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.
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.
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.
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.
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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