Professional athlete, Mike Olayemi Edwards, emerged as one of the favourites of fans and viewers in the course of the recently-concluded fourth season of Big Brother Naija reality TV show.
Apart from emerging first runner-up of the Big Brother ‘Pepper Dem’ edition, Mike, a product of a Nigerian mother and a Jamaican father, won many over by not becoming entangled with any woman in the house. He spoke to ADEDAYO ODULAJA in this interview
What is your view on the fact that Nigerians can’t stop talking about how you stayed faithful to your wife during the course of BBNaija 4?
I am a strong individual, a strong man and I didn’t show my weakness, so, to me that was just amazing. I expect nothing less from my girl. To remain in the house for 99 days I never had any personal doubts for me. It’s just normal. I made a commitment before I even said I do, I made it clear to myself to be faithful till death.
But was there any time you were tempted by any of the ladies or anything you saw?
No, there was no time like that. It was all about my resolve from the beginning.
Your wife has hinted of your plan to relocate to Nigeria from your UK base. Do you plan to see that through?
Yes, I plan to move to Nigeria immediately. My wife and I are making plans together. Right now, we are still discussing and making arrangements. For now, we are taking it day by day.
Being an athlete already means you are in the limelight of sorts, why did you decide go for Big Brother?
It was simply because I consider it one of the greatest platforms in the world and I wanted to challenge myself by going for it. To be honest, it was something I saw in the challenge and it was the fear of the unknown. It was more attractive to me because I knew that it was what I wanted to do, challenge myself beyond. You know, if you do the same thing expecting different results, it’s insanity. So, I knew, let’s try something like this and see how far we can go and it ended up being a great opportunity. I will never regret it.
You apparently fared well in terms of rating but do you think anything worked against you winning the show?
I can’t really say because I knew I was real. I can’t be anybody else but myself. I am confident enough to know that it pays to be myself. Truth be told, I feel like I can go through a lot of ups and downs and somehow find the way to persevere and you know, I’m an athlete. I can’t stop being me at this stage, I don’t know anything else that could be used as a strategy aside from me being myself. I know consistency is always key for me. So, that’s the only way I could describe it. I trust the process of being consistent every day, and I wanted to walk out a winner and it didn’t fail me, I walked out a winner.
So would you say you were disappointed with the final outcome?
No, absolutely not. I knew that stepping into the house was a win for me, anything else was a bonus. So, I always felt I am in the best time in my life, I just kept reminding myself that that’s why it was easy for me to have so much cruise because ultimately I knew we were all winners in our all unique ways.
What were some of the sacrifices you would say you made in the BBNaija house towards winning?
Of course, the sacrifices I made were disconnecting from my wife for 99 days. If I didn’t have the consent of my wife I wouldn’t have taken part in the show. I am a married man, I don’t have to discuss things that don’t need to be explained, and I think that’s the relationship I have with my wife.
Did you at any point think it was getting more difficult than you envisaged
Those were the times when I thought Biggie was at least going to surprise me with a visit by my family members or someone I know but it never happened and I had to hang in there.
You have a Cigar brand that seems to be the focus of your attention now. What’s it about?
Aireyys Cigar brand is an extension of myself. I have always seen myself as a brand. It is a distinguished taste, if you love it, you like it. My wife and my team, ran the business while I was away.
What is the status of your professional career as an athlete?
I represented Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and the African Senior Athletics Championship in Asaba in 2018. So, right now my focus is to set up my future with my family, so, that’s my priority right now.
How would you rate your familiarity with Nigerian culture?
I am every bit a Nigerian. My mother is Nigerian and my dad is Jamaican.
What are your thoughts about the Big Brother platform now having been a part of it especially as you regard it as a huge, global platform of opportunities.
It remains a truly global and exciting platform for me but I walked out of it with the lesson of never taking things too seriously. Also that one has to be brave enough to have an open heart. You never know when you’re going home, literally.