me. I have been going from one production to another. As you can see, I
am on a movie set as we speak. Once this project is completed, I will
travel out of the country. Also, I have not recorded any negative
incident this year and I thank God for that.
to achieve and the will to continue to prosper in my chosen career. I
am in love with my profession and I am always determined to face new
challenges. However, I thank God that I am full of experience in my
profession and life in general. But the truth is that you must continue
to learn and there are certain things where you are still a complete
have become of me if I hadn’t taken to acting. What is certain is that I
would have been engaged in a profession where I would be able to
demonstrate my creativity as well.
think I was just 10. You know what that means especially at a time when
parents didn’t allow their children to venture into acting. I started in
primary school and since then, I have been acting professionally. My
first performance was Makanjuola, a stage play.
this extent, but I wanted to be like my role model, Hubert Ogunde. Then,
we both lived in the same vicinity. Whenever he passed, people hailed,
adored and respected him. Seeing all that, I said to myself that I would
love to be like him. That perhaps must have prepared me for what I am
I am given a role in the French language category for instance, all I
need is time to master the language and I will deliver. If you talk
about English, I think I am learned enough to go with the flow. But
acting to me is the same all over the world regardless of the difference
movies fulfilling and I feel comfortable acting in both. We have people
who are in this industry and are desperately trying to make money while
others just go with the crowd. However, my passion for the industry goes
beyond all of that. As one of its pioneer members, it is my desire to
see the industry develop at all times. I will continue to contribute my
quota until I die.
to everyone regardless of your background. Though that made us have an
industry today, we are now regretting that we didn’t set standards.
Then, we were happy that people were joining us in what we were doing.
style (welcoming everyone) we started then was one of the reasons we
have an industry today. But like any other growing industry, you will
see unserious participants and people who could not define the reason
they joined an industry.
above will soon leave and I am happy that we are now going back to the
cinema culture. The cinemas will prepare serious professionals who can
produce something good technically and otherwise. Then, people who
cannot meet up will have to leave.
everyone sees themselves as producers and directors and it cannot
continue like that. If you are a producer, produce well. As an actor,
act well. So, whatever aspect of the industry you find yourself, try to
do it well.
train continuously to ensure that their skills don’t become outdated. If
at over 60, I still went to study Performing Arts at the Olabisi
Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, it goes a long way to tell
you that learning is a continuous process.
pirated in Nigeria, especially a successful movie. Piracy is our common
enemy. But I strongly believe that the cinema culture, which we are all
embracing now, will curb piracy.
find a stiffer penalty for pirates because the one in the copyright law
is not strong enough. I think it is one of those things encouraging
people to pirate other people’s works. So, we have begged the government
to give a tougher penalty. If possible, they should leave out the
option of fine unless the fine is huge and they make sure that offenders
challenges. Even when we started and there was no money in it, we
enjoyed it and felt happier doing it than now that there seems to be
more money in showbiz. Then, we were doing it for the passion, but when
money started coming in, the happiness was divided. My best periods in
life are when I am on set working because I love my job so much.
we have multiple associations and there is nothing bad in that. Our
industry, as far as I am concerned, is new and various things are
expected to happen. Ambition will make people establish other
associations and it will make people think they have better ideas than
leadership of their respective body to make money for themselves. Others
believe that their participation in the administration will help get
more jobs. And if some people don’t have a cordial relationship with the
leadership of an association, they think the best option is to leave.
Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, which is the foremost association.
Though I was not part of the formation, I was at its inaugural meeting.
I was even elected to be one of the national executive members under
Hubert Ogunde. So, looking at that period till date, you will realise
that I have contributed in no small way to the development of theatre
association and I worked hard to make the association popular. From
being the PRO, I rose to the position of the president.
association well, it got to a point when some elders in ANTP thought Oga
Bello and I were becoming too powerful in the industry. They felt it
should not go on like that. They even went ahead to convince Bello to
betray me. But in his own wisdom, he knew they were difficult people to
understand and he didn’t do that. He came back and designed a way
forward for the association. But in a situation where we had an enemy
who was determined to hijack the association for selfish reasons, what
do you expect us to do? For more than nine years, we were in court and
they later claimed he (Victor Ashaolu) won the case.
not practising, we see him as someone who has nothing to offer the
industry. I fought the situation. But when my colleagues told me that we
shouldn’t drag a case with him if we meant well for the association, I
left him to do whatever he wanted to do. With the support of some
elders, he went on. But few months after we left, they started fighting
each other and divided the association into two. Ashaolu now leads one
part while Jimoh Aliu leads the other. We were thankful to God for
letting us pull out before the split.
Motion Picture Producers Association of Nigeria is a gathering of
focused people with the same interest. You were at our convention; so,
you should be able to say what the association looks like. Nobody is
fighting anyone and there is no leadership tussle there. Everything is
positions? We have children and younger actors who are experienced
enough to take the mantle of leadership. What people like me and Bello
should do is to give them the necessary support because I believe that
is what we need in the industry. Everyone must work together to move
to put it in mind. All associations will soon collapse as soon as we set
up the Motion Picture Council. The council will be a body that will
take decisions, regulate the industry and ensure that the rules and
regulations of the profession are strictly adhered to. We are waiting
for the government because it must pass through the National Assembly.
politics. But I must be sincere with you; I am so attached to my
profession. My profession doesn’t really want rivalry and politics will
give it a good rivalry.
which is the All Progressives Congress, and I’ve contributed my bit. But
I have refused to seek public office through an election. If I am given
an opportunity to serve in any capacity, I may take it, but I love what
I do, which is acting.
serious-minded people and we plan to give them support. It is not
possible for everyone to be in government. If you think you must be
there before things work out, the country will still be in problems. All
I can say is for us to give good advice to those who are there. By
that, you would have contributed positively to the country in a way.
a long way to say that I have been institutionalised. I have passed the
baton on to them and they will also pass it to one or two of their
children. Once it continues like this, our name will remain indelible.
