I was born at Gbongan, near Ile-Ife, about seventy-four years ago – 24 September 1948 – to Chief Joseph Adesanya and Mrs Lydia Adeyanju Adenuga.
My dad, a native of Ijebu Ode, had migrated in the early 1930s to Gbongan and in 1967 or thereabouts, he moved to Ile Ife. He was a produce buyer and later a major distributor of Nigerian Tobacco Company (NTC).
He was highly polygamous. He had some thirty-something children from fifteen women, although the highest number of women who lived with him at any time was three. It was a case of “soja go, soja come.”
While my mum was number three of the women, I was the second of her nine children – four boys, five girls – for him. She was in charge of the operations of the Gbongan Zone of my dad’s large organisation – J. A. Adenuga & Sons Limited headquartered at Iremo Road, Ile Ife.
My name is Wale Adenuga.
I was good in drawing
I discovered at an early age – five, six or seven years old – when I was in St Luke’s Anglican Primary School, Gbongan, that I could draw, without receiving any formal training.
What happened was that each time the Yoruba travelling theatre troupes of Hubert Ogunde, Kola Ogunmola, Akin Ogunbe, and the rest, came to Gbongan, we would go and watch and I came back home to draw whatever I saw presented on stage, using my pencil and a drawing book, and showed it to people who did not go.
I was also good at music
In secondary school – Ibadan City Academy – my musical talent unfolded. I could compose songs and sing as well.
I attended Ibadan City Academy because my mother’s idea of education was limited to attending what was then called modern school after primary education and then to the teachers’ training college, to become a teacher. She probably did not go beyond a primary school, but she could read and write. So, after I finished at St Luke’s, she got me into a modern school in Gbongan. It was when her distant cousin, Mr C. O. Olubanjo, who was then the vice principal of Ibadan City Academy, visited and asked her what I was doing and she told him I had just started attending a modern school, he screamed asking ‘what do you mean he is in a modern school?’ He ordered, yes, that I should come to Ibadan immediately and he would get me into Ibadan City Academy. That was how in 1963, I became a student of the arts/commercial secondary school founded by Chief T. L. Oyesina who also established Ibadan Boys’ High School.
I stayed with him in his house at Oke Ado for about two years before moving into the boarding house.
My brilliance earned me a scholarship
I was a brilliant student. In fact, from Form One to Five, I took the first position, not only overall, but I was also the first in mathematics, geography and English Language. I broke an academic record at Ibadan City Academy: I scored total indices of eight in the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE). I had A1 in five subjects.
I then won a Western State government scholarship to King’s College (KC), Lagos, for higher school certificate (HSC).
I got into KC with a funny combination. I did not do additional mathematics at Ibadan City Academy so I could not cope with the mathematics at the HSC level. I now did pure mathematics, geography and English Language. But, outside KC, I was studying for A-Level economics because it was not one of the subjects taught at KC.
I was talking about my musical talent.
In Form Four at Ibadan City Academy, I selected a few of my friends, Samuel Olaiye, Titiloye…and we formed a musical group called Social Brothers Band. We bought double-touch and talking drums – a few of us came from rich homes, so we were able to raise money – and we played juju music, performing in school activities, weekly or once a month.
I was the lead vocalist. We sang mainly the popular songs of Ebenezer Obey, I K Dairo, Sunny Ade and Orlando Owoh and those of some highlife musicians. When we passed out, the junior students took over from where we stopped.
I was also involved in acting drama sketches.
At KC, I continued to showcase my musical talent.
The school already had a fantastic band, Hot Spots, the leading school band in those days, which played mainly Western and American pop songs by the likes of Otis Redding, and Fela Ransome-Kuti’s songs. I and my group now introduced juju music to the band. Each time they had a performance, after playing their own songs, we would play our own juju songs. One of my co-musicians then was Col Kemi Peters (rtd). I was also the lead vocalist here. Besides playing in the school, we also featured in inter-school functions on the invitation.
