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‘Asewo to re Mecca’ brought me into limelight, Toyin Adegbola reveals.

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OLUWATOYIN Oluwaremilekun Adegbola Popularly known as ‘Ajoke Asewo to re Mecca’ is one of the few names in the Nigeria Entertainment Scene that requires no introduction, especially in the Yoruba genre.

Through her long experience acquired for over three decades in the industry, starting from stage plays and optical films before the advent of home videos, she has made her way into the hearts of the people who dream to be like her.

As a matter of fact, the elegant, charming Actress commands a distinct popularity and respect from the audience which sets her apart from her contemporaries.

In this interview with Idowu Ayodele, she talks about her career  and challenges faced by Nollywood.

Excerpts.

 

 

For the fact that you have produced and featured in so many films, but the film ‘ Ajoke Asewo to Re Mecca’, is now an house hold name in the Nigeria Entertainment scene, how did you get the inspiration for this movie?

All glory goes to my God and my Boss, Oga Bello. Because, even when we are about to shoot the movie, I was still a civil servant then, working with the then Television Service of Oyo State now BCOS with my late husband.

When my Boss, Oga Bello sent for me that Toyin we want to shoot a movie, I don’t even know the importance, I just said I may not be available, as at then, we don’t normally have scripts, so he sent another person to me, he later sent Baba Aluwe that I should come to the location, which I did.

When I got there, I don’t even know the meaning, until after the release of the movie, when I went to Ebute-Metta in Lagos to see Oga Bello, who happens to be my Boss and mentor. The marketer that sold the film met me there and gave me #5,000, I was surprised, but Oga Bello said, ‘Ajoke Asewo to re mecca’ is out and you performed wonderfully well in that movie.

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It was that day I knew the title of the film, it was like God has ordained it . The film brought me to limelight. If you still remember the film, you will noticed that, it was even my friend, Shola Sobowale that introduced me to the prostitute job in the movie.

But to God be the glory, since the movie has been relayed, a lot of people now call me ‘Asewo to re mecca’. I went to Jerusalem, they are still calling me ‘Asewo to re mecca’.

 

Is it true that before an Actress can get any meaningful role (s) , she had to go to bed with the producer?

You people are getting so many things wrong; you are not getting it right at all. In all the industries we have in the world, we have some bad eggs, while we also have some good people. I won’t tell you it doesn’t happen, even within you journalists, it happens, but it depends on what you want, because it takes two to tangle, you can never force somebody to do what she doesn’t want to do.

How many men do you want to sleep with? You sleep with the Producer, Director, Camera man, Light man, so will you continue to sleep with men before you can become somebody?

It doesn’t really matter that you have to sleep with men before you can become a superstar; it depends on how you lay your bed and how you present yourself.

Most of these ladies coming into this profession now believe that they need to be sleeping with our men, seeking for fame by all means, that is the more reason you see them, they will come today, reign and in the next 2 years, they are vanished.

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So, I will not deny that, but it happens everywhere, if you think what you are in for is to be sleeping with the men to become star, go ahead and if you are the type of person who believes you have to use what you have to get what you want, go ahead as well, everything has its own records at any given time.

 

Before you became a superstar, how many producer or marketer you eventually seduced to get movie roles?

It had never occurred to me, go out and ask any of them. I have been in this industry since the era of optical films and stage plays, that will give you an insight that, if Toyin Adegbola (Toyin Babatope then) has been sleeping with men, I think I am not likely to be where I am today.

 

Divorce is now a new trend in marriage, especially among the female celebrities in Nigeria who are expected to be a good example for house wives, some of who pride them as role models, what do you think is responsible for this ugly act among your colleagues?

My brother, it is something you cannot avoid, because it happens everywhere. It is only because you people are seeing us on the screen that makes you to exaggerate our issues. A lot of Mama Loja’s, civil servants, Doctors and Nurses, Lawyers that have ever been divorced.

Somebody was here last week to pay me a visit, she was talking to her younger sister that just got married last month and now saying she is not satisfied with the wedding any longer and she want to walk out.

