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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Why many Nigerians flock to Houston, USA – Ex NTA Glamour gal Comfort Okoronkwo


 Few weeks ago, Comfort Okoronkwo jetted out of the country to America; she was moving on with her life, after recently retiring from her employment at the Nigerian Television Authority. Regarded as one of the glamour ladies NTA has produced over the years, Comfort has landed at Houston-based African Broadcasting Network (ABS) in USA, where along with the Chairman of ABN, Paul Arowolo, they are promoting the voice of Africa in Houston, America. Comfort, who is presently in the country and shuttling between Lagos and Abuja, told Paul Ukpabio, in this interview, the transformation that took her out of NTA. She also shared her memorable moments and how fashion, glamour and television are inter-related.


What has been happening to you lately? Have you re-located from Nigeria?
I just retired from NTA, and no, I have not relocated from Nigeria.


What happened to the NTA years? All of a sudden, your fans just didn’t see you at NTA again.
Nothing happened. In the year 2005, I was transferred from NTA Cannel 10 to NTA Awka until 2008 when I went to NTA College for 18 months to study. After my course at NTA TV College, the General Manager of NTA International, Chief Mrs Ngozi Nssien, requested that I be transferred to her station, NTA International, due to my performance when I was there for I.T. In 2011, I was again transferred to NTA Knowledge, where I retired.


Now, we hear of ABN, what is ABN all about?
ABN is African Broadcasting Network Television, Channel 15.9. It is one of the leading indigenous television stations operating in Houston, Texas, determined to provide excellent television broadcasting through the promotion of our culture and values.


How is the television station going to be relevant to Nigerian viewers?
The TV station will be relevant by showing activities of Nigerians in the Diaspora and equally updating them with what government is doing back home to alleviate the standard of living of Nigerians. They will also be educated on the policies, particularly, the ones that affect them.


Nigeria has lots of culture and tradition to offer, how can Nigerian creative people key into the ABN dream?
They can key into the ABN dream simply by coming up with interesting, entertaining and informative programmes that tell the Nigerian story. In essence, they can come in by providing content for the T.V station. Just as I have gotten Ifeanyi Dike to air ‘Igbokwenu’, Evelyn Obahor in London, showing her programme, ‘The Justeve Show’ and Adebola Atoloye Edmans showing her programme, ‘Dbol Show.’


So what role are you playing in ABN?
I play diverse roles. You may refer to me as their consultant, and also a representative here in Nigeria.


Tell us about some of the countries you have travelled to, any memories?
Well, twice I have travelled to China, the first visit was an invitation by the Chinese government to Journalists from Nigeria and Kenya to tour China and the second was for a seminar on digitisation, since I was already producing a programme, DIGITV, sensitizing people on the migration to digital broadcasting on NTA Network. And the most recent is my visit to America. Any memories? I thoroughly enjoyed both trips to China as we visited some interesting places like the Great Wall of China, Chinese Vegetable Museum, a power plant, petro-chemical company, Beijing Exhibition Hall, and offices of some ministers.


Do you miss NTA?
To an extent, what I really miss is the directing of Live Grade A Broadcast events. Directing, be it live events or studio based, keeps you on your toes, being that you, the director, are telling stories with the shots you take.


We hear that Nigerians are all over Houston, what makes Houston a special place for Nigerians?
I will say the weather. Houston’s weather is temperate: Not very cold and not very hot. It could be compared to the weather of Jos.


You have been a successful career woman, so let’s ask you, which is better, being a housewife or a career woman?
You cannot say one is better than the other. Some housewives are also good career women, who probably work from home. The important thing is maintaining a balance between the home and the Job.


Can you describe yourself?
I am a God-fearing person, humble, friendly, and an extrovert, who is reliable and beautifully and fearfully created by God (Laughs).


As a career woman, do you still find time to do lady’s things like going into the kitchen to cook?
A true Efik woman teaches her children how to cook right from a tender age. And yes I still cook up till tomorrow. In fact that’s one of my hobbies, cooking.


What is your view about fashion and how do you describe fashion?
Well, fashion is okay as long as you are comfortable in whatever you are wearing.


What is your style? what kinds of clothes do you like wearing?I don’t really have a particular style. When I wasn’t as endowed as I am now (laughs), I wore pants and tops. Now, I feel very comfortable in Kaftans and any attire that is free around by body, so to speak.


What determines the clothes you wear in a day?That is determined by the occasion, and then the weather.


What fashion accessories like necklaces, wristwatches will you not do without?
I can do without any.


In what ways would you say that fashion is relevant to today’s woman?Well, today’s woman wants to be trendy, at times wear what is in vogue but the bottom line in fashion is personal, what you consider fashionable may not thrill me.


How do you describe success?
For me, success is relative, being self- sufficient is having enough money to take care of your immediate needs and also reaching out to people, especially those in need.


What do you value most?
Oh, I value my name. I value my integrity.


How about family?
I have a nice, good, loving, and dependable family.


You have been able to combine a career with family life successfully?
Yes, the secret is just maintaining a balance and setting your priorities.


If you were not what you are now, what else would you have loved to be?
I had wanted to be a flight attendant. So if I weren’t what I am now, I would have started as  a flight attendant.

Are you fulfilled?
To the glory of God, yes: The potter is still at work in my life though.


Tell us a few things you remember about your childhood and a few you remember about your parents.
My childhood was good: I was loved. My mum loved me but a strict woman. I can’t really talk about my father as he died when my mom was three months pregnant of me.


Television personalities are considered glamorous, what does glamour mean to you? When should a lady be glamorous?
To me glamour is putting your best foot forward. Wearing something that will enhance your God-given attributes makes you glamorous. Well, you can be glamorous at all times, especially when you are going for an event.


How do you spend your holiday?
I spend my holiday sleeping, watching movies, and visiting friends; Doing the things I don’t have time to do when I’m working.


Do you have memories of a particular holiday you enjoyed?
Yes, my trip to London, my visit to the CNN Centre and the Great Wall of China.


What inspires you?
God inspires me. My environment also inspires me.


What does make-up mean to you?
Make-up is all about enhancing your facial look, especially in our line of business that is part of being glamorous for TV.


How do you relax or take stress off? Do you dance?
I love to watch my favourite programme on TV, Crime and Investigation. I also dance to take off stress and read novels.


What do you think of life?
I believe we are all put here in the world for a purpose. God created us for a purpose, which is primarily to please our maker, God, continuously being in fellowship with Him and introducing and leading others to Him.

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