Sunday, February 21, 2010


Watching the finesse and suaveness of Joseph Benjamin alongside his co-host, Adora Oleh, on the stage of MTN Project Fame, West Africa Season 2, one would certainly know that this is what this dude was born to do. But the question would definitely arise, “Where has he been all this while?”

Not far away, “I have been in the entertainment industry for a long time now”, he replies. “I started out with Tales By Moonlight. I have been in movies with the likes of Ramsey Nouh, Ejike Asiegbu, Victoria Inyama and so many others from as far back as 1991. I also had a role in Zeb Ejro’s Deadly Mission, a production which was originally supposed to be a series and an answer to Guinness’ CRITICAL ASSIGNMENT, but came out as movie.” Then there was a lull in the entertainment motion as he discovered his gift of a unique voice.

He has been in the commercials of almost all the major brands around either as an actor or as voice over artiste. Even during the Project Fame shows, the audience has become so familiar with his introduction of himself and Adora as the hosts of the shows that as soon as his voice booms out from the speakers. “Ladies and gentlemen…” they would join him to complete it.”

On the day Adora missed the show and the contestants had their Night of Classic Duets, not a few in the audience felt some pity for Joseph because he was alone, but he came up with one of his strongest performances as the host of the MTN Project Fame, West Africa Season 2. This is what happened. There are series of technical, commercial and judgment breaks during the Project Fame and one of this took longer than expected. Jospeh mounted the stage. With no prior preparation, he sang “freestyled” his way into the few hearts still awaiting his conquest in the audience. Even the members of the PROJECT FAME FACULTY couldn’t help joining in.

How did the singing part come about? Because, just being a voice over artiste is not enough to make one a singer.
“I was among the contestants for Idols West Africa”, he explains. “In fact, I made it into the top 60 and to Planet One before getting evicted. I met Desmond (one of the contestants on the MTN Project Fame, West Africa) there.” Desmond made it into the top 24. “I personally, I think one of the judges really didn’t like my face and I know the one”, he added mischievously.

What happened after you got evicted from IDOLS?
I went back to the movies. Before and after Idols West Africa, I had done a sitcom called Young, Single and Free (YSL) for Tajudeen Adepetu; Edge of Paradise, Super story, Bachelors and Tinsel which is currently running. I have featured in a whole lot of TV series for terrestrial channels. PROJECT FAME is actually my first outing as a TV host

We then got talking about the Project Fame Show.
“I got into the show just by taking a chance,” he states matter of factly. “I believe that it’s God that makes a man. Whenever I go for auditions and I don’t get picked up, I take things easy. I made the shortlist for hosting Zain’s Don’t Forget The Lyrics but wasn’t picked. I also auditioned for the first season of MTN Project Fame West Africa and still wasn’t picked. This year, I didn’t even know I would get picked. I only heard they were shopping for a female host but still called to find out. That was how the executive producer, Mr. Femi Ayeni, invited me for the auditions. The caliber of people I met at the auditions was enough to put fear into me but I remained very optimistic. After the first audition, I was invited for another one. This time around, we were put in pairs. Coincidentally Adora was the first person to be paired with me. We finished for that day but continued to come to Ultima Studios for one or two things. One a fateful Saturday, I came in and the recording of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was on. Mr. Ayeni then asked me to host the show. At that point, I totally forgot everything I knew about the show. I was able to go through the preliminaries with what was my best possible performance. I conducted Fastest Finger First and got a winner. It was only when I got to the middle of the stage and discovered that there were no chairs that it dawned on me that I had just gone through another test. I almost had a heart attack. That proved to be my final audition and that was how I got to be hosting MTN Project Fame West Africa Season 2.”

Joseph Benjamin or JoeBen, as he is sometimes called, is obviously enjoying his time as the host of MTN PROJECT FAME WEST AFRICA SEASON 2 but we still haven’t really found out the origins of his public speaking prowess and excellent presentation skills.

He lost his father before his birth and his mother remarried to a Dutch. Because his step father’s job took them around the country, he was able to tour most of the states of the country at a very early age. He also credits his stepfather with instilling his present discipline and self confidence into him. “My childhood was a lucky one,” he says. “I was born in Lagos, grew up in Benue and Port Harcourt before coming back to Lagos.” Surprisingly, he has never lived outside the country before. “I am a fully home-bred Nigerian man. All the education I have was got here in Nigeria.”

He was born Joseph Chibuzor Benjamin about three decades ago to a Kogi father and Igbo mother. He attended a private primary school in Benue State, a grammar school in Lagos and got a diploma in Computer Literacy from an affiliate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is an IT specialist, a model, a professional voice over artist, an actor, a musician and a professional compere. With his performances alongside Adora Oleh, who he gentlemanly helps down the steps of the PROJECT FAME stage every weekend, things are definitely looking up for our first time compere who is now a professional

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