I was not as extraordinarily brilliant at KC as I was at Ibadan City Academy but I passed my papers well enough to get me admission to read business administration at the University of Lagos (Unilag). I think that I had an “A” in geography largely because of my drawing ability.
Why I read business administration in college
I studied economics externally because it was needed for business administration. I had realised that I would go for a course such as business administration because of the practical experience I had gained over time working for my father’s organisation before attending university. So, it was a way to broaden my knowledge.
I started big-time cartooning on campus and I had a dream
At Unilag, I returned to drawing.
In Year One, I joined a social club that had a magazine called Mirror, I think, that, among other entertainment features, bugged people. At the end of that year, I had become the magazine’s chief cartoonist. If I bugged anyone, even without the name included, people knew who was being referred to.
Remarkably, the magazine’s sales shot from like five hundred to five thousand. This was where I started dreaming of having a cartoons’ magazine after graduation. I believed that if we could sell that much then, members of the public would patronise such a magazine.
In 1974/75, I was in the Midwest, the part that is currently Edo State, for my one-year national youth service. We were the second set of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members. I taught geography and economics at Ososo Grammar School in the Akoko-Edo Local Government Area. The previous year, Peter Okebukola, later a professor and one-time executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) had served in this same school.
I continued to plan for the coming of my cartoons magazine. I was collecting jokes.
My father wanted me in his business
But my father had a different plan.
During our holidays from Unilag, I used to go back to work for him.
After my national youth service, I returned there to take up the role of General manager (GM) as my brother who occupied the position had travelled overseas.
Now, quickly, the only time I smoked and in my dad’s presence and under his supervision and instruction, was when the big boss of NTC visited, and I was the GM and my father was the Chairman/Managing Director. I was in my dad’s office and the Oyinbo boss offered me a stick of cigarette. I wanted to shake my head but my dad quickly tapped me and I got the message: how could I convince the big boss that we were selling cigarettes and I was not a smoker. I quickly collected the stick, the man lighted it and I puffed at it but did not inhale it so much.
My father’s expectation was that I would work for him permanently.
Here comes Ikebe Super
However, I was working towards the launch of my magazine. I had like five or six issues completed and ready for production. I had created the characters – Papa Ajasco, Boy Alinco and drawn all the cartoons by myself. I had a friend in Ibadan named Kunle who was involved in the printing of magazines, calendars and so on. I had arranged with him how to get the magazine printed. He later duped me.
Now this: while we were being taught local languages, someone asked our instructor what a lady with a big behind was called and he was told “Ikebe” and all of us laughed over it. I noted that name. When I got home I told my wife whom I married in 1975 – she also read business administration at Unilag and was one year behind me – that my magazine would be called Ikebe. Being from Benin and understanding the Edo language, she knew what it meant, she laughed but said I could not be serious. I told her that since she had laughed, it meant that she had endorsed the name. She said ‘ah, no o, go and look for another name.’ But I knew we had a name already and I told her Ikebe was it.
The magazine was launched in December 1976
You know how it was in those days when before graduating from university, you would have an employment letter. In my own case, I had more than one offer.
One of them was as a management trainee with the UAC of Nigeria.
It was when I was qualified to become a manager that I left to start Ikebe Super fully.
People thought I was mad.
I moved to Lagos and it was booom
Recall that I said I had a friend in Ibadan called Kunle. I had ordered for the printing of five thousand copies which I paid him for. We were supposed to have started circulation in January 1976. Nothing came out then, not in February, March, April, and out of desperation I went in search of him. I knew where he was to print, at a press owned by the former Daily Times journalist and author, Areoye Oyebola. He told me that I was not the only one that Kunle had collected money from without doing anything. Anyway, he said that I should not worry, that he had seen the product and believed that it would be a commercial success. So, he worked out an arrangement with me, that I should supply the paper for the printing which he could do for me on credit. That as I sold each issue, I should pay him his own money. That was what I did. I also changed the format of the paper to a newspaper A3 size rather than the A4 magazine size. I never saw Kunle again.
