FOR 13 YEARS THAT FEYIKOGBON AIRED ON NTA, I DIDN’T MAKE ANY FORTUNE FROM IT, SAYS AYO MOGAJI
For the 13 years that his programme, Feyikogbon, a sitcom aired on national tv, Sunday Akanbi Akinola, popularly known as Ayo Mogaji, was as popular as the head of state. But beyond this fame and popularity is a wound being nursed by the artiste. He reveals this and expectations to us in this interview. Excerpts:
My name is Sunday Akanbi Akinola, popularly known as Ayo Mogaji in the rested Feyikogbon sitcom. I have been in the entertainment industry for quite some time and I thank God for his mercies. I stay with my family at Ipaja along Ayobo area of Lagos State. I have two wives but I lost one last year; Awero, the senior wife. Amuda, the second wife, is at home with the children. I'm from Ogun State, Yewaland but I've lived all my life in Lagos. So, I can easily say I'm from both states.
The rested sitcom didn't bring the required financial reward as many people would have thought. It's a programme I ran for over 13 years on national television non-stop. I actually decided to stop the series because it wasn't bringing the expected financial reward. Apart from that, I thought I should just give my brain a rest since all what we were doing was not an adaptation from any book. Basically, what took me off the air is to refresh my brain in order not to be dishing out boring series to the people.
What were you doing while on sabbatical?
I wasn't doing anything serious. I just stayed at home and wrote scripts and kept them. The period was actually used to see which other areas of the theatre I could dabble into and at the same time, like I told you earlier, I also refreshed my brain and by the time the result of that sabbatical starts coming out, you'll understand that it was a worthwhile sabbatical.
Apart from the popular Feyikogbon, I've produced two movies that have not been released and I'm still expecting to produce other ones by the grace of God. I also go to movie locations if I'm invited. I still wish that Feyikogbon goes back on air because we've taken enough break but we need a sponsor. A lot of people call to tell me that they want it back on air but you know without a strong sponsor, it won't work.
Success recorded in the industry
I can't tell you everything God has done for me through theatre, it gave me a lifeline and made me popular and provided the necessary link to fame and honour for me.
The only regret I have is my not being recognised by the government. I believe if you've distinguished yourself in your chosen profession and the people feel your impact, it is the responsibility of the government to reward you. It pains me each time I think over it. When you look at it, apart from the popular Village Headmaster, Feyikogbon ran consecutively on national television for 13 years. Which other programme has achieved that?
It is disheartening to see government dishing out national awards to people who were even kids when we started. Everything is not about money, but when you've made yourself a special specie, a distinguished one for that matter in your chosen field, I think the government should reward you adequately or what are the requirements that qualifies one for a national honour?
Don't even talk about that. Feyikogbon is only popular but don't think our pocket is as full as its popularity. During the Feyikogbon days, we were not involved in any marketing, it was the NTA that did everything, they got the sponsor and did the negotiation. We were tactically left in the dark as per the negotiation and marketing of the programme. But this time around, such won't happen again. I'll be directly involved in the negotiation and marketing of the programme so that nothing sweeps under the carpet. I've worked hard and really deserve better.
Plans this year
My plan this year is to get a sponsor for my programme. The sitcom has been redefined, it now wears a new look and the lessons you learn from it is that which will help in the day to day running of your life. I also plan to produce a block buster movie, an epic one with special budget, not just a movie that will be the talk of the town like the ones being produced by REMDEL.
If I meet the governor of my state
I'll simply tell him how to use movie to propagate his dreams, ideas and achievements. Movie has a way of passing out message to the people; it has its own unique way of arresting people's attention. I think any government that uses movie as a means of propagating its programmes is a visionary one.