My Wife Can Go Off For Weeks, So Long As She Brings Back Money –Saheed Balogun
Saheed Balogun, one of the popular actors in Nollywood, has reasons to thank God. Though he features mainly in Yoruba movies, Saheed is one of the most talked about actors in Nollywood.
Sometime last year, the actor narrowly escaped death in an auto accident that left him hospitalised for more than four months.
The accident was so bad that it was even rumoured that the ace actor lost his life in it.
Spectacles spoke with the actor and he opened up on a lot of issues: the accident, his career and, of course, the scandals.
Regarding the accident, the experience is still as fresh in his mind just as when it happened.
“I was doing a three-caste movie in Ibadan. I was eager to do things myself. During the production, I needed to come to Lagos. I wasn't the one driving. I was so tired that I slept off. I learnt the car lost control and somersaulted more than four times. The next thing, was, I found myself in the hospital. I didn't even know I had been in the hospital for a long time. I woke up and I asked my wife what happened yesterday. She just burst into tears. It was later that I found out that I had been in coma for two weeks!”
While thanking God for sparing his life, Saheed acknowledged that many Nigerians stood by him in those months of anguish.
“Who would I thank and who would I leave out? Virtually everybody showed their support in one way or the other. I am immensely grateful to God and to Governor Bola Tinubu (of Lagos State), Governor Gbenga Daniel (Ogun) and Remi Adiukwu-Bakare, among others. Operating on my back and neck cost a fortune. But Nigerians stood by me and helped me out financially.”
If he wasn't a star, perhaps he might not have received the help he got. But Saheed disagreed. He said, “Let me tell you, there are some generous Nigerians who donate money to hospitals on a daily basis. Some go as far as picking up bills of the less privileged. Don't be surprised, if I wasn't a star, as you put it, somebody would have offered to help me out.”
The artiste is not thinking of retiring from entertainment as a result of the accident.
“A lot of people get involved in accidents, no matter their professions, and it does not hinder them from continuing their duties when they get well. Whatever happens to you, it is already destined to happen. You only need to be prayerful so that it will not get worse. With God on your side, you would overcome.
“I have not worked for about four months now. But I believe that once I get better, I will start again. I have to thank God for keeping me alive.”
Having mentioned God for the umpteenth time, Spectacles asked him if his close shave with death had made him religious.
He said 'yes and no.'
“I would say yes in the sense that I have every reason to thank Him. A lot of people have died even in minor accidents. He was just on my side; so, I have to get closer to Him. But on the other hand, even before now, I have always been close to God. I am a firm believer in His words. There is no way I can drop Him now.”
Born some 39 years ago, Saheed has acted for 25 years. He grew up in a family where acting runs in their blood, thus he had to follow the legacies that were laid down for him.
He said, “Acting flows in my blood. The people before me are actors. I emulated them. Initially, I was doing it for the fun of it. But at a point, I got to know it as a money – making venture, so I took it up as a profession.”
Even when the profession and those who practised it were looked down upon, the young man was not deterred.
“Drama was so looked down upon then, people in it were regarded as outcasts. But right now, the reverse is the case. You can see graduates and even Masters degree holders in the profession, and they are enjoying every moment of it. They no longer see it as a profession for the unserious, they see it as a good job.”
So far, Saheed has no regret about his chosen career.
“I don't have any regrets. The profession has fetched me good things. I am in a profession where I am working and people know that I am working. A lot of people have a profession and people don't know they are in it.”
He plays the role of a bad guy and a Casanova so well that one wonders if that isn't his natural flair.
Saheed said, “I am just an actor. If we all play the good guy, who will play the bad guy? I started out as a comedian and people thought that was the only role I was good at. It took such challenge and daring from people to make me get to do other roles. If you are an actor, you should be versatile; you should be able to dance into many roles. That is what I have done.”
The character he plays has brought him so many negative comments from the public. People embarrass him on the streets, but that does not stop him from playing the roles he feels would change the society for the better.
“People abuse me, but I don't care. I only wish they would learn a lesson from the movies. There was a time I was with my wife and somebody walked up to us and asked her how she could marry a Casanova like me. I knew he said that because of the roles I play. I was so embarrassed, but I could not do anything to him.”
The actor denied that it was the passion for his profession that made him marry Fathia Balogun, a prominent actress as well.
“Doctors marry doctors, lawyers marry lawyers. Wherever you find love, you go for it. That was what we did,” he said.
He disagress very strongly that most actresses are promiscuous.
“They are not. These ladies are making good money and they are just doing their jobs. If they decide to stay on their own, same people who call them promiscuous would say they are lesbians.”
Would he allow his wife to be on location for weeks to shoot a movie?
He reported, “Will I mind when she brings the money back home? She is just doing her job. As a married woman, she has her boundaries, but I have not had any reason to complain.”
Since both are artistes and since their line of duty requires them to be out of the home for long periods, who manages the home front, Spectacles asked.
“It is God. We have some people who take care of the kids. We have not had any problem in that area.”
Many people know Saheed as an actor, but few know him as a singer. He disclosed to Spectacles that just as he is good in acting, he is equally great in the music studio.
“I have been singing for a long time. I used to do Raga, but I changed my mind and decided to go local. I now do Fuji. One guy told me I was a local champion. This is somebody who couldn't even speak fluent English. I don't care. I will continue playing my own kind of music.”
Just as his face adorns movie posters, so also does his name make headlines, especially in the soft-sell magazines. He is one guy who has been linked with so many scandals.
It was rumored, and even written, that Saheed Balogun is a wife beater who goes as far as beating his actress wife in public. He has been called so many names that could make him look like the Devil himself.
In every rumour, there is always an atom of truth. But Saheed insists he has never laid his hands on his wife.
“ If there is an atom of truth, then find out my own side of the story before going to the press. I am not a wife beater. I have never beaten my wife, let alone in public. I don't know why people go as far as writing such rubbish. But they have gotten away with such because I never had a lawyer. Now, if anyone writes any nonsense, we will settle the case the legal way.”
Such scandals have led to the break-up of most marriages. But Saheed and his wife, Fathia, are still together.
“As trying as those times were, we are still together. My wife suffered. The issue of my beating her, it was an armed robber that attacked her, gave her a blow on her eyes and cut off her necklace. We were surprised to read in the papers that Saheed has given his wife a black eye. The media has really dealt with us. But it has made us stronger and wiser.”
All over the world, it is largely believed that people in the showbiz tend to live a false life. Saheed counted himself out of that list.
“I am not in that category. It depends on individuals and family background. There is no way I can live above my means. When I am looking for help, who would help me? I prefer stooping low. I am a realist and I try as much as possible not to lie. If I steal and you ask me, I will tell you I stole.”
He speaks glowingly about his mother.
“My mother was there for me. When others were ridiculing my career, my mother encouraged me all the way. I have every reasons to be thankful to her.”
Saheed is aiming even higher.
“Michael Jackson is very popular, but I intend to beat him in terms of popularity. Air and water are the most important things in life. With God on my side, I will be as important as air and water. Mark my words.”