But, if that person happens to be a celebrity, the news would be spread across the world. It is because you people are taking us for what you are seeing on the screen, we also have our personal lives that we suppose to be living.

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Marriage suppose to be a thing of joy to both parties, but when it seems there is no more happiness in the marriage, you have to walk out, because at times your life is as stake.

So, because we are role models does not give us the guarantee that we must lay our lives to risks .

 

What are the challenges faced by Nollywood?

A lot! We are not properly recognized by the government, we need proper recognition. We also need supports from the government. To be sincere with you, the issue of piracy is giving us a lot of problems. If you release a movie in the morning, before 7:00 o’clock in the evening, the pirated copy is out; they are really killing us gradually.

Especially, the Yoruba genre, we don’t normally have financier, because an average Yoruba man is not ready to risk his money on any project.

 

How do you intend to convince financial institutions to invest in Yoruba Movie productions?

Except we are able to fight the problem of piracy, without that, how would people put money into a business, at the end of the day, somebody will be telling you, it is at a lost.

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‘Juju music is still active’, says Toye Ajagun’

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Far-famed veteran musician, Uncle Toye Ajagun has revealed that Juju music in Nigeria is not dead, maintaining that it is still potent and meaningful as it was in the past decades.

The Juju maestro insisted that the advent of Fuji  has not overshadowed Juju music in the country describing it as “a mistake and wrong assumption if we say Fuji has swallowed Juju music.”

Ajagun stated this while featuring on a radio show in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital on Monday

Speaking further, the ‘Magbe-Magbe’ creator  tackled the  self acclaimed Fuji lord,  Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, popularly known as K1 and others like him who have infused different strings into their musical arrangements saying that they have deviated from the ‘standards.’

He said the introduction of string instruments by these fuji musicians is a total departure from the standard laid down by the creator of fuji music, late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister.

According to him, “Wasiu Ayinde Marshall knows that Juju music in Nigeria is not dead. He still gives us our due respect. I listened to one of his recently released albums where he praised me, King Sunny Ade, Idowu Animashaun, Ebenezer Obey and others”.

The juju singer  also disclosed that his own style of music is aimed at promoting peace and love among his followers and listeners in the country.

“I use my music to promote peace; I do not use it to cause acrimony among people”.

Justifying his style of music, the Egba-born musician explained that the album he released in 1976  was targeted at restoring the frosty relationship between two top juju musicians of that time, Admiral Dele Abiodun and Emperor Pick Peter.

He charged the present-day musicians and youths to work and pray hard and not to allow frivolities to deprive them of their glorious future. He specifically  advised them not to allow current enjoyment to deprive them of the better things waiting ahead of them in the future.

Ajagun, however assured his numerous fans to expect him in the studio soon as plans are in top gear for the release of his next album.

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Ayinde Barrister Was Unstoppable | By Tunde Busari

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Another reason Ayinla Omowura’s star could not eclipse that of Ayinde Barrister, if Omowura had lived beyond May 6, 1980 till December 16, 2010 when Barrister passed away, rests on the flexible body and template of Barrister’s fuji music.

Again, nobody can and should disparage Omowura by placing him at the back of Barrister on the queue of our indigenous musicians. Barrister would not throw such insult at Omowura because he acknowledged and respected his prodigy and seniority in the house of Agodo, where music resides.

That was why he could not seriously take him up beyond a feeble reference in his AWA O JA, a vynl he released in 1979, shortly before his Fuji Londoners band collapsed. The title of the album-AWA O JA- is even self-explanatory on Barrister’s reverence for Omowura who had just hit him with a thunderous punch in his elpee, dismissively comparing him with all sorts of little living things.

And when Omowura died nay tragically and Barrister entered studio to record his tribute, he came out with a joker which made his fuji an all-conquering genre. If Barrister was not a soldier and musician, he would have made a brilliant career in academics. He was in love with research and vigorous musical engagement. That’s the secret of his many timeless releases-be it studio records or stage performances.

