Ruth Benamaisia Opia is a name that can never be forgotten in a hurry in broadcasting, especially in NTA. She was a celebrated newscaster for several years. She was a darling to millions of viewers on television in the 1980s and 1990s. With a name and a voice to look forward to, she endeared herself to the heart of Nigerians during the several years she spent anchoring the regular news at 9pm during the week and Newsline at 9pm on Sundays on NTA. She made a name for herself in NTA. Many don’t know she started broadcasting in 1977, (41 years ago). She was one of the TV personalities who moulded many upcoming and young broadcasters in the course of their career. She left NTA after a long time and returned to the screen in grand style.
After she left NTA she worked in an oil company where she was the community relations manager. Now in retirement, she is aging gracefully at close to 60. But she looks younger. At a glance you will mistake her for a 40-year-old. She is a powerful dresser and that was one of the many things she was well known for during her time at NTA. Now in retirement, she is married to former OMPADEC Boss, Prof Eric Opia and blessed with 4 children. She was born in Lagos to a Bayelsa father and an Ndokwa, (Delta) mother.
The one-time dreadlock wearing, one-time Commissioner for Information in Bayelsa State started out as a radio presenter with Radio Nigeria, Enugu when she was still fresh from school. Two years later, the first child in a family of 6 crossed over to TV where fame and fortune enveloped her.
This beautiful looking ageless dame was one of the celeb women who graced the wedding of Ambassador Folake Marcus Bello son where City People Society Editor, TAYO FAJORIN OYEDIJI spoke to her about her life, her career and what she missed most about broadcasting.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
You have always looked younger than your age? What’s your beauty secret?
When you are old as we are,it gets easier.I don’t actually have any routine what so ever but I make sure I moisturize my skin and keep my colour intact.I eat well and I rest well.
How do you choose your style because your style was one of the many things who got you endeared to many people’s heart?
Just the way I feel, if I am feeling spunky,I dress spunky,if I am feeling 23 ,I dress that age so for me style is being comfortable in what you are wearing. Your style should be you. So I wear what fits me and what I like at any point in time.
How did broadcasting start for you and at what point did people really know you?
The one who is the author and finisher of our faith always orchestrate our journey in life, I started long time ago,quite by accident, but I am happy today. I started in 1977 in Enugu and my father asked me what I wanted to do and I said broadcasting and he introduced me to some people and I did some auditions and here we are today.i started broadcasting straight out of secondary school then I was at NTA where I can say that was the place that brought me out.i was casting the 9pm news.My love for broadcasting is endless, I saw people doing it,and my father was a diplomat,we lived in Nairobi ,Kenya and we used to watch presenters, newsreaders and that was where the passion and love for broadcasting came from,you know when God puts something in your heart and it burns,it just comes easily.
How do you feel anytime you want to go on air to cast news and how do you deal with fame?
Oh, when the time comes on,I just say Lord,’showtime” I am your advert. Advertise yourself through me. It feels thrilling from all the feed backs I get from the audience,from people when you meet them outside. I feel grateful,honoured, loved and appreciated with the enormous love and attention people bestowed on me whenever they see me.so it has been good.
Are you still into broadcasting? Can you ever quit?
I do it sometimes on LTV,I am not sure if I can ever quit. It is something that is part and parcel of me and I have been doing this for several years. I started in 1977.
What do you miss most about broadcasting?
I miss the part where I have to be the one to break news on NTA.it is not what it used to be now because of the social media era. There is more professionalism in the job and it was passion that was driving us then. Most of us that have been around have passed through Radio Nigeria where you will be taught well. So, you don’t just go on Tv, we were very formal on air.It is a different time, you don’t compare,you don’t compare for real. Now the audiences are different,a lot of things have come up especially in this social media era so it is incomparable.
How do you joggle between your busy schedule and putting your family together as a mother and wife?
Like every woman, God made women to be multitasking so you just get along with it.That is how it has always been. It is pure God’s grace.