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Though I’m not a comedian, I can give you wonderful comedy –Opa Williams

By LANRE FEHINTOLA
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As an entertainer, what will you say is responsible for the growth witnessed in the entertainment industry?

The industry will keep growing as long as people continue to come into it. Entertainment industry offers a lot of opportunity for every one and there is no aspect of it you cannot belong. It is not only limited to Nigeria, but global. Entertainment industry now offers job opportunities to whoever takes interest in it.

Can we compare film production in Nigeria with what obtains in the developed world?

That is incomparable. We all use different formats and backgrounds in film production. We are used to broadcast format, while they are used to video format. But I believe that with time we will get there.

You are known to be the pioneer of Nite of a Thousand Laughs in the country. What are the challenges you have faced since the show started 13 years ago?

There will always be challenges as long as you have a dream. The experience a mother with a child will have will be different from someone that doesn't have. I have had a lot of challenges and that do not pose any threat to me. I knew those challenges would come. When we first started, we had a problem with sponsorship, but as time goes on, we got sponsors. There are times when some individuals will promise to sponsor us, but at the end of the day, they will not live up to the expectation. In spite of all the challenges we have had, we are still moving on. We have been staging the event since 1995 and it has continued till today. It is a success on our part.

A lot of people are also staging wave-making waves in the industry. Aren't you afraid of competition?

We are the premium brand. Every other comedy show is tailored to us. We change things and we build comedy. What you are seeing is movement, everybody is coming in, but nobody has thought about change. But we think about a change and that is why they keep coming behind us. It is not competition, but we are striving in a capitalist environment. We have over 140 million Nigerians who need to be entertained and we cannot be everywhere. We are just in 10 cities and we have it once in a year. So, at that point in time, if people want to do other things and they want extra comedy, the guys are there to fill the gap for us.

Are you saying yours is the best comedy show we have at present?

We will try harder. We don't have a final say. We know our onions and since we started, nobody has ever regretted. Our fans base has increased qualitatively. If you had come to the Lagos show, you would have seen the class of people that came. One is not trying to be immodest but other shows don't pull much crowd as ours. There is always improvement in life. I think for now we are at the top.

Why do you keep organising comedy show when you are not a comedian?

Music promoters are not musicians; neither are boxing promoters boxers. Jose Mourinho, the former Chelsea manager is not a footballer, but a damn good coach. Christian Chukwu was once Nigerian coach, but he was good at being a footballer. Producers are not actors, but they can give you some wonderful movies. I am not a comedian, but I can give you wonderful comedy show. It is for me to discover new talents and sustain them. We all have our callings. It is left to you to discover what you know how to do best. Some of us do not perform like those artistes do, but we have eyes for discovery.

Why do you focus on major cities when you organise shows?

Not major cities, but capital cities. When you are doing business, you must identify your audience. In Economics, there is what we call localisation of industry and location of industry. In location of industry, you identify factors like, road, access to infrastructure and all that. The same thing also applies to entertainment. I have another brand which is in the offing. It will take care of the grass roots. It is going to come out soon. We focus on major cities because it is a marketing strategy. You have to understand your way of marketing.

Tracking you down has been difficult, why?

I am always busy and that is because I am a dreamer and also have a creative mind. My creativity boils to the fact that I am not a static person. You cannot change people by being static. You must be creative to be able to make a change and I think that is the kind of person I am.