He sneaked into the hearts of the allegedly livid fans of Omowura and discovered their need in his tribute. He sneaked out and laid his song on the percussion supplied by his new band members which was ably anchored by his lead Apala talking drummer of the old Fuji Londoners, Kamoru Ayansola. What did Barrister sing? He flirted with Omowura’s template without really copying his lyrics; he picked only his sound, singing:

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Iku wole ola
Iku pomowuramotu
Iku wole ola
Iku pomowuramotu
Waidi Ayinla
Lo nitokooo
Iku pabiri
Abiri ti ku
Iku pabiri
Abiri rorun o
Iku panigilaje
Ayinla omo yusufu…

I learnt that the track was magical as it melted the high voltage anger in the heart of Omowura’s fans and warmed Barrister into their hearts with an appreciable number of them becoming fuji converts and sharing patronage between him and Ayinla Kollington who was an acclaimed protégé of Omowura.

In his subtle but aggressive expedition, eight years after Omowura’s exit Barrister experimented with Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s Afro and produced FUJI GARBAGE and FUJI GARBAGE Series II, the latter in particular catapulted him to the level he probably did not imagine it could take him.

With his perfect use of piano and steel guitar, blend with fast tempo from apala, sakara, omele, agogo, sekere, igba and drum set, Barrister successfully pulled fans of juju and Afro genres at home and abroad to his fuji as evidently revealed by Sir Sina Peters in an interview in which he sensationally revealed how Barrister stole the show at a party where he performed alongside a top juju act at the TBS, Lagos.

SSP went ahead to confess that Barrister’s fuji profoundly influenced his invention of Afro-juju, the new genre which separated him from the conventional juju played by KSA, Ebenezer Obey, Dele Abiodun, Segun Adewale and few others.

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Three years before FUJI GARBAGE and five years after the demise of Omowura, Barrister felt the need to bring his fuji to the Egun sub-ethnic group in the westernmost part of Yorubaland. He waxed an album titled SUPERIORITY and devoted a track which brought the best of Egun sound from Barrister. He sang:

Ruru fun wa kajo haha
Won binu wani
O ru fun mi gangan
Aimatatan ooo

Eleven years after Omowura’s death, Barrister also was determined to impress and capture two other major ethnic groups in Nigeria, namely Hausa and Ibo. He released FUJI NEW WAVES precisely in 1991 using his intro to woo those people in their respective tongues. When General Ibrahim Babangida paid a state visit to the former Oyo State, Barrister was at the Liberty Stadium where a grand reception was organized for the Head of State, Commander-In-Chief. He sang:

Assalam alekun
Ya jonmon Hausawa…
Duka Hausawa
Sabudi Allah
Sabudi Anabi Mohamma
Busiri akutashi
Yomuhirawa waka fuji

My postulation here is that with hard work and continuous update of his fuji with different styles and instruments, for instance, Barrister would be relevant, and even soar higher were Omowura alive. In that context, in fact, Omowura would need to do what Musiliu Haruna Isola is doing to Apala, by infusing piano and guitar into the genre, to escape fuji’s onslaught.

If Omowura still relied on his ‘25 tanshi 40’ which he sang in his last elpee, I guess, his music might not make appeal beyond his catchment zone. He might not be a favourite of the political elite of the Second and Third Republic who seemed to be in race to get Barrister’s fuji at their occasions including campaign rallies.

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For instance, at the Social Democratic Party (SDP) campaign for its Presidential Candidate, late MKO Abiola in Osogbo Stadium, Barrister was on stage, sharing the show with KSA.

I think, where Omowura ended it was a comfortable spot to remain an enigma he is, and when the Mainframe film is out of location and editing room, I have no doubt in my mind, based on conviction, that it is going to do more promotion to the legendary of Omowura because of the brain behind it.

But Tunde Kelani must be reminded that Omowura was never a standing musician. May God repose the souls of Omowura and Omo Agbaje. Amen

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Ayinla Omowura Vs Ayinde Barrister: His Atheistic Declaration | By Tunde Busari

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While dissecting the campaigns of Napoleon, a renowned philosopher of war, Carl van Clausewitz wrote: “We do claim that direct annihilation of the enemy’s forces must always be the dominant consideration.. once a major victory is achieved there must be no talk of rest, of breathing space…but only of the pursuit, going for the enemy again, seizing his capital, attacking his reserves and anything else that might give his country aid and comfort.”

