The storm over Phyna, BBNaija winner’s story: Putting the records straight


Last week, Saturday Vanguard published an interview granted by the father of the winner of last year’s BBNaija season 7 ‘Level Up’  edition, Phyna.

In the interview, the father, Mr Felix Otabor, complained that his daughter disappeared after winning the N100m grand prize saying the very day she was announced the winner was the last time they set eyes on her and that she neither called nor answered her parents’ calls. After the publication, all hell was let loose as Phyna went on social media, insulting and abusing Vanguard and our reporter, claiming that her father never granted such an interview.

On the day our reporter called her on the telephone to get her side of the story after her father had spoken to us, she didn’t answer the call but later sent  a message that read: “I am shooting, send me a text.” Responding, our reporter wrote, “Good afternoon, I’m Ben Njoku of Vanguard Newspapers. Pls, I want to have a brief chat with you. When can I call you back?” In less than 30 minutes, she returned the call, and when a question was posed to her, she immediately dropped the call, and never picked it again. We then went ahead to publish the report. The interview set the internet agog and when she read it, she took to her social media handles to call us names.

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Phyna’s outbursts on social media

In one of her unedited rants on X(formerly Twitter), Phyna not only rained abuses on our reporter but also threatened to sue Vanguard newspaper for publishing an interview her father never granted.

She wrote “Vanguard journalists have been tormenting me with texts and calls, I mistakenly picked one of the numbers 4 days back. Immediately I said hello, the useless man just said he is Ben Njoku from Vanguard and the next thing, this bastard started asking questions. I just told him, ‘how can you come to me and you started questioning me’, I then ended the call. He texted me immediately that he is so sorry. Now, you went back to your cupboard to say your father is crying and your mother gave him a bastard son? Vanguard will crumble.”

Not satisfied with that, Phyna released our reporter’s telephone number on social media, which prompted all manner of people to call his line ceaselessly, sending threatening messages. She wrote, “This is the number of the bastard that has been disturbing me from Vanguard …This particular cooking go choke una. You will hear from my lawyer…”

Reacting to her outbursts, a social media user, who goes by the name toxic buddy said, “a journalist called you on the telephone to hear your own side of the story before going ahead to publish, but you ignored him, what do you expect? He went ahead and published the story as he was told by your father. The text message exchange between him and you is enough evidence that he did his due diligence as a journalist to reach out to you before putting out the story.”

Phyna was blinded by the so-called ‘celebrity status’ symbol, which she enjoyed for one year. And as a reality TV star, she felt she did not need the media anymore to soar. Instead of going back to her parents to reconcile with them, she ran to her followers on social media to whip up sentiments and propagate lies. Interestingly, what transpired between her and our reporter was recorded.

Her claim that she mistakenly picked up our reporter’s call after she had asked him to send her a text message was false because she was the one who called back after seeing the text message. It was also not true that our reporter sent her a text message apologizing to her immediately after she dropped the call. It was just to attract sympathy from her fans. Why would she delete all her posts regarding this matter on social media if she was telling the truth?

She refused to address the issues raised by her father in the interview that she abandoned the family after she won the BBNaija ‘Pepper Dem’ edition. Instead, she decided to attack the journalist who conducted the interview.

Meanwhile, when it dawned on her that her father truly granted the first interview, Phyna was probably heartbroken as she wrote on her social media handle that, “When I die, I must not be buried. My body should be given to my family, and the whole world must sit and watch them eat me. They must eat my corpse.” To date, we are not aware she has neither contacted her father, nor reconciled with her family.

It’s true she bought jeep for me, but yet to reach out —-Father

During the week, her father, Mr Felix Otabor called our reporter again on the telephone to say that Phyna hadn’t reached out to him or any member of the family. He said he thought that granting the first interview to Vanguard would compel her friends to advise her to return to her family. But it has worsened the situation, as his telephone has been buzzing since last weekend.

Though Otabor admitted that Phyna bought him an SUV after she won the BBNaija reality TV show, he, however, wanted more, and his daughter wasn’t ready to oblige him.

Maybe Phyna’s childhood experience, which formed part of the grudges she had against her parents, hasn’t been erased from her memory. In her Snapchat story, Phyna traced the origin of her feud with her family, recalling how her parents had treated her badly and always made her beg for love while growing up.

“Growing up, I always hear ‘You are not my daughter’. Yet, I would beg for parental love. The truth is, I have always begged people to love me. Today, I have finally accepted it. No wonder, I forgot. Guess I’m an ORPHAN,” she wrote.

Note that the father admitted that she bought an SUV car for him, but he also wanted her to replace the rickety cars he used for the ambulance business. According to the father, he sold the rickety cars after Phyna advised him to do so on the promise that she would replace them. Couldn’t this have put pressure on her and fueled the reason she stayed away from her parents?

While some may frown at her attitude to stay away from her parents, many may commend her for buying an SUV for them even though she couldn’t fulfill the promise of replacing the ‘ambulance cars’.

Below are excerpts of what the father said in our first chat with him: “

“I haven’t seen Phyna, my daughter since she won BBNaija ‘Level Up’ edition last year. She hasn’t returned home since then. I don’t know why? I am an ambulance driver, and when she won the reality TV show, she asked me to do away with all my old cars, promising to change my life.  But since then, I haven’t seen her. And I don’t have a car again. Once in a while, the Vice-Chairman of our association will allow me to drive his own ambulance.

“I sold all my ambulance cars because, at the time , my daughter won the show. I thought that God had finally answered our prayers. I called her on the telephone, and she said God has blessed us. She asked me to do away with all my old cars, or she would dash them out to Aboki, any day she returned.

So, instead of allowing her to dash out my cars to scavengers, I decided to sell them as scraps. And that was the beginning of my suffering. I stopped doing my business because I had no car again. And my neighbours thought I was either stingy or pretending as if my daughter just won an N100 million grand prize. I was the Vice-Chairman of our association, but when I couldn’t show up at our station for some time, they replaced me with another person. From that moment, things started getting tough for me. I am even looking for somebody who will give me a car on hire purchase. I need help, it has come to that point.  I don’t want to die in silence.’


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