Ara expressing her points frankly to asabeafrika

 Aralola Olamuyiwa aka Ara is one of Africa’s leading
entertainer cum Musical icon. This beautiful and dynamical Nigerian artiste has
come a very long way in her career of over two decades. Her dexterity at the
talking drum which singles her out among legion of artistes in Africa is one of
the unique factors that have endeared her to many fans across the world.

Aralola in a pose

Today Ara is an Ambassador to the
City of Miami, Florida, USA and a respected voice across the entertainment
sector in Nigeria and the United States of America. Couple of years back, she
came into reckoning when she had what many industry watchers called a
‘tightening deal’ with Atunda Entertainment, an entertainment company managed
by her kinsman and owner of Lacampagne Tropicana, Wanle Akinboboye. The whole
deal, which kept her incommunicado without an album to her credit for so many years
soon hit the rock after allegation and counter-allegations bordering on bad
artiste management ethics and subsequently, threat to life became the order of
the relationship.  Although the deal
appeared to have soared her pedigree as she got fastened to mega events home
and abroad. Ara was not only the highest paid act but equally shared stage with
many world greats like John Wyclef, Steve Wonder and Wesley Snipes to mention a
few. She was allover the world. But that came to a halt when she had it rough with
the owner of her management company and had to go on exile at a point in time. On
returning from exile after three years hiatus, Ara made news again with her
marriage to Prince Olalekan Saliu, scion of the traditional ruler of Oworo
Kingdom in Lagos state South West Nigeria, the union produced a son and crashed
after three years over alleged irreconcilable differences.

Today, Ara is back stronger and better.
She was the lead act in a recent centenary celebration of the Nigerian Woman
under the auspices of First Lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan in Lagos.
Ara has learnt it all; she has had a bad working experience, a bad marriage
experience and graduated into a philosopher-Queen of sort. The mother of one is
grateful to God for sparing her life and for giving her a new lease of life
altogether; last year she recorded her first ever movie—Oshunfunke which has
a storyline that catches the magnificent culture of the state of Osun, in South
West Nigeria.

a culture ambassador who has also diversified into corporate business
consultancy, Fashion and Style consultancy and other interests, opened a
fashion house Lola Atlantis World early in the year and a beauty outfit called
Ara braid Clinic. She also runs an event company called Pro-Angle Ltd.  Ara in one of her frankest interview ever
opened up to your Africa’s Number One Celebrity blog asabeafrika on a beautiful
Saturday evening inside her posh office at Lola Atlantis somewhere in the heart
of Lagos.  

Ara told us everything and anything
on her past, present and future. She candidly opened up everything to
asabefarika ranging from her broken marriage to every other issue that dotted
her life in the past. In a breath she appears to share some of the opinions and
philosophies of our immediately past celebrity and wife of Afro-Juju Music
Creator, Sir Shina Peters, Sammie. She didn’t forget to tell us about her new
movie Oshunfunke and why she still believes in Marriage. It is a mini biography
of sort that we decide to run in three parts. Enjoy every bits of it.  


who was sporting a black vest on a black underwear and looking splendid in her
element chose to open up this way, hear her, “Let me say a big thank you for
coming over because I know there are a hundred and one people you could be
interviewing at the moment and yet you are here with me. I have not been out of
circulation as such; I shot a video recently titled “
Yanke”. It has been on
the airwaves. It is a single and a lot of people love it. I just finished
producing my first movie,
Oshunfunke. I played the lead female
role while
Ricardo Agbor played the lead male role. We had beautiful casts
Baba Wande, Muyiwa Londoner, Dejo
hip-hop star Olamide, Aunty Peju Ogunmola and quite a
number of other very interesting people. It is quite an interesting movie and
that has really kept me busy.

