My ordeal with Saidi Balogun– Funke Adesiyan
This reads like a Nollywood story. They looked like they were headed for the nuptials. She looked like she was set to replace Fathia. Then the bubble burst. The cookies crumbled. Was Saheed a beast and Funke Adesiyan the battered beauty?
A lot of people saw you in Eti Keta and they thought you were happy. How easy was it for you to have such a big burden on your heart and go about helping Saidi Balogun?
Eti Keta is more than a Saheed project. A lot of us were involved in it. We believed in the movie and I believe in Saheed. I respect his intellect a lot and I wanted to help him achieve his goal. I think he needed help a lot and I felt being there and rendering what I could as much as I could on that movie was necessary. So, despite the problem I had with him, I decided to concentrate on the movie.
Is it true that you broke- up before Eti Keta?
Yes, Saheed and I had broken up before the movie but it wasn't public. We decided not to distract people, we decided to focus on the movie and I promised him that I was going to be with him till after the premiering . That I will render all I can. I was even supposed to travel at that time , because I was under a lot of stress. He called people to persuade me not to go. So I decided to help him with the project.
Is it true that you charged N20 million on the deal ?
Yes, it cost about that. It's actually just another scene today. It's above N20 million right now.
Well, you and I know that in this industry, that huge amount of money would not be paid to an actress. So could you tell us about the deal?
Well, doors opened for him while on that project. Some companies backed him up. A company in Ilorin started it. They had meetings and a lot of other people came in and invested a lot of money and he decided that instead of him buying a car, he would focus on that movie which I respect him for.
But how did your own N20million deal happen?
A bank in Nigeria wanted me to be their face .So, we had meetings and subsequently, I took Saheed to one of our meetings, because I didn't just want to be going all by myself and I introduced him to them as my boyfriend and manager.
After a while, I spoke with their representative on phone and we became friendly along the line. He knew I was dating Saidi and he knows the relationship wasn't a joke. At some point, Saidi began to suspect my relationship with the guy and he started to harass him, sending him messages and doing all sorts to the extent that the guy had to call me and say “… sorry, I don't think we can do this deal if you cannot be in control of your life…”.
But why was Saidi insecure ? Did he suspect you were having an affair?
Well, I just feel as a young lady, a lot of people are attracted to me and I can't hide that. I didn't create myself. Instead of him feeling insecure about it, he should feel happy that someone admires me. Apart from that, I think he just decided to feel insecure about me, he doesn't want men around me and all of that. At some point, I just couldn't take it anymore. I really didn't want what was happening between us to become public , because I thought I could control it but at some point, it was obvious that I couldn't control it. So I just had to end the relationship.
We learnt that he called a man in Ghana and the person told him you were in Ghana?
Were you embarrassed ?
I felt highly embarrassed . You can't be doing that to people, it's unfair.
But did the man ever call you?
I had to change my line when I told him we couldn't date anymore. He saw me at a party recently and told me he has been trying to reach me but couldn't and I told him I'll call him later , because the party wasn't a good place for such discussions.
What happened the first time Saidi hit you?
He came to my house and we had an argument over someone calling me. He wondered why the person was calling me and all of that. Though he was fuming, I thought he was just pulling my legs and the next thing he did was to pick his keys and told me he was going and I said no problem. That was some minutes to midnight. He didn't allow me to see him off to the gate, so I saw him off to the gate in my car.
He came out of his car to meet me and told me I should go home and I said why not. While I was talking to him, he punched me in the face. I was just there, crying by myself. He drove off and later turned back. When I saw his car lights, I looked up wondering why he was coming back. So, I just drove out of the estate into the street, running for my life and he followed me. I was heading to the hospital because my ear drums were hurting. I didn't even know what was happening to my system.
He caught-up with me at the hospital gates and begged me saying he was sorry and all of that. He offered to take me home in his car and I agreed. I was crying and he was begging me saying it wouldn't happen again and that he didn't even know what happened and I felt that people make mistakes and because it was the first time, I forgave him. But he continued beating me over every little thing, and the last one did it. I already told him I was no longer interested and we've broken up. We have both moved on with our lives and he once ran into me on the street and said he heard I went to Ghana and I said, Saidi, I don't want to talk about it and he injured me.
When was that?
Recently. He took my passport and checked whether I had gone to Ghana recently and when he realized I didn't , he checked my phone. He didn't see the kind of messages he was expecting to see. He started to beg me and asking people to beg me and I told him that was the end because I didn't do anything . We have broken-up, so whether I went to Ghana or I didn't is none of his business.
Saidi is a good friend. He's a nice guy, he will do anything to help someone in trouble but I don't think he can handle a relationship. I think he has a problem with abusing women physically. I think he needs to sort that out. If he can do that, he'll make a better person in future.
Can you remember the time he first beat you?
That was some months ago, July I think.
And between July and November, did he beat you ?
