By Nkechi Chima
Delectable actress, ex-beauty queen and model, Ebinabo Potts Johnson is also face of Lacasera and Boska. Lately, the screen goddess produced a movie dedicated to her mum. In this interview she shares the pains of living without her.
Could you tell us about your childhood?
My childhood was beautiful. I was my mum’s “handbag” and my dad’s “partner in crime” especially when it was about garri ijebu and meat. Though, I lost my dad in 2002, mum passed away last year. However, it didn’t stop me from being a conqueror.
How did your mum die?
I had never seen my mum admitted in the hospital for any reason until her death. So, seeing her there for weeks wasn’t funny at all. Then, she couldn’t walk without support; she couldn’t do things for herself. It was indeed a traumatic experience watching her in pains.
Imagine, she had things to say, but she couldn’t speak. I had to increase the font size of my tablet, so she could type, but she couldn’t.
Unfortunately, for the last time I walked into her ward to check on her not knowing she had given up the ghost. My legs were motionless and my heart beat uncontrollably. My darling, I was traumatized for months. I almost lost my mind, glory to God for saving me from depression. If you have lost a loved one you will understand my pains. I couldn’t even cry the first week. I had to manage palpitations and loss of interest. I was freaking out at the slightest thing. I couldn’t work, eat or sleep. I had to take pills. My friend literally begged me to cry, scream and punch if I had to. Hmmmm, it’s well though. I’m stronger now. All thanks to God.
You produced a movie dedicated to your mum, what inspired it?
I lost my mum to metastatic endometrial cancer. That is stage for uterine cancer. After her death, a part of me kept reminding me that if we had discovered it earlier, maybe things wouldn’t have turned out so bad. I couldn’t get rid of that thought. It kept haunting me. I tried so many ways to defeat it, but I couldn’t and this inspired the scripting and production of the movie. The major lesson behind this movie is early diagnosis. If you detect cancer early, you have a greater chance of survival. So, I felt my experience and voice should help save lives and also lighten up the burden I battled with.
What’s the title of the movie?
I don’t think it’s the appropriate time to disclose the title, but I will let you know at the right time. The cast consisted of Femi Jacobs, Joseph Benjamin, Kunle Remi, Indiana Oge, and Priscilla Okpara among others.
They were amazing and supportive. They made sacrifices for me and I am super grateful.
Could you remember those fun memories with your mum?
I remember vividly those priceless moments with my delectable mum. How she was always checking on me at night while I was studying to make sure I didn’t stress myself. Sometimes, we stayed awake together to read which I also learned from her.
Do you resemble her?
I actually thought I looked like my dad, but whenever people see my mum’s picture, they go all awww on me. I always hear stuffs like “Oh, I see where you got your beauty from. Look at your nose like your mum’s; even your eyes”. Some even thought we’re Fulani.
What vital lessons did you learn from your mum that you would like to inculcate in your children when you eventually become a mother?
My mum taught me how to love God and believe in Him. She taught me how to be extremely nice, respectful, hardworking, accommodating, polite, caring and being there for loved ones. My mum taught us how to smile and walk away from trouble.
She was nicknamed madam bara sin eh meaning ‘let it go’. She was a peaceful woman. So, I would love my kids to inherit all these attributes as well.
How would you describe her?
Mum was an angel and she touched so many lives. When she fell ill, people wept and during her burial, I had over 30 friends from my village; 90 percent of whom had experienced love from her. The remaining 10 percent only heard how wonderful she was and thought it would be proper to honor her with their presence. As indigenes of Twon Brass in Bayelsa, we traveled to the village by boat. At some point in the journey, all you see were endless waves like you are on the Atlantic Ocean.
What do you miss about her?
Honestly, I can’t even say up to three percent now, else, we might not retire for the day. I miss those moments she wanted to know about my marital plans; when she said “Baby girl, where is the bobo naw; I know a good wedding planner”. Most times, I just told her I was driving and road safety was cautioning me to avoid her interrogation. Surprisingly, my mother replied at my excuse on this particular day saying “My pikin your wayo too much, tell the road safety officer you are talking to your mother or give him the phone”.
Honestly, I had to park because I couldn’t control my laughter. My mum made parenting fun for my sister. She literally took her baby away from her and all the sleepless nights, cuddling, bathing and pampering. My sister only had to breastfeed.
I can’t forget in a hurry how she spent half the money I sent to her to buy things for me. She’d say, “Hmmm mama, I saw this very lovely dress. You will like it oh! Of course, you like short dresses. I bought for you and your younger sister. You have to come and collect yours”
This was mum’s nicest way of inviting me home. Sincerely, I miss dinning and gisting with her as well as teasing each other. I miss her calls, the check ups, her love and care, prayers and encouragement. My mum was my number one fan.
You can’t go to mummy pained and leave same way. She had the right words for every circumstance.
I miss those times someone decides to be rude to her and as a proud daughter, I’d want to handle it, but my mother’s eyes would send messages words couldn’t adequately express.
What did she do for a living?
She was a caterer. Everyone wanted mummy to be part of their event, because they knew she could handle any unexpected crowd.