Iyabo Ojo is a 45-year-old Nigerian actress, scriptwriter, producer, and philanthropist. She was born on 21 December 1977 and is most renowned for her roles in Gangs of Lagos (2023), Palava (2022), Ijo Olomo (2012), Black Veil (2021), and the reality show, The Real Housewives of Lagos.
Iyabo has combined hard work, dedication, talent, and more to reach the level of one of the most daring and renowned actors in Nigeria. While at it, she has attracted awards and nominations, such as Best of Nollywood Awards, where she won Best Supporting Actress – Yoruba in 2012. There is more to be explored about Ojo’s childhood, career, marriage, and scandals, among others.
Iyabo Ojo is 45 Years Old
Iyabo Ojo was born Alice Iyabo Ogunro on 21 December 1977 and is currently 45 years old. She hails from Abeokuta, Ogun State but was raised in Obanikoro, Lagos. She was raised as the last child and only girl among two brothers from her well-to-do parents, Mr. Adekunle and Mrs. Victoria Olubunmi Fetuga Ogunro.
Although her father remained mostly private, her mother was renowned for her seamless support for Iyabo. Iyabo’s mother, Victoria, acted and sang while in school. Her potentials in acting were very notable, and her teacher once told her that she would make a good actress. However, she never took the path professionally, but she raised a daughter who inherited her love for entertainment and would venture into acting.
Mrs. Victoria Ogunro lived for 67 years before she died in her sleep in November 2020. Prior to her demise, the celebrity mother battled schizophrenia – a mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally.
The Actress has a National Diploma in Estate Management
Iyabo Ojo was enrolled in the National College, Gbagada, Lagos, for her secondary school leaving certificate. While there, she engaged in social activities and events such as drama and acting sessions.
Iyabo later obtained a National Diploma Certificate in Estate Management from the Lagos State Polytechnic. However, she did not further her education after she became pregnant and married at the age of 21.
At one point, she made a social media post referencing her education and how she did not go far. She claimed that she had been called a blockhead, but it didn’t matter as she has been blessed with knowledge and wisdom and had even employed graduates. In the report, she hinted at her plans to return to school.
How Iyabo Ojo Became Famous
The Yoruba actress went into the movie industry even though she had no prior exposure to the career path aside from being involved in the school drama club. She chose the path of acting in 1998 at the age of 21, the same year she got married.
Her journey to stardom came after watching the 1997 movie Out of Bounds, when she discovered her interest in acting. Afterward, she contacted Nollywood veteran actress Bimbo Akintola. Luckily, Bimbo took her under her wing and showed her the ropes of acting. Most importantly, she helped her register with the Actors Guild of Nigeria. She also introduced her to Nollywood actor and producer Keppy Ekpenyong Bassey, who also played a major role in getting her roles and auditions during the emergence of her career as an actress.
Her debut movie, Satanic, in 1998, was an English movie, contrasting many others that subsequently came after, which have all been in Yoruba. Soon enough, she started to make waves and gradually found her way into Yoruba scenes when she acted in the 2002 movie Baba Darinjinwon.
Iyabo Ojo’s Career as a Movie Producer, Director, and Scriptwriter
With over two decades of a steady rise in the Nigerian movie industry, Iyabo Ojo is presently one of the most recognized female actors who are both wealthy and famous. Regardless, that is not the only achievement that can be attributed to her. She is also a movie producer, director, scriptwriter, and owner of Fespris Production Studio.
Although she has worked in over 150 movies, the seasoned actress has only appeared in a few of them, such as Under the Carpet (2021), Black Veil (2019), and Beyond Disability (2014).
Iyabo Ojo produced her first movie in 2004 at the age of 27, known as Bolutife. Subsequently, she made other movies that featured characters and big names in the industry, such as Fathia Balogun, Alabi Pasuma, Tana Adelana, and Alex Usifo.
So far, she has been recognized on several platforms for her remarkable work in the production sector. One such platform is the AELA Awards, where she won the movie producer of the Year award in 2018.
Additionally, she is a scriptwriter and director. The versatile actress has chosen to write in both Yoruba and English
Iyabo Ojo’s Best Movies
Iyabo has been featured in many films in the 25 years of her being in the movie industry. Inasmuch as all the film she has been involved in has, in one way or another, contributed to her rise to fame, some are considered the best.
These best films of Iyabo stand out as they have claimed her awards, written her name in the list of the most renowned actors, and her interpretation of the roles may be second to none. Here is a compilation of Ojo’s best films.
