His 15yr old
This week, his estranged wife, Joanne (Mother of the 15yr old) and Ernest granted separate interviews to Encomium Magazine (Monday 3rd-10th 2007) telling their own sides of the story.
They were interviewed by a journalist called Azuh Arinze, one of Nigeria's foremost entertainment journalist...meaning that everything he said they said...they probably did.
Read their interview...
It's so disheartening...
First is Joanne (Who is based in the UK...the interview was via phone)
One of the hottest stories in town is the allegation that your estranged husband Ernest Obi, impregnated your daughter, Vanessa, how true is it?
Joanne "It's true. A friend of mine (Titilayo Oyekola) called me that my ex-husband had sexually abused my daughter and even gotten her pregnant. I didn't believe it, moreso a child he raised, a child who knew no other man as her father but him. What happened was that at that point, Ernest had called me that my daughter ran away from from. My response was that 'you are in Nigeria, she is your daughter. You don't expect me to leave England to look for her. This is a child you raised yourself, why should she have the effontry to abscond. I didn't know that something else was happening.
I called her and she picked the call. I told her I'm your mother, whatever happened, I will stand by you, but I just want you to tell me the truth. She was crying. Her words were 'I'm not fit to live'.I just don't want to live. I want to commit suicide. I said 'you cannot do that to me. There is nothing we cannot handle together. I calmed her down and she told me exactly what happened. She said she made him coffee that morning, he gave her some to drink, after drinking halfway, she said she discovered she was feeling a bit dizzy and dozed off. And Ernest forced his way into her"
Was it a one off thing or did she tell you about other that he took advantage of her?
J "She said mummy I cannot count how many times. I asked where I was the first time it happened and she said 'I was in the hospital ' (At that time I was in Nigeria). I said how long did it continue? She said it went on and on until she took ill. When she took it, she started going to the hospital, finally, she discovered she was pregnant."
Did your daughter tell you the hospital Ernest took her to, or the hospital she went on her own?
J "She said she went with a girl called Chioma. Ernest knows this girl"
Where's your daughter now?
J "Right now, she is in Lagos. She just came back from Ogun State because I told her to go there. She hasn't been to school, I didn't know Ernest was not paying her school fees anymore. So, I sent her to Ogun State."
Don't you think that you didnt handle the matter well when you got the complaint that your estranged husband was allegedly violating your daughter?
J "I blame myself for everything that happened. Oh my God! My intention was to come to Nigeria and unravel the whole thing. My plan was to come to Nigeria and hound him behind bars. If it were in England, he would suffer. I failed in my duty to protect my child because I didn't believe her father would violate her."
How long were you married to Ernest?
J "officially we were married for ten years. And we have two children together. I have two other kids from another man, Vanessa and Emmanuel"
How long ago did you leave his house?
J "I left Nigeria on November 6, 2004"
How is your daughter handling the situation, considering that it has become a public issue now?
J "A lot of stress. All through yesterday, she was crying, I was crying. I cried because it will not go out of her for the rest of her life"
When was the last time you spoke to Ernest?
J "That was this week (Last week). He said there was a publication in Encomium on front page. He said you guys wrote that he impregnated Vanessa twice and aborted the pregnancy. He called me again yesterday and said he had lost a contract of N36m. He said he just won Chairmanship of AGN, that he wanted to go ahead and resign, that Vanessa said he raped her constantly. I said yes, Vanessa said so!"
What about Vanessa's father?
J "I didn't have the nerve to tell him. He lives in Lagos. He is aged"
When you confronted Ernest about this allegation, was he remorseful?
J " He was not remorseful"
When did Vanessa tell you that Ernest had been violating her?
J "It was in November last year. From what I understand, she ran away from home last year
You knew about this since last year, how come the press is just getting to know about the story now?
J "First of all, I was too embarrassed. Too ashamed of what happened. I didn't know what to do?
When you were in Nigeria, did you at any time suspect them?
J "No, I never. There was no sign of anything at all"
Considering the situation of things now, are you making plans to come to Nigeria to see one or two things you can do to remedy the situation.
J "Three times I had tried to come to Nigeria, once in February, July and last in October but I had a lot of problem. Actually because of my kids here. The social services wanted to know who my kids are going to be with."
You said your daughter told you she will commit suicide, don't you think it would be nice to come back as early as possible so that she can stop thinking about that drastic step?
J "Yes, I actually told somebody that if it means moving back to Nigeria, I will do it. I will do it (Starts crying).
End of Joanne's interview.
Let's move to Ernest reaction to the whole thing
According to Encomium...
On Saturday Dec 1, 2007, the star actor kept his words by coming to our office. And he was here for over three hours, explaining why he couldn't have slept with a girl he calls his daughter. Ernest Obi, at a point, broke down and cried. And this much he said
Ernest Obi "I will start first and foremost by saying that whatever they told you, go ahead and print it. Do not remove a word from whatever they said. I do not want to join issues with them. I just want you to realise something. The same man she's painting as being evil, who she said raped or slept with Vanessa severally is the same man she went to when she has nowhere to go. When nobody wanted to accommodate her, I took her in with two kids who are not mine. I took them in, trained them in school, I even trained the boy in University in my house, even after Joanne left.
She left me and we knew it was over. So whatever story she tells, well, that's too bad. And they still were in my house for two years after she left. Does that not tell her anything? Because there was nowhere else for them to go. If it makes her happy to to say things like this, I say more grease to her elbow.
But if I was Joanne, and heard that my daughter was raped, I will come back home and lock that person up. That is what I expected she should have done. That is why I said she is the lovely mother that she is. Joanne, pls come home, com and find out the fact; find out the hospital where the D&C was done. Where I took her for abortion, bring your witnesses, arrest me, and I will not argue with you. I will not say anything evil about you.
I'm the new AGN (Actor's Guild of Nigeria) Chairman in Lagos. There is nothing anybody can do about that. I have reported this to my guild, national and state and I'm sure they believe in me as I believe in myself. whatever anybody says that is their business. I'm saying this out of respect for this magazine, for calling me to hear my own side of the story. And I'm happy it is all out. I didn't want to say anything before because there are children involved, but now it is obvious it does not matter. She can go on, keep the shame factor on. I'm okay. God bless you"
I have only three things to say...
1. If I was accused of raping a 12/13 year old girl, and I'm innocent...this is not the kind of things I will say when I grant an interview. I won't take it so calmly. If I never touched that girl, heads will roll. When I say heads, I mean heads. I will get everyone who mentioned my name arrested, hospitals, doctors, tests, the alleged witnesses, friends, associates, extended families will be picked up. Everything and everyone will be exposed and the issue sorted out with the police and I will not rest until the truth is uncovered, because being accused of raping a child is so deep, so treacherous, so offensive, that I will probably have nightmares for the rest of my life if I'm innocent...not to talk of defamation of character...the stain stays with you forever.
If that's all Ernest had to say...then I wonder!
2. Only an insane person will accuse her step father of raping her if he didn't...
So she's either deeply insane or she's telling the truth.
3. Apart from Ernest and Vanessa, there's someone else who knows the truth and that's God. May he prevail in this matter...for that child's sake, may he prevail!
What do you guys think?