In more ways than one, providence has described the eventful life of Seyi Law, one of Nigeria’s funniest humourists and comperes. From his grass to grace story, to his marriage and miraculous arrival of his baby half a decade after wedding, there’s no gainsaying he’s God’s work in progress. But his row with a controversial social media critic, Kemi Olunloyo, almost soil a reputation he’d built with sweat and blood. Olunloyo marched the cobra’s tale when she called out Seyi Law’s little girl and this sparked off acerbic reactions that waned only recently. In this interview with MediaRoomHub, enjoy Seyi Law’s narratives of all that went down.
Your jokes flow naturally and it’s always fun listening to your them. What actually inspired your jokes?
I think having the opportunity to learn over the years under some of the biggest comedians in Nigeria has really helped me as a person. At first, I started up as a comedian without really knowing people in the industry, which is something that also helped me. The only comedian I knew before going into comedy was the late Gbenga Adeboye. I was fortunate enough to meet Jedi, who later introduced me to AY who then was preparing for a comedy competition. I had the opportunity to win that competition and so I stayed with AY. AY already had his tutelage under Alibaba, so it was easy to pass that knowledge down to me through service. This time around it wasn’t a matter of telling me what to do or what not to do, it was more like ” Seyi go and do this thing”. So I learnt first hand doing those thing myself. Relying on other people’s joke is not a problem, it’s something that helps you over the years. Also like I say to people, our major inspiration is God Almighty. God has given you the brain to think, eyes to see, mouth to speak and legs taking you everywhere to see things happening around you. Your brains should be able to turn some of these things to joke. So I’ll say I’m inspired by God Almighty, the people I’ve been able to learn from, and the things that I see all around me.
As a young man, did you grow up wanting to be a comedian or you went into comedy by the lure of commerce?
Comedy started for me as a way out of my predicament. I always wanted to be a medical doctor and I can say confidently that I tried very hard to achieve this. I was opportuned to get admission twice to study medicine but it was around the period when my mum had financial issues and so it wasn’t easy for me. I couldn’t stay in school because things were tough, I remember even going to someone in my former church to ask for money and the person asked me, “who is your father in this church”? One’s father had to be known before help could be rendered. Unfortunately, my father wasn’t popular enough or rich enough to build that sort of affiliation. At a point, I had the opportunity to be doing homework call business center; where there was the umbrella, two chairs and a phone. The phone they used to call “pe mi pada, owo nro mi” was what I was using to make phone calls at Orile bustop. Every time I closed and got home, when there was no light, I usually made my family at home laugh. One of my cousins said to me, “do you know that a lot of people make money from what you are doing, and yet you just make us laugh for free at home?” He then took me to a church to perform for the first time and the rest they say, is history.
The first time you mounted a stage, what was the experience like for you? Did you experience stage fright?
My first time on stage went smoothly, I didn’t even know what was called stage fright. And I guess I’ve been able to outgrow that a long time ago because when I was in primary school, I represented my school in debates and quiz competitions. Also in secondary school, it was the same, I was used to standing in front of the crowd. I was also a member of the cultural and dramatic club and I even rose to the post of becoming the president. I went ahead to being the chairman of the Lagos State All Secondary School Drama club. This is to tell you that standing in front of the crowd is something that has been part of me. I’ve never been a shy person, I love talking. If you are a true child of High Chief Japheth Aletile, you will know that that man is a talker, a good talker and we all inherited that part of his genes. So my first time on stage was smooth, I didn’t know what kick off point or punch line meant. I was knowledgeable about these stuffs, I just went on stage and made people laugh and then rounded off with “thank you, shey e easy, if to say e easy, we for no be here”. Then my stage name was “shey e easy”.
At what point did you change your stage name to Seyi Law? And why did you go with the moniker?
