By Daud Olatunji
HAVING served the society for about 50 years through the entertainment industry, veteran actors and actresses want to be appreciated while alive. These nollywood actors spoke recently through Chief Olusegun Kehinde Olayinka Aderemi, popularly known as Chief Karan. Chief Karan who spoke in Abeokuta on the proposed programme to commemorate 50 years on stage, which had been scheduled for next month, said nollywood veterans who had spent over four decades on stage would be celebrated.
No fewer than 45 veterans in nollywood would be given awards during the programme while some awards would also be given for best performers. According to him, the day has been was set aside for actors, actresses and other intellectuals in different places that have contributed to the industry. .
The flamboyant actor, who was known for playing billionaire roles in Yoruba movies said, most of the time he wore flamboyant clothes to play the role of a billionaire when he might not have more than N500, adding that even after spending five to six days on location, he would be going home with N30,000.
He said: “It was a bad experience the days armed robbers came to my house about four times that I should bring the money that I do keep at home whereas I don’t have any money at home. Or the day that my building and office got burnt at Fadeyi. Or the day that my four cars got burnt in the night, or the days area boys, I don’t want to call them area boys, will ask you to drop something and if you don’t answer them they will throw something at you. Or the day I lost my woman, and there was nobody to write me a letter of condolence or even say we are sorry apart from my colleagues”.
While recalling the ordeal of some of the actors and actresses,who have played active roles in entertainment industry four decades ago, Chief Karan lamented that most of his contemporaries and seniors died as paupers.
He said: “ I want to give kudos to people that passed through three, four, five decades in this industry. Our Federal and state governments have never for once appreciated the efforts of actors and actresses in this country. And I can say that if you ever see an actor that is buying land at Lekki or Ikoyi and also has seven to eight cars, I can tell you categorically that he is not into acting only.
“John Ayode died like a pauper, he died like a cockroach, Ayode was a man that we called Garba in village headmaster. The man worked so much but you will see him walking in the street on foot and no one came to his aid, the man was sick at the hospital, and there was nobody to pay his bill and the man died like a cockroach.
“When Bekky Nusa was sick in the 70s and 80s when she had cancer, it took us two months before we could get the money if not for the help of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the lady would have died.
‘’Olumide Bakare is there, the man is dying of kidney and heart diseases.”
and up till now,I have not heard that anybody has come to his aid. Baba Sala that made the people laugh and happy in the 90s was sick and was rushed from Ilesa to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital. He could not afford the hospital bill, but luckily for him, the head of medical personnel saw him and did not take a kobo from him. Neither the Federal government nor anybody did anything for him.
“But when politicians want to go on campaign, when they want us to pass the message to people, when they want to do advert, they will now remember us. All these baffle me, Baba Ogungbe was going from one place to the other, the man was depreciating, all these baffle me. I want them to celebrate us when we are alive and healthy and not when we are dead they will be giving us one stupid befitting burial.
“I want the Federal government and the state government to appreciate me and some other icons in the industry when we are alive. Actors and actresses that make people happy should be celebrated, they should make us happy.’’
He further explained that he decided not to pick any interest in sports especially football because , the government seems to have interest in sports more than Art.
He said: “I would have been a millionaire by now if the same attention is given to us in the movie industry. We have given so much but we have not seen anything in return.
“Kudos to former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the man has always been there for actors and actresses, we owe him a lot.
“Apart from campaign, he has tried for the actors and actresses. He has always been there for us. Kudos to senator Oluremi Tinubu, she has also done well, kudos to immediate-past governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, these are the people that know the work of an actor, and they want to know your problem and help in solving your problem. We appeal to the people to change their attitude towards actors and actresses”.
While speaking on the programme, Chief Kanran disclosed that the programme would feature all the 36 states in the country.
‘’We also plan for a command performance of the icons, actors and actresses that have given so much to the industry in three, four,five decades. We want to bring them all together on stage, people that you have not seen for long.
“We are going to invite our governors, ministers to come and honour them in the command performance. In the command performance, it is not just acting but we also want to honour them not just putting medal on their neck like we do in Nigeria, we want something to go with it. It may be small or token but when these people are being celebrate it gives me peace.
“We have seventy acres of land at Iseyin in Oyo State six years ago. That place is tagged ‘ART CITY’, this year we want to take people down to that place and see what we have in a sketch paper. And they can tell us where and how we could rebuild the place.
“We want a situation where all actors and actresses will have their own estate and people will not be seeing us roaming the streets… We want to have a place where we can shoot without begging to use your house, a place that everything we need will be there,’’ he said .