Homto Dokpesi is a woman of many parts from painting to designing and project management. The daughter of AIT founder, Chief Alegho Raymond Dokpesi, who bagged a degree in Accountancy from the Igbinedion University in Okada, Edo State before proceeding to the University of Westminster, UK for her Master’s degree, dispels her rumoured affair with juju music maestro, King Sunny Ade, in this interview with PAUL UKPABIO, explaining the circumstances in which her marriage crashed and how she became pregnant and had a son outside wedlock.
HOW does one describe you; an entertainer or a designer?
I am a multi-talented, multiple award winning serial entrepreneur who is proficient in the economics of international business; a project manager, fashion designer, author and writer.
Who has influenced your life the most between your father and mother?
I would never place one influence over the other, so I would rather say they have both influenced me in life, and I have sure grown to be very proud of the woman I have become. What kind of lifestyle would you say you had as a child?
Although I was born into an opulent family, I was raised to live the simple life. That is why I can adjust easily to anything life throws at me. Good days, bad days, happy days and sad days, Homto is still very okay.
How did you derive your instincts for creativity, and what kind of things do you create?
My creative talent, I would say, is simply and directly from Almighty God. Once I think it, I sure would create it. I make bags, suitcases, clothes, sneakers, sandals, body cram and lotion, bath gels and bar soaps. I recycle used tyres and old plastic bottles into pieces of furniture and chandeliers.
You also write books. What inspires your stories?
Yes, there are four books I have authored, I write short stories which I am developing into theatrical plays for viewing, by God’s grace, in 2021. I also do research writing for a United Kingdom based company I also rewrite for. My stories are inspired from the day to day activities that go on around me or from people I know.
Were you affected in anyway by polygamy? Was life still the same after your father took a second wife?
Polygamy, I still believe, is the healthiest manner to raise a child. It gives a child a fair insight into the world and how it operates. If you can handle the politics of polygamy, trust me, the world would simply become your oyster to achieve even greater things. Polygamy though has its good and bad days. Sometimes the bad days are more than the good days and sometimes you learn to hold on to the good days whilst you wade through the bad days.
It has given me a positive outlook on life and a desire to strive to be successful in all I set out to do. In Africa, we do not count wives or children, but I would say the life change that it has given me is the amazing siblings I am blessed with. Being able to throw a party with ourselves and still feel the bond and love, I would never trade anything for that.
You grew up having a dad that is influential. Were you ever affected by his own issues and did they make you weaker or stronger?
Yes, I have an influential dad. Life itself is full of issues and lack of them would only make life boring. Beyond the issues are the perks: the perks of having a surname you mention and doors open. You are singled out most times and treated specially. You have a surname that breaks every closed door and makes the unavailable available. His issues are only a part of life. Like my elders would say, you can never truly appreciate happiness until you have tasted sadness. The issues do not have any effect on me at all.
How did you meet King Sunny Ade? He seems to keep appearing here and there in your life…
King Sunny Ade had done a song in honour of my dad years ago. I think I was about five years old at the time and my name was mentioned in the song. I still get people saying to me, ‘Oh, this is the face of Homto from that KSA Song’.
King Sunny Ade always plays in all of our events that I can remember. Even as far back as my dad’s 35th birthday. He performed at my village in Agenebode for my grandfather’s burial. He performed at my siblings’ weddings and even on my traditional wedding day. I met KSA through the influence of my dad.
What can you say about your relationship with KSA? What kind of person is he?
I do not know KSA personally aside from dancing to his songs on stage.
Have you heard people insinuating that he could be the father of your son? What do you tell such people?
Everyone is always looking for answers to their questions. Even though the father of my child is not in our lives, a decision he made which I choose to respect, my son knows who his father is, and the father knows he has a son. What more can I say? I would rather keep my private business private.
Life can be stressful for a single mother. What has your experience been?
Being a single mom is as beautiful as it can be thorny. I never truly knew what it entailed until I got into it. I must say it has been a wonderful experience bonding with an intelligent, handsome and smart child like my son. He reminds me so much of my dad. I would never trade the bond and love we share.