A lot of people don’t know this story and it’s huge for me. This is the reason why I say ‘comedy for me wasn’t what I chose, it was already chosen for me through God. The reason why I say that is this. I had the opportunity to perform at Emeka Smith’s church; RCCG Household of Faith at Thomas Animashaun in Surulere. And I remember trekking from Abeokuta street in Ebute Metta to Aguda to attend that show. I was on the road for almost three hours and that day everything was against me to being on that stage. But as God would have it, Emeka persuaded the organisers to let me start the show. I went on stage, cracked jokes, people laughed, and I had about four standing ovation in between my performance. Jedi who was at the show, ran on stage after my performance, held me and said I was a talent waiting to explode in the comedy industry. My parents never named me Oluwaseyitan, I was walking on the road and one man called me “Oluwaseyitan”. I didn’t answer, but the man tapped me on the shoulder and said “Oluwaseyitan” again. I turned and said “Oga, my name no be Oluwaseyitan o”. But thee man said ” na your name be that”, and he left. I said to myself, “wetin dey do this man?” and I went my way too. About two weeks later I met with Jedi again and while we were talking he said ” that your name ‘Shey e easy’ doesn’t sound too corporate, why don’t you pick ‘Seyi’ from ‘Oluwaseyitan’ and ‘Law’ from ‘Lawrence’ to make ‘Seyilaw”. I said “bros, my name no be ‘Oluwaseyitan’. He said “just pick Seyilaw, you no know say your talent na wetin God don do finish.” That’s how I came about the name “Seyilaw” and “Oluwaseyitan”. It was on my way home that day that I remembered that one man told me about two weeks ago that my name is “Oluwaseyitan”. I told my family and they said “maybe na the name wey God wan call you be that”. That was how I did a change of name and added Oluwaseyitan to my names. All this goes to show that it was really God that wanted me to do this business because I would have done anything possible in my life to be a medical doctor. I tell people that if there’s anything I wish I did, it would be being a medical doctor. And trust me, I might be fifty and and still study medicine.
You have a very lovely family, how did you meet your wife?
I met my wife on the 30th of September 2007 , to be precise. I went to the Global Impact Church to perform and from where I sat, I saw this lady with her friends praising God, smiling and they were just having fun. I admired her from a distance and when it was time to perform, I did and went back to my seat. After the program, just when I stood outside waiting for a cab, this said lady walked up to me and said, “wow! that was ae lovely performance, I loved your confidence on stage”. I was dazed by her compliment, I thanked her and noticed she was waiting for a cab with her friends. When I got a cab, I was more than willing enough to share it with her friends, though I was with Emeka Smith. She accepted and that was how we got talking, and we exchanged numbers. She was trying to get into the University at this time. One day, she called to encourage me to keep doing what I was doing, she prayed for me and that’s how I took advantage of the opportunity to take a step forward in our relationship. She told me she was trying to get into school at this time so I advised her to enroll for partime instead. She did, and was able to work and school at the same time.
How long were you both together for before you had your beautiful daughter, Tiwaloluwa?
Five and a half years. We got married on the 27th of March 2011. Tiwa came at exactly nine years after we met. When I say there are alot of significance in what God has done in my life, there are points I can make reference to. And people will see that I’m not living a life of my own, but a life that God ordained for me. I met my wife September 30th 2007, and when we were expecting Tiwa, the due date we were given was 11th of November in Nigeria. This day coincided with my cousin’s daughter’s birthday, the same cousin that introduced me to comedy. This was significant for me because I thought it would be nice to have have my daughter and her daughter celebrate their birthdays on the same day. After we got that date, we travelled to the United States and we got the first of November as the due date and that day happened to be my elder brother’s birthday and I was happy about it. But along the line there were complications and my wife had to be rushed to the hospital to do a CS. The day appointed for the CS was the 30th of September and I wished within me that it was October 1st which would have being a significant date, or even November 1st. At this point, I didn’t recall anything significant about the 30th of September until after I got the news that the baby has been born. It was around 4pm and I was excited. It wasn’t until much later that it dawned on me that that date was exactly the date that made it nine years since I met her mother. It goes to show thee significance that I’m talking about because by the 30th of September this year, she will be one and it will clock 10 yearse since I’ve been with her mother.
We’ve been following the social media banter that occured between you and Kemi Olunloyo, we were surprised you responded to her, what really happened?
