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IGWE OLAIYA

Source: nigeriafilms.com
Ebun Oloyede has made his mark in Nigeria movie industry of the Yoruba genre with hit movies like Iru Esin (his magnum opus),Ololade,(Mr Money),and the award – winning Abela pupa among others. Oloyede who is popularly called Olaiya or Igwe by his fans had his baptismal outing on stage in the 1970s when he joined the Musbau Shodimu Theatre organisation.

Olaiya, who hails from Ogun State and wears facial marks, however, believes that his marks is his selling point which has today made him a superstar.

His word: "My facial marks sell movies. I discovered the positive influence of tribal marks when I met late Chief Adeyemi Afolayan(aka Ade Love), who wore facial marks and still attained stardom as a actor-cum-film maker " .

According to him, that self-discovery has paid-off today, making him the crown prince of Yoruba movie sector. He speaks on this and more.

Background
I am Alhaji Lukmon Ebun Oloyede, popularly called Igwe or Olaiya. I was born in Kenta, Oke-Ejigbo Abeokuta, Ogun State 40 years ago. I attended St. Judes Primary School, Abeokuta. I completed my secondary education at the Premier Grammar School also at Abeokuta. At present, I am a Mass Communication student of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ojere, Abeokuta.

Coming into acting

I joined Musbau Shodimu Theatre Organisation based in Abeokuta in the 1970s. Ironically, my parents did not like it. But I convinced them. At the time I gained admission my acting talent started manifesting.

My inspiration

It was like anointing. My face actually became my selling point. I could remember vividly, how it happened. It was about 1978 or so. I was in Century Cinema watching one of the films of the late Adeyemi Afolayan entitled, Maaramo. Its like I 've never watched a film star having tribal marks. I saw the man on stage. He acted perfectly well without minding the marks. I felt very lively.At that point I got inspired. I ruminated over the issue and I promised myself I was going to become a theatre practitioner. I started with Pariolodo before we went separate ways.

Film productions

For now, I 've lost count of my productions. But I can still mention a few. I have the thriller Iru Esin, Ololade Mr. Money was my block buster. Also, I have other hits like Abela Pupa, Osan gangan, Ebute, Osuwon, Olugbekele, Okete, Pakute, Agbegilere, Ore-Ota Olorun. I used these films to advise, caution, and sensitise our people to live perfect lives.

The name Igwe

Over the years, people had raised an eyebrow, why I would just wake up one day and think the best thing for me is to refer to myself as Igwe. They felt that how could a typical Yoruba man with Egba marks turn himself to an Igbo man. These impressions were wrong. The students union of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife crowned me. By this, I was nominated king of Nigerian Theatre in 2003. Thus, when translated in Igbo language, king is "Igwe".

My greatest lesson

I would have remained redundant and stagnant on this business, if not the wisdom I garnered from my late father in the industry, Ade-Love. He saw me as his anointed child because we both have facial marks. The late movie maker was a sage . He stood for raw discipline and truth to the core. I observed some of his values. I recall during my earliest days in the industry, my contemporaries and I together went to see him at home to give us advice. The rain drenched us from head to toe. We told him we had admiration for him and we wanted him to admonish us since we wanted to venture into the theatre business.

But his response almost shocked us. "Ise Tiata ki maa se ise kekere. O re m'ada ko kori soko"(This job is a taskful one. It rather pays for you people to go into farming) That was the day I knew I had so much to do and and deliver in the industry. So, I struggled against the odds and made a name.

Insanity in my industry

I can see the theatre industry from a different perspectives. The industry is like a gentle soul that have been unduly humilated for no just cause. The profession has been basterdised and left naked. This evil children of hers raped her in an open field, through drug trafficking, rituals and and advance fee fraud. Though, all professions are prone to the vices. My prayer is that one day, God of the Nigerian theatre would rise against her foes.

Compulsory holiday joker
Being the chairman of the Guild of Film Producers, other members and I have equally agreed to go on a holiday this December to sanitize the industry. This will be aimed against some witches tormenting the industry. I know that God of Nigerian theatre will vindicate those of us that are upright in the business.