The Popular Nigerian actor had a chat with SaturdayBeats and spoke extensively on his career, family, many children, wife, beef with fellow Yoruba actors, affair with the late Bisi Komolafe and more, enjoy:
Yoruba movies have a large followership but a lot of the fans have issues with the bad grammar they see in their subtitles to English. Doesn’t it embarrass you when you see the movie you featured in with such horrible grammar?
We do feel embarrassed because we’re supposed to be the mirror of the society. But it’s not peculiar to the industry alone; it’s a general phenomenon. Even in another industry that has absolutely nothing to do with theatre, you will find laxities and flaws. We have a Standards Organisation of Nigeria, but it’s not doing what it’s supposed to be doing. It’s the bitter truth. Some people can just cut corners, the body overlooks them. We have a censors board; any production coming out in this country passes through the board. They should be saying, ‘this is not grammatically correct, you are not influencing the children positively with this kind of grammar.’ But there is nothing like that and theatre is all about entertainment, information and education. Now that they have decided to close their eyes, who is to be blamed? That is what they are supposed to do. I cannot condemn your production, it will amount to something else. I’m not an authority, so I don’t have the right to say that your production is not good. People don’t know that standard has to do with quality and we don’t have that because we have allowed mediocrity in the practice of theatre arts and film production.
A lot of people also complain that many Yoruba movies in the market lack creativity and are always about ‘juju’, can’t we have better movies?
I have just said it all that the organisations in charge of maintaining standard are not doing their job. Even politics, are we doing it rightly? It’s about business. People now believe that when you have huge amount of money in your account, you can go into politics because you will make more. But it’s not supposed to be so. So it’s not peculiar to the movie industry. My conclusion is that nothing works effectively in Nigeria.
But why are you a controversial person?
I don’t know your definition of controversy. If you enlighten me more and tell me what you think is controversial about my life, maybe I would be able to explain.
A veteran actor, Chief Lere Paimo, once accused you of not having enough respect for elders, it is said that you also have issues with Yinka Quadri and had an altercation with the late Bisi Komolafe on set.
For Chief Paimo, I’ve known Baba for over 20 years. I think he started saying that Odule wasn’t respectful to elders after I decided to contest for the post of the President of Association of Nigeria Theatre Arts Practitioners in 2009. If you calculate 2009 till date, it’s around five years. If you remove five from 20, that should be 15 years. That means I had been good enough for him in 15 years. If for 15 years, I was respectful and for five years, I was not respectful, then something is wrong. I don’t want to say more than that.
What about the issue involving Qadri and the late Komolafe?
I actually don’t have problem with the two of them. Yoruba people will say it’s not good to talk ill about the dead. That lady was a much younger colleague to me; in fact, I’m old enough to be her father, so I don’t want to talk about it. The fact remains that I never fought her for one day. All those things on the social media, I don’t know how they came about them. But there is no rumour without an iota of truth. What happened was purely politics. I’m an elder in the association and these young ones are not doing those things that they should be doing. For instance, you are a journalist and there is the Nigerian Union of Journalists, which should protect the ethics and constitution of the profession. If you are not doing it rightly, I want to believe that an elderly person there can tell you that. So if what