What happened recently… I heard that your mom was involved and Kate Henshaw too?
He wanted to shoot a scene in Eti Keta and he told me this month but I told him I wasn't interested. So, he started to plead with me and I told him you'll have to pay for this extra scene though he had paid me earlier for the job. He called my mom and begged her that I had to be in the scene and my mom called me. So did other people. He sent me a text which read “I just want you to come and finish this job, walai talai, I won't fight you” and I replied him that he has to pay, because I'll have to get a bodyguard.
The animal in him might rear its ugly head. He also sent a text to somebody, reporting that person to a Senator and the guy sent me a text that was really insulting which reads “you and your Mr. Balogun have to sort things out. He can't be reporting me to people. For crying out loud, I don't have anything to do with you, so why should he be doing this to me?” I apologized to him and I forwarded the two messages to Saidi telling him he couldn't keep doing this. There is nothing between him and I anymore and even if there is, he's not my husband or my father or my mother. He's not my God, so he can't tell me who not talk to .
Subsequently, I had a meeting with Stingomania Records boss, Ope Banwo and showed him the messages I received from the guy and my response. I also showed him messages from Saidi and my response. So, Ope Banwo told me not to go alone and he called my bodyguard and told him “… Stingomania wouldn't let me go anywhere or let any of his artistes go where there seems to be danger …”.
He arranged a bodyguard for me and on getting to the set, he called me up and I walked to the place to work and the bodyguard was beside me and Saidi told the bodyguard “… sorry, you can't come inside, you have to go downstairs and wait…” and the bodyguard said “… sorry, I have a job to do here and Saidi said”… who gave you the directive to do the job…” and he said my M.D. gave me the directive to protect Funke Adesiyan. At that point, he was really angry and he was yelling at me and he said, this scene is cancelled. I picked-up my bag and left. I met Kate downstairs and she asked what went wrong and I explained to her and the bodyguard even volunteered to be by the door, just somewhere close enough to know whether there is any emergency.
Kate said “… Saidi, this shouldn't be a problem, the guy is doing his job and there's nothing wrong with him being at the door, after all, you guys are shooting inside…” and he continued to yell. He called my mom and reported me and I called my mom and told her my side of the story. Kate stood by me and she said “… Saidi, I cannot cope with you beating up a woman, God Almighty forgive us and that's the Man we do all sorts of thing to. Kate didn't support his action at all . Saidi then told people around that Funke called one MD to bring one bodyguard for her not knowing who the MD was and he continued yelling at me and I left.
Did you later do the movie?
Yes, I went back to shoot and the guy stood by the door and my mom called Saidi and warned him not to come near me again.
Who were the other actresses on set?
We had Femi Ogedengbe, Eniola Olaniyan, Sunkanmi Omobolanle, Kate Henshaw, Kunle Afod, Blessing Okoye, Ademola and some other upcoming artistes.
So where did he beat you today?
He didn't beat me today. He was just insulting me; my body guard was with me so he couldn't come close to me. He was just yelling and insulting me as much as he could and I did not say a word.
Recently when he beat you, was it in public?
Yes, it was in public. At his office on Allen Avenue.
Did you go to the office or you were just passing by?
My mechanic took my car to his office when he finished, not knowing anything was wrong between us . He said he tried to call me, but he couldn't get me, so he took my car to his office. I went there to pick up my car and he came down stairs to meet me and started yelling at me asking about my whereabouts. I said just let me be, why are you asking me where I went to. He said he heard that I went to Ghana, that we landed together, he followed me and I started to laugh. I believe my laughter provoked him and he started to hit me. He wanted to collect my bag forcibly and I was screaming as he was beating me .
In broad day light?
No,it was in the evening around 7. 30 pm. I was screaming, then the security guys at his office came out and tried to separate us. He wanted to seize my bag. He was hitting my hand against the wall to get me to release the bag. My hand ached and I was bleeding , so I dropped the bag. He took the bag away, so I went to the police station at Alausa to report, because my phones were in the bag with my hard money and my passport .I had a lot things in my bag.
The police at the station said the case was beyond their jurisdiction, that I have to go to Ikeja to make the report formally and that they were going to take a step on it. I couldn't go to Ikeja, because I was tired, so I went home to my mother. I had to call her on the pay phone and she said someone had already told her that Saidi was beating me in public. That she went to his office with my brother and Said prostrated and begged her that it is not like that. He told my mom I was insulting him and bla, bla bla, twisting the whole thing around me and my mum came to the house and saw my injuries . My mum reminded him that he was still asking people to beg her for abusing me a few days back and wondered why he was annoyed that I brought a body guard to set when I didn't feel comfortable.
For how long did you date?
We dated for nine months.
What did you notice in him, a good person or a bad person?
He is a good person but he can't handle a relationship.
Did he ever catch you with a man?
He never did.
Did you ever catch him with a woman?
