Tope Alabi was also part of the group then.  She later left because we’re not getting what we wanted.  When we now met again, she asked me what I was still doing in the dance group.  She advised that I should join the mainstream acting if I really wanted to be an actress.  That same year, she took me to Alade Aromire Group, headed by late Prince Muyideen Alade Aromire.  That was where I got my real tuition in acting.

That will be about 24 years ago but we believe you should have gone farther than this, why?

The reason was that I got married in 1996 because the speculation then was that those in acting don’t like getting married and all that, especially my family.  They believed if I continued acting, I won’t marry and may not have children.  And being the only child of my mother, they had to compel me to get married.  

Thank God, my husband came around and we got married.  In the pace of trying to keep my home, training my children, I had to endure so many things.  At times, my husband would tell me not to go to locations again. He would say he didn’t understand what I was doing there and things like that.  

And you know, we may go for more than two weeks, it may be up to a month.  Then towards the time of his death, I think about three years, I wasn’t all that active in the industry.  I was like one leg in, one leg out. It was after his death, two years ago that I came back fully.  That was 2012.

Do you think after the surgery, you will still be fit again to act?

Yes, of course.  Even as I am still on sick bed, some people who don’t know what I am really passing through now are still calling me for jobs.  But I don’t have that kind of strength, and I can’t because of little money collapse on set.  But I believe by God’s grace, I would be fit again.

How many children do you have?

I have three children, two girls and a boy.

How has life been without your husband coupled with your present health condition?

It has not been easy but I believe God will continue to help us.

What do you want from the public now?

I want financial assistance to get me out of this situation I am in right now.  It’s difficult to finance the treatment, that’s why I am crying out to the public.

If kind-hearted Nigerians want to assist you, how can they go about it?

They can call me on phone.  My phone numbers are 08035585422 and 08023210921.  They can as well pay directly into my account.

Name: Omotunde Monsurat Ogundimu
Bank: GTBank
Account Number: 0014508117
May God bless them all. It’s painful for me to be disturbing others with my problem, but I think it’s better to let the public know and live than keep it to myself and die.
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