Why I divorced Oga Bello
If there is anything Olayinka Ali-Adebayo (a.k.a Iyawo Alhaji) is worried about, it is the fact that movie producers and marketers have stopped inviting her for roles following the separation between herself and her husband, Adebayo Salami (Oga Bello).
At her Ote-Omi residence in Papa Ajao, Mushin area of Lagos, she has gone underground to face her catering business squarely.
Since the world will neither crash nor collapse, if she no longer act in films, she also opened the can of worms that brought about the break-up of her marriage, which produced two lovely girls, who are both undergraduates.
Although the actress disclosed how they have been separated for eight years, she described Adebayo Salami as a loving father to his children:
My name is Olayinka Ali Adebayo. My maiden name is Ali, and I still use it till date. I attended St Peters Primary School, Lafiaji, Lagos, from where I proceeded to Mayflower School, Ikenne in Ogun State for my secondary school. I was born in 1965 to the Ali's family.
How I started
Actually, I started acting on the insistence of Adebayo Salami in November 1980. Then I was his girlfriend, and because I loved him and I wanted to please him at all cost, I joined the Awada Kerikeri group with him. And that was how I started acting till about a few years ago, when I stepped aside.
What inspires me? I guess, I get inspiration from my God. I am a very good Christian and a member of the Christ Gospel Apostolic Church.
Most memorable role
My most memorable role is the one I acted as Comfort in Omo Araye le, a television series in the 1980s by Ajimajasan. It was actually that role that brought me to limelight. It was like a stepping stone which paved way for other lead roles.
How many movies so far?
Without being immodest, I have had about 50. Before the advent of home videos, the celluloid was the in thing. I acted in the late Hubert Ogunde's Aropin t'enia, Ayanmo (Destiny) which came on 35mm. And for our group, we recorded films like Omo Orukan, and many others on 16mm. But for home videos, Asewo to re Mecca, Ok (stone), Ilu-le, Iyawo Alhaji, among others.
Iyawo Alhaji and Ali-Adebayo
(Laughter) Of course that is not me. I am nothing like that stuff, acting is a make belief world. Although that film was made about 10 years ago, but today, people still scream when they see me. I am a very nice person. Even when you came down to my shop at Cele Express, you must have noticed that I am a very nice person. I am gentle and cool headed, I keep to myself, but when it comes to acting, I am something else. Although, it did not fetch me a dime, but it earned me fame.
I did not quit acting. I just went under ground for a while because you know that there was a kind of quarrel between Bello and me. And I am worried why producers will not invite me to play a role because of this lover's tiff. I did not quit; they have refused to call me, because Oga Bello himself is fencing me. I can remember that there was a time that Joke and Olu Jacobs had a misunderstanding, Olu Jacobs never disturbed Joke, till they were able to solve their differences. I can not start going on my knees to beg for roles, let them recognise my talent. I should not be placed under my husband's shadow. Presently, I am a businesswoman and I thank God for His mercies over my family.
May we know the cause of the quarrel?
Well, we separated eight years ago because I felt he was disturbing me.
What sort of disturbances?
That is my own personal reason, I just had to opt out of that marriage to regain my freedom.
What kind of freedom?
The freedom I am talking about has nothing to do with promiscuity. No! It is not even that. If it were that, I would have remarried eight years ago. But the freedom I wanted was that the Awada Kerikeri group did not carry me along. I was just being used; it was only when they had contract that will involve my assistance that I would be briefed. Although, later he asked me to resign from the group to enable me become an independent actress. And I yielded to his advice. It was then that I saw hell, I might not see my husband for close to a month.
He didn't show me affection. You see, no matter how poor a man is, if he can show love and appreciation to his spouse, other things are immaterial. Money is not everything and not the ultimate. I had to walk out before I started growing bananas on my head.
Fear of competition?
Competition? What competition? Fine, I know quite well that I am neither the first nor the second wife. And I am not the last wife. So what competition are we talking about? My sister, I need to regain my freedom. A woman needs to be loved and shown some affection.
Affection and love
Well, yes! At least from my children. They are products of the union. Lara Adebayo is an undergraduate at the Ogun State university studying Mass Communication, while Bukola Adebayo is at University of Ilorin studying Computer Science. They are my greatest assets.
Any fond memories of that relationship
No! Even in spite of our slight misunderstanding (I call it slight because he doesn't seem to understand why I needed my freedom), he is taking it so badly. I have not re-married, it is not because I wanted to flirt around that I opted out of the marriage. I believe he should see it as a memorandum of understanding. He still takes care of his children, and he calls me on GSM and that is enough. He is a loving father and has been responsible for the upkeep of his children.
Any move for reconciliation?
Please do not ask me about that, you are prying too much.
Why haven't you produced a film?
My sister, it is all about money. I do not have that kind of money, but I know that my God can do it. Who do I go and meet? Is it the producers or marketers that have turned their backs on me that will sponsor my film? I will only end up being ridiculed. I have absolute faith in God Almighty. I have lots of scripts waiting to be produced, but my constraint is money. I know that God will make all things beautiful.
Nollywood and prostitution
Well, there is much improvement now, in terms of the monetary reward. When we started, there was no money but now the story is different. Though, I may not be able to answer that other question because personally no producer or marketer harassed me sexually, neither did I jump from bed to bed for roles, during my active days in acting. It all depends on the kind of person that you are.
Any other man in your life?
No! I have been very preserved and quiet because I do not want my name and picture to be splashed on the pages of newspapers and magazines for misconduct. I have a name to protect, moreso I tried to make a statement that my opting out of my marriage was not because I wanted to mess around.