Tony Ohekwuru Iji, popularly called OTI is a 12-year-old secondary school student and an upcoming talented singer. He is a child environmentalist and a peace advocate, who released his first single track titled “Nigeria— We Are One” at the age of seven. He has also completed work on other three songs titled “Smile,” “Peace” and “celebrate.” Smile is being used to brand his product line, such as T-shirts, face caps, school bags and stationeries.
As a child environmentalist, Tony is contributing to cleaner Lagos State, through his children for Cleaner Lagos initiative, by embarking on activities to sensitise children on the need for cleanliness and healthy environment.
In June 2018, he organised a road show in Lagos captioned “Children 4 cleaner Lagos” to sensitise Lagosians, especially children on environmental cleanliness. This was followed with an ongoing “school to school” environmental campaign.
As a peace advocate, he is using his song “Nigeria we are one” to promote peace and unity in the country through his music. To realise his mission to be a voice of peace, he is the convener of ‘Children For Peace Concert Lagos,’ where he brought together thousands of children from different backgrounds to contribute to the promotion of peace and unity, campaigns against violence against children in Nigeria.
In November 2018, he won the “wonder kid music award” at the Nigeria Wonder Kids Award 2018, organised by The Top 10 Magazine and became Kidpreneur Ambassador in 2019.
He has performed at different platforms among which are MTNMpulse, Kids voice 2018 Grand Finale, and The Nigeria Wonder Kids Award 2019, Miss Green and White, NTA Children’s Day and Wema Bank Children’s Day, among others.
And recently, he launched OTI Smile popcorn.
For Tony, it all started with his long-standing hobby of eating popcorn, the talent for singing, the urge to put smile on faces and spicing up an event with his popcorn and his music.
A fusion of hobby, talent and business encouraged by his parents and manager gave birth to his current position. Another thing that makes his business unique is his love to be his own boss. The desire to make money, while giving back to charity and putting smiles on faces of the less privileged is topmost on his agenda for now. So, all the proceeds he made from this business are given to charity.
His advice to kids of his age: “Mummy and daddy won’t always be there. So, you must make yourself useful by venturing into useful ventures that can help you when there is no one to look up to. There should no be lazing around and no crime. These are no-go areas. Do what you know how to do best. If it’s a craft or a talent that you have, just nurture it and make your dreams come true.
His dream is to be his own boss and perform on big stages.