I DON’T WOMANISE, BUT I ADMIRE WOMEN –TREASURES STAR
What did you study in the university?
I graduated from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, where I studied Dramatic Arts. I'm an artiste, a full artiste because I'm an actor, a producer, a director and all round theatre practitioner.
What was the genesis of your acting career?
I have been in the acting circle for over 20 years. I started with stage acting before going into television. That was before the advent of Nollywood.
What was your upbringing like?
As a child, I was into dramatic arts. I was motivated into acting by television. I used to watch television a lot when I was a child; I used to concentrate on films and drama. Also, I used to attend the Nigeria Television Authority children's party and there I and other children would take part in dramas and all that. In primary and secondary school, I discovered my acting talent because while in school, I was seriously into acting and I enjoyed it.
When did you start professional acting?
I started professional acting in 1985 when I joined Anssa Play House in Lagos before I moved over to Sam Loco Production when he (Sam Loco) relocated from Ibadan to Lagos.
Can you re-live your first experience on stage as a professional actor?
Yes, there was this stage fright, which of course is natural. That day, the hall was full to the brim. So immediately I stepped out on the stage and saw the mammoth crowd, I said to myself 'Oh my God!' I almost developed a third leg. Looking at the crowd sitting there waiting to be entertained, I almost ran off. But what saved me that day was the support of my colleagues, who were on the stage with me. Such people like Segun Arinze, Jim Iyke to mention but a few, gave me the courage to overcome the stage fright. When I saw their courage, I had to pick up.
You have featured in some love movies where you held the opposite sex very closely. How did you feel at such moments?
Nothing; what we do is nothing but make-believe. There is nothing attached to it. I have kissed on the set before, but there is nothing attached to that. The whole thing ends there immediately the camera is off.
You are happily married with two children, how does your wife feel watching you hug an actress on the set?
She is not jealous. She understands it is my job that I'm doing; that it's my profession. I read Dramatic Arts and I'm just practising what I read. She met me as an actor. So, she understands. She is used to it.
What is that you don't like in the movie industry?
It is the financial aspect of it. If I were in Hollywood, I think I would have been more financially comfortable than I am at present. It is true that people appreciate what we are doing and I'm happy about that. I'm happy that we are entertaining people, happy that people are appreciative of what we are doing. At least the way my fans react on the street when they see me can attest to that. But the financial reward is poor. It cannot be equated with the work.
You mentioned your fans, how do you cope with them?
I love them all. They are the reason I'm happy in what I'm doing. They are people I cannot do without. I tag them my living angels maybe because they encourage me a great deal.
What is the highest prize you have paid for what you are doing?
My privacy: I don't have private life. I'm always watchful and articulate when I come outside. The only place I have a little privacy is in my bedroom when I want to sleep. I was giving a lady a ride the other day when I was coming from WAMPCO to Ikeja. An okada (motorbike) rider saw me and hailed me and said to me before the lady: 'I hope you have told her you are happily married and that you don't need another wife?' I didn't answer him. I was dumbfounded. So, that is what I'm saying. I have no privacy any longer and that is the highest prize I have paid to get to where I am.
But in all honesty do you womanise once in a while?
No (laughs). I'm happily married. I think the okada rider made such a comment because in Treasures, a soap opera that is currently going on, I played the role of Alhaji Kafaru, who married three wives. My two wives were giving me headache; I went and married the third one. So, maybe he was referring to my role. I'm not a womaniser (laughs), but I admire women.
Apart from Treasures, which other soap opera have you featured in?
I have featured in Checkmate as Nasuru. Then I was slimmer. I have added much weight now. I also featured in Alero as Usman; then Body and Soul, which I'm producing and directing.
How come you are always given Hausa roles in your movies. Are you Hausa?
No! I'm from Kogi State.