Silence (2014) is the First Film She Produced
Silence may be perhaps Iyabo Ojo’s first movie production in the industry. The movie under the Fespris production studio, is centered on a victim of circumstance, Ebunoluwa, who was abused as a child under her father’s cruel hands. Down the line, the movie takes a twist with her forced into marriage and the consequences that followed.
Silence was not received well at the beginning as many issues were raised, such as poor visuals, cast, and production faults. The media and publicity regarding the movie were also poor, leading to an even poorer turnout at the movie’s premiere. However, it captured the public’s attention subsequently and became a favorite to many despite its supposed flaws.
Iyabo Ojo’s first English movie, Silence was awarded for excellence by the International Association of Psychiatric Nurses of Nigeria (IAPNN). The movie also won the Best Movie of the Year (2014) award at the Best of Nollywood Awards (BON). Actors whose presence graced the movie are Alex Usifo, Joseph Benjamin, Yinka Quadri, and a host of others.
Beyond Disability (2016) Won Iyabo Ojo a Nomination
Beyond Disability is a story of forgiveness, families, and the dark secrets they come with. In the midst of the strife, both families were left with tough decisions to make regarding the future of their children. The movie featured actors like Ini Edo, Femi Adebayo, and Desmond Elliot
In 2016, Iyabo Ojo got nominated for the role of best actress in a leading role for her role in Beyond Disability.
Gangs of Lagos (2023) is One of Her Most Rated Films
This film is one of Nigeria’s most fascinating crime-action thrillers, and Iyabo’s role as Mama Oba may be minor but crucial to the lead character’s life and the story.
She played the role of a desperate woman who wanted her son to live longer than it was prophesied. She wanted him to be off the street and crime so he won’t be killed young as his father. However, she lost him in her bid to protect him, and hence, she cut him off completely.
Gangs of Lagos premiered in April 2022, and it is the first Amazon Original Movie from Africa. The film has an 86% rating from the aggregator of movie and series reviews website, Rotten Tomatoes.
Iyabo appeared in the movie alongside some of Nigeria’s biggest actors, such as Adesua Etomi, Tobi Bakre, Olarotimi Fakunle, Pasuma, Toyin Abraham, Chioma Chukwuka Akpotha, Bimbo Ademoye, and Zlatan Ibile.
List of Iyabo Ojo’s Movies and TV Series
- Honey Money (2023)
- Gangs of Lagos (2023)
- Domitilla (2023)
- Baba Darinjinwon (2022)
- Palava! (2022)
- Going Bananas (2022)
- The Real Housewives of Lagos (2022)
- Alaga (2022)
- Fool’s Day (2021)
- The Ghost and the Tout (2021)
- Blood of Enogie ( TV Series-2021)
- Under the Carpet (2021)
- As Complicated (2020)
- The Alter Date (2019)
- Black Veil (2019)
- Four Wives and a Mistress (2019)
- Backline (2019)
- Thin Line (2018)
- Divorce Not Allowed (
- Awusa (2016)
- Agogo Ide (1998)
- Satanic (1998)
Iyabo Ojo’s Awards, Nominations, and Recognitions
- Best of Nollywood Awards- Best Supporting Actress- Yoruba (2021 Nominated)
- Best of Nollywood Awards-Best Supporting Actress- Yoruba (2017 Nominated)
- City People Movie Awards – Best Actress of the Year (Yoruba) (2015)
- Best of Nollywood -Best Movie of the Year (Silence) (2014)
- CAMA Awards –Best Actress of the Year (2013)
- Best of Nollywood Awards – Best Actress in a Leading Role (2012 Won)
- BOTRA Award – Excellent Performance on Stage(2011)
- Abuja International Film Festival Best Feature Film (2011)
- Deluxe Magazine – Award of Excellence and Recognition(2011)
- African Film Awards (AFA) Best Crossover Actress (2007)
Truth About Her Career as a Businesswoman
Iyabo Ojo has spread her business tentacle vastly. She is the owner of Fespris Limited, which has several subsidiaries like Fespris Abula Spot – a local food business joint in Lagos, the Fespris Lounge and Bar, Fespris Clothing, Fespris Decoration, Fespris Accessories, and Fespris Spa.
In addition to her businesses, throughout her career, she has had a series of endorsements that keeps her going. They include Pragmatic Home, Speedy_weightloss, and Vsit.
The Ijo Olomo Actress is a Mother of Two
Iyabo Ojo is blessed with two children, Priscilla Ajoke Ojo and Festus Oladunjoye Ojo. They were born in the course of Iyabo Ojo and Ademidun Ojo’s marriage which lasted till 2001.