After we had our baby, I was the one that announced it on social media because it meant alot to me, it was huge, it was my testimony, it was after over five years of waiting and God did this miracle. I saw joy, I saw beauty, I saw something I couldn’t describe when I held her for the first time. Because of that, the joy was much for me so I decided to share her with my fans so I posted her picture on social media. A lot of people celebrated her and her picture became more like a comfort to people who were looking to God for the fruit of the womb. I had people who sent messages to my DM, that they used Tiwa as a point of contact, asking me to pray for them. I felt that Tiwa was God’s blessing and I couldn’t keep it to myself so I decided to open an Instagram page for her. Then suddenly, I saw Kemi Olunloyo’s post about my daughter being obese. When I saw this, the only reason why I felt bad was because my mother inlaw visited us when we had Tiwa and she saw her eating pattern. She said ” if you people have money, why are you starving this poor girl”. That was her first complain and then Tiwa was having 120ml every 3 hours. We’ve been to the hospital on several occasions to get her vaccines and all and we’ve never gone to the hospital for any medical reason. Whenever she she goes to the the hospital, her weight and height are measured and the paediatrician would have told us if we had to check her eating pattern and all. This was a baby we had in the United States, and you know what it means when it comes to health issues with kids in the United States. For Kemi Olunloyo to actually go on social media to call out a baby, and say she’s obese, that was way out of line. If she had sent a message to my DM, it would have been better. She never contacted me, she just went straight to her page to say “Seyi Law, your baby is overweight.” When I saw it, I didn’t want to respond to her allegations without being knowledgeable about what she’s talking about so I decided to call my paediatrician. I spoke to my paediatrician and asked if there was any need for us to go to the hospital and the paediatrician said that if she had any issue, he would have informed us. So I said “let me talk to this woman”. For you to say a person is overweight, you must have measured his or her BMI. So I wrote to her and tried to educate her, in case she had forgotten. Let me take her back to school, let me revise her memory. I shared her weight, height and eating pattern. This is a baby that is still less than six months. She has not started involving herself in any physical activities or exercises that can make her lose the baby fat. I tried to educate her and that was all I did, and people were talking, some people supported her. It was after this that she got arrested and when I saw this, I tried to reason if it would be nice to say something false about a person or something true and then this said person decides to take it to the law. The law is the constitutional right of everybody. It represents us as a nation or individual. If I don’t want to come out and fight physically, the only way I can fight is through the law. When people were saying “Free KOO”, I decided to lend my voice to educate people. I said I was happy when I first heard the news that she was imprisoned but then I thought about it that there are several people I’ve offended in my life that could have put me behind bars but decided to take the path of forgiveness. I said that those people saying she should be freed do not know that what she has written, if not true, could affect the pastor, the ministry and members of the church. People need to think about the psychological effect. I said the best thing to do is plead with the person who reported the offense to take the path of forgiveness and have Kemi Olunloyo released. Unfortunately, some blog site picked it up and said Seyi Law said he was happy they Kemi Olunloyo is in jail. She got back, read the headline, didn’t read the body – because that’s what I’m assuming – and decided to talk ill about my daughter. She said my daughter looks like Kungfu Panda, and went on ranting. That was the point when I decided to talk back to her and let her know that the same game she’s playing, other people can play too. The fact that we keep quiet doesn’t mean we don’t have a voice but we decide to take the honorable path of being quiet and letting things go. The fact that she came for my baby shows how much of a coward she is. If she was woman enough, she should have faced me and not my baby. She was shouting that Maje Ayida is a gym expert, has Maje taken his own son to the gym yet? At least you see me take Tiwa for a swim, like they say, swimming is the best form of exercise. For a woman who is over fifty, she is gradually becoming a ridicule on social media. I’m a comedian, i dey yab people, na part of the work wey I dey do, but I won’t stoop low to insult a baby, a child. It’s not done, when we crack jokes, we crack jokes with stuffs like ‘ajebo’, ‘ajepako’. Even if she wants to get back at Seyi Law, she should abuse Seyi Law. If she does, I’m sure that people wey go support her for social media plenty. People wey no like say Seyi Law dey make small