The turbulence created by that chase after N60million grand prize and a few other consolatory prizes has since waned, in fact, this pair made it seem there was no competition from when their paths crossed in the Big Brother Naija (Pepper Dem Edition) house. Mercy and Ike’s remarkable beginning at the recently concluded BBNaija was quite a laudable one, their camaraderie is a perfect example of a beautiful love story. Competition brought them together, but fate is joining them to live happily ever after.
With all the buzz, endorsement and so many other activities going on around these two budding stars, we thought it’s wise to bring them to our studio, interview them, because their story is worth sharing and quite a number of people on social media believe their love is in series that could be tested by time. But with what we have heard from both sides, we can’t but admire the mutual feelings and respect for each other.
In this interview with Mediaroomhub they talked about their lives before and after the Big Brother Naija House, love life and plans for their future.
What’s the biggest lesson you guys learned in the Big Brother Naija challenge?
Ike: I learned about valuing other people, valuing different personality, and love. I came with the intention I know it all, but I discovered I still have a lot to learn.
You came with that gangster-like attitude to the house, but slowed down afterwards. It seems Mercy tamed that part of you, she influenced you and you mellowed a bit because you didn’t want to wrong her.
Ike: If the truth is 100% that’s like 40%. I realized that I was given strikes and the concept of the show from the beginning was not what I thought, the concept was to showcase and sell yourself. Come in there, act a fool and entertain. When I came in, I started to realize what the show was all about and I started changing, the strikes helped me change. Of course, Mercy did help me change too.
So how’s the journey for you?
Mercy: Ever since I left the house, I learned to be more patient, to respect people’s space. Before the house, I used to be with my friends. I was not used to being in a circle of 25 people and sharing the same bathroom, doing everything together, when you wake up someone is either to your left or to your right. I learned to accommodate people. It was really educative for me, during my stay in the house, there was no pen, no paper, everything we had to do, if you didn’t have it upstairs; then you were not going to perform. During our tasks, the house really shaped me in a positive way. The house helped me. I used to flip at every little thing before, the strikes too like he said mellowed us down, those are the things that I took away from the house.
Did you go to the house hoping you would meet your man?
Never! During my audition I said it, that I was single but not searching. I said to myself I can do it all alone, like I want to play this game alone. I am a big fan of Big Brother Naija. I used to watch the show back to back, I have a particular housemate then I want to be like, during that time I was single, I just want to play it alone and have fun. But when I met Ike, a whole lot of things changed, we started off as best friends, then the house… They started calling us boyfriend and girlfriend even when Ike hasn’t asked me out, they are already instigating, you know when you wake up, you gist and see this person, there are possibilities of falling in love.
Who approached the other first?
Ike: I think I approached Mercy first. I have met Mercy before the house, on actor, model business level but when I came into the house I looked at her as an ally. The house is about nomination, I looked at her as a strong ally.
Mercy: You were using me?
Ike: No, in the beginning we were just friends. I thought, let us do a team work. One time in the house, i said what’s up, I’m a fine boy and you are a fine girl. She told me everything that’s not what I came here for. After seeing everybody’s character in the house, you noticed this person that’s too fake, too annoying, but Mercy seemed like the person I could connect with. I saw some potential in her and I saw similarities in myself. So, I had to chase her and that was it.
Do you have girlfriend in America or Nigeria?
Ike: I have friends that are girls, i haven’t had a girlfriend since February 2018. I was happy being single, extremely happy. Like my first love was money, but when I met Mercy she really started helping me see a lot of things, she made me make some choices in the house that I normally wouldn’t make. I mean that’s love.
People said you were using her in the house. Would really say that you love her genuinely? At some point you forgot about the game, you became a lover boy.
Ike: I thought I was too strong, I wasn’t scared of eviction. I was comfortable with the confidence I have in myself. That’s kind of helping me focusing on Mercy. She’s a difficult lady, I had told her a lot of time to turn on the fire and all.
