God forbid that I wait for five years before I get married’
Opeyemi Aiyeola trained as an accountant but has an unalloyed passion for acting, and this is evident in her works. She is the lead actress in the yet-to-be-
released Madam Dearest by Tade Ogidan.
How was it like on the set of Madam Dearest?
It was tough, nice and was like learning all over again. It was like being in school, it was extremely different from everything I've ever done.
How did you feel working with Tade Ogidan?
It was interesting, wonderful, time-taking, breathtaking and stressful but fun.
I want to assume it will be more financially rewarding than any other job you've ever done.
Tell us how you felt being on the same set with other big stars.
Interesting. It afforded me the opportunity to meet people I'd never met before, work with them, learn from them. It was exciting .
Congratulations on the completion of your degree. Was it easy shuttling between school and location?
It was tough. It was not too easy because you had to cope with the stress of having to read during exams. There was a time I was called from location because our exam had been shifted. I had to be shuttling between Ibadan and school. It was tough but I thank God.
Was it worthwhile?
Definitely education is worthwhile.
Would you practice the profession?
I intend to.
When will you say goodbye to Nollywood then?
I do not hope to say goodbye to the acting world. But I could reduce a lot of things. Like the last trip I made, I had to go and register for my ACCA accounting in London. ACCA is professional accounting course. I'm still trying to further my career.
With all these stress, don't you think not practicing accounting eventually would amount to undercutting the profession?
I don't think so. Acting is a talent God has helped me to develop. Accounting is not a talent, it is something I have to learn and I'm still learning. I don't see myself as an accountant just because I have a Bsc in it.
How will you reconcile the statement that you wish to practice and yet, you don't see yourself as an accountant?
I don't see myself as an accountant because I'm not yet a chartered accountant. It not about working in the bank or accounting firm, it is about having a professional qualification. I really intend to practice . I know with God on my side, and with a good partner, I can shuttle between both. Definitely if I'm going to start my ACCA, I'll reduce acting time a great deal.
At what point did you discover you have what it takes to act?
I had always known I had it. But there was no opportunity to express it. I used to spend a lot of time in front of the television. When I was in Ogun Poly, there was this drama troupe I joined. I've always had it but the opportunity to express it didn't come too early. But I thank God for the time it came.
Which movie was your first ?
It was Aso Iyi in 1998.
You started not quite long and you are a household name. How does it feel?
It is not by power or by might; it is the special grace of God. I am grateful to those who stood by me and those who criticised me.
Is acting all you do?
This is all I do.
Why can't most of you stick with acting, why try to venture into production as well?
Thank you for that question. I don't see myself as a professional producer, it is just the situation we find ourselves. In Yoruba set up, that is the way you make money.
How did your movies Sweet Banana and Teni -n-Teni fare in the market?
I give God the glory; they met my financial target.
Can you date a married man?
If your partner objects to you acting, how would you take it?
I don't think my partner would do that. Definitely, I'm going to have a very understanding partner. He's going to like what I do. I'm going to date an educated person.
There are educated people who are not favourably disposed to their partners acting.
I don't think my husband would be like that.
Do you have a guy now?
Is he like that?
He can never be like that. If he's like that, I won't be dating him.
How many of you are there in your family?
I am from an extended family o. From my mother, we are three. I'm the second, and from my father, we are seven and I am the third.
People have been wondering if Ope was actually pregnant for Baba Suwe
(Laughs) I think that is one of the most ridiculous stories I've ever heard in my life. It is not true and can never be true.
I know some people will vow that you dated Baba Suwe
They should even swear on their lives and lose it. It is their business. How can you vow for something you are not even sure about? I think I'm in the best position to tell people that it has never happened and it will never happen.
I heard you said you are not in the same league with him?
Baba Suwe is a man, he is a comfortable man any girl would want to date. So, how can I say that? No woman is in the position to say such a thing, even if the guy is not the kind of person you want now, he might be the kind of person tomorrow. So, don't ridicule anybody. Baba Suwe is a senior colleague. So I won't say such about him.
So you never dated him?
I never dated him and I will never date him.
He is married.
But you said you can date a married man.
It depends, I can date somebody who is a divorcee.
But not one who is in a marriage?
It is against my religion.
But you said you are from a polygamous family.
That is my father and mother. I don't wish to follow their trend.
I heard there is something going on between you and Corporate Pictures boss.
I don't think so. He is my very good friend, we are very close. He is my marketer, financier; he is my executive producer, he is my boss and I belong to Odunfa Caucus, and if you belong to this caucus, you have to be close to him.
I know people who will vow again...
(Cuts in) That is their problem, let them vow with their lives and lose it again.
Hasn't the speculation caused trouble between you and his wife?
I'm sure she is educated, she won't do such a thing. She knows what the husband is into, and what I'm into. And I'm not the only woman working with the guy.
I heard he bought your car for you.
They are stupid. I've produced two movies, so I can afford to buy whatever I want for myself.
Tell me about your guy.
He's lovely, wonderful, God-fearing.
Is he single?
He is single
What is he into and where is he?
He is into business and he is abroad.
Why is it that most of you leave us guys in Nigeria and pitch your tent with guys outside?
A lot of people forget that my mum, and families don't stay here. I'm the only one in Nigeria. My mum has not lived in Nigeria for about 10 years. She stays in Manchester. She is a nurse.
What tripped you about the guy?
He speaks very good English; he's very nice and educated.
So it was the English that caught your attention
I can't date a guy that can't express himself in English.
Is it true you have a baby?
I don't have a baby. See, children are joy to the world, I can't have a baby and deny it. If I have a baby, it is going to be my joy. I don't have a baby.
Are you sure?
I've never had. If I have a baby, everybody will know, because it is going to be a thing of joy to me.
When will you walk down the aisle?
Will it be about five years' time?
God forbid, five years? Do you know my age? Five years keh. I reject it in Jesus name (General laughter).
So, how old is Ope?
I'm very close to thirty.
Have you had a nasty encounter with fans?
Loads of them, especially with area boys. They want to get money from you.
People believe you are brash, proud and rude
You can't judge a person from afar and say she is rude. Have you ever come close and found me rude? When you have principles, people tend to take it as being arrogant. I'm not like that, it depends on your approach towards me.
If you meet God and he asks about your greatest need, what would it be?
The grace to get to heaven; let Him just give me grace so that at the end of my journey on earth, I would enter heaven.
Can you do a breast surgery?
So many people just feel like...
I'm not like so many people. I like what God has given to me. I see it everyday, I like it and appreciate it. It's good. I don't believe in breast surgery.
What's your view about sex before marriage?
Hey, everybody is a sinner o. It's wrong naturally, following the religious trend, it is extremely wrong. It is just grace. As a good Christian, you should know it is wrong, but I just pray for grace.
believe there are times you've let grace down.
So how did you feel afterwards?
It is between me and God.