small money to chop go support her. If she had spoken about me, trust me, she won’t have received a reply. But I decided to talk to her because she spoke about my daughter. She’s someone that has the opportunity to cook sometimes and doesn’t have someone to eat with so I understand how she feels. I understand her pain, if she needs love from me she should just tell me, I’m allowed to marry more than one wife where I come from. Anyways the whole drama is a bygone, it’s not an issue I want to get myself involved in again. I understand the fact that she’s angry, I understand her pain, when someone says he’s happy that you were jailed, you have every right to be angry. But I’m not sure I’ve ever talked about her kids in all of my reply to her. During the whole drama, my fans went out for her and she got even angrier. Anyways the whole issue is over and I’ve moved on. There was really nothing to move on from anyways because nothing happened. She had only made a ridicule of herself, which is quite unfortunate. The only thing I said in my closet praying is that for every false pronouncements that has being made on my daughter, both the one that made it and those that supported it, provided that God knows that those utterances are false, I return it back to their family, till the fourth generation, unless they apologise to my daughter. I know the God that I serve, I might be a comedian but God is my backbone. God put me in this industry for a reason and I know that even though school wasn’t forthcoming, anything I would have achieved with school, I’ve been able to achieve as a comedian.
Kemi Olunloyo said a lot about you, among which were claims that your wife had miscarried about three pregnancies before she had Tiwa, how true is this?
It was because I called her a family reject. And this is true because, there are certain things I will say in public that will make my family call me to order. But in her case there’s no one to call her to other because she’s been rejected. If her father, who is an ex-governor, could not make a statement to caution her, that’s what Yoruba people call “e je ko ma ba ti e lo”. There’s an adage in Yoruba that translates to “when the buttocks is spoilt, people leave it to the owner of the buttocks.” Talking about my wife having three miscarriages, those things are lies. God has been faithful, my wife only lost an eight month pregnancy once and it was our decision to let it to because of the serious complications. She also said my wife’s close relative called her from United Kingdom, and that’s a lie also because my wife only has relatives in the United States and not UK. She also said my family has Type 1 Diabetes but as God will have it we know that Type 1 Diabetes cause weight loss not weight gain. As many men that would rise against Tiwa, God will make them come to the point of their ridicule. They don’t know the way I’ve prayed for my daughter Tiwa, God didn’t give me a child but an angel. It was God’s grace that brought her, and since we had her, we have not spent fifty thousand in the hospital. She’s has only been taking her vaccines at the local health center.
Asides Kemi Olunloyo, do you mean that no one else has mentioned anything about Tiwa’s weight?
We use George Hospital at Lekki, anyone that wants to confirm Tiwa’s health condition can call me, I will take them to the doctor. God has finished work, we don’t need to bother. Talking about it is not worth it. I have the most peaceful baby anybody could ask God for. For everybody that has met Tiwa, all they say is that she’s so smart. You can tell that she’s intelligent. A saying goes thus: “he who the gods wants to kill, they make mad first.” May we not be mad in Jesus name. That is the case of some people. When more that a thousand people confirm the case of someone’s stupidity, run from that person.
Before all those drama with Kemi Olunloyo, had you met her one on one before?
In the cause of my work as a comedian, I went for the Glolaftafest at Ibadan. I was backstage when a lady walked up to me and said her name is Kemi Olunloyo, she said she wanted to interview me and I granted her an interview. If I was a nobody, would she have asked to interview me? That was the first and last meeting I will ever have with her. I never got to see the interview though she said on that day that it was going straight to SoundCloud. I was surprised when I later heard that it was because she broadcasted the interview to two hundred and twenty seven million fans that Seyi Law became popular. This was in 2015 and at this time, I was already celebrating 10 years on stage and have done several shows internationally. I’ve MCed over a hundred weddings in my career. Being on almost all the major concert stages in the country. I feel very sorry for someone of that age that has such an unstable ambition. In all of this , I can only pray that she will come back to her senses and that God will redeem her. It’s a pity, I wonder how her family and children feel. In all honesty, I see a high level of brilliance in her, if only she will calm down and comport herself. There are ways one will say things and people will reason. One must understand that the world works with etiquette.
