Agatha Amata’s story of success as a nationally syndicated talk show host is a study in persistence, perseverance and God’s favour. In this revealing and thought provoking interview with Iboro Tonye-Edet and Toni Kan, she traces the path she has trodden and speaks of what she has learnt from trusting God and learning to give back.
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Agatha Amata. I’m 44 years old. I have two biological children and a zillion adopted children. My father is late; he used to be the Chief Inspector of Taxes in Kano State, then Lagos State. My mother was an educationist with the Nigerian Air Force; she was also into catering.
I lost my dad when I was in Form 2. Everyone tells me how I used to be daddy’s pet. My mom was a disciplinarian. Growing up I used to be outspoken. My father brought me up to always believe no doesn’t really mean no. He used to say “Nobody can put you down, you are the only one that can put yourself down.” If you wanted something from my dad, you had to prove your case. You could get almost everything but you must prove your case. You must let him know why you think that thing is important. So, from very early in life, I learnt I could talk my way to anything. I think that helped me a lot in the way I see life, my outlook to things. The way I was brought up was such that I could express myself 100% without the fear of being criticised.
By the time I lost my dad, it was a bit difficult for me to adjust to my mum because she was a strict person. She worked with the military and her word was law. When she told you something you had to obey without questioning. I used to think my mum adopted me because we couldn’t get along and I wasn’t used to her. It took a while for me to understand that parents must set rules. With the benefit of hindsight, I have come to realise that she was extra-strict because she was raising seven children alone.
She used to wake us up at 4am with “women don’t sleep when the sun is up.” In those days, we used to hide inside the wardrobe to sleep.
But I tell you what, today, even if I go to bed late I still wake up at 4am. It is part of me now. That is part of our missing values today.
All my brothers can cook. We had some days that it was my brothers that cooked and usually, it was pounded yam they cooked. My mum didn’t spare anyone. Really, I don’t have a brother that cannot cook. I don’t have a brother that cannot sweep, unlike what we do with our children today.
If there was a man in the house and we were to cook pounded yam, it was the man that would pound the yam, while the woman cooked the soup. That was the kind of household that I was brought up in.
I remember once, when I was already in university, there was a day we came back home very late in the night. We were locked up in the Air Force guard room. My mum insisted that I would not bring shame on her….
You talked about paying school fees rather than having Brazilian hair. Why do you care so much about others?
You see, I believe these things: 1) The reason why you are on earth is to impact somebody else. A life that hasn’t done that might as well not have been lived. 2) When God blesses you, He doesn’t bless you for you. I have learnt that all my life because God has always taken care of my needs. He has always met me at the point of my needs. What He expects is for me to help others, that is why He created me with others. I am a living testimony to God’s provision and the fact that when you give you can never ever lack. I have never looked for money, and though I have been broke it has never been for a long time. Any time I am in need, it comes. There are things money cannot buy, for instance, peace of mind. Fantastic, well-behaved children like mine. My children are my source of joy and I am so thankful to God for that. My son is 21years old now and if he wants to go out, not minding the fact that he is in London, he will send me a BB message asking for my consent as if when I say no it will matter. I give him a lot of rules, but I tell him my rules are not to police him but to give him a sense of responsibility….
To read more, buy the March 2014 Edition.