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THE MAKING OF BAKAN DABO, HAUSA MOVIE ON OONI OF IFE AND EMIR OF KANO

By David Ajiboye
Hotman (second left) and Dauda Galadanci (Emir Ado Bayero) in turban and some Yoruba chiefs on set of Bakan Dabo in Kano last week
Hotman (second left) and Dauda Galadanci (Emir Ado Bayero) in turban and some Yoruba chiefs on set of Bakan Dabo in Kano last week

The palace of the Dan Adala Tofa, Alhaji Isyaku Umar Tofa, was a beehive of activities last Sunday when the cast and production crew of Bakan Dabo stormed the ancient town of Tofa, headquarters of Tofa Local Government Area of Kano state in continuation of its production. The assemblage was in the old town to shoot some important scenes of the epic film which is based on ancient historical perspective of the Kano Emirate Council and its emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero. As the cast and crew arrived the location, the people of the town, both old and young, surged forward in unison in same direction. It was to the Dan Adala palace moments after the artistes and production crew arrived.

From the way the crowd cheered and welcomed the Bakan Dabo set, it was obvious the appreciative people had never witnessed such a collection of stars in the Hausa film industry in one fell swoop.

Not even the live transmission of the Nigeria-Ghana match at the on-going African Cup of Nations later in the evening could deter them from invading the Bakan Dabo set and mobbing the actors.

Production had to be stopped intermittently to ward off the crowd which stormed the palace. But one particular star that drew attention and accolade from both the crowd and crew alike was Salihu Othman Isah, popularly called Hotman in showbiz circle. Hotman played the role of Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse 2, the Ooni of Ife who is a bosom friend of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero (played by veteran actor, Dauda Galadanci).

In fact, Hotman dazzled and was a delight on location. The way and manner he interpreted the role left no one in doubt that Nigeria is blessed with natural stars in the film industry which is presently rated third best globally. What more, the entire crew did not hide their satisfaction with the ease with which he delivered the role.

Though, Hotman was not originally cast for the Ooni role as he was supposed to play that of an Ambassador, the situation however changed because the actor slated for the role couldn't make it at the eleventh hour. That was how the rave of the moment clinched the job and made a good job of it.

In the words of the producer and director of Bakan Dabo, Mahmud Sarkin Fada and Auwal George, “We were cautious not to get just anyone; someone that will make a mess of that role. You know the Ooni is a bosom friend of the Kano monarch and whatever we do out of it will make an impression not only to both of them, but to the viewing public”.

According to George, “Though we didn't know he will deliver so well, we however had implicit confidence in his ability. And one thing we also got going for us in his choice because of all the options before us, he had the closest resemblance to the revered Ooni of Ife and that just endeared him to us”.

The director particularly eulogized Hotman, who is a cross-over actor, journalist, poet and human rights activist for his versatility and creativity. Among some of the stars on location that day was Alhaji Dauda Galadanci, (Ado Bayero), Isa Ja Bello (Wazirin), Kabiru Maikaba (Wambai), Shuaibu Yawale (Chiroman), S. Bello (Makaman), Hamza Indabawa (Walin), all kingmakers in the Kano Emirate Council who sits in court with him.

Other acts were Auwal Marshal, Yusuf Abdallah, lsa A. Isa, Jazuli Kazaza, Aminu Mahiru and Gymnastic Osuji