The biggest news in the Nigerian blogosphere is Linda Ikeji’s pregnancy. Everybody and their mother is talking about it – how big her tummy is, how she managed to hide it, the Bentley-with-a-surname she just ordered and who the father is/might be.
Don Jazzy was quick to plead a mea culpa – It wasn’t me!!! Even though no one accused him o.
It was a joke, of course, because Don Jazzy has often joked about his Linda Ikeji crush.
So, while all the questions are flying about, let me tell you a short story about me and Linda Ikeji and why her pregnancy is OUR pregnancy.
I have met Linda Ikeji twice.
First time was in 2010. I had just quit my job at 234next and set up my own company with a few friends. One day, my colleague and partner, Chidi said a friend of his wanted to see me. Our office was at Adeniyi Jones then.
That friend and our first visitor, was Linda Ikeji. She had just ended a long relationship with Dan Foster and had written a book. Chidi said she wanted me to help her edit it. I met with her for a brief moment and apologized that I was really busy setting up a company and so wouldn’t be able to.
She was just Linda Ikeji then, model and beautiful woman. Banana Island was still ahead in her future.
The next time I saw her was in 2014.
We had just launched sabinews and I had gone to Federal Palace hotel for drinks with a few friends. I ran into her at the bar and stopped to say hi. I asked her for an interview for our Boss Man series. She didn’t say yes and she didn’t say no either.
The interview never happened.
Shortly after, my columnists got angry with her on facebook because their pieces for sabinews were ending up on Linda’s blog. They called her out and when Linda finally replied she said she was upset because she thought I was her friend.
Last year, Onyeka Nwelue invited me for an interview at Linda’s well-appointed studio in Lekki. I went with an autographed copy of my new book – The Carnivorous City. I had hoped to meet her there and make peace. She wasn’t there. I dropped off the book.
I wanted to make peace because I don’t like having enemies but more especially because Linda Ikeji, it turned out, had done me a good turn. When my marriage packed up in 2012, someone had taken some lies to her about me. Someone told me that Linda refused to run the story. I remain grateful.
Which now brings me to this OUR pregnancy.
I think Linda has done us bad sha and I will explain. Imagine if this story was not about Linda Ikeji. Imagine that Linda Ikeji was a star actress who suddenly announces that she is pregnant and there is no known man or husband. By now, Linda Ikeji would have found out who the man is and the side of the bed where the child was conceived.
People will say she has money and can pay for info but remember that she didn’t have money when she started. She was just dogged and determined and daring.
Here we are 3 days later, and no one can say for sure, who the lucky bagger is.
Many people don’t like Linda Ikeji. Many journalistic purists even insist that she is not a journalist but that lady single handedly destroyed soft sell magazines in Nigeria. She changed the game as far as celebrity reportage is concerned. She had access and she had verve. She made all the people who came before her look like learners. Yet, we say she is a hack, she is this and she is that.
I don’t do celebrity journalism but I have nothing against it. I feel my temperament and the publications my partner and I have birthed are better suited to more serious fare. But to each man his own.
(Full disclosure, my partner and I provided content for dstv.com Nigeria and Ghana for 3 years. Lol.)
So, what bad thing has Linda done to us? She is the queen of what she does and she has not just built up influence she has parlayed that influence into humongous cash. But you see, she won’t be Linda Ikeji forever. Every queen must have an heir apparent. Linda Ikeji needs to groom someone to take over because one day another pretty and smart woman will come up and as fickle as we are we will move over to the new flavor of the month.
So, Linda should do like Mo Abudu did when she sought out new faces to take over Moments with Mo. She has started well with her studio and Media Company but I think she needs proteges, smart young women and men who will run with the baton and ensure that her brand remains alive. A child is coming and maybe (or maybe not) marriage. Will she be as strong and as agile and on the mark as she is now? If she starts slacking will her fans and readers and advertisers notice?
That Bentley will not maintain itself and living in Banana Island is not beans, my dear.
Congratulations o, Linda Ikeji and God be with you.