course I also opened a new boutique last December called Lola Atlantis World. I
also have a saloon called Ara Braid Clinic where we do all
kinds of air treatment, anything and everything about hair making. I also have
an all purpose company known as Pro-Angle Nigeria Limited. So, I am
very, very busy. Yes, I might not be in the news but truth is I don’t want to
be in the news for the wrong reasons. I don’t believe in controversies, I
believe in being productive and successful in whatever I do. For now, I see
beyond my present state. I believe that whatever talents that has been given to
you, there is a reason why you have been given that talent. And for me, I want
to grow beyond being a singer or an entertainer. I want to affect people’s
lives positively, whichever way I can do that. So, I stay away from all forms
of controversies. Our business arm Pro-Angle
does lots of Business Solutions; we do export and import and we are also into
Events management and consultation. Of course we are into contracts and all that,
it is an all-purpose business solution company and we thank God for our clientele

Ara went ahead to educate us on the
story behind her ability to do so many things at the same time “I have always
been a very restless person since my younger days. It all started with the
traditional drums from my primary school days in Ondo before the talking drum.
And of course, there was Ola the singer at Even Ezra studios in 1998/99. My first
video was “Which One you dey?” It was released by Femi Lasode in 1998/1999.
And my first time on TV as a singer was in 1988/1989 on OSBC in Ondo state. So,
it started way back then. So, I have always wanted to do different things. I
have always wanted to be dynamic. I think that really explains why I am dipping
my hands in different pies. And to be honest, if you take a critical look at
the entertainment industry, you will discover that it is actually not what it
seems to be. Because there is a lot of hype; there is a lot of make-believe and
if you don’t want to associate yourself with certain group of people and you do
not want to be associated with some kind of dirty scandals and all that, you
must create your own niche. And I know I am blessed with some little
intelligence, I am educated. God has given me something to open the door for
me; to open the way for me. So, I will rather use that opportunity to my
advantage and benefit and that is exactly what I am doing”.

Ara the Great

The beautiful and creative woman explained the
creativity behind her new work OshunfunkeOshunfunke was scripted few years ago. Being a cultural ambassador,
I watched a lot of home videos and something readily cross my mind; we are not
celebrating our culture through our movies. We are always showcasing our
mediocrity; showcasing all kind of untrue sides of the Nigerian people.
Nigerian people are the most faithful people ever; we have a good heart, we are
hard working. We believe strongly in God even though a lot of people do not
live a Godly life. So, for me, I said the culture of every Nigerian tribe,
south, west, east, north everything is so deep, it is so beautiful and we need
to showcase our tourist location and sites through our movies. Let the outside
world know what we have.

culture is our identity; it is our DNA. We can not run away from it and the
only way we can let them see it is through our movies. Let us tell our story
through our movies and that was why I decided to go into Oshunfunke. I have four
more movies to produce in that line. Through out the duration of the movie, we
went to different tourist locations in the state of Osun and a lot of people
were surprised at so many beautiful locations that they could visit on holiday.
It is not until you fly out of Nigeria. There are so many beautiful tourist
locations that you could go to; I was at my son’s PTA meeting sometimes ago and
they were packaging a children trip to Ghana. I rose up my hand and said ‘I am
sorry, my child have not seen Nigeria enough, why should I take him to Ghana?
He has to go to Calabar, he has to go to Ekiti and Ikogosi Water Spring, and
where else do you have that in the world? Where cold and warm water meet at a
cross road? He has to go to Idanre Hills; he has to go to Olumo
. He has to go to the east and every other part of Nigeria to get a
hint of history and where this country started from in the north, in the south
west and elsewhere. There is so much to learn; so why should I take my son to
Ghana? That is why I went into movie and the story is written in such a way
that you will be kept in suspense. Of course, there is romance and other
aspect. But the bottom line is that the movie is all about our cultural
heritage that we have not even explore a half percent of it. That is the angle
I am coming from”.


wanted Ara to tell us what she feels
about her Musical career which seems to have gone sabbatical in the last couple
of years but it seems the female drummer has a different opinion, hear her “No,
my career is still very intact. You know in the entire twenty five years of my
career as a musician, I have never released an album and a lot of people ask
me, ‘Ara,
how did you do it?’ and I say ‘listen, I am called’. Music chooses me, the drum
chooses me and that is why I do things that depict my name, Ara.  I play A-list shows. I am the highest paid
female artist in Nigeria. I can say that categorically.