People felt you were also liking Tacha in the house before you and Mercy bonded
Ike: Throughout the house, everybody was my friend except Joe, especially Tacha. People came up with that idea because Tacha didn’t have a lot of friends. Mercy understands that we discussed it after the house. Me and My Tacha we are friends; Mercy is my number one.
Are you and Tacha still friends?
Of course, we are. I think a friend is a loose term, to me we are definitely cool.
There was a time in the house when Mercy and Tacha were fighting; you were worried but when Mercy reported to you, you became calm and smiling. Are you always like that?
Ike: I know I am too intelligent to know if someone wants to put me in a fight, if you have an issue with Mercy, deal with Mercy, the way I grew up, I like being calm and cool I knew not all that stuff should end up a fight. That stuff is funny, it is entertaining to me. I know Mercy can handle herself. I knew she was good. If I knew the stuff would affect her like that, I would have jumped it, I know she’s good.
At some point you were attracted to Tacha, at what point did Mercy take over your mind?
Ike: The second day in the house, Frodd, Jeff and Seyi were talking about the girls in the house and I just said they are cute, who was cute and all. Mercy was beautiful, it was Seyi that told me Tacha has a boyfriend. Mercy was my first choice.
Mercy: You were my first choice. I wasn’t ready for Ike. I could remember I was chasing him, go and meet other girls, then I meet someone, Ike was the first one, my first choice.
Are you guys considering marriage?
Ike: I think a lot of things happening in our lives, a lot of business and all, but I am holding on to Mercy. I don’t play with my things. So, let’s see how things go.
So, Mercy is that same with you?
Laughs… Yea, same with me.
While in the house, there was a particular day of the week you guys had the heart-to-heart talk and Mercy was all emotional…
Mercy: It always gets to a point, your mind is clouded with a lot of things, the votes don’t matter. What is a vote when you are not happy? I believe at that point, nobody is acting anymore, if you are fighting with someone, it’s real. I fell in love with this man, we were two weeks from the grand finale, I felt that was a perfect moment to let him know things that he needs to know before we get outside the house. I know there was a camera everywhere, it didn’t stop me from saying what I felt and that was my truth. Saying it freed me, now what are you going to say to me? Nothing. At that moment, I said okay, this is your champ. There’s something I felt I should have done that I didn’t do, there’s something I wanted to tell Diane, but I didn’t. I already bought immunity, so the votes weren’t anything to me as of that moment. I hate sympathy, even in the house that’s why you see me act all strong and all. In that house, I put up a strong act, so people can respect me and all, but outside the house, I am nicer than that. That moment I wasn’t doing that for sympathy for people to vote for me, that Friday night before the eviction party. Diane and I had a heart-to-heart talk, though we were a bit intoxicated more than what people think, we couldn’t even hide the feelings we just let it out.
What did you feel when she opened up to you, her family, her background.
Ike: I always feel like, people think where I came from, a lot of things will shock me and me feel bad or something. I was happy that she opened up. While in the house, Mercy was always ahead in the task, but when it comes to games where people share stuff about themselves, she was always quiet. Then, I wanted to know more about her, so when she did that, I was happy, I felt good. I know whatever it is we can handle it together.
Does that mean her background doesn’t matter to you?
Ike: Laughs… Does she even know my own background? It doesn’t really matter.
People were thinking if you know her background, you might not really be cool about her and all
Ike: Yea! That’s why I had to show her that night, though we have to comport ourselves in a certain way. Letting her know, your family background doesn’t change you and why I want to be with you, at that point it was too late, she already knew I was seriously in love with her. I wasn’t too shocked or worried I just wanted her to know that- baby, it’s okay.
Eventually, when you guys get married, how many kids do you want to have?
Ike: I was thinking like six.
