“No One is going to Respect You more than You Respect Yourself”| Chibuzor Iwobi, Lifestyle Influencer/ Event Manager

Chibuzor ‘Chiby’ Iwobi is the king of nightlife in Lagos. A man who enjoys taking care of people and making sure they are having fun at all times. Growing up in Surulere, he felt like the odd one out being the only light-skinned person in his family. He was also quite chubby and was mostly always the fattest kid in the room.

He studied Economics at Delta state university (DELSU). However, he has ventured into many things over the years and has grown from being an aspiring economist into being a rapper, then a writer into being the head of a foundation, fitness enthusiast and a socialite. Chiby is a very shy person which is why he is barely sober at a party. Over the years, he has struggled with body dysmorphia and despite all his experiences, he hasn’t allowed that to take away his spark. He is a very kind and adventurous person who throws the best parties in Lagos.

We had a conversation with the king of Lagos nightlife, and he talks about his journey into building a name for himself in the entertainment industry, his love for writing and how he has improved over the years.

YellowLyfe Mag: What do you do?

Chibuzor Iwobi: I have a 9-5 job where I work as the head of a foundation called Meadow Hall Foundation and our goal is to improve educational outcomes for the less privileged children. At the Foundation, we have various projects such as:

The School Adoption Program where we adopted Ilasan Nursery & Primary School and cater for the teachers and students. Education Convention is a conference whose target audience is School Owners, Teachers, Policy Makers (Government) and Parents. It provides an opportunity for teachers, parents, and other stakeholders to gain fresh perspectives on pertinent educational issues from their interactions with Nigerian teachers and educational experts.

Teacher Professional Development Training (TPDT) where we organize free webinars for teachers. This is because, for the quality of education in Nigeria to improve, the quality of teachers has to improve as well. Great teachers are key to the provision of qualitative education for the Nigerian child.

I also plan events at South Socials, Hardrock and 355, and I am planning a party with a few friends called Agbaya Link Up.

YellowLyfe Mag: Tell us something about yourself that people wouldn’t normally see on the internet

Chibuzor Iwobi: Post Covid, I struggled with “social anxiety” because of the time spent indoors during the lockdown. Though I have always been a naturally shy person, I would always drink a bit to be myself. However, after the lockdown, I developed some social anxiety because I didn’t have a lot of social interactions during the lockdown. When lockdown eased, going out was a bit difficult because I just didn’t know how to manage myself. I still feel that way sometimes though.

YellowLyfe Mag: What do you do in situations where you are out, and you have to interact with a lot of people?

Chibuzor Iwobi: I start drinking if alcohol is available. It makes social interactions easier for me.

YellowLyfe Mag: Did you ever wish you could change your skin colour or body?

Chibuzor Iwobi: Not really. I didn’t think I had the power to change anything. I don’t think I hated being fat then. Although, there was a time my brother and I were walking home from school, and I was being taunted by a whole bunch of kids from the public school close to mine for being fat. “Orobo ki bo!” They chanted nonstop. My brother did his best to fight them off, but I ignored them completely. It hurt but what could have been done? I was eight years old.

Between the ages of six to nine, I wondered why God made me different from my family. This feels like I am being extra but it’s crazy this was my thought process as a child. I was religious and I was terrified of death, for some reason. Foolishly, I assumed my being different held some significance.

I recall being at my grandma’s burial and being told to leave the family section because they didn’t think I was a member of the family, all because of my complexion.

YellowLyfe Mag: What inspires you daily?

Chibuzor Iwobi: The need to take care of the people that I love

YellowLyfe Mag: Describe your journey in 5 words

Chibuzor Iwobi: Scary, Unbelievable, Amazing, Shaky because I have had some ups and downs and then Beautiful.

YellowLyfe Mag: Can you tell me a little bit about 355 and HRC?

Chibuzor Iwobi: When Hardrock approached, I was reluctant but by then, South was overcapacity and people wanted a bigger space, so the Hardrock offer came at the right time. Truth be told, the first night was the scariest. I got there early and waited for people to turn up. HRC has a ridiculously large space which is harder to fill. I stood idly, watching the door and hoping for a familiar face to walk through it. Working with HRC at the start was so much different from South, as I had a personal relationship with the partners at South where I had free reign to do as I pleased. HRC had their processes that took some time adjusting to.

For 355, I had a little bit more faith in myself because of the success I had at Hardrock. Their setup enabled me to throw two parties at the same time, one party being afro beats and the other HipHop/Trap. The beautiful thing about 355 is it’s being run by amazing women.

YellowLyfe Mag: How do you combine all these things

Chibuzor Iwobi: I don’t know how I’m juggling everything. There are times that I just have to deliberately ignore calls and messages just to have a little time for myself and this is because I get overwhelmed. After all, there is always a lot on my plate and my mind. I have to plan and execute projects at the Foundation, while also planning a party per week, I prefer doing this myself because I believe no one can share the vision that I have. Although, I have been advised to get a PA, but I am certain I would ghost them. Most times, I just drop my phone and spend some time with my girlfriend because she is my biggest supporter, the one person that I have in my corner that helps me with a lot of things. So, whenever I’m pressured, I’m always in her corner.

YellowLyfe Mag: What are some of the principles that guide you?

Chibuzor Iwobi: Just one: to create a vibe, no matter where I am at, or what I am doing. Life can be hard, so make the most of it. I ensure that I put in the right effort and make sure, that everyone is satisfied. I ensure that the people that I am working with buy into my idea, and we create a safe space for people to come in and enjoy themselves. I ensure that I put in the right effort and make sure that everyone is satisfied. I ensure that the people that I am working with buy into my idea, and we create a safe space for people to come in and enjoy themselves.