At the moment, I don’t really watch my movies anymore. I prefer to watch
the ones my children featured in. Whenever I sight loopholes, I try to
call their attention to it. If their argument is superior to mine, I
are bastards. If truly she did whatever they’ve said she did (dating a
married man), whether she likes it or not, she will be punished. But if
they are telling lies and trying to destroy her image, the people
involved will not go unpunished.
disciplined and she has her own way of doing things. Unlike her sister,
Sola, Bidemi is outspoken and principled. I don’t think it is an offence
to be principled. So, if she doesn’t take nonsense, so be it.
good to be humble, I can tell you that being humble also attracts
unnecessary insults. Since some people don’t like being insulted, they
keep to themselves. But people like to attribute it to many things. If
you decide to blackmail people unnecessarily, then, you must check
yourself. It means something is wrong with you, and there is a problem
between you and God.
did was to call her to know what went wrong. I know if she had done
that, she would not tell me she did it, but I know my daughter. Apart
from seeing her grow, even as an adult, I am very close to my children
and I know what they do every minute. If you ask me where Bidemi is as I
speak with you, I will tell you. I don’t joke with my female children
especially. Their lifestyle is important to me.
our actresses, they should turn a new leaf. This is part of the
disadvantages of the social media, as everyone wants to talk. A friend
once told me that some people are mentally disturbed or sick. Since no
one checks what they say, they say whatever they like and get away with
completely innocent. We actually have people with funny characters, but
the majority of them do not engage in the things they are accused of.
mostly. If anyone goes after a lady and she shuns his advances, he may
go to social media to insult her.
from false stories because the more you get into them, the more trouble
you find for yourself. We’ve forgotten some journalists today even
though they are still alive. Instead of them to practise the profession
diligently, they were busy blackmailing people.
blackmailed many times, but I sailed through. They have called me a
‘ritualist’ before, which means I am a murderer.
But my skin is too thick for all that rubbish. Instead of feeling bad, I
will go on my knees and pray to God to give His judgment. And I always
see these people get their judgment. I don’t want to mention names. I
don’t know anything about what is happening to Kemi Olunloyo and I don’t
follow her on social media. Apart from her, there are other people who
have rubbished my name in the past.
children, why should I marry another wife? I still have a wife, but
people are mixing things up. I have heard many terrible things about me.
There was a time some people said I have moved in with another woman.
They have forgotten that my wife, who is still with me, Alhaja Bimbo,
was a senior to my late wife, Henrietta. The first child we had together
has graduated in America, but they think I just got a new wife. She is
the only woman left with me.
you can tell me. Becoming a polygamist wasn’t my design. With my
upbringing, I am not supposed to be a polygamist. Though my father was a
polygamist, he didn’t marry the number of women I have married.
working with the Nigerian Customs Service. She was not involved in my
industry and then I would travel for two months. So, I was tempted to
take a second wife. But unfortunately for me, in the circumstances I
cannot explain till today, I lost two wives within a year. You can
imagine that! So, I decided not to remarry again, though I had
girlfriends; I was a ladies’ man.
the house and my friends too would come with their girlfriends. So, we
were almost turning the house into a brothel. Later, my doctor, a lady,
visited me and advised me to remarry. She said it was the best for me,
insisting that I was too young to be without a woman. I lost my two
wives in 1992 and 1993 respectively, and I was not up to 40 then.
but I had two women who were intimate with me – Henrietta and Alhaja
Bimbo. Since I couldn’t say no to either of them, I married two wives
issues, yes, I regretted. I said to myself that if I didn’t have more
than a wife, I would not be in the news in a bad light. But am I the
only one that has domestic family problems? I don’t think I am the only
one. Without being too negative or defensive, we have seen a family
where the children, father, and mother died at the same time.
happened to me. But regrets come when there are issues. But all my wives
have given me beautiful and responsible children.
her memory will never leave me. She was in the industry with me for a
very long time, for 22 years. We were acting and moving around together.
All that has been written about her in the media is enough for me to
continue to think about her. She had her own shortcomings and I have
mine too, but we endured each other. With all the things she did, I will
continue to miss her.
married to a woman in your industry means she will understand your trade
and she will not have issues with your movement. I salute those who are
not in the entertainment industry but are married to people there. No
matter how strong they are, they will always question the sincerity of
In whatever you do in life, education matters. I know there are people
who are educated than me but are not doing much as I do. But I have
always believed that if I have had more education, I would have done
many good things many years ago for the betterment of the industry.
said earlier. But for a former Federal Commissioner for Works and
Housing, Alhaji Femi Okunnu, maybe I won’t even go to a higher
institution at all. So, proceeding to Yaba College of Technology at a
time I did was because he advised me to get a good education. I did
business administration at Yabatech.
professionalism, as one of the people who fought for the stability of
the movie industry and as one who contributed hugely to the growth of
advice is to get trained regardless of how talented you think you are.
Someone must still take you through the rudiments of the profession. If
you are not trained and you find yourself in the industry as a result of
your talent, you will still go back to learn certain things or you
learn on the job, but learning on the job takes more years.