Olawunmi is a daughter to veteran Nollywood actor, Hassan Taiwo, otherwise called Ogogo.
In this new interview, she talks about her father’s life and career.
Tell us more about yourself.
I am a student of a state-owned polytechnic in Ogun State. I just completed Ordinary National Diploma. I am also an up-and-coming actor. I have featured in about three movies.
How would you describe your father?
My father is a humble, God-fearing and respectful person.
What can you say about his background?
I really may not be able to provide you with much information on this. I know he was born in Ilaro, Ogun State. I might also not be able to provide you with the necessary information on his educational background.
Your father is popularly called Ogogo. How did he earn the name?
Ogogo is not a nickname; it is his family name from his maternal side. It is their ‘compound’ name; they are called Ogogo Omo Kulodo. It is not just a stage name.
Are there movies you would not like to see your father feature in?
I don’t like to see my dad act tragic movies because I will cry. So, I won’t like to see him feature in such movies. I prefer him in his usual good man roles; it is an interpretation of his person and I love to see him play those roles.
Your father always plays the role of someone who has solutions to everybody’s problem. Do people seek advice from him?
Yes, people often seek advice from him especially friends and family members. They usually come to the house to seek advice from him. He always has advice for people. He is someone who loves to help people solve their problems; he enjoys doing so. He is someone you can run to anytime and you will be sure that you will get something good from him.
Who is his twin?
His twin is a male; though he died very young. His mother had two sets of twins but he is the only one that survived among the four, and their eldest brother who is not a twin.
How large is your family?
I have four other siblings; we are five in all. My father has two wives. I don’t know where people got the rumour from that we are many. We are used to people spreading rumours around. We are two children from my mother and two others from my stepmother. He had my elder sister before he got married.
How is growing up in a polygamous home?
It is a normal life. There is no difference between us; we are all close and you won’t even know that we are from different mothers because there is love and peace in the family.
How does he handle criticisms?
He takes it as a normal thing. He believes people will talk about you either good or bad but he is always himself. People said he dated the late Bimpe Adekola, popularly known as Ireti, which is untrue. The deceased was a close friend of my mother. She visited our house often; the same with the late Funmi Martins. But people who do not know anything will always love to feel among that they are close to Ogogo by spreading untruths about him.
How do your mother and stepmother handle the issue of female fans around him?
My father is a very handsome actor and my mother and my stepmother are very understanding people. They understand that it is normal for female fans to be around him and they accept it like that since he is a star boy.
How would you react to the rumour that he is a womaniser?
No. That is a big lie. My father is not a womaniser; he is a disciplined man. Some guys in the neighbourhood would want to harass me and I will hear them say ‘leave her alone, she is Ogogo’s daughter; you know he is a good man’.
Do you think his name has opened doors for you?
Yes, I have gotten many opportunities because of him and I have been privileged to meet people who ordinarily I might not have met if I weren’t his daughter.
Do you think your father’s wealth matches his fame?
The industry is bad but not what it used to be. Pirates have destroyed the market for entertainers. Most times, they even sell more than the owners of the movies forgetting that these people have lots of responsibilities. They have wives and children to cater for. We hope that the government will someday do something to tackle piracy.
Are you of the view that your father would have been more comfortable if piracy was dealt with?
Yes, he would have been a wealthy man because he is a good and hard-working actor. Also, if he had the opportunity of being a brand ambassador in his days, he would have made it because he is good-looking and also has the personality any brand will want to associate with.
How many of his children are educated?
We are all privileged to receive education at different levels. My elder sister attended the Olabisi Onabanjo University. I just completed OND, like I said earlier, and I intend embarking on Higher National Diploma. My immediate younger sister is in secondary school and my younger brothers are still in primary school.
Who are his friends in the movie industry?
All I can say is that once you watch his movies, you know his pals from Mr. Yinka Quadri, Abbey Lanre, Akanni Olohunwa and others. They are very close and they visit our house often.
Do you sometimes feel restricted to do some things as the daughter of a celebrity?
No, I think because of the kind of person my father is. He is a very humble person; so we lead normal lives just like every Nigerian citizen.