Mercy: I know you want to pack up this my engine. (Chuckles)
You mentioned that you were into properties, so tell us that aspect of your journey
Mercy: I moved into Lagos last year from Abuja. I met this lady she’s into real estate. I told her I want to learn, she took me to her firm, it was moving on, that was when I started auditioning. We did it throughout last year, we were just working and selling. I was still with her when I started my audition, real estate is what I really wanted to do. Even before working with her, then I used to buy land and resell it. That was what I was doing, but it wasn’t as professional as that woman. After the house, I met with Mr. Ned Okonkwo, he and his wife are willing to support me to achieve my dream as a real estate management or an agent.
They say he’s a very good man, a fantastic fellow…
Mercy: I know him, yeah, he is.
In the house, the sensuality around you guys was too much and people talked about you kissing, caressing and all. So, we were thing did Ike make out with Mercy? They also said the same all over Twitter
Mercy: You know in the morning we were trying to clear it with people that it didn’t happen. From the outset, I told Ike I don’t want to do this thing in the house. I don’t want to have sexual intercourse with him on live TV. We can have fun without having sex. And that aspect was so clear and he was cool with it. In fact, he told me he can stay for one year. That was what he said to me, no matter how pressured we were, we were not going to do this. He tried a lot, even when we were closer. I just say okay, we’ve had enough, this is the end of the road, we have to sleep and that’s how we never did it. At times when I wanted it, he would just tap me and say, you said you didn’t want us to do this and I’d say, okay.
So, you mean you’ve had no sex with him till now?
Yea, nothing has happened, but it’s not going to be like a one-year thing. It will happen, we don’t pretend, it might even be this night. Definitely, it will happen. He is a sweet guy, I have heard other guys tell him, give her alcohol and all, but he still kept his calm. He’s a good guy, but there was a day he said, I will get this, I must get this then I told him that means I won’t be drinking in the house again. I won’t be playing with you this way anymore, I play with you this way because I know you, trust you. But he was like I seriously need it and all, then I told him I will be wearing jeans to bed and all, then he saw I was really serious then he said okay. It’s nothing, but we had fun in the house.
After the house, have you guys sat down and planned for the future because you have a lot of connection?
Mercy: Ike and I will definitely work together, he’s very ambitious, Ike wants to make money. The only thing Ike likes is money. His password is money. Whether dating or not, we will work together, but we will be dating.
Have you spoken to any of his family?
Mercy: I have spoken to his mom, uncle, and aunt, cousins, almost everybody.
Has he spoken or met any of your family?
Mercy: Yes oo, he has spoken to many, even met with uncle Uzo.
Ike: Her mum and I had a small talk.
What’s friendship to you guys?
Ike: Friendship is a connection to someone you can trust, they are loyal to you. You are equally loyal to them. You keep each other happy. I think that’s what friendship is.
Tell us briefly about your formative years
Ike: When I was in fifth grade, I never really had too many friends. I have this childhood friend that we grew up together, they are all Nigerian, but we grew up in the United States. When I was in school I was always to myself. I was always by myself, I didn’t want anybody close, he was selling CDs, candy. Then I met a guy, Anthony, he said men! I see your spirit. We started selling stuff online, on eBay. I was making money more than I could imagine, that was in my sixth grade. I was like 12 or 13years old. At 14 I started buying things for myself, clothes and all. Myself and Anthony, we’ve been on it since, this entrepreneur. That really taught me about friendship, though I don’t have too many friends and all. The ones I have are close enough and good for me.
Mercy: Growing up is not something that I really want to talk about. My growing up was not sweet, but I thank God for today. We went through thick and thin, there’s nothing I haven’t done, I have sold fuel with my mom, my mom used to sell black market. I am selling fuel, roasting corn, I have done a dry cleaning business before. My mom used to take-up people’s farm and we work there, we farm for them, I have been through it. I am proud of where I am coming from, it is what made me who I became today and I’m never going to forget where I am coming from. It gives me the zeal, the hunger, I need to help my family, my mom. I am well focused because I know a lot of things are waiting for me, my growing up is not a bed of roses, but I am grateful, it made me this focused, ambitious. I have friends that they don’t even call their family, what they make is for themselves alone. During school, I used to be in school and I will be sending money home. I see people go home, they come back, their parents will give them money and foodstuff, anytime you see me go home, na me dey always buy go home. That’s my root, that’s where I am coming from and it has helped me. My goal is to have money I can’t count.
