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Saidi Balogun set to re-marry, reveals how actors run after politicians for money

The popular actor and movie producer had the interview with Encomium.

He talked about his fiancee, relationship with ex-wife Fathia Balogun, Nollywood and how they beg for money from politicians and more, see excerpts below:

2015 has just begun, what are your plans for the year?
My plan is to expand my business, repackage myself and move forward.

Do you subscribe to the fact that there is poverty in the industry as some people are saying?
Yes, that’s why you see some of our people running helter skelter,
campaigning for all these politicians.  But there is one question we
have all not asked and that’s what makes American artistes donate to
politicians and what’s making we the actors asking from politicians here
in Nigeria?  I must tell you the truth, that’s the main issue on ground
unaddressed.

Every member of National Assembly has not made any
reasonable law on piracy which has devoured the industry.  So, there is
poverty in the industry, I won’t lie.  If there is not, you won’t see
our people flocking around all these politicians, campaigning, singing
and dancing for them. I saw a candidate being surrounded by some of our
colleagues, I now said to myself, “If this man eventually wins, how many
actors or musicians will he remember?”

Although, some are doing it, to
make ends meet.  And it’s sad because we’re stars.  I think we’re
supposed to be worshipped, not worshipping others.  Even if a governor
holds your hand, he is supposed to be happy. But now, the reverse is the
case.  If you have been following the trend concerning me as a person, I
have campaigned for many governors.

Just to talk of South-West alone,
and not other parts of the country.  I campaigned for Kwara State
governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, he won. I campaigned for Ogbeni Rauf
Aregbesola, he also won.  Equally, I campaigned for Dr. Olusegun Mimiko,
he won as well. Yet, I am still hustling.  I think you can decode
something from the point I am trying to make. And I am one of the
old-young guys, we have been following politicians for long.  Old in the
sense that old in the political scene, I have been into that for more
than 20 years, but age wise, I am still young. Even, the new actors are
still coming in joining the train, I still remain an old guy doing the
hustling thing.

That means you are also doing it to make ends meet at times?
No, that’s not true.  Let me give you an example, Dr. Abdulfatah
Ahmed and I were close before he became the governor of Kwara State.  I
know the way he thinks and acts. He was in PDP.  Also Mimiko was in
Labour Party, I followed him.  And Aregbesola was in Action Congress
which later became All Progressives Congress (APC), I also followed
him.  And Dr. Ahmed came out as APC candidate in Kwara State, I was also
with him.  Any moment they change the vision I know them with, I won’t
follow them again. But thank God, Aregbesola has not derailed, so also
Dr. Ahmed.

But you can’t say your romance with them has not earned you anything at all…
(Cuts in) Definitely, if you meet them, they will help you in their
own little way and no matter how small they give you as an individual,
you don’t complain because the money belongs to the state.  It’s not
meant for you alone.  Let me give you an example, every other governor I
have campaigned for knows that Aregbesola is like my father, and I love
him so much.  Mimiko and Ahmed know this very well.  So, if you and I
go to Aregbesola for a favour, he would attend to you first.  He would
say Saidi, sit down, you’re my son, let me attend to this guy first.  If
I even get N10b now, I still have to consult him.  They all help me the
little way they can but not as rosy as people expect.  You too can
imagine all the big names I have just mentioned, I think I should have
been a billionaire now but I believe you know part of my story.

That
means I don’t identify with them for their money.  Let me give you
another clear example, everybody knows that Governor Ajimobi of Oyo
State and I are from the same family lineage in Ibadan, Oyo State.  The
day he saw me, he said you have a choice, it’s either you follow our
elder brother or you follow me.  But to be honest, Ajimobi has done so
well in Oyo State generally.  He is the first politician that would
always say, “I am a professional in politics but not a professional
politician. I mean well for my people. This campaign or elections
shouldn’t be a do or die affair.”  And he also made a very salient point
in his campaign, he told the crowd that if he is giving them money how
will he be able to embark on all the projects they are enjoying today?

So, they should not complain if he doesn’t share money like other
politicians may be doing.  And those who saw me with him concluded that I
am only working for my brother, and not about money.  So, if I should
go to him and ask for N5m or whatever, he would ask if I am stupid
because he expects me to understand that he is working for the entire
people of Oyo State, not for the family.

Would you say piracy is the only thing that has contributed immensely to poverty in the movie industry?
Yes.  Let me give you an example, I produced You or I, which gulped
millions of naira.  Thanks to all the companies that supported me one
way or the other.  They were all there to take the movie to that level.
Banks were there, we still owe them…and they pirated the movie.  We
can’t even pay back the banks till now. I am dying, I must be honest.
So, if I cannot afford to pay the banks for the flick I shot, how would I
be able to donate to politicians?  That’s why I constantly advise my
colleagues campaigning for those vying for the Senate or House of
Representatives to drum it to their ears that if they eventually win and
even elected into a committee of culture, they should help pass a law
against piracy so that we can all make it, instead of collecting peanuts
from them.

So, what you’re saying now is that despite the kind of publicity You or I enjoyed, you didn’t make any profit at all on it?
I can’t deceive you, my brother. No profit at all. As co-executive
producer of the movie, I can tell you authoritatively we didn’t make any
profit.

How much did you spend on the movie?
We spent about N18m and we didn’t recoup N1m out of the money spent
because the movie was pirated.  So, how will you survive in that kind of
situation?  And You or I is first of its kind. I am the only black
while other cast are all white, which made a lot of statement in the
industry.  How will you now be encouraged to invest your money in any
movie again?  I wanted to release the movie on a Monday, they brought
pirated copies to me on Saturday. I almost ran mad.  My mom brought it
home for me to see and she was crying.  Now, I have another movie, The
Rider, the executive producer of the movie has been on my neck but
afraid of releasing it because of the nefarious activities of pirates.  I
told him if he has another person that can sell it well so that he can
make his money, he could discuss with me.  I have learnt a bitter lesson
about You or I, and can’t allow such a thing to repeat itself.

Let’s digress a little, what’s the truth about a social media report that you and your estranged wife are planning to reconcile?
All I know is that bloggers just write whatever they like. That’s
their style.  I don’t care and that can’t bother me at all. It’s people
like you that practice investigative journalism, not because I am with
you, that’s why I am saying that.  You ask before putting your pen on
paper.  And that’s the kind of professionalism we need if you want to
know the truth.  Some bloggers would just post anything on their blogs
to gain more traffic thinking they can push people like you aside.  But
that’s not possible because you’re a professional.  I, Saidi Balogun, my
vision and mission are different this year.  All I am after now, is how
I can move my career forward, not one woman or the other. My marital
issue is private and I don’t discuss it publicly.  I don’t know where
they got the information.

But a lot of your fans are expecting that you should have remarried, what is causing the delay?
They should just let the issue rest.  I have said it, I have gotten
someone to marry and they should let the issue end there.  It’s my
private life and should be treated as such.

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