Once married to movie star, Fred Amata, Agatha is a known face who anchors the talk show, Inside Out with Agatha. She has done that for 21 years and also runs RAVE TV as Chairman/CEO. Today, November 4, sh clocked 50 years. In this interview she discusses her job and other issues
Q: When you started your television programme, did you dream of it going this far?
A: I am passionate about talk shows. I like things that stimulate the mind, things that can make you think. I think I just have a natural flair for talking. I did grow up being argumentative, even though I ended up in the sciences; I have a degree in botany from the University of Jos. My parents couldn’t imagine what I would do in the arts with English and all that. So I came out with a degree in botany but I don’t know anything about plant because it was not me. The broadcasting part came to me naturally. I didn’t have to be mentored; it is just something I believe is God-given. I just knew I wanted to have a talk show, a platform where people could just come and speak on what is bothering them. I have got into trouble and stepped on a lot of toes along the way but all in all, when you persevere, people know you for who you are and what you stand for. It comes to me effortlessly, I don’t have to research, and all I need to do is see what is going on around me. It did not just happen overnight, it happened because I have been consistent. Though I am getting the profits now, money was not the motivation initially. For eight years we were on air without advert placements! It was a period of sorrows tears and blood but we stuck with it and it is paying off now. People don’t know where we are coming from; there were days when we recorded in a lecture theatre with a blue curtain for demarcation! People come now and see that we are comfortable with good cars but they don’t know the days we almost gave up. I had no idea where I was going but God has led me all the way.
Q: Are you just concentrating on issues only?
A: For me, the programme does not change. It’s about people, issues and what affects the common man. That is what brought me to this stage and I don’t think I am ever going to leave that winning formula. I am not going to start a cooking programme on TV, I have got many suggestions to do so many things but that is not me. I have to stand for something.
Q: So, when do you have time for your children?
A: No. My children are not kids anymore, they are adults now. My son is going to be 20 (He’s now 26) this year and he is in Kent. My daughter is going to be 15 (she is now 21) too and she is in a boarding school in Lagos. Even when they were with me at home; I got home by 6 p.m. My children are my greatest priority in life, even as they are away from home now, we are in constant touch. My children are my friends. Well, the programme I run on TV has so broadened my horizon that nothing shocks me again. My children can tell me almost anything. We don’t relate as mother and children, we argue points and the winner takes the day. I have interacted with a lot of young people over the years and I have come to discover that you cannot tie anybody down. Even if you lock the child in a room, unless you will not let the child go to school, they will interact with people. So, you must allow them to build themselves and get to a point where they can make their own decisions, irrespective of whether you are present or not.
Q: So you have never thought of having more than two children?
A: I have always wanted two, actually I lost one at birth but all I asked God was two. But I have plenty of adopted children; my house is never completely empty of people.
Q: You have evolved to being a stylish woman over the years. What does style means to you?
A: The truth is that until recently, I did not really care about make-up. Then, all the soft sell magazines used to abuse me. I just can’t be bothered. If you have experienced what I have experienced and heard in the past 15 years, clothes cannot be of any importance to you. As long as I don’t look untidy, I am okay but I have never spent money on clothes. I have excess and I give out clothes in suitcases. My sense of style is comfort. If it is bathroom slippers that can make me comfortable, then my sense of style at that moment would be my bathroom slippers. Our young people are losing their sense of identity— everything they wear must have a name. My son is guilty of that, I can buy for them; at least I don’t spare expenses for them.
Q: What is the secret of your look?
A: I think being at peace with yourself, knowing yourself, not looking for what is not achievable or obtainable by your own standards. Other people might think you can do it. I have learnt to be content with what I have, where I am. I have learnt to be able to accept what works for me and things I cannot change. I am happy with who I am. I have no regrets. I don’t have time to regret because I believe it is a wasted emotion. What I have learnt is that for anything that happens to you in life, there is a lesson to learn. You only dwell on things when you do not know or understand that you should pick something from it and move on and I have learnt to do that. I can let go of anything. I can give out anything, anything that money can buy, I can give it out. I don’t have food regiment. I eat whatever I like, how I like, where I like and when I like. I’m a sweet dude.