Arguably the most successful Yoruba actor presently. Odunlade
Adekola is in a class of his own. The multi-talented thespian who has
put in two decades in the industry has also acted in a couple of English
Nollywood movies. In this chat with the Abeokuta-born actor and father
of four, he speaks to SAMUEL ABULUDE on his success secret among others.
It’s a pleasure meeting you, what have you been up to?
I have been busy doing what I love to do. I have been in movie
locations in Abeokuta and in Lagos. I thank God for his grace. I have
also been busy with the Glo Lafta Fest at weekends. It has been lovely.
So watch out for Odunlade doing new things.
What has made the Yoruba section of Nollywood popular over the years?
I joined the industry in 1996 and the Association of Nigerian Theatre
Practitioners, now TAMPAN, in 1998. It has been over 20 years since I
began my career in the movie industry. I believe the Yoruba movie
industry has benefited from the advent of the internet and social media.
The introduction of African Magic Yoruba in DSTV has also contributed
to the global awareness of the industry. Every industry, however, needs
continuous improvement. And we need to also move up with the trend
because when you are moving with the times you solidify your ground. We
need to protect our future by adapting to changes in the world.
Poor subtitling of Yoruba movies has been recurring, do you think it can be nipped in the bud?
To be sincere, people still complain to us about that. In fact, it is
a jocular topic on social media. And I think, if we want to be honest,
that changes have really begun in that direction. A lot of our people
have brushed themselves up. We no longer hire incompetent people to
handle that area of movie production. We now have professionals who
proofread our movies before they are released. For instance, I have not
received any complaints of the sort for the movies that I have produced.
And I know some producers, who are equally making efforts to correct
It is believed that acting in ‘Taxi Driver’ brought you into the mainstream movie industry?
Before Taxi Driver, I had done some English movies, though they are
still unreleased. My motto in life is, do anything you want to do to the
best of your ability. That is the way I approach my work. You never
know the extent to which your actions would go. I didn’t quite
anticipate that Taxi Driver (Oko Ashawo) will get this far when we
started. But today, a lot of people are talking about it. I say again,
try to put all your efforts in anything you do.
As a versatile actor, what comes to your mind when you land a new project?
A lot of people say I am versatile and I appreciate them. And I
always tell people this, if acting is your profession you should protect
it. To my mind, this is my own way of protecting my job, being the best
that I can be. If I am invited to play any role, after reading the
script thoroughly, I try to understand it. Once I understand the
character, then am I able to inject my own ideas. Most of the times it
is not always easy. Being versatile is the result of long term hard
What is your take on scandals the media involve you in?
Some elements have hijacked the social media for their own
mischievous gains. People just sit down and cook up stories simply
because they want traffic, they want to make money. I think Nigerians
need to get it right. It is not everything that is on social media that
is factual. An entertainer who knows his craft should not be carried
away with social media. This is because before social media, we have
been in this industry. It is not social media that will bring us down. I
have been in the industry for more than twenty years. So social media
cannot bring me down.
Yes I have reacted to it. I am a Christian. I was born in a Christian
family. I grew up in a Christian home. As far as I am concerned, if you
are in one level in this country and people have not said this thing
about you it means you have not gotten high enough. If you are a
celebrity and are bordered about what people write about you it means
you still need to pray very well for Baba God to take you higher. We are
still praying. People have said Pastors use jazz. So, why would they
not say the same thing about me? I am a Christian and I am still in
How did you rise to fame?
Like I said, I am a Christian and it will always show. If I am still
talking about what I have gone through in the past, it means I do not
appreciate God. Okay. I told you, I was born over forty years ago in a
Christian home. I went to St John’s Primary School. I attended St
Peter’s College, Olomore, Abeokuta, Ogun State. From there, I went to
Moshood Abiola Polytechnic and then to the University of Lagos. I am
presently in 500 Level at the University of Lagos studying Business
Administration. When I was a young man, I had so much interest in
singing because my dad was a former choir master in our church. He is
now a pastor. Then, I had so much interest in singing because I composed
songs. And in school, I loved Business studies. I also loved anything
that pertained to leadership. That is why I am studying Business
Administration. I love to administer. But God said, “No. It’s good. You
will still administer but come and join the movie industry first”. So,
the knowledge of business administration is key to the smooth running of
I tell young actors, if you want to come into the industry, you must go
to school. If you tell me you are interested in acting, I will ask you,
“What are you doing presently? … When you finish it come.” If you are
in school, finish it before you join the movie industry. If you were
learning a trade, make sure you are certified before you join the movie
industry. If you are looking for admission, first finish your studies
before you come because if you do not do these things once you are
accomplished in the movie industry it will be difficult for you to go
back. Education is important to anything you do.
Do you patronise made-in-Nigeria clothiers or you shop abroad?
The same tailor that has been working with me for a long time is
still the one making all my clothes. I always support my own people.
In the course of your travels, which country have you enjoyed the most?
There is no country I have travelled to that is not good. But there
is nothing I see in those places that I don’t see in Nigeria. Nigeria is
far better than a lot of other countries. If we can just have stable
electricity supply, a lot of people, even foreigners, would want to live
in Nigeria. That’s because most areas of the country are peaceful.
There is no place I have travelled to that does not have steady power
supply. Even in Abidjan,Ivory Coast which is way smaller than Nigeria,
they have uninterrupted electricity. It is not encouraging for a
business person to spend most.