YellowLyfe Mag: What are some of the benefits and disadvantages of working in your line of business?

Chibuzor Iwobi: The advantages are numerous; I have formed a lot of friendships and bonds with a lot of people, and I have partnered with a couple of brands.

The downside is having to consume a lot of alcohol every Friday, in order to deal with the pressure of moving around at the party. Partying sober isn’t fun. I tend to use my entire Saturday to recuperate, Sunday is when I am now back to life and I have to preserve my energy for Monday, because that is when work resumes.

YellowLyfe Mag: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Chibuzor Iwobi: Honestly, I don’t even know at this point. At a point in my life, I wanted to become an economist but that changed when my love for writing exploded, and I had the dream of traveling round the world writing poems and stories. Then I fell in love with working out and romanticized the idea of becoming a trainer but now, I’m the head of a foundation. I am good at everything I do currently, so, I don’t want to force myself into a box. I’m basically just going with the flow and letting life happen. Let’s see how it goes.

YellowLyfe Mag: What would your advice be for a multi-talented person who is also involved in several things like yourself?

Chibuzor Iwobi: If I can do it, then you can do it too, just be ready for the mental burnout. However, always try to take some time off once in a while. Find a comfort zone where you can go into to ease yourself of any stress or burnout. With the right attitude, ambition and support system, your dreams can become your reality.

YellowLyfe Mag: Have you ever doubted yourself at any point?

Chibuzor Iwobi: Who hasn’t? I have doubted myself a lot. For instance, the foundation partnered with Piggyvest from February to July 2022, for the Sponsor a Child project, for the academic session 2022/2023 and the target was Two Million and Five Hundred Thousand Naira which PiggyVest would match if successfully raised. The beginning of the partnership was going just fine as we had raised almost Six hundred Thousand Naira in eight weeks, thanks to my friend Saleema who had used her birthday to raise funds for my project. Shortly after, the inflow reduced drastically. I drummed up my marketing campaigns, but it looked like I was going to fail. Funny enough, I had requested Five Million Naira but Odun, a co-founder of Piggyvest, suggested 2.5 million naira instead and at the beginning of July, the money raised was 1.3 million naira. With the end of the partnership beckoning, I feared failure was my fate. Luckily, a friend, Teniola came through and helped me raise the money for the kids, using her birthday as well. It was her 30th, and this was made possible by another friend, Anto, who had introduced us.

YellowLyfe Mag: How do you deal with it?

Chibuzor Iwobi: One thing that I tell myself is that “I can’t come and kill myself ” when I feel like I am unable to achieve my set goal. Failure is not the problem, fixating on it is the problem and that only makes it worse because I would start to over-think; then over-thinking grows stronger, and makes me paranoid, forcing me to become a shell of myself where I don’t want to try any more. I simply tell myself, “You go survive.”

YellowLyfe Mag: What are some other interesting facts that people don’t know about you?

Chibuzor Iwobi: I don’t think many people know that I have written books before. I have written about five books, and they are published on my Blogspot and medium pages. One is titled “Ejime”, which means twins in Igbo. It’s about a teen boy who is struggling with his sexuality and being a Christian. The other one is “bloodlust”, a detective series. Ejime spanned 12 chapters, so that’s two books. Bloodlust has 18 chapters which are 3 books.

YellowLyfe Mag: Do you think you would go back to writing?

Chibuzor Iwobi: Yes, hopefully. I want to be able to take a month off or more when I am successful, so I can travel and write a lot of stories and poems. Currently, I’m working with Lost in Lagos to brush up on my craft as a writer. The article I wrote for them in July was about my relationship with food and it was exhilarating to write about it because I was on my way to the gym, and it felt so good writing it that I realized that I had missed that aspect of my life.

YellowLyfe Mag: Tell us about your relationship with food

Chibuzor Iwobi: My relationship with food was so unhealthy, that’s why Abs, my gym mentor, and I started teaching people about calories. Being someone who used to be fat and being able to lose it, I would do everything that I could to stay skinny. I always told myself that “no matter what you do, if you eat rubbish, you have to punish yourself for it”. Assuming I worked out this morning, I am feeling a bit hungry, and I overeat, I would go for a run so that I could burn the excess calories. I refrained from eating many things I love and enjoyed. I would go on fruit detox’s for about three days, and I would still go to the gym, working out with the same intensity, all because I needed to stay fit; basically, punishing myself to maintain my six-pack and sexiness I felt I had.

YellowLyfe Mag: How would you describe your relationship with food now?

Chibuzor Iwobi: I can’t completely erase some habits, but it is way better than before. I can drink, eat, and take snacks without worrying that I have eaten too much. I have learnt to appreciate myself more and not punish myself because I am eating something that I like. I am in the best shape of my life right now, I’m eating healthy. I can balance eating and working out.

YellowLyfe Mag: Do you think having a meal plan helps?

Chibuzor Iwobi: Yes, it does but it’s boring which is why I have ended up binging at different times.

YellowLyfe Mag: What would your advice be for a younger person who is struggling with body dysmorphia?

Chibuzor Iwobi: No one is going to love you more than you love yourself and no one is going to respect you more than you respect yourself and if you are trying to lose weight for the girl next door or because you got heartbroken, you are dealing yourself a hard card and that is unhealthy. Do it for you, if you are confident in who you are, there is no point changing it for anybody.

YellowLyfe Mag: What is your favourite quote?

Chibuzor Iwobi: Let’s fucking vibe.

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