From the third issue of the magazine, I began to distribute in Lagos. I had met one distributor named Michael Nwakadu who was glad to help push it into the market. I moved the printing to a printer in Mushin. The market welcomed it because Nwakadu got back to me after three days asking for more copies as the initial ones had sold out. That is true. From the fourth or fifth issue, we had begun to sell as many as fifty thousand copies without any unsold. By the tenth or twelfth issue, we were selling one hundred thousand copies.
My father gave me his blessings
In those early days, my father did not know about my publishing the magazine because it did not even carry my name anywhere until much later.
I was using a nickname I was given at Unilag, “Mane Gogogo” which was derived from a man who was always going, going, going here, there, and everywhere.
And the name of the publisher was Ikebe Super Organisation Nigeria Limited.
It was when I went to insure some vehicles I bought for my staff at my father’s insurance firm that he wondered what I was doing to be able to buy the vehicles.
I now had to explain everything about the business to him. He was so impressed that he gave me one of their cigarettes distribution vans as his humble contribution to the growth of my business.
The coming of Wale Adenuga Productions
Perhaps the organisation’s name would not have changed from Ikebe Super Organisation.
I had a brush with the now late Femi Robinson who was Ife Araba and the headmaster on the old TV drama, Village Headmaster.
Shortly before Mr Robinson started publishing a magazine which I think was called Bazooka, I visited Unilag to see my friend, Olatunde Makanju, who later became a professor of sports psychology. He then said he wanted to go and see Robinson whose office was nearby. I said I would love to meet him too as I enjoyed watching him on Village Headmaster. At Robinson’s, Tunde introduced me and Robinson too said he had been wishing to meet me. He said he was planning a big cartoon magazine that would drive all the other magazines out of the market
He then proposed that I should subsume Ikebe Super under his organisation called Bashango Productions. He said the quality of Ikebe was too pedestrian. Ah.
I turned down his offer telling him that if there was anything I was enjoying in what I was doing, it was my independence.
He said that I had been warned and we parted.
Robinson came out with his magazine with fanfare. There was a big launch which had many dignitaries in attendance.
I bought the first issue and told myself it would not last. I was so confident of that. It was a horror magazine with stories of blood-sucking vampires and all that.
Now, when he went to the newspaper distributors to collect his sales’ proceeds, he was told that the magazine did not sell.
He reportedly said that I must have bribed them not to sell his magazine in favour of the sale of Ikebe Super, and that was not true.
A few days after that encounter, some policemen came to where I was staying at Wakeman Street, Yaba, with my cousin, Alhaji Omotayo Omoowo, saying that they had “instructions from above” to tell me not only to stop publishing until further notice but I should also report every morning at Yaba Police Station. I did not have any suspicion about anybody. I went to the Divisional Police Officer who also said that the order came from the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and that he did not know what my offence was.
I went to meet Alhaji Babatunde Jose, former Daily Times Group Chairman and whose press, Irede Printers, I was also using, to tell him about my ordeal. He said that it was not a big enough problem that he should get involved with. He gave me a note to Chief Segun Osoba whom he said should be able to handle whatever the problem was.
Osoba took me to the ministry where we met one Mr Macaulay. When Osoba introduced me as the publisher of Ikebe Super, Macaulay screamed that I was in big trouble. What big trouble, I thought? Macaulay then talked about how a “concerned parent” in the state had petitioned that Ikebe Super was corrupting children. How, I thought again? He brought out a file with the petition and handed it over to me to read. Accompanying it were copies of some pages of Ikebe Super. When I turned the pages, I saw that the petition was signed by “Your Concerned Parent, Femi Robinson.” Aha.
Then I told them that this man was my competitor and that I had refused to be part of his business. I asked for permission to go and bring copies of his magazine. I jumped into my Volkswagen Kombi bus and went to bring the copies. Swiftly, Macaulay took Chief Osoba and I to the office of the commissioner who was told the story. Hear what the commissioner said: “Mr Adenuga, if you have been going out at night, stop it, because people like this could see to your end.”
I was freed to continue publishing my magazine.
