By Benjamin Omoike
Veteran comedian, Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome, better known as Ali Baba has debunked rumours that his 15-year-old marriage has hit the rocks.
A few days ago, rumours emerged that Ali Baba had been kicked out of his home in Victoria Garden City (VGC) by his wife, Mary (nee Bassey Udoh) on grounds of infidelity and extramarital affairs.
However, the 55-year-old has vehemently denied these insinuations. Commenting on his Instagram page yesterday, Ali Baba said his marriage is still intact saying there was no need to explain anything to anyone as he had been in isolation.
He said: “We are still married and we thank everyone who sent messages and were concerned about this rumour”, he wrote. It will be recalled that a few days ago, rumours of the comedian’s marital woes emerged which anonymous sources said resulted from infidelity and series of extramarital affairs.
They even said that that Mary, 53, uncovered her husband’s affair with a lady based in the UK through a private investigator she hired.
According to inside sources, it was also discovered that UK-based lover has a child for the thespian – an act she found unforgivable.
All these, the entertainer said, are a figment of someone’s imagination. The 55-year-old thespian said the rumours started because he was not at home during Christmas and New Year celebrations.
The comedian contracted the dreaded COVID-19 disease and was in isolation throughout the holidays.
He was holed up at the Yaba Isolation Centre for some weeks before recovering from the virus. One of pioneers of stand-up comedy in Nigeria, Ali Baba studied Religious Studies and Philosophy at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State. The first of eight children, Ali Baba hails from Delta State.
He was previously married to Patricia Leon, a former Miss Trindad and Tobago and former executive with Multichoice Nigeria for some years and they had a daughter together.
Many young comedians owe their successful professional journey to him as he is portrayed as a godfather in the comedy space. He started doing comedy at big brand events as far back as the mid ‘90s.
It will be recalled that he was a regular during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo where he started earning N1million per show. He got married to his wife and long-time friend, Mary, a banker in April 16, 2006 and have four children together.
Mary is an executive director overseeing the Service and wealth Management group of Heritage Banking Company Limited (HBCL).
She had also worked in Citizens International Bank (now Enterprise Bank Limited, Nigeria) and Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank). Before joining Heritage Banking Company Limited as a pioneer Executive Director (ED).