Yes, I did and he told me he wasn't seeing the person. I caught her in a room with a woman in boxers and he told me she was just there to have a meeting with him.
Who was the woman?
I don't know the lady and there were others too. I just wasn't looking at that side.I was concentrating on my job. I was working and aiming to achieve my goals.
He always lied about it, that he had nothing to do with them. That they are just friends and I told him one day that he's attractive, I'm attractive, so one thing I have going for me is that I'm young , he's not young. That for every woman he was dating , I had five men disturbing me and I am not even looking at their side. I was faithful to him because I thought we were trying to make the relationship work out.
So I was faithful, I was committed, I was interested in his career. He was on the Stingomania label. I've had a meeting with Stingomania on how they can help him to be a better person. I even had a meeting with the bank personnel, but Saidi was angry . He wondered why I would meet them without his knowledge. I went to discuss how they can sponsor Eti Keta, Saheed's movie. I didn't go to discuss any personal business or whatever with the bank. It was all about him and he was harassing me and others. It's not acceptable.
How did he convince you to date him?
I don't know. Before I met him, before we started dating , I didn't know about his past relationships. I wasn't even interested .
I felt it's strictly none of my business. People told him bad things about me, they had told me bad things about him too. When we met, I found him to be a funny person and I thought he was straight forward and good . You can't take that away from him. He will always want to help people around him, so I saw that as a positive thing in him and he tried as much as he could to convince me that he had nobody in his life then. So I went ahead with him, seeing the things that I've seen, seeing how far he had gone to stick his neck out for people and even to those that say that he's bad . He will still help them.I didn't know he had this proclivity to abuse women.
Since he has been beating you, why are you staying on with him?
Because I felt he was going to change.I didn't know how to take a walk. I wasn't bold enough to take a walk from him. I thought he was going to change, he always came back to say he was sorry it's not going to happen again and all of that.He went to people I respect that I can not say no to , but at some point I realised that it's either I say no or someday this guy will just kill me. So , I decided to take a walk. I sat him down and explained to him that it won't work anymore.
Do you remember the date you finally broke-up with him?
I broke up with him four days to his premiering.
What do you intend to do now?
Right now , I'm just relaxing, I'm just getting back to myself.
Do you intend to take him to court ?
The police's involved. I already lodged a complaint at the police station and I believe they've invited him to talk it over with him. They have to keep him away from me. So, if he doesn't stick to that, if he doesn't respect that, I can go to the next level .
You gave him some money while the relationship lasted and your money is still with him, not so?
That is not an issue really; money is not an issue between me and my friend.
What else do you do other than acting?
Right now, I'm concentrating on acting, strictly acting. I don't want to be distracted.
Is it true that your relationship with Saidi has cost you some acting jobs?
Yes it has. I have always been a one man brand. I didn't want to belong to anybody, I just want to be my own person. People felt like oh they are in this person's group, they are in that person's group and we can't call her . She is dating Saheed. She is in Saheed's group and all of that, you know.
When you were dating him, did you ever have an encounter with Faithia?
No, I never did.
You never spoke, you never exchanged text messages?
No, we never did.
But where did the rumour that she was fighting you come from?
I think some people just sat in the corner of their rooms and felt they should just write. There was never anything like that.
And she never sent anybody to you?
She never did. I see no reason why she will do such thing to me. We are in the same industry, we were never friends. We are not enemies and we are not friends, but I see no reason why she will attack me.
Do you think what happened between Saidi and Faitha was Faithia's fault?
I don't want to get into that, but I think both of them had their faults. I don't want to get into that, it's none of my business. What concerns me is me and Saidi, anything else doesn't concern me.
What do you have to say against women battering ?
It's not just right, you can't just raise your hand and hit a woman and like I told you ,he always came back to say he's sorry, he loves me. I told him, you don't love me, if you love me you will not raise your hands to hit me. Over what? You will do it and realise that what you even did was not happening in the first place but you've already done it. What if you had killed me in that process?
When you now realise that you were wrong, will you undo that killing. It's not possible, it's not right, she is not your child, even if she is your child, you don't have a right to hit your child and you are not her God. Even God Almighty doesn't hit us, doesn't beat us, so why should you beat a woman? She is not your slave. If you think you are too temperamental you can't handle it, why not walk away? Women will always be what they are. At some point, men should be what they should be, that's what I think.
Will you ever date an actor again?
I wouldn't know. I don't want to judge anybody by what someone has done or what someone is doing and I wouldn't want to be judged by what other people are doing too.
Would you go back to him again?
That's a matter for another day, but what I think is, he needs to seek help and he has to stop all this. He has to help himself by seeking help, he needs to get better.
Is it true that he's petty?
Yes, I think so. A lot of writers have that problem, because when you are too creative, you see a big deal out of nothing.
Would you work with him again on set?
Why not?But the terms have to be stated clearly.
Would you work with Faithia?
Why not? I will. I can work with anybody. That's why I'm a professional.