It was around that time that a new lawyer I had contracted said I should change the name of my company to Wale Adenuga Productions (WAP) so that I could also introduce new products. That was around 1977. I remember because it happened a year before my mother died. She died in 1978, while my father died in 1989.
Binta, Papa Ajasco, Super Story, WAPTV, PEFTI…
Papa Ajasco, the character, was developed into a film and released in 1983 or 1984. Peter Fatomilola played Papa Ajasco in the film.
Doing the film was just me trying to ride on the back of the huge popularity of Ikebe Super and the characters. And it worked. The film had huge gate takings at the National Arts Theatre and the cinemas.
There was also Binta, My Daughter, the home movie (1995) in which my daughter played Binta.
Over time, other publications such as Binta magazine for children and Super Story came.
We stopped the printing of magazines during the Ibrahim Babangida Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) era. When the Naira crashed, magazines went from five naira to fifteen and that affected the industry. It was a classical demand and supply situation. Those magazines were supposed to be items that people bought without giving any thought to it. People began to rationalise their purchases and magazines came low in the hierarchy.
I then decided that we could entertain people through other means than print publications.
That was how the idea of the television series came about.
Super Story, the television series, was developed from the Super Story magazine.
African Independent Television (AIT) came into existence in 1996.
In 1997, Dr Raymond Dokpesi was looking for programmes that the station would co-produce.
We started Papa Ajasco & Company in 1997 based on an arrangement where we provided the script and AIT the camera and cameramen and some other stuff. We shared the profit 50:50.
Two years later, we went independent, buying airtime for our productions on AIT.
Sometimes in 1999, the then Lever Brothers of Nigeria, LBN (changed to Unilever Plc in 2001) was looking for new indigenous programmes to sponsor. They had been the sole sponsors of the Village Headmaster on the NTA Network and when that was rested they were sponsoring some foreign programmes such as Touched By An Angel.
One Mr Odii, an executive of Lintas: Lagos which was LBN’s advertising agency had been coming to my office. There was once he came and he was harassed by some policemen and I gave him some money as my own way of compensating him. He then prayed that God would make him reward me later. About two weeks later, he came and reminded me about his prayer and that the time had come for that reward. He said LBN was looking for a family drama to sponsor and that he had told them that WAP would come to present a programme. He suggested that we could adapt Super Story.
I was thrown into some confusion.
My self-esteem was low. I felt that I was too small for the challenge. By then, the late Amaka Igwe had some popular programmes running on the NTA Network. I felt that I could not compete with her and a couple of other producers then. Although I had Papa Ajasco and Company running, I did not consider it something that serious.
Odii said he had already booked me to make a presentation the following Monday. He met me on Thursday.
Palace was then the reigning soap. So, I went to meet Tunji Bamisigbin, who was the Director of Palace, at his office at Awoyokun Street, in the Palmgrove area. I told him to join me to go to LBN then at Dockyard Road Apapa and that if we won, we could form a company together. In fact, we formed a company that day called Olive Gate Pictures Nigeria Limited, with both of us as directors.
So, we were at LBN as scheduled.
Dr Mrs. Bisi Abiola was the head of the LBN team. She said something that demoralised me. We were presenting at the tail end of the week-long auditions. She turned to his team and said: ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, we know we already have something on the table but let us hear what these gentlemen have to offer. If we cannot use them now, maybe we would in the future.’ She then turned to me to make our presentation.
I did not know how the power of oration took over me. I can only say that the Holy Spirit took over from there. I just knew that I was talking but this was not what I had prepared to say.
I said that we had been watching so many soaps on Nigerian television and none of them ever ended. They looked at one another and seemed to be paying keener attention. I added that all the soaps had similar stories/themes in different ways. I asked them if they knew why. Dr Abiola said that was why I was making the presentation. So, I continued and said that the storyline of all the soaps – Palace, Ripples, etc – was that they would create one big family with a rich dad who would die and the children or, and wives, would be fighting over his estate. In conclusion, I said that we would come up with something refreshingly different – Super Story – which would be a series of stories that would have beginnings and endings.