My last show was recently at the centenary
celebration of the Nigerian Woman; I was the main act of the evening, yes, my kind of music is so
infectious and if you hear it, you won’t just believe it. I have well over
eighty songs. But when the time comes, I will release them. For somebody like
me, I have a very personal relationship with God and I don’t just do things.
Today, it is because of you (asabeafrika) I created this time. I
was supposed to go to the beach and sit down and meditate. That is me.  I love to do things once God gives me the
direction and that is what gives you the real success; not face value success”.


Ara making her point to asabeafrika.

One topic that the artiste hates to talk about
is her experience with former Business manager and owner of Atunda
Wanle Akinboboye, in as much as she tried to shrug the
topic under the carpet, asabeafrika made her to talk on it “You
know I am somebody that likes to look at the bright side of things. I must give
it to Wanle Akinboboye, he did a wonderful job with Ara
but he got greedy. Wanle did absolutely well, the PR, everything, it was
unprecedented in this country. He did very well but the human factor came into
it. I was being paid thirty percent of whatever was coming in at the time. And
the contract was for six years but I left without a dime because I was
structured in such a way that I couldn’t just be free with anything. If I
needed just ten thousand naira, I have to sign. So, it was a kind of bondage.
But like I said, I am a chosen one. Even in all of that, God still brought me
out of it and I was released to the world as ARA. It is actually my
name, it is not a stage name it is my real name. So, I wouldn’t go out of my
way and say Wanle Akinboboye is a bad person. I chose to see the better
side and that is my honest submission on the whole episode”.

many observers of the Ara episode with her former boss Wanle
the controversies that erupted after she made a move to
leave the company could be related to the black man syndrome of “Not letting go anything that is seen as a
meal ticket”.
But again, Ara has
a different view “No, not every black man is like that, not every black man is
like that. Like I initially said, I am an optimist by nature. I often chose to
see the good side and not the bad side of things. I believe that when you are
building a house, everybody has a role to play. Carpenters, bricklayers,
painter; a bricklayer can not do the job of a carpenter. Likewise a painter
will not do the job of a bricklayer.  I
believe he (Wanle) did his part and probably he was trying to do the part of
other people and he just couldn’t do that. In fairness to him, I will say that,
he did well, yes, we had terrible times.

truth of the matter is that, nobody, none of the band people that left had any
good thing to say.  I, however, have a
whole lot to say but I will better let all those memories go away and not even
think about them but just concentrate on the good side. Today, I have my life,
I have my career. The Lord has returned everything to me in a million fold, everything
that was taken away from me has been restored because I left him (Wanle
Akinboboye) without a dime. I had to run out of Nigeria”.

Her leaving Atunda Entertainment was
said to have equally put her life in danger as several threats were made on her
life and most of her belongings seized until she was able to escape abroad, we
pressed her to relate some of the experiences to us and she did “Yes, it was
when I got out (Abroad) that I got to know that people were afraid for me; a
lot of people came up to me and told me many things. And I was shocked; all the
while I was close to God but I wasn’t this close to God and even as little as
close as I was to God, I will see things before they happen. He will reveal these
things to me and then, I fast a lot. I don’t joke with fasting because it
empowers me spiritually. Then, one great thing that God has been able to do for
me, I cried to Him and said “God, slow my sexual appetite” and He did that for
me. Because abstinence helps you to build your spiritual life and allows you do
exploits in the spiritual realm and I thank God for that because it is not
easy. It is not. And I think I have been able to go through all that because I
am not moved by material things.  Because
I see beyond this planet earth, it is just a transition.

is somewhere we are going and there is none of these things that we will take
with us. I have a hummer jeep, I have other good things of life but I can not
take any of these things with me to the next place. So, why would I let that
dictate who I am or how I relate with people? No. I think Nigerian leaders
should imbibe this attitude and know that none of these material things you are
acquiring will be taken anywhere. Let us use it to better the lives of our
people. Build the roads, hospitals, create jobs and beautify our country.
Materialism can not help you; it is the development of humanity that will help
you. Yes, I know it is not easy to run even a state. I run like three to five
businesses now, and I can tell you that it is not easy. So, I give it to them
but they need to do better for the masses”.


