Adewale Abdulrasak Sokoti is a veteran actor and producer with experience spanning more than 20years in the movie industry. In this chat with Ayo Adams, he talks about career; the genesis, his achievements, contributions to the industry, past and upcoming projects in 2018.
CAN WE MEET YOU SIR?
Adewale Abdulrasak Sokoti is my name, I was born some sixty years, June 14th 1957 to be precise, a native of Ibadan, Ibadan North- East local government, I am a primary six leaving certificate older who ventured into my acting career immediately after primary education.
HOW DID YOUR CAREER KICK OFF?
I left Ibadan in 1978 for the north to start my career, since my father was not in anyway supporting my acting career, I was in Kaduna for years and later came back to lagos to advance my career in 1987.
TALKING ABOUT MOVING TO THE NORTH, SO YOU LEFT WITHOUT YOUR FATHER’S CONSENT?
Yes, I left without my father’s consent because, I had so much belief in my choice of career and very sure it is what I would do for a living.
WHAT IS YOUR ASSOCIATION WITH ANTP?
Earlier, I was the deputy governor of the association. The next regime, I became national director of business and organisation under Adebayo Salami led administration. I repeated the same office for another four years during uncle Jide Kosoko’s regime.
ANTP AND TAMPAN, WHAT IS THE LINK?
We all decided to leave the old association: The ANTP, because of many reasons to float another association called Tampan (Theatre-arts and motion picture producer association of Nigeria), headed by Dele Odule, which presently, I am the director of theatre-arts and chairman of our national troupe till date. I headed the first Tampan convention committee in 2016, which was host by kwara state chapter of the association. Also, I am one of the prominent member at the second convention that was hosted last year in Lagos headed by Bolaji Amusan, Mr Latin, who happened to be member of the convention I headed in 2016.
LET US TAKE A LOOK AT WHEN YOU RETURNED FROM THE NORTH, WHAT WAS YOUR PARENTS’ REACTIONS?
When I returned, I still did not go home to meet my father, I just went directly from Kaduna to Lagos. However, I lost my mum when I was in primary two.
WHO WERE YOUR MENTORS WHILE GROWING UP?
I really had my oga, Alagba Supo Koseemani as my mentor , because he was the only person I know as a theatre practitioner then. I had my primary education in a typical village where I do not know that cars and any smaller motor exist, except the big lorries that use to come and pick up cocoa and kolanut. In that village, I was living with my oga who was a teacher and junior brother to my late father.
WHAT WERE THE SIGNIFICANT KNOWLEDGE YOU ACQUIRED FROM YOUR TEACHER AND ALAGBA SUPO?
The first thing I learnt was that if you do not plan your own life, nobody will plan it for you. That is why I had the confidence to tell my father that acting is what I would do. When I became popular and my father hear his name always on radio and TV then, he sent for me and told me that how proud I have made him. Then, I started taking care of him beyond his expectations but death took him away from me at a sooner time. Meanwhile, I am happy he later enjoyed what I do for a living and he prayed for me a lot, going further to apologize for disturbing me.
MARRIAGE AND MOVIE- MAKING, HOW BEST CAN ONE HANDLE THE TWO SUCCESSFULLY?
It depends on your kind of wife, you know our wives tolerate a lot of things. For myself, I have never had any crisis before does not mean that I am a saint. It depends on my wife, some people are taking care of their wife and children more than I do, but they do not have the kind of wife they deserve.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON CURRENTLY?
I am working on a TV serial, where I want to tell people about our culture and tradition.
WHICH ORGANIZATION, CHANNELS AND OTHER BODIES ARE YOU COLLABORATING WITH FOR THIS PROJECT?
I always do my things by myself, and there are some people who believe in me. Those are the people behind my little success till date because they are still there. The film you should be expecting first thing in 2018 is OGBE. By the grace of God, we are commencing the shooting this January, it is sponsored by Toymass holdings.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PAST PROJECTS?
I shot my first movie, ALAGBEDEORUN in 1990, the second movie titled AWORAN, The PICTURE in 1992. I have produced more than 25 movies up to date.
WITH CHALLENGES HERE AND THERE IN THE INDUSTRY, WHAT SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT DO BEST TO SUPPORT THE GROWTH OF NOLLYWOOD?
We have not been asking government for anything in the past and that does not mean there is no challenge, we have been paying government a lot of money in the past till now, there was a time when we were shooting optical movies, that is cinema movies, we pay government through the board of internal revenue 10% of the total income of our generation from any viewing centre. Also, we have to pay to Nigeria Copyright Commission and National Films and Video Census Board on a single project. Yet, we are still sustaining the industry by ourselves till today and we are not tired of sustaining it. The only thing we want from government is how they will make a law that will protect our intellectual property and nothing more. Of all the films I have produced so far, government had spent no kobo, directly or indirectly.
SINCE YOU STARTED OUT TILL DATE, WAS THERE ANY GOAL YOU SET THAT IS YET TO BE ACHIEVED?
There will always be, because theatre itself had move away from where it is in the past. Therefore, we have to move towards the direction and blend with it.
WITH THE RISE OF NEW GENERATION ACTORS AND PRODUCERS, WHAT DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE THEIR CONCENTRATION, ARE THEY DELIVERING WELL ENOUGH TO UPHOLD THE NOLLYWOOD REPUTATION?
Yes, we are in a computer age now, most of the new ones are doing well, some of them went to university for training. Most of the time they tell us how to go about some things, but a Yoruba Adage says “Bi omode bafese bi agba ojo ori kiije.” Simply put, they still need some thing to learns from the older generation, most especially about our culture and more.
SO, WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO NEW GENERATION ACTORS/DIRECTORS?
They should be focused and steady.
Interview/Edited by: Ayo Adams ( Mrweezy15@gmail.com, 08147091733)
Chief Editor: Idris Bello ( EmiraltyAfrica@gmail.com, 08079616924)