I made this presentation as if my life depended on it. Yes, indeed.
There was some silence and Dr Abiola then said: ‘Gentlemen, I think that you all agree with me that this is the kind of producer we need.’
We won the bid.
When we got back to Tunji Bamisigbin’s office, he said the name we had given at the presentation, Super Story, would not fly with the viewing public, that it was too pedestrian. So, he suggested Schemes as a hip name. I protested, saying that we had already presented Super Story. He said, they were not after the name but the concept. You know he is a lawyer. I could not argue much with him. I agreed. I returned with the issues of Super Story magazine that I had hoped would guide us. Long story short, we started Schemes. It was not different from what I had condemned at the presentation: somebody trying to scheme out the other and stuff like that. After about six months of its airing on television, Dr Abiola invited us over to LBN where she told us that the company’s management was stopping the show; that when they did their popularity ratings, the show scored low or something like that.
She said that the next step the company was taking was to invite all producers to present a one-hour programme and a committee would choose the best.
On our way back, Tunji Bamisigbin asked what we would do next. I told him that I was not going to work with him on it, rather we should go out separate ways.
So, I went back to my Super Story magazine, and with Lucy Ayorinde, wrote the story based on Suara, one of the popular stories in the magazine, Oh Father, Oh Daughter – which featured Sola Sobowale as Toyin Tomato, shot one hour and submitted the tape at LBN.
I called Dr Abiola the following Monday and she said we should be patient as there were no fewer than five hundred entries. I kept calling her until she said we were among the shortlist of four but that our chances were not bright.
One interesting thing was that around this time, Dokpesi was also looking for a programme. And since she said that, I decided to give the programme to him. On the Saturday that we went to see him at his residence on Victoria Island, he gave us a cheque for the production of thirteen episodes. The condition was that we would produce and they would pay us and we would have nothing to do with further exploitation of the programme.
I was not comfortable with that and Dokpesi said he would see what to do.
At LBN’s end, we learnt that on that weekend, at least two hundred of their Marketing staff would converge on their Apapa headquarters to choose the one that the company would sponsor.
The following Monday, I sent my head of marketing to go to LBN to inform Dr Abiola that we were withdrawing from the process because we did not want to hear any bad news that we lost.
When he got there, Dr Abiola welcomed him with a hail of congratulations. The way my staff reacted gave Dr Abiola the chills that LBN had lost the programme. My staff could not verbalise his response. Dr Abiola called me and when I greeted her ‘good morning’ she said ‘don’t greet me. Don’t tell me you have given the programme away.’ Meanwhile, I did not even know that my marketing staff had not told her. She told me our programme was the chosen one. I told her what had happened but assured her that we would not go ahead with AIT. We did not.
The theme music, “This is Super Story” was produced by Jide Omidiran, who was AIT’s music producer, and voiced by Essence.
Later, we began WAPTV as a big business.
The Binta International School, which runs nursery, primary and secondary, was my wife’s idea, we simply supported her. After her master’s degree in business, she did a certificate course in education. Binta International School now has three campuses.
At a time, she even had Binta Bookshop.
We are currently also in collaboration with the Nigerian Television Authority on the production of the revived Village Headmaster. This came about as a Divine arrangement which I never envisaged. Just like my entire life’s journey, really.
The old cast members of the drama had been running from pillar to post to see how to get the programme back on air.
I do not know who they had been meeting at NTA. They even came here one day and sought my advice. I advised them they could meet someone like Dr Mike Adenuga of Globacom who could buy the franchise, put a production team together and before they knew it, the programme would be resuscitated.
Not quite two weeks after that, I called one of NTA’s accounts directors over a payment reconciliation on Super Story. I now decided to ask him how far NTA had gone in trying to bring back Village Headmaster. He said that he was not aware of any effort being made to revive the programme and that it would be nice to have Village Headmaster back on air.
So, what was it that I had been hearing from the cast members?
He now asked me a question: can you do it for us?
I responded casually that it was within our competence.
The next day, he called to tell me that he had discussed with the NTA director general who wanted us to come to NTA headquarters in Abuja immediately.
