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Bodybuilder, The Boogeyman Urges Parents to Support Children's Dreams

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Nigerian-Irish bodybuilder, Blessing Awodibu has advised Nigerian parents to allow their children to decide their career paths.

The popular bodybuilder known by fans as “The Boogeyman” gave the advice at a homecoming media briefing in Lagos organized to celebrate his return to Nigeria after 21 years overseas.

Mr. Awodibu has won various professional bodybuilding titles including two Arnold Classic titles, and four International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness Overall Champion titles.

At the media briefing in Lagos, he revealed that he struggled with identity crisis and depression after he couldn't go to college in Europe because he was broke and poor.

He left Nigeria at age nine and received a stern warning from his mother regarding his intended career, and that constantly plagued him, he said.

The warning left him confused concerning what he should do with his life at 14 when his hopes of attending college were dashed.

“My mother told me as we send you to Europe, it's either you become a pilot, a doctor, nurse, anything else outside that you are no longer my son.

“That hit me hard, I was sent to Dublin. I studied hard because it made it look like I could only achieve greatness one way.

“I studied hard to make that dream, not my dream but my parents' dream come to pass.

“But this is life, things happen, things will not always go the way you plan, there's going to be a time you knock on the door and nobody is going to open for you and that happened to me.”

He said the challenges he encountered during his teenage years in Dublin resulted in him taking up bodybuilding as a career.

“When it was time for me to go to college and study science to become a doctor, nurse, or pilot, but because I didn't have Irish citizenship, I could not do it.

“I was broke, I was poor, I couldn't pull myself through college.

“I thought it was all over for me, I was crying. I felt I let everybody down but then I started to look for answers and then I figured I loved working out.

“I began thinking about converting my hobby which was working out to becoming my career.

“I began thinking maybe it is my calling, and today it is!”

He called on parents to be good guides to their children but not force them into taking up career paths.

“I'm going to call out the parents and mothers. One of the problems we Nigerians face is that we don't give our kids the opportunity to be who they are, to find themselves, to follow their dreams, their passion; that they can be anything.

“But parents, especially in Nigeria… it has to stop. You have to give your kids the opportunity to be whom they want to be.

“Don't have their minds locked up in a box, because If you raise your kids saying there's only one way, what happens if that door is locked? They become nothing.”

The award-winning bodybuilder further revealed that part of his return to Nigeria was to create more awareness about bodybuilding in the country.

The Boogeyman 2 cropped

He said he was seeking to engage interested youths and help them understand the opportunities in bodybuilding and achieve their goals of becoming professionals.

“I'm always asking myself, how can I engage the youths, how can't make myself relatable and I found the way to do that through social media and making comedy skits along with me being a professional.

“And I know a lot of our youths… they watch me and they know what's going on in Nigeria.

“And that's why I'm back right now to reach out to my younger self, the younger generation to tell them it's possible. If I can do it, you can do it too.

“I know it's not easy being a Nigerian or being stuck in this country but we can't keep pointing fingers. It starts with you taking that step.

“Never mind the government, inspire yourself. Social media is a great tool, we are going to use it right and we are going to encourage the youth to find something they are passionate about.

“I'm going to do whatever it takes to help the younger generation come to the next level through fitness and comedy.”

Blessing Awodibu is expected to battle his rival Nick Walker and other bodybuilders for the 2022 Mr. Olympia Championship in Las Vegas in December.


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