In this interview with the SUNDAY SUN, the handsome actor remembers the dark days when he slept under the bridge in Lagos without food while he also recalls the unforgettable, tormenting experiences of his life when he was humbled by poverty.
Read excerpt from the interview below...You are no longer constant in movies. What is happening to you?
I am still on the screen; I pray for better industry than what we have. We don’t have a proper structure and it is affecting us. It is affecting so many of us because we don’t have a secured future. For instance, some veteran actors passed on and people had to gather just to try and give them a befitting burial. That shouldn’t be the case. We have an industry that just paid you one off. It is not in any way protective of the interest of the practitioners, it is not really helping us. I believe strongly that we need to do a more integrated production, quality production that will last, like when we started at the beginning. All the stories are not encouraging and technicality we are not growing, all these help to slow down the growth of the industry. And without growth there are can never be a future, without dynamics you can’t see the frontier. Basically, that’s what we are suffering right now and there must be changes. The concern of most people shooting now is about making their money back. They don’t have passion or love for the industry like we do. So, that’s the reason why I am not acting. I love doing a good job, something that will benefit the industry, a movie that whenever you pick it up, if it is five or 20 years you can still watch and be happy. I want a situation whereby I will do a job and my great grandchildren will know me by my work. ‘Oh my great grandfather did this, yes he is the one’. That is what I want to do to leave a mark, a legacy, no just a passing face.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I can’t actually pencil down any, but I have quite a few. I have had a woman stone me with pure water sachet because she felt that I was mean to some girls in a movie. A woman was sucking an orange and she threw it at me because she didn’t like my behaviour in the movies.
For you, what was the worst scenario when life was so cruel?
Those were the times when things got really bad for my mother and I and we had nothing. It was so bad that we didn’t have a home or shelter to live in. We had to stay in a store, a small store that could take only one mat. My mother and I squeezed ourselves in that mat. We didn’t even have a cup to drink water not to talk of a stove to cook. And my mother had to borrow, beg and stuff like that. These were moments when I was young I didn’t realize the gravity of poverty we were in, I couldn’t tell. But it was a good orientation for me. It was moments that I thank God for making me past through, because that has sustained and helped me even as an actor. The ability to deliver all the roles they give me because I have tasted both sides of the coin.
Is there anything that can make you cry or shed tears after all you passed through?
Yeah, those moments; those terrible moments when we had nothing and we were living off people. People were just helping us out. There were times we didn’t have food to eat three or four days. You haven’t eaten and your stomach is rumbling but you don’t have any place to go. There was a time I lived on the street, in shops. There was a time I slept under the bridge. It was unfortunate that there were no records so that we can have memories we could play back now. To me, I am so extremely grateful that I went through it. At that time I hated everybody around me. In fact, I used to question why God was doing this to me. But I think God knew that I needed this for my future.