CROSS: I hope to put my life experiences into a movie script
Ikechukwu Sunday Okonkwo, popularly known as Cross, is a former Big Brother Naija (BBN) housemate, entrepreneur and fitness enthusiast. He hails from Oba in Idemili North Local Council, Anambra State. He attended University of Hull in England, United Kingdom where he got bachelor degree in Business Administration. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, he shares his experiences growing up, being a serial entrepreneur and future plans.
Share with us your growing up and how it shaped your personality?
My growing up was rough and tough. I lost my dad when I was 14 years old and had to grow up real fast being the first son. I remember vividly the events that followed my father’s death. It became a new world I didn’t expect. That fateful day, my younger brother and I were just playing games in my mum’s room and all of a sudden my mum ran into the room, picked up her Bible and wrapper and ran out immediately. We were told to remain inside as my dad had an accident. Later in the day, I came out and looked through the window, our gate was flung open and a lot of people had gathered, then I realised that the worst had happened. Later I knew my dad was assassinated a few meters from our home. It was there I knew that my life had just begun. With my father gone, my mum didn’t know anything about his businesses. That was when the whole world came crashing down on us because we didn’t know how we were going to survive. So, naturally, we all became closer to each other. Some family members and friends eventually turned against us and we realised we were all we had.
Unfortunately, later on, my dad’s assassinators came for us, thinking we had information on them. They came to kidnap me in school several times but I escaped, they also held my mum at gunpoint at one particular time but she escaped. God just kept us safe till my mum was able to seek asylum in Canada for our safety. Now we’re all healthy and doing well, and I thank God for that.
Hopefully someday, I’ll be able to write a script or a movie about my life experiences and educate people on what happened to me, and how culture and family influenced the way I am today.
You are a serial entrepreneur, how are you able to hone your skills?
By always pursuing knowledge and having the willingness to learn from people. Be it in social media, books, people or anywhere, information is available.
How would you say the BBN show shaped you?
It helped me understand myself more. It also helped me to understand people more and taught me how to relate with people. It was a crazy experience but I loved it.
If you were to go back, what would you do differently?
I definitely want to go back. Maybe I’ll cook more. I don’t think I’ll change much because I was myself from the beginning to the end.
As a fitness enthusiast, what key fitness goals would you encourage your fans to take on?
Living a healthy life. I encourage people to be eating right and abstaining from bad habits because health is wealth.
What new projects should we expect from you?
I am always working on something new. I don’t want to give out much. Expect a music project and tour. And I am sure you have heard about NFT, I just may be releasing a collection soon. Stay tuned.
What does fashion mean to you?
It means everything to me. Drip is a way of life.
What’s your style?
Urban, Fresh, Soft.
What’s your favourite fashion piece?
In your years of running businesses, what lessons can you say your have learnt?
I have learnt that people are very mischievous. There are many scam artists out there. People would tell you they’ve sent alert, but they’ve made up fake alerts for you. So you need to be very careful when you’re doing your business. I got duped early last year before I got into the Big Brother house. I lost a huge amount of money and that was the saddest moments of my life. When it comes to doing business in Nigeria or anywhere in the world, you have to do your research and make sure you do your own work. Another lesson I’ve learnt is that when you’re using human power or labour, you should know that they’re bound to make mistakes. Your business environment also has to be conducive enough for you. Our government isn’t making things easy for us, but we hope that one day, the right government will come in that will make Nigeria more business-friendly.