Ara told us more on why she
decided to leave Nigeria after she had it rough with her former management, Atunda
and how the development led to the birth of her only son.
It is the biggest revelation she ever gave to a media. “I was in Iceland and it
was on that trip that I found out that I was pregnant.  Yeah, and from there I went to the United
States for a church program. I didn’t even know it was my due time because it
was my first pregnancy. And on a particular day, in the morning, I had a
spiritual experience. This is a very personal one for me but I will share it
with you. Some friends of mine were to come and pick me to go and watch the sun
rise; it was around 5:30am and we were in Key-West, Florida; they picked me up
at home. Don’t forget that this was a period I was going through a lot of
tribulations in my life and I was just abroad to enable me while away time. As
we were in the beach front, praying, a white woman just came to me and held me
from the back, she said ‘when are you due?’ and I looked at her, it was

I said to her “Two months’ time”. She smiled and said “God said I should tell
you, it is well, do not be afraid”. I looked at her and asked ‘do you live
here?’ She said ‘no’. That she was from Atlanta.  She said ‘I have to go now’ and she hugged
me. From her looks, she was like in her fifties, and then she left me and
followed a group of white people and disappeared into another direction. So, I
now asked my friends, ‘did you see the woman that just spoke with me now?’ And
they said “Were you with some one?” So, I just kept quiet and I knew that
something just happened. That evening, I went for a church revival; an all akata (White people’s) church. Jamo-akata
church and as I was stepping in, the prophetess called me and said “You, you, yeah, you”, I was wearing a
blue bou-bou
cloth. She described me and asked me to come and kneel down. She
said “God said I should tell you”, take note, that was the second time in a day. “That I should tell you it is well, do not
be afraid”.
So, she started prophesying and I started crying and I went
back to my seat.  That evening, I went
home and slept; the following morning, I started having pains on my leg. I went
to the hospital and said “I don’t know what is wrong with my right leg” and by
the time they checked me, they said I had to be admitted. And by the time the
doctor checked me out, I was three centimeter diluted. I was in labor, I didn’t
know. I wasn’t feeling anything.  

doctor was out of town and I insisted on a female doctor. It was a very
difficult one but unfortunately when the baby was to come, I was just frowning
because it was a male doctor that was around. So, the nurse now told him that I
have complained to her that I don’t want a male doctor but the guy was like
‘hey, don’t worry, don’t worry, we are
. He was a Jew, a Jewish doctor. Dr. Peterson; so, by the
time he came in, I was half time into labor but I was not feeling anything
because I only came for the church program, I was to return to Ice-land. So, I
waited. By afternoon, they said they have to take the baby out because they
were monitoring him; they said he was coming out, he wasn’t stopping and a helicopter
was on standby because
Key West is an island. They had to
fly me to
Miami (Ara is a Special Ambassador of the city of Miami), so,
later in the evening, they operated me and brought my baby out and when I saw
him, I was enveloped with joy.

was the first time I believe I fell in love because I wasn’t expecting to see
him that day. I knew he was a boy because I have had revelations about him, I
had seen him. From the day I knew I was pregnant, he became my prayer partner.
We pray; so the moment they placed him in my hand, I said, ‘so you are the one
that has been praying with me all this while? I held his hand and said ‘let us
pray’. That was the first thing I said to him, and we prayed together. And
after the prayer, I lifted him up and said “Father,
you gave me. He
is not mine, he is
Igba ta  ba gbe leyin lowo, kii fo. Awo ta ba gbe leyin
lowo kii faya
, “I give him back to you” and I removed everything he
had on him, I removed everything I had on me (Became naked) and I laid him on
my chest and I wept. Tears of joy; and since then, my boy is going to be five
next month, he still sleeps on my chest. That bond, it is so strong.  So, a lot of things happened that I will not
be able to tell you. I will just keep it to myself, how I spent my time in
exile and how I returned to Nigeria, it was one huge chapter of my life that
cannot be forgotten in a hurry. But we thank God”.

out for How I lost my marriage by Ara to break on this blog in 48hrs