What did you study and where?
Mercy: Psychology, at Imo State University.
Ike: I started with Mechanical Engineering; that was too difficult, so I came down to Mathematics, I finished with that. That was University of Houston.
Let’s get down to entertainment, who do you listen to?
Ike: I like Young Six, I like rap and hip-hop. Nigeria music is cool I love it, I like Wizkid, Rema, Patonranking and Phyno. Anything that falls in the category of rap, in that lane, Future is my number one rapper in the world, my favorite right now.
Mercy: I like Tiwa Savage, Simi, Davido, Wizkid, I like Flavour, Phyno and Don Jazzy. They all just give us different vibes.
What was the biggest mistake you ever made in your life?
Mercy: I made some money, but I used it to do a big girl. That money never came back until Big Brother Naija. I spent it all, I love bags and shoes. But now those things have changed, no, it’s all about making money, there are no more shoes and bags; it’s about investing. This is a grown-up Mercy.
Ike: One of the things I think about is my childhood, I love sports, basketball. My parents told me you need to focus on your academics. If I could go back in time to change one thing, I would be doing sports, I would be in NBA right now. Over my life, I never try to have any regrets, they are like your low; you have to move on.
Are there things you desire in life?
Ike: Too many things, the list is so long, that’s why I have too much ambition too much I want to do.
Your woman is very hard working
Yea, I agree, she’s very hardworking.
Advice to your younger self
Ike: Be strong, believe in yourself; try not to be like every other person, be the best of you.
Mercy: I agree with him, be real. Be yourself.
What’s your biggest fear in life?
Ike: Going broke!
What can Ike do that will make you get angry and not talk to him for two days?
Mercy: If Ike cheats on me, I love him with my whole heart, I don’t know how to forgive. I can forgive you, but I don’t know how to forget. I give what I can take. Once my trust is broken, that is, he doesn’t seem like a player.
Ike: if he steals from me, she doesn’t even know how to steal, she asks.
If someone comes to tell you things about mercy, that she did this and that, what would be your reaction?
Ike: I can’t believe anything. That could have worked before Big Brother Naija, but after the show, I can’t believe what anyone says.
Mercy: His past is his past, only when I catch him, if not, since we came out a lot of people are forwarding stuffs that are discouraging and all. But I can’t believe, only when I catch him.
What do guys have to say to Big Brother Naija?
Mercy: Big Brother has changed me a lot, I can’t thank him enough. Now I feel like I am old, I have to calculate, like 6 am I am awake taking calls, replying emails. Big Brother has really done something great. I don’t have regrets going to that house.
Ike: thank you big brother, I live with no regrets.
Mercy: The people out there trying to go to Big Brother Naija house, do not be disqualified, be yourself. Fight and go home? No, the people who have been voting for you, they’ve been spending their money on you, it feels like a let down; if you go there next year, don’t get disqualified.
Ike: Go in there and do your thing.
Mercy: Big Brother picked you to change you and be the best.
Editor-in-chief: Azuka Ogujiuba @azukaogujiuba
Video interview outfits : @yomicasual x
Hair Stylist : @ferdinandshair
Styling/Photo Directing: @swankyjerry
Content writers: Abigail Ocheibi @ocheibi_abigail
Videography/Photography : @fotofastgroup
Mercy’s Cover outfit: @swankysignatures
Pink dress : @ericamoorebrand
Gold dress : @ericamoorebrand
Ike’s cover outfit: @davidwej
Black suit ; @davidwej
Igbo outfit: @atafo.official