So, I went and met the DG who said all the kind words about us and that NTA would be glad to have us produce the programme. We eventually signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and here we are.
I am retiring instalmentally.
Our children are now in the driver’s seats. One is heading WAP, another is running WAPTV while the girl is running PEFTI Film Institute. I would say that it is the dream of almost everyone to have their children succeed them.
I help in the area of supplying the stories. Let us just say I am involved in the manufacturing of the stories, the sourcing of the raw materials.
We have a meeting on Mondays where I meet everyone, give directions where necessary, after which I return to my little shell.
I believe that this whole thing is about being called.
My entire life itself and my achievements have been guided by the unseen hand of God.
That is why we close with “we are nothing but pencils in the hand of the Creator.”
I am not kidding when I say I am just a pencil in His hands.
You see, when I wanted to start film school about twenty years ago, the idea came that we needed to teach the younger ones the art of filmmaking. Each time the idea came, I would knock it off. One Sunday morning, my wife was preparing to go to church and I told her that I was dreaming about a film school. She now said it was now between me and God. She said that if I did not show any interest, God would give the idea to another person. My office was then at Seinde Callisto, Street, off Oshodi-Apapa expressway. I said, well, if God wanted me to do it, He should give me a location between my office and my house on Airport Road. She repeated that it was between me and God.
Well, not long after I drove out of Seinde Callisto, heading towards Airport Road and I suddenly looked right, I saw a “To Let” sign on a building. I parked and found the security man guarding the place. He said the property owner lived somewhere in GRA Ikeja and he had given him instructions to direct whoever was interested to his house.
So, I went to GRA and the moment I introduced myself, the man called out all his family members to come and meet me. I told him why I came and he said the place was all mine. He told me the rent and said I should go and bring any amount
When I drove out of the compound and got to the main road, I parked and I had a conversation with God. I said He gave me an idea but I was not ready, I had not done any research on what it would entail but now He had provided me a place. I asked if He wanted to kill me. I am sure that He was just smiling and that this one I would do it.
I was then a member of the Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN) which was then running short courses. So, I went to meet the person in charge, Femi Odugbemi, and he was helpful. He got me one or two teachers and all that. We started the film school six months later. We have since moved to Ajao Estate.
The same thing was when I did the film on Papa Ajasco. In 1982, I went to meet Dr Ola Balogun who was then the better-known film producer. He was the one helping Hubert Ogunde, Moses Olaiya, and others in the production of their celluloid films.
I told him I was interested in working on an English comedy film.
He said I had to pay half of his professional fees of eighty thousand Naira before he would say anything on the project. I paid forty thousand Naira.
So, we sat down to discuss my script which I had submitted to him before I paid the deposit but he said he would not comment on it until the payment. And the first thing he said was that he was going to cast the actor who played Zebrudaya on popular NTA drama, Masquerade as Papa Ajasco. I said it was not possible as the man was already known as Zebrudaya. He insisted that in his mind he was the one with the stature.
I withdrew But, of course, it was a non-refundable deposit.
I now went to the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) which had its offices on Victoria Island, with the hope that it could sponsor the production of the film. Ms Julie Coker who was then at the NTA then took me there. Mr Bayo Oduneye was then the chairman of NFC. He said they could get a sponsor. They got someone. We started the preparation and the said sponsor got us a camp in Surulere, then he said he was going abroad and we should start rehearsals. We did. He came back but he was no longer interested in the making of the film.
I decided that it was better to cut my losses.
I went back to my house at Ejigbo.
I had joined the Celestial Church on Wale Adenuga Street, a year earlier.
But I decided to go to a parish of the church where nobody knew me. This was about 1981 or 1982.
I went to one parish built with bamboo off Badagry Road. I was hoping that at the end of the service, I would go to the leader and request for a prayer whereby God would send a message through him to me. But, suddenly one old woman went into a trance. She had a message for me. She narrated that I had embarked on a major work but that at the end of the day, I had become frustrated. She added that God told her that He was the one who gave me the assignment and that he would stand by her till the assignment was executed. She finally said that God told her that sooner than later he would by Himself reveal the secrets – “the intestines and the liver” – of the business to me. That was the message. I prayed and left the place.
