Jide Kosoko jostles for House of Reps .
Jide Kosoko is one of the actors who started off the movie industry and are still active till date. He has had a succesful run with his career and also as a model. He has featured in various television commercials. He is also the immediate past president of the Association of Nigerian Theatre practitioners (ANTP). He has now decided to take his succes story a notch higher by serving his people. He has exclusively disclosed to Hazeez Balogun of his intentions to compete in the next years elections.
Is it true that you are going into politics?
Yes I am
At what capacity?
A representative of my party at the House of Reps
Action Congress of Nigeria
What informed the decision to do politics?
As you know, I have been in this industry for many years and I have contributed immensely to the growth of the industry. I know for sure that if the given the necessary support, motion pictures would go a long way to support the economy of this country. Fortunately, quite a lot of people are in government who are supporting the industry in any way. It is very bad and what I normally say is that, they don't know the advantages of this industry. I am part of those who facilitated the bill for motion pictures and today that bill is still waiting for approval at the federal house. The life of all those benefiting from the industry is at stake. If the bill is approved, a lot of amendment would be made. Like I always say, the industry needs to be adjusted to the current trend; it need to be properly regulated; a lot of amendments must be made. I am planning on representing the Bariga/ shomolu constituency. If you look at that particular area, you would see that it is one of the underdeveloped areas. There is need for everybody to complement the work of the Lagos state governor. It is my intention to use the constituency to propagate the effectiveness and goodness the industry can do to the state and Nigeria as a whole. The industry that I served is definitely a viable one. I have the intention to reflect the advantages of the industry which I belong from that constituency for the nation to see. This would assist in the positive verification of the motion picture dream. The motion picture industry can do a lot to the industry. I want to do this by providing film schools, good locations. It would engage everybody. To me, it is the biggest. It would engage everybody. It would provide job opportunities.
To achieve these stated intentions, you would need to belong to the ruling party, which party do you belong to?
I belong to the best political party as at now. Action congress of Nigeria (ACN) is the party to be and I would be contesting from the party. I am ensuring to get the best support I can get from the grassroots.
Have you gotten the ticket already?
I have not gotten the ticket. We are currently evangelising our different manifestoes and we are ensuring and praying to win a lot of hearts so as to achieve the motion picture project. We are letting the grassroots know what we have for them.
Don't you think people would feel you want to contest because you are popular?
Let me tell you something, it is even good t hat what we do is very visible. If you are successful in your chosen career, you can move on. I became the president of the largest body in this country. In my chosen career, I have excelled and this is a plus for me. There are challenges but I am ready to face them. It is good to be identified in what you do. I have been able to proof my credibility. I would not want to destroy my credibility. When I get there, people would be free with you. It's like bringing the government closer to the people. People would have access to me and this would indirectly help me to discover the wants of the masses, what they want and how they want it. Look at my industry, we are suffering, mine is just to establish the fact that the industry need help.
It's a good thing you are coming out but politics is very dirty, can you survive the killing and brutality associated with it?
You have a point but don't call it mess. Whether we like it or not, we are part of it. If you have something to contribute, display and sell it out. Culture of respect is lacking in governance and we need to introduce it. If I respect you and you respect me, I would reciprocate. Matters should be treated with maximum respect and dignity. Nothing would happen to me and I know for sure that this vision would be accomplished. Everybody is not violent; a lot of issues have been treated with violence instead of pure dialogue. It is my intention to use my constituency to paint the good tidings that the industry possesses.
If you get into the house today, would you stop acting?
It's a two way thing, if I don't act, I would be behind the camera.
Don't you think you would be little your self esteem by getting involved in politics?
The truth is that whatever you do, be upright. In Africa, we always have this problem of everybody concerned with the money factor. Whatever I do, I would collect what rightly belongs to me, would eat what I am suppose to eat. It is when I eat well that I would be able to execute my responsibilities accordingly. If anybody calls you a thief and you believe you are not a thief, do what you have to do and live your life. I am not going into politics to make money. I belong to the class of people that cannot be quiet when everything is collapsing around me. I am strongly saying that the industry which I belong is very useful to this country. What we need is government to complement our effort. The only thing that is disturbing us here is funding. We know the job; all we need is proper equipment to execute the job.
As an ACN member, do you support the second term of Babatunde Raji Fashola?
Laughs, he is the best for the job. Everybody is proud of fashola and I must say I am happy to be part of ACN.
Are you not afraid of any opposition?
If I get ticket, I have won the election already. It is as simple as that.
You were the immediate past president of ANTP and at the moment, they are having difficulties conducting an election, why do you think the association is under
Let's talk about your achievements as the ANTP President.
Apart from the issue of the guilds, which has helped to achieve professionalism, we have been able to prepare our members for national and international challenges, which have been achieved.For instance, Yoruba films were rated as the best in terms of storyline and technicality in 2007, this was done by national Films and Video Censors Board. Also, we have been able to offer practical training to members about the various terminologies on stage, movies and locations, as well as ethics of the profession. We were able to have the first edition of Yoruba World Films Festival in Lagos.
To what extent have members complied with the ethics and standard you have earlier mentioned?
I have told you earlier that Yoruba films have been rated as the best in terms of technicality and storylines. Before now, members have been using dirty words in films but, quality is gradually taking over. In terms of storylines, I often advise them to drop certain issues on family, widowhood because I realised these have been over-used. I want to assure you that, very soon, people will watch new storylines in our films.
So how has your career been like.
Smooth, it is a learning process actually. I will quickly brief you. I started way back in 1964, when I was just 10 years old and that was the year I also had my first television appearance in a production titled Makanjuola, produced by Ifelodun Travelling Theatre, which had me as a member. It happened that one of our tenants, Dele Toyibo, an elderly person and a member of Ifelodun Travelling Theatre wanted to have a production on television- LTV Bar Beach. They needed a boy of my age then to play (the lead role of) a character called Alabi. So they invited children of my age, we were auditioned and I won the role. Since then, I have always been into acting. I formed my own group, Jide Kosoko Theatre in 1972.
How will you compare the industry then to what we have now?
When I actually started we did not have videos. There were no movies in Nigeria at all. The one we had then was the television thing, in fact, more of stage performance and my orientation is more of stage performance. If you want to compare what happened then and now, you will see there are a lot of changes. When I started, we were only on black and white. A few homes had television. That was the period when you saw people watching a particular production through the window of any home-You arere just going and when it is time for that production you just go to any house and stay by their window to watch.
What about your most embarrassing moment?
That comes almost all the time. When you see all these area boys, especially when you don't have any money with you to give them, it could be embarrassing, you know.
A lot of actresses complain about producers demanding for sex before giving them roles. Is it true?
That is very bad. I have never done it before and if there are producers doing it and I will say it is very bad. Though some people may not see it as something bad, as they feel it happens in every industry. Personnel managers do it to their staff. Teachers do it to their students, politicians do it among their people, government officials do it, journalists do it. But they are all professional abuse on the ethics of their professions. And as I had said earlier, it is not good. But frankly speaking, as a producer, even if your intention is not to give her a role because you want to have sex with her, you can come across somebody you love, is it not possible? It now depends on who that actress is. If she's not complaining that she slept in your office to get a role, it's nothing. But honestly, I find it difficult to believe that producers demand for sex before giving out roles. It's funny