Iyabo Ojo’s first child, Festus Ojo, was born on 21 June 1999 and owns a clothing store in Lagos. He is a graduate of Altinbas University in Turkey.
On the other hand, Priscilla Ojo took after her mother’s step to go into entertainment and the business world. She is famous as a model, actress, brand influencer, and businesswoman. Iyabo Ojo shares a good relationship with her children.
Controversies Iyabo Ojo Has Been Involved In
The 45-year-old actress has been involved in controversies over the years. The controversies are cut across different aspects such as sex, relationship, and even feud with colleagues. Here is everything to know.
1. Sex Scandal With Apostle Suleman
The General Overseer and founder of Omega Fire Ministries International, Apostle Johnson Suleman, has been under the radar of the rumor mills over several sex scandals. In 2022, Apostle Suleman was accused of having had illicit affairs with Iyabo Ojo and some of her popular colleagues in the industry. Some names mentioned are; Chioma Ifemeludike, Shan George, Ruth Kadiri, Mercy Johnson, Georgina Onuoha, Ini Edo, and Angela Okorie.
The supposed affair was brought to light when Halima Abubakar, a Nigerian actress, came out publicly to accuse the general overseer of sleeping with her while she was bleeding and leading her to the loss of their child together. Halima Abubakar said they had been dating for over four years, and she exposed that while they dated, he also slept with many other actresses, including Iyabo Ojo.
Apostle Suleman denied the allegation, but another actress, Steph Nayah, revealed that she had previously shared a threesome with Apostle Suleman and Iyabo Ojo sometime around 2017. The supposed event was said to have taken place in a movie producer’s house said to be located in Agungi. Afterward, the apostle shared the sum of $8000 between them ($3000 to Iyabo Ojo and $5000 to Steph Nayah).
She claimed his driver brought Iyabo a Silver Range Rover after she complained how hers had a problem. Steph Nayah declared how she met Iyabo’s mother, who was aware of the whole act between her daughter and the Apostle as it seemed to be a regular occurrence.
2. The Actress was Involved in an Alleged Secret Marriage
After Iyabo Ojo separated from her marriage to Ademidun Ojo in 1998 at the age of 21, she has not remarried. Over 20 years later, rumors surfaced of an alleged secret wedding between Iyabo Ojo and Paul Okoye, CEO of Upfront and Personal Global Management.
Even though the actress has not admitted to tying the knot with Paul, there were instances where she referred to him as ‘Obim’, which means my heart in the Igbo language. Furthermore, during her 45th birthday, Paul Okoye’s daughter took to her social media handle to refer to Iyabo Ojo as “stepmother” while wishing her well.
It is also key to note that the actress has not been gentle in flaunting her current love life with the Igbo PR guru on her social media page.
3. Iyabo Ojo and MC Oluomo Feud
MC Oluomo is a politician and the former chairman of the National Union of Transport Workers (NURTW), Lagos State chapter.
Right before the 2023 general elections, Iyabo Ojo and MC Oluomo were involved in a frenzy over their choice of presidential candidates. Labour Party’s presidential candidate Peter Obi was Ojo’s choice candidate, while MC Oluomo’s candidate was Bola Tinubu. This led to the chaos in which Oluomo accused Iyabo Ojo of being an ingrate for not supporting his candidate since she was a recipient of many favors from him.
Their altercation came as a shock to the many who had previously considered the public figures to be in a relationship. Although the actress admitted that he has stood by her and helped her frequently, they had never had an intimate relationship asides from being casual friends.
4. She was Banned by TAMPAN
The Yoruba movie actress has been made the subject of a reference to filmmakers who TAMPAN mandated to desist from working with her. The Theatre Arts and Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN) took the bold step considering her action as unprofessional and full of misconduct. Iyabo Ojo, alongside her colleague Nkechi Blessing Sunday was involved in making derogatory comments against the practicing body, which the leaders found disrespectful.
The feud began after the alleged rape saga carried out by Omiyinka Olarenwaju, popularly known as Baba Ijesha, against the 14-year-old foster daughter of comedian Princess. So the story goes, when the victim was seven years, Baba Ijesha touched her inappropriately, and it continued until she was a teenager.
Iyabo’s place in the matter was a vocal one as she spoke about her displeasure over other actors being silent over the alleged unjust victimization of a child. She pointed an accusing finger against TAMPAN for supposedly supporting Baba Ijesha’s act rather than dissociating with him.