Then in my usual playful self, I was asking, would God reveal the secrets to me in a dream or how? At that time really, I had not known how powerful God is.
On Tuesday, the intercom in my house rang. It was the security guard. He announced that I had a visitor. I asked him who the person was. He said Ade Love. I wondered what would have brought Ade Love to my house. I had never met him before but I knew him as a renowned filmmaker. I told the guard to bring him to my sitting room upstairs. After we exchanged pleasantries, he asked if I was the same Wale Adenuga. I said ‘Yes.’ He said he was in London the last Sunday when he was told that I wanted to make a film and I went to meet Ola Balogun. He said that nothing would come out of that venture and that he had just got a place at Orilowo Ejigbo where he would be producing Taxi Driver 2 from Monday, and that I should come over and he would show me the “intensities and liver” of filmmaking. As he said those words, I remembered that old woman in that church.
I could not wait for the Monday to arrive.
I saw the cast and crew. Adebayo Bello was then the production manager.
I picked the cast and crew for my own film from here. I even used the camp.
This is why I say everything has the hand of God. I believe that when God is in it, the actualisation of an idea becomes easy.
I can reveal that WAP is working on a series in Yoruba that surely people would be rushing home to go and watch.
It is a vacuum that, with God’s direction, will be filled.
Believe me, when I was publishing Ikebe Super, I saw many of my jokes in dreams. My pen and paper were always by my side. Once I woke, I would put down whatever I saw or heard in the dream.
Do you know that Dejumo Lewis who plays Kabiyesi in the Village Headmaster had said that he would not be part of the cast of the resuscitated drama. The cast had been in disarray and when I got involved and spoke with Kabiyesi, he rescinded his decision because he said I was involved. They all came here to reconcile their differences.
Only God could have made that possible. He created a way when there appeared to be no way.
But, I must admit that I had gone into projects that had not succeeded.
For instance, about two or three years ago, I made an attempt to go back into print publishing. I decided to launch Nnena magazine for children. What I did not realise was that the marketing structure had changed. No reliable marketer any longer. I had hoped that I would see someone like Mike Nwankadu who I could hand over distribution to. All the vendors we supplied the first issue to across the nation did not make a single return. Same with the second and third issues.
I can say that that project was based more on my human understanding. Because, indeed, there are times God leaves you alone to execute your missions as a human being where you would apply intelligence or human knowledge but not wisdom.
I am deeply spiritual in the sense that I recognise that there is an Almighty Creator, call him God or Allah, who is directing the affairs of humans. When you are travelling by air and you look out and see layers of cloud, it is only a higher force that could have been behind this.
I also believe that we are in this world for a purpose. The earlier you know your purpose, the better for you.
But, you see, as human beings, God gave us a conscience to be able to draw a line between good and bad, and do as much good as possible, and the more good you do, the stronger you are in the spirit and the weaker you are before your enemies or detractors.
I do not limit myself to a single religion. I believe and respect the Christian cleric and the Muslim Imam as servants of God. I also believe in the traditional religion. Ifa, the religion of my forefathers, is not being portrayed well by some Yoruba filmmakers. They give people the wrong impression of Ifa. Ifa is real. Ifa is an agent to the Almighty Creator.
Finally, I say that he that has light in his heart can work in the darkest dungeon of life and he that does evil, even in the sunshine, will be afraid. If you are endowed, know that it is because of others. So, contribute to the development of humanity.
Man, be true to thyself.
People can trace the history of th wealthy in say the United States of America and Great Britain. This is the same pattern I have followed in my business. I believe that not a few people know the trajectory of my business growth and success. I remember when robbers wanted to attack me at Oshodi. The area boys trooped out and chased the robbers saying that ‘this Baba, we know where he started at Ojuelegba – Ikebe Super Organisation was once rooted there – and we know that he has worked for his money.’
So, people are watching.
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