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INTERVIEW: Anywhere I Go, I Only Feel Comfortable When I Return To Ibadan — Actor Okunnu


Born of Ogbomoso parentage, Alhaji Wale Akorede is a popular actor. He reveals some of his sides many people did not know in a recent interview with The PUNCH.

Did growing up in Ibadan influence your career in acting?

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I was born and brought up in Ibadan, Oyo State, though my father was from Ogbomoso and my mother from Ibadan. I had my primary, secondary and tertiary education in Ibadan and I still live in Ibadan. Living in Ibadan didn’t influence my career in acting. If I go anywhere in the world, I only feel comfortable when I return to Ibadan. I like and I love to live in Ibadan; many of my friends have asked me to come to Abuja or Lagos but I said no. I prefer to stay in Ibadan. To the glory of God, I appreciate my living in Ibadan.

My acting is natural, it is inbuilt. I inherited acting from my mum. Though she didn’t have a formal education, through her character I learnt acting. She is funny when she speaks and one will have no choice but to laugh.  If she attended school, she would have been an actress but God knows that I have to display what she has for the world to see.

What made you go into acting?

When I was in school, although things have changed now, there were no guidance counsellors in school to help in directing me on the career path to take. Theatre is in my blood and I love drawing, that was the reason I went to The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State to study Fine Arts. But when I got there, I discovered that acting was my way. I had to leave Fine Arts and pursue my dream. There is nothing else I want to do than to act. I have passion for it and I love to be in front of the camera all the time.

What challenges have you faced as an actor?

I have faced several challenges. I started my acting career in 1984. When I started there was no money so I left it and I went into business. When a thing is one’s destiny, God has a way of calling one back to it. By the time I returned fully into acting, I faced several challenges but I didn’t give it a chance. There is nothing one does in this world that doesn’t have its challenges. If one gives one’s challenges a chance, one wouldn’t make it. I faced a lot of things. I produced some films and gave them to marketers and I didn’t get money from them but I continued acting. At times, I went to some occasions and I returned home with nothing. I still continued but today, glory be to God. If I want to go to any location, I first get an alert before leaving home.

How do you handle hero worship?

In Africa, people do not really want one’s signature, they only want to take pictures or touch one. Some fans see me and they start laughing, some will beat me and say “ma wo baba wereyi” (See this crazy man). Some people around me will wonder why some of them beat me and I tell them not to say anything. Anyone that sees me will still react as if I am acting at the time because what they saw on screen has been recorded in their brains so when they see me they begin to act the scenes. There’s nothing I can do, it is God that made me that. I have to endure the situation.

What movie brought you into the limelight?

It’s a movie titled, Ayekoto. It was written and produced by Shafaradeen Olabode. In that movie, I used a slogan. When I called my children together, I asked them, what delayed your going to school today? they replied thus,  “tori owo yii na ni” (It’s because of money), what killed your mother in Ojota? “Tori owo yii na nii.” The slogan became popular. Then I started my own films, people began to know me and the fame came by the grace of God.

What movie are you currently working on?

I am working on two movies now. The first one is Alelagba while the second one is Oludasile,(The Founders). They should be out before the year ends.

What is your advice to up-and-coming entertainers?

My advice is that they should be focused, learn to endure and be prayerful. Most of the up-and-coming entertainers these days are not ready to endure. They want to blow and become a star immediately whereas it is a long-way journey that requires endurance. They have to be focused on their tasks, refuse to give up and be prayerful. With that, they will reach their goals.

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