Iyabo Oko is a veteran Nollywood Yoruba actress. Her real names are Kudirat Odukanwi. She is also known by nicknames like Apoti Aje and Sisi Mama.
In this post, we take a look at her life and career as one of the leading actresses in Nollywood Yoruba.
Iyabo Oko was born Odukanmi Kudirat on the 15th of November 1960 in Iwo Local Government Area of Osun State in Nigeria.
Iyabo ran away from home during her secondary school days because she wanted to join a theatre group. After some time, her father came to take her away from Baba Eda’s house. This happened twice and she kept going back as she insisted that she wanted to act.
It was while she was working as an actress that she eventually completed her secondary school education.
When she eventually became famous, her father had died but her mother was alive to witness her success in the acting industry.
She began her education at Oke-Ola Primary School, Iwo in Osun State before relocating to Port Harcourt, her father’s base. She enrolled at St. Andrews Secondary School, Port Harcourt where she completed her education. At that time, her father was an active soldier in the Nigerian Army.
IyaboOko joined acting as a teenager in 1973. At that time she was on the platform of Eda Onileola theatre troupe.
According to her, she joined the industry because of her passion for acting. At that time, her parents didn’t want her to become an actress but she persevered and today the rest is history.
After a while, she started featuring in Nollywood Yoruba movies when she joined Oga Bello’s theatre group in Lagos. The movie that made her popular was Oko, which was produced by Oga Bello. It was after this movie that she got the name Iyabo Oko.
The actress revealed in an interview that there is really nothing special about her acting prowess as she is only unveiling what she was taught during her early days in the industry.
Her education under Eda Onile Ola has enabled her to be quite versatile and there is no role she can’t play. Also, she believes that to be a successful actor or actress you must be dynamic because this attribute will make you a favourite among movie producers.
The actress revealed that she would be making some adjustments to her movie schedule. For instance, she will be quite selective of the movies she partakes in. Also, she will be primarily involved in movie production.
Iyabo also revealed that she will be starting a business soon so that she is no longer entirely reliant on her earnings from the movie industry
Despite her advancing age, Iyabo Oko is known for her big buttocks and according to her; it is a God-given material from above. As a result, it is not something you can always hide as it will always show up.
The actress further revealed that her buttocks help her make money in the industry. She also disclosed that she really loves the shape because even though she’s not young, it is still in shape.
Interestingly, producers sometimes tell her to catwalk and shake her buttocks, and she often bills them for this and gets paid.
As a result of her illness, she lost a lot of weight. The actress revealed that it has made her fit and she pays more attention to her physical fitness but unfortunately her backside has reduced as a result of her weight loss.
Iyabo lost her husband many years ago and her children are currently abroad. The actress revealed that despite playing sexy roles in movies, her children see her as a responsible mother to the core. According to her, she doesn’t go out with men and she doesn’t dress in any way that her children don’t like.
Iyabo Oko is a card-carrying member of the Alliance for Progressive Change (APC) and she was part of the group of Nollywood actors and actresses that canvassed for people to get their PVC in 2015. She revealed during this campaign that she was formerly a member of the PDP but she discovered that they had nothing to offer that was why she decamped.
Others on the APC team include the likes of Moji Olaiya, Remi Shitta-Bay; Remi Oshodi (Surutu); Ronke Oshodi-Oke; Eniola Badmus (Omo-Ghetto); Fadeyi Oloro; L’Awori among others.
A few years ago, Iyabo Oko took an unexpected break from the acting scene due to complications as a result of a stroke.
During this time, she lost her voice, weight and mobility. It was an unexpected illness as she suddenly discovered that she couldn’t talk any longer. It was at this point, that the doctor made the diagnosis of partial stroke. The stroke was due to hypertension although the actress claimed that the sickness was a spiritual attack.
According to the actress, it was a scary experience but she is grateful to God that she is alive and well.
Initially, she was at the Military Hospital, Yaba and she was eventually able to regain her voice but when she returned home she lost it again. It was at this point her son from the U.K came home and transferred her to a hospital in the U.K. Also, he employed a therapist that helped to get her voice back. She later travelled to India where everything was perfected. She spent seven months in India.
As a result of this ailment, Iyabo Oko spent 2 years away from the acting scene. This meant that the last time she was on set was in 2016 since she recently returned to Nigeria until 2018.
Shortly before she took ill, the City People Magazine had decided to honour with the Special Recognition Award as a result of her immense contribution to the growth of the Yoruba movie industry.
The award ceremony took place at the Yard 158, Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun, Lagos on the 24th of July 2016.