The summary of Clausewitz postulation is that enemy must be fought totally and crushed in totality. That must have been the mindset of the late, Apala maestro, Alhaji Ayinla Omowura towards Dr Sikiru Ayinde Barrister when Omowura was hit by realization that he needed to fight Barrister and kill what he dubbed fuji music at infancy. How?

It is an unwritten ethics that two warring musicians must restrict themselves to the use of innuendo and metaphor to get at each other and satisfy their respective promoters and fans. But Omowura shattered the law and fired a direct salvo at Barrister to unmask any veil from the target of his hot lead. In his elpee released in 1979, the overly confident Omowura sang:

Ayinde
Ki o ma se je n gbo o
Pe mo ji e lorin lo
Ko je je bee
Oro apara niii

Omowura’s non-conformist choice was deliberate to splash a mud onto the face of Barrister’s identity and reduce him to a weeping boy in the community of music lovers. On the strength of the school of Clausewitz, Omowura needed to be pardoned because he had measured the astronomic rise of Barrister and felt the danger it could and indeed would constitute to his fame and stability.

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He had seen the then 30-year-old Barrister leading his full band to a musical tour in the UK in 1978. He had heard about his exploits in that tour, at least the one which Barrister narrated in his ‘London Special’, a vynl, released on his return to Nigeria. He had observed how social and political elites were outdoing one another to have Barrister performed at their functions before and after the general elections which ushered in the Second Republic on October 1, 1979 and returned the soldiers to the barracks after 13 uninterrupted years in power.

Most importantly, Omowura had remembered the effect which his voluntary engaging Barrister for naming ceremony for his baby in 1974 had on his fans base.

Relying on Dr Festus Adedayo in his famous book titled AYINLA OMOWURA: LIFE AND TIMES OF AN APALA LEGEND published in 2020, a copy of which he autographed for me on May 1, 2020, Barrister’s acceptance was noticeably on ascendancy as early as 1974.

On page 127, he wrote: “The relationship between Omowura and Barrister was really very close until 1974 when the former invited him to sing at the naming ceremony of one of the children given birth to by one of his wives, which held in Mushin. By then, it was gathered that Barrister had climbed up in musical reckoning as well as such, when Omowura invited him to come and sing for his guests at the naming ceremony, which he gladly accepted, there was no way that Barrister’s fast growing acceptance in the musical world wouldn’t be at cross-purposes with Omowura’s who saw himself as the numero uno among Yoruba musicians…It was gathered that at this time in 1974, Barrister had got to challenge the favoured and highly reckoned musical top class like Ebenezer Obey and Sunny Ade at the duo’s musical dens in Yaba, Lagos State.”

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If the same author could turn round seven months later and write: “If Omowura had not died, there would never have been the Barrister who supervised over the traditional Yoruba African music stratosphere of the 80s to 2010 like a wild wind,” then I should show understanding that every mortal can slip at one time or the other.

But with the above reference, Omowura could obviously not have obstructed Barrister’s invasion of the indigenous musical space because Barrister had already depleted Omowura’s fans at Omowura’s party due to his classy performance which magnetised Omowura’s fans on dance floor. What later became Alhaji Chief Sikiru Ayinde Barrister Fans Club paradoxically started from the balkanization of Omowura fans in Mushin, a situation which set the tone for the rivalry and fight which Omowura fought to the finish in May 6, 1980.

Islam, Christianity and African Traditional Religion recognise the paramountcy of a supreme being and influence of destiny in man’s journey on the surface of the earth. Every believer in God, therefore, should and must recognize that whatever he will or won’t become in life is inscribed on the sheet of his or her destiny.

Yes, Omowura’s prodigious body of lyrical compositions are incontrovertible. They are even more evident in the ongoing Tunde Kelani publicised production in Abeokuta. Yet, Omowura did not create, neither did he write Barrister’s destiny. So, Dr Adedayo’s claim, ko je je be, oro apara niiiiii

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