As per stress (laughs), for a mom who dealt with an obsessive disorder, I could not let anyone touch him or come close to him. I immediately get jealous. It was really bad in the early days. I have never had a nanny for him in the last six years, and I have had to manage him, manage myself, manage my home, manage my businesses and still stay sane. When I look back, I know it can only be God.
What led to the obsessive disorder of you not letting or wanting anyone touch him or come close to him?
After childbirth, women, probably due to the magnitude of hormones in their system, suffer different fates. Some come up with post-partum depression, some do not suffer from anything at all and come out okay, whilst what I had is termed post-partum obsessive compulsive disorder.
In this part of the world, mental health is still not regarded seriously. These are things women go through. Some find a channel to let it out while some do not! It is still regarded as “white people syndrome” but it happens to black women as well. I can only hope sooner than later we actually face the issues that we have rather than run from them or put them under a carpet so it does not put its head out.
How old is your son? You seem to have passed the creative bug to him too…
My son is six years old now. He keeps reminding me not to treat him like a baby anymore, he is a man now (laughs). He is more interested in fashion, modelling and photography. He would be on his first runway show next year.
Do you look forward to marriage some day?
Hmm, marriage (laughs). It is a good thing to find a confidant, a best friend, a ride or die who shares same values as my father. When I do find that person, then we can open that chapter.
Tell us about your dream man?
(Laughs) He does not exist.
What lessons did you learn from your short time in marriage that you would like to share with spinsters and newly married ladies?
I learnt that friendship is the most important ship you need to sail on the sea of life. Communication, understanding, tolerance and mutual respect should be the guiding anchor on the ship. It is not how long you courted before the marriage; it is how healthy the relationship is. That is what determines the success of that team, because at the end of the day, it is the team that has to make it work.
Is love enough for marriage?
In my opinion, love is a feeling that you have when you want to feel it with whom you want to feel it with at the time you want to feel it. I can decide to love five people in a day if I set my mind on it. So I do not believe love is a prerequisite for marriage, let alone it being enough.
When another opportunity for marriage comes up, will the opinion of your son matter?
The opinion of my son would matter greatly in any relationship, let alone marriage. My son is very protective so he needs to be comfortable with you. We all pray who ever we eventually choose as spouses would love our children much more than they even love us. So if I do not see the bond or your need to bond with my child, trust me, I do not count it as a relationship.
What is your most valued beauty asset?
My dark skin
What else would you love to be that you are yet to?
I would love to be the Senate President.
Any regret so far?
I live life very conscious of my decisions. I would never regret what made me happy at some point. So no regrets at all.
There was this comment on social media where you were referred to as a rich girl. Do guys approach you because they see you as a rich lady?
It was after I got into my previous marriage that I realised it was never love. It was all about being with Homto (Dokpesi’s daughter) for what she has, not who she is as a person.
My ex-husband had issues, and when a man cannot deal with his issues, he starts abusing you physically, emotionally and mentally. I tried with him, it did not work. You know with men, once they come out and say a woman is barren, a lot of people believe it. He said I was barren. But my dad stood strong by me. That is why I owe my life to him. My dad paid for us to go to the UK to do tests. Afterwards, my baby’s father appeared. That’s why I do not hold grudges against my baby daddy, because he was the reason all the doubts on my fertility was put to rest. But in his own case, we had broken up for a while, and there were rumours of my dad being named the chief of staff to the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. All of a sudden, he was back, and up until 12th of February we saw and spoke. He was well aware I had got pregnant. We discussed it and he promised coming to see my family.
On the 14th of February 2014, a chief of staff was named, which was not my father, and my calls and messages from that day were never answered, even till this moment! These are brunts that we face; not because we are not good people but because we may never find people who love for who we are, but people who love for what one is worth or what they can gain out of one.
So, I truly do not live in the minds of men or have an idea on what their thoughts and intentions are. But I am guarded on friendships and relationships, because at the end of the day, everyone has a reason for every action.
I don’t have any. My only hope is to be able to aspire that as a young woman, no matter how life may have tilted your crown, it can still shine. As for my ex-husband, he realised his mistakes but it was too late. The same girl he referred to as barren, the same girl he made his family believe was not good, has turned around to have a child and is doing well in several businesses.
From The Nation.