The name ‘Oga Bello’ in Nigeria’s home video industry brings to mind the image of a rich man who barks out orders at his office and domestic staff. In fact, not many movie followers know the real name of the man behind that character. AJIBADE ALABI the popular actor, Adebayo Salami, at his Ikorodu, Lagos residence where he spoke on a number issues. Excerpts:
You have become a brand in the Nigerian theatre and movie industry. How did it all start?
There was one play that made me to join Ojo Ladipo Theatre Group then, Village Doctor. But when I finally joined Ojo Ladipo Theatre Group, Ojo Ladipo made me his second in command, and when he died in 1978, I took up the mantle of leadership of the group.
These are the people that inspired my acting; and then I always looked forward to being like them in future.
I remember during my time, I was fined 10 shillings for coming late for a play and I had to pay the money because I was to play a role of babalawo (herbalist).
The title of the play was Baye ba yeni. It was meant to be my first appearance, so I paid the fine before I could be allowed to go to the stage. And this was a show you were not going to be paid for, unlike now that they are paid a lot of money. So, it’s very bad artistes don’t pay attention to punctuality again; though we are trying to enforce it. Another difference is that these days, artistes are not really tested to know if they are good or not. Unlike now that you have a director, there was no director for stage plays; you were thrown into the stage raw.