Do you prefer your father to play certain roles in movies?
I usually wish that my father will feature in comedy movies. I want to see what he will look like in comedy movies.
Which of his children is following in his career path?
I have started following in his career path by featuring in movies. My younger sister also has an ambition in that area too.
You seem to have easy access to the industry. Is your father’s influence responsible for that?
I featured in one of my father’s movies. I also got a role in Sunday Bankole and Solagbade Mustapha’s movies. However, most people I talk to will just tell me to call them later and it ends there. But there was a particular man I approached; I won’t mention his name. He told me that he owed his growth in the industry to my father’s support and would feature me in his movies if I agreed to have a romantic affair with him. So, you see, it is neither here nor there.
If your father is not an actor, what would he have loved to be?
I believe he would have remained in civil service in the water resources department or a musician who sings lullaby. He loves that a lot.
When was the most difficult time for your family?
That was the period my father was sick. It was a very tough time for the whole family. The children were not spared from the troubles and all that came with the sickness. The emotional and psychological trauma it gave us his children cannot be quantified. In my school then, my classmates and other students would come to me and tell me to my face that my father was a drug dealer. They told me how disappointed they were that my father was a cocaine pusher. I cried a lot of times and it really crushed my self-esteem. It was even worse to see my father take eko (pap) and water for three years. It was really a difficult thing for us as a family.
What was the nature of his sickness?
He had appendix and chronic ulcer, but we thank God that he survived the surgery and he is back to his normal healthy self. It was really pathetic for the family.
What do you think is his legacy?
Although my father is not a strict father, he is a much disciplined person; he doesn’t take nonsense. When he talks to one and one doesn’t follow what he has said, he sees one as an unserious person. My father loves honesty; he can’t stand people telling lies and stealing. Once one is truthful, one can’t have issues with him. He also doesn’t like women on low-cut. The proprietor of my school once cut my hair while I was in boarding house and when my father got to know, he was so angry. My dad also always teaches us to be respectful, prayerful and humble.
Why doesn’t he like women who spot low-cut?
He just doesn’t like it.
How does he discipline his children?
My father hardly beats any of his children. Once he gives us a look, we know that we are already misbehaving. But whatever makes him shout at a child, it means the child has gone overboard. I am the only one my father has given a thorough beating. I once took permission to attend my school mother’s valedictory and he told me to return by 3pm.
At 3pm, the party had yet started, so I decided to stay back and enjoy the party. By the time we finished the party, it was late in the night; so, I headed straight to my grandmother’s house. Meanwhile, everybody in the house had been looking for me. They were all worried. My father got to my grandmother’s house at 2am. He didn’t say anything till we got home. He beat me so much that I can never forget in my life. After beating me, he sat and started crying. But he hardly beats any child. His eyes do all the corrections.
How would you describe him on set?
He acts as if he was born with it. He doesn’t stress himself to play a role, he just transits into it. I often wonder how he does that. He is such a talented person and simple too. One only needs to do what is expected of one and he is cool with you.
What inspires your father?
He likes Indian movies a lot and I think he tries to interpret them in our Nigerian setting. There is also an Indian actor he loves a lot and the man inspires him. He also writes based on his past experiences.
Did he or any of his children have a twin?
No. He didn’t give birth to any twins. My elder sister is the only married one among his children for now and she has also not given birth to twins.
How does he relax?
He doesn’t really stay in the house. He is always working on one thing or the other. Even when he is sick or tired, he prefers to go to his office to rest. He loves to listen to Dadakuada by Ayinla Omowura. He also has a treadmill in his room.
When was his saddest moment?
That was when he was sick. He was battling with his health challenges and betrayal of trust by people especially from those he never expected.
What are his hobbies?
He enjoys playing draft with his friends.
What is his favourite style of dressing?
He loves native dresses, especially lace.
What is his favourite food?
He doesn’t have a favourite food. Everything goes as long as it is well prepared.
What would you love to change about your father?
For food, he likes to eat what he craves at a moment. For instance, I might have prepared eba for him before he returns home. He could prefer rice. I find that a bit annoying. Aside from that, I am cool with him. I will choose him as my father over and over again.
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