Yoruba movies have a large
followership but a lot of the fans have issues with the bad grammar they
see in their subtitles to English. Doesn’t it embarrass you when you
see the movie you featured in with such horrible grammar?
supposed to be the mirror of the society. But it’s not peculiar to the
industry alone; it’s a general phenomenon. Even in another industry that
has absolutely nothing to do with theatre, you will find laxities and
flaws. We have a Standards Organisation of Nigeria, but it’s not doing
what it’s supposed to be doing. It’s the bitter truth. Some people can
just cut corners, the body overlooks them. We have a censors board; any
production coming out in this country passes through the board. They
should be saying, ‘this is not grammatically correct, you are not
influencing the children positively with this kind of grammar.’ But
there is nothing like that and theatre is all about entertainment,
information and education. Now that they have decided to close their
eyes, who is to be blamed? That is what they are supposed to do. I
cannot condemn your production, it will amount to something else. I’m
not an authority, so I don’t have the right to say that your production
is not good. People don’t know that standard has to do with quality and
we don’t have that because we have allowed mediocrity in the practice of
theatre arts and film production.
that many Yoruba movies in the market lack creativity and are always
about ‘juju’, can’t we have better movies?
organisations in charge of maintaining standard are not doing their job.
Even politics, are we doing it rightly? It’s about business. People now
believe that when you have huge amount of money in your account, you
can go into politics because you will make more. But it’s not supposed
to be so. So it’s not peculiar to the movie industry. My conclusion is
that nothing works effectively in Nigeria.
controversy. If you enlighten me more and tell me what you think is
controversial about my life, maybe I would be able to explain.
Paimo, once accused you of not having enough respect for elders, it is
said that you also have issues with Yinka Quadri and had an altercation
with the late Bisi Komolafe on set.
20 years. I think he started saying that Odule wasn’t respectful to
elders after I decided to contest for the post of the President of
Association of Nigeria Theatre Arts Practitioners in 2009. If you
calculate 2009 till date, it’s around five years. If you remove five
from 20, that should be 15 years. That means I had been good enough for
him in 15 years. If for 15 years, I was respectful and for five years, I
was not respectful, then something is wrong. I don’t want to say more
two of them. Yoruba people will say it’s not good to talk ill about the
dead. That lady was a much younger colleague to me; in fact, I’m old
enough to be her father, so I don’t want to talk about it. The fact
remains that I never fought her for one day. All those things on the
social media, I don’t know how they came about them. But there is no
rumour without an iota of truth. What happened was purely politics. I’m
an elder in the association and these young ones are not doing those
things that they should be doing. For instance, you are a journalist and
there is the Nigerian Union of Journalists, which should protect the
ethics and constitution of the profession. If you are not doing it
rightly, I want to believe that an elderly person there can tell you
that. So if what I did by telling the late Komolafe that she had not
done something rightly metamorphosed into a controversy, then it’s too
bad. I don’t have any quarrel with Quadri, but I don’t know whether he
and the lady had anything together. If that was why the issue
transferred to him, I don’t know. But I know that I’ve never had any
quarrel with Yinka Quadri.
grudge was that Jide Kosoko was trying to impose you as the
association’s president. Is that the case?
interested in Dele Odule, is it a sin? Have you ever heard Jide Kosoko
said there must be no election? If the man working for me believes that I
can steer the ship of the association, it is not a sin. But I’ve never
heard anyone say that Kosoko said Odule should not contest an election,
and that is where people are getting it wrong. But he has every right to
support me. If truly he is interested in Odule because he believes that
Odule can do it and now said, ‘Ok I want you people to follow Odule,’
does that mean that he has said that there must not be an election?
That’s why we are fighting. So it’s not about Kosoko wanting to impose
or not. That’s just sentiment.
on January 30, 2014 that the election was actually held, it was a
kangaroo one but the judge said there was an election and that Ashaolu
should continue as the president. The people who felt there was no
election opted out and formed another association. That association is
named Theatre Arts and Motion Picture Practitioners Association of
Nigeria. If you feel you are uncomfortable with a particular church, you
can opt out and go to another one. There is freedom of association,
religion and so on.
tell you, I’m a very practical person. If you call me, I will call you.
If you don’t call me, I don’t call you. That’s just me. I don’t hold any
grudge against anybody and I don’t think they have against me. But if
they have, may God forgive them. Baba Lere Paimo has been my father. If I
choose today that I don’t want him to be my father, it’s personal. If I
expect my father to act in a certain way and he doesn’t, I can go on my
own now. But I don’t have any grudge against anyone. I’m a Christian, I
may not be religious but I’m godly. I don’t keep malice or hate people.
If you like me, I like you. If you don’t like me, I go on my own.
life. They support us a lot. Even if you go to church, you find that
women make up the large number of the congregation. So if the pastor
cannot cope, the church will go into oblivion. Same thing applies to the
industry. If the pastor fails to identify with the women, I can bet you
that the church will not get to the level he wants. So there is no way
an actor can run away from the same philosophy. So you can’t just
rubbish women. But when it comes to how I cope, I cope effectively. I’m
mature. When I was younger, youthful exuberance would have been there
but now I’m getting old, so I cope. It’s all about stages. Now I’m above
50 so definitely, it’s different from the way I’ve been behaving. I
know how to handle both sexes.
others, so it’s not me alone. I have over 1000 female fans and admirers
and I don’t have up to 1000 children. How come people are now saying
that my female fans want to bear me children? I don’t even have 100
children, so one-tenth of them don’t even have children for me. But
because we are public figures, there are a lot of things that we pay
for. They are prices we pay for stardom. You have just met my wife.
She’s a lawyer with about 15 years experience and we have been together
for 25 years but not too many people actually know that. Not many people
also know that I’m a graduate of mass communication. I got it recently.
I also have a diploma in Theatre Arts from UI. It’s just purely a
result of my passion for education and that has enhanced my academic
pursuit. When I started relationship with my wife, she was just a school
certificate holder, but today, she is the Chief Public Defender with
the Department of Citizens’ Rights, Ogun State Ministry of Justice. My
passion for education has earned me that and I had my fifth child in the
university. Anytime I have the opportunity, I go back to school to
update my knowledge. I’m running my Master’s degree programme already.
Muslims do have a lot of children. Former Head of State, late (Sani)
Abacha, had many children and he was not an actor. MKO Abiola also had
(many children). Sunny Ade (musician) also. The Bible says ‘stone that
person to death, provided you have not also sinned.’ That is to say we
all have one skeleton or the other in our cupboards. It’s just because
I’m a public figure that people are privileged to know about my life and