Canadian based Nigerian broadcaster, Kole Onabanjo (Koleezo), in this interview, speaks on his new podcast “which seeks to provide answers to the challenges the ‘common man’ faces not only in Nigeria by globally”
He says the periodic broadcast will challenge social norms but in the process provide alternative solutions to numerous socio-economic and political challenges facing the world.
He tells how he hopes to achieve this. Excerpts:
PT: Tell us a bit about yourself, background, education, high points in life, remarkable experiences that shaped your life.
Koleezo: I was born in Ile-Ife (Osun State, South-west Nigeria) and also studied law out there. I grew up in Lagos and attended Ikeja high school and Kings College, Lagos.
I have a PDDip in advertising from a college in the UK. I’m a sports enthusiast, recently I’ve been loving the UFC even more than I love football.
The high point in my life is yet to happen and I guess I am who I am cos I was a middle child who enjoyed spending time by myself and that gave me the opportunity to develop an independent and revolutionary mind.
PT: The name Koleezo appears to have stuck. Any story behind the story?
Koleezo: The name Koleezo, actually Don Koleezo was given to me by a friend of mine while I was in Ife studying. I released music using the name Kole hash and simply go by Kole when I’m doing stand-up comedy but lately, I’ve been feeling nostalgic and Koleezo seems pretty sweet and catchy to me and so I’m thinking of making it a brand.
PT: Why would anyone want to listen to your podcast: the common man?
Koleezo: The Common Man is nothing like they’ve heard before. It’s a raw podcast and not for the faint-hearted. As much as I would like for everyone to listen and learn from the common man podcast, it is not for everyone and that’s so ironic.
It’s called the common man because that’s who I am. I’m like everyone and I want what everyone needs and that’s a whole lot of wisdom.So if you’re out there and you’re tired of listening to the same conventional media and you’re looking for a fresh and unfiltered alternative, the common man podcast is for you.
PT: It’s supposed to have a social commentary vis a vis philosophy underpinning. What would you tell critics who see such stuff as armchair criticism that does not address modern-day challenges or offer practicable solutions?
Koleezo: The funny thing is that critics are the ones that do the most talking without offering solutions. The common man podcast perspective is not to criticise but to stay as objective as possible while bringing to light serious issues in the most entertaining way.
The fact that I have the courage to open my mouth and speak up for others to hear my unique views is something the so-called critics should learn from – sugar-coating has been our biggest problem and that’s what I don’t do on the podcast, I call things as they are and when it’s time to back my thoughts up with actions, you’re gonna see me too.
The podcast is still fresh and critics are going to see that it’s not just a podcast but a movement heading towards the right direction and uncharted grounds.
PT: So far you have taken on some controversial topics such as sexual rights, Femi Kuti’s group schism, and also planning to take on more of such underreported topics. Are you a rebel?
Koleezo: I am a positive-minded rebel. I have a revolutionary mind that needs to be engaged, exercised, and put to work always. I like to cover the story behind the story and dig deep into issues.
I’m not doing this for the follows and the likes on social media, I do this because it is who I am, a positive-minded rebel.
Kole Onabanjo (Koleezo)
PT: ‘The most organic podcast ever,’ appears to be the hook for you. What does this mean?
Koleezo: As I mentioned earlier, I don’t sugarcoat things, I don’t even ‘over-prepare and try to be like a boring news anchor. I speak to all my guests like we are just friends catching up at a beer parlor. What’s more organic than two friends catching up over a few bottles of beer and a plate of ‘nkwobi’ (South-east delicacy) or two?
PT: How do you settle for speakers, interviewees?
Koleezo: I don’t look out for celebrity guests- it’s not really my thing. As a common man, I select people within my contact and people who are easily accessible. Most of all, they have to be very knowledgeable and vast about whatever subject we might be discussing.
For instance, I would rather call a bricklayer who mixes and uses ‘kpomkpom’ to carry Dangote Cement and ask him to give me his raw opinion on the quality of Dangote cement instead of waiting for months to find Dangote cement’ official spokesperson that will come and lie to us that they have the best quality in the world, lol. I keep it simple but knowledgeable.
PT: Many would argue that Nigerians in diaspora such as you can never really understand the challenges faced back home in Nigeria and can at best offer weak solutions that do not address such problems. How do you react to this?
Koleezo: Well those people didn’t know me when I was climbing okada (motorcycle) and navigating traffic just to get to work. Those people didn’t know me when I was doing 0-1-0 and reading with a candle in OAU, Ife just to become a citizen Nigeria could be proud of.
I was born and raised in Nigeria so there is no amount of suffering in Nigeria I have never experienced. So when someone like myself offers solutions, I think our people and leaders should listen.
Exposure is very important. It’s crucial to learn what’s working for other nations and see how we can make the same work for us and even do much better. The majority of Nigerians in Nigeria want to travel abroad so why hate someone that suffered like you and is now abroad?
I’m sure it was someone that saw prepaid meter in the diaspora that made the move for us to have prepaid meters now. So in closing, we should embrace ourselves regardless of location, remain objective, and learn from one another as much as we can.
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