In all of this, what has been your wife’s reaction?
My wife has not made a single statement about it. With all that’s happening, I thought she would have something to say so I said ” baby I don’t want you to do anything.” And she said “do what, na the both of una know wetin una dey follow yourself talk, e no concern me, I can’t be exchanging words with a mad man, before they now term me a mad person too.” That made me very happy.
Some people have said you brought this criticisms on yourself by flaunting Tiwa on Instagram, what do you have to say to this?
I ask myself this question everyday, “are there people who are not known who have their kid’s pictures on Instagram?” My answer is yes. People call themselves call celebrities, I am Oluwaseyitan Lawrence Aletile. Where I am is just a place of God’s privilege, I no dey follow people dey do celebrity, I fit take bus or okada, I no send anybody. I love to celebrate my daughter publicly, you can’t hold me to it. I love for my daughter to be a star, if my parents had the opportunity to put me out there when I was young, I would probably have made enough money to see myself through school to study medicine. Unlike now that we have the knowledge of education insurance, our parents didn’t have that knowledge. I’m not saying I’m putting Tiwa out there to be able to see her through school, no. Her education, God don sort am by his special grace, no be we go struggle for that one. But I believe that if she’s going to have anything to do in the entertainment industry, she will need a name to help her through her journey in life. If by the time she’s ready for school and she has to school in Nigeria, and I take her to any school, she would enjoy the privilege of being known. We all know the way the structure of the country is. She is building her future without even knowing it and I will be a part of that process. If you don’t like it, hide your own. I bring my own out for public, you dey shout, keep your own for house na. Leave my own, no be drum wey dey put for outside when rain dey fall water go full? Abeg make una allow the rain of blessing wey dey fall fall well, make una no use una own take disturb am. God go help una, God go help all of us oh. We no know the one wey we dey do, wey we dey take offend people. Na like this I go do my own thing even though it’s different from your own. Make una leave my Tiwaloluwa which means God is our own, Oluwademiladeola (God had crowned me with the crown of wealth), Chimera (what God has written), Avilla (God is my father). My mum calls her Oluwafeyilemi (God as pampered me with this), my mother in law calls her Chita tamed ( God remembered me), my uncle’s wife calls her Oluwasdarasimi (God has been good to me), then one of my aunties calls her Diekolopemi (My thanksgiving is not small). She’s got powerful names. Anybody that dares my daughter, my daughter will hear of your burial, she’s no child’s play, though she’s a child. I’m not saying it to please anybody, he who has ears, let him hear what the spirit is saying to the church.
Recently, there’s been so many issues on domestic violence, do you think a man who has once beaten his wife can change?
The truth is, in life there’s nothing that cannot be remedied. A man who has been a beater before can become somebody who won’t even raise his hand against anyone. You remember how it was with our parents. At one point, we were beaten for the silliest reasons as kids, but later we realise that after a while, our parents did not beat us even when we misbehaved. It gets to another stage especially when we have children. Our parents starts treating their grand children in the manner they never treated us. When one sees that marriage is not working, he or she can take a walk. Domestic violence cannot be treated generally because the circumstances that produce domestic violence are peculiar to different people. What I can take as a person and won’t find offense in might offend another person. So then how do I advise that person against his own decision. It is understanding each other that would help. Domestic violence is quite a difficult topic to treat, you have to study different cases to know what to say. But the most important thing is, if marriage doesn’t work for you, take a walk. Man dey beat woman, woman dey beat man.
Let’s hear your advice to people who are temperamental and who find themselves in situations where they go confrontational.
I’m somebody that takes a lot of things. Things hardly get to me but it might be something very little that will make me angry. The only advice I will give to a temperamental person is for the person to think of the good that his partner has done. There is a statement I make to my wife, “don’t allow your bad side overshadow your good side”. If the person is beginning to see your bad side above your good side, there will be retaliation. So put your best foot forward and bad foot backward.