Saturday, October 3, 2009
My Secret Affair With Timaya – Zee-Zee
(Published in my INSIDE KANNYWOOD column in LEADERSHIP today)
Ummi Ibrahim Usman, a.k.a Zee-Zee, has been enmeshed in much controversy recently. As much as she had tried to exonerate herself of blame in her previous relationship, she is still receiving knocks for quickly getting involved in another with star artiste Timaya. In this interview, she lay bare her mind on the scandal that led her to police detention, among other issues.
For a while now, you have been silent on issues, why?
The reason I decided to back out from issues of discourse is due to the unfortunate incident that came upon Maryam Hiyana. When the sex video clip was exposed, I vowed not to feature in any movie again.
But some music video posters of you and Timaya showed that you are working on your new album. How about that?
The reason I opted for musicals was because I stopped featuring in Hausa films; that is why I decided to work on my musical album, but not the Adamu Nagudus contemporaries. I am doing English musicals alongside stars like Timaya, Jonah the Monarch, Duncan Mighty, among others.
Why this sudden migration?
I have told you, I am no more interested in any Hausa movie or show again. The Hiyana scandal really put me off. It was a bad experience.
Most of these artistes you mentioned are more ‘expensive’ then those of Hausa extraction, how did you manage your budget?
(Laughter) The issue of budget is secondary because they are my business associates. We are into the same business, so we know our ways.
Could you tell us how you met Timaya?
(Laughter) The point is that we are destined to be. We are in the same profession. One thing led to another and that's how it all started.
Is it true that one of your boyfriends introduced you to Timaya?
I don't understand. You mean my boyfriend introduced me to him?
Yes, that your boyfriend hooked you up with him?
How could my boyfriend have introduced me to another man? It’s not true.
But is it true that Timaya is also your boyfriend?
Yes, Timaya is my boyfriend. In fact, I am also going out with two other artistes in the music industry– Jonah The Monarch and Duncan Mighty– but I am more recognised with Timaya.
How are you able to do this?
I want you to understand that I am single and searching. I can date 100 men, but Islam allows me to marry only one. Therefore, I am taking my time to search for Mr. Right.
You just mentioned Islam, how is it going to be?
Whoever wants to seek my hand should convert to Islam.
Do you think your boyfriends might convert to your faith in order to win your heart?
Of course! They could.
Has Timaya come to terms with your faith?
Yes! Not just him, all of them are ready to become Muslims.
Among the artistes you mentioned, who is going to be the hero - the one expected to become a Muslim and marry Zee-Zee.
Out of the three? (long silence)
I am not sure yet, but whoever is destined to be my husband will surely become a Muslim.
There are allegations that you were recently apprehended by the police. What really happened?
I have a boyfriend in Jos, Abdullahi Adamu Usman, who proposed to me, but unfortunately, my parents felt he was not the right man for me. You know the religion permits one to know the background of whoever comes to seek your daughter's hand in marriage. If he is good, then so be it. But for Usman, my dad said no. But I dated him for about a year, or there about. I used to visit him in Jos.
But is it true that you betrayed him? After buying you expensive cars, you jilted him for your new found love?
You mean people think I am a dupe, isn't it? The allegations are false. Abdullahi could be the one who is insinuating these against me. The guy is frustrated and is going about telling people that he gave me money, cars, etc. Since the day he felt that my dad wouldn’t bless our relationship, he started talking, even to the police. First, he said we were business partners and that I betrayed him of his 20 houses and 20 cars, as well as some undisclosed amount of money. He even said, I was planning to flee from the country.
The truth is, we are not partners in business, but the poor guy became furious when he realised that my father refused him; that is why he took that step. He would have asked that I redeem what he offered me in the cause of our relationship, and I would have paid him whatever I knew was between us, rather than tarnish my image. And don't forget, he offered me some gifts unconditionally because of our love, but all of a sudden, they turned the table against me.
But to some extent, what he did is wrong. He labelled criminal charges against me, which he knows I am innocent of. As a public figure, he succeeded in tarnishing my image. He ordered that my passport be confiscated. He said I was a '419er'. What I could recall is that he gave me five cars and I bought another five from him. I have 10 cars. That is the transaction that transpired between us. How could I have duped him? If not for anything, I am a Muslim, I can’t do that, but I leave everything in God's hands.
Did he retrieve the cars he gave to you?
My cars have special plate numbers like 'Zee-Zee 1,' 'Zee-Zee 2,' 'Zee-Zee 3,' 'Zee-Zee 4' and 'Zee-Zee 5'. I bought them with my money. What he should understand is that even before I met him, I have been riding in flashy and expensive cars, courtesy of my parents. Though he came back begging me for forgiveness, he equally brought back the cars to me.
How about the case at the police station?
Since he wants reconciliation, he, send his people from Jos to come and withdraw the case.
Is it true that you were detained for two days?
I was detained for three days.
Since he withdrew the case, are you still going to press charges for character assassination and libel?
The guy did some damages to my person but as I said, I leave everything in God's hands. I won't go to court. Let Allah be the judge.
Even if he returns the five cars?
Even if he buys me a private jet, he has already destroyed my hard-earned reputation. Before I met him, I was lavishing in expensive cars, but then he succeeded in tarnishing my image in the eyes of my fans, friends and well-wishers.
At the police station, some people said Timaya gave you money to buy cars?
Yes, Timaya gives me money because he is my boyfriend, and I don't think it is wrong to give money to your woman.
Could you now say quitting the Kannywood industry has brought more blessings to you
I am a product of the Hausa film industry. The industry took me to where I am today. They are two different things. For the fact I denounced featuring in the movies does not mean I look down on Hausa films, but my business matters more to me now. There is more money in the music industry than in the movies. That's all I said.
People are yet to see your album.
When are you launching it?
My songs are being aired on most satellite channels like MTV, Channel O, etc. But very soon, they will storm the market.
But don't you think you are the architect of all that is happening to you?
I don't understand.
The way you cruise around in those expensive cars and do odd things...
It's about policy. That is how I want to live my life. You also have your policy and ideology in life. These cars are not that expensive, with little savings you could also buy one or two, or even 20. I don't think there is any cause for alarm. Allah is the provider, once you can pray, He can grant your wishes (laughter).
All your men are rich. Is it that Zee-Zee doesn't mingle with the lower class?
(Laughter) It is in my blood, everything I touch turns gold... (laughter again). It’s nature's gift to me. Everything I touch turns to gold. If an ordinary man on the street approaches me today, you will be surprised at what he would become tomorrow. All I can say is that money is not love, but love is divine. If you are with me, you will surely be among. (Laughter).