Talented Nollywood actor, Femi Adebayo is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after actors in the country having paid his dues so well. The Nigerian born lawyer, film actor, director and producer has featured in over 50 movies that cut across both the English and Yoruba genre with notable ones that includes the popular Owo Blow, Iya Alake Jelili, Sonto Alapata to mention but few. Femi has equally joined the growing list of Nigerian entertainers who are getting involved in governance. The Special Assistant to the Kwara State Governor on Culture and Tourism tells MUTIAT ALLI, his plans for his state, why he must take a break from acting and other plans. Enyoy…
What came to your mind when you were appointed the SA?
I saw it as a huge task ahead of me and I had sleepless nights for more than two weeks thinking of how to meet expectations.
Are you not under pressure to perform well?
I don’t see any pressure; I see it as a challenge and challenges push me to be better. The challenge is making me stronger and since I have the full support of the Governor, I am sure by God grace we would make some progress in Kwara State.
What are your plans for Kwara State?
We have so many beautiful things in our culture and tourist sites that people do not know. By His grace, the first project we are trying to do is holding programmes to showcase our culture. We want to expose the state to the world and we are encouraging investors to come and partner with the government to develop these tourist sites. We plan to create more employment for our people and generate more revenue for the state.
Would it be right to call you a politician?
No, I am not a politician. It is an appointive, not an elective post. It is a call to serve and His Excellency knows that I am capable to handle the area of culture and tourism in my state.
Does this mean you have no intentions to venture into politics?
As we speak, I am called to serve and I would give it my 100 per cent. Serving as a special assistant is obviously a huge distraction to my career, though I don’t mind really. I feel the society has given enough to me and it is time I gave back to the society.
How are you relishing your new challenge?
I see it as a challenge and a call to serve, which of course I am very excited about. No doubt about the fact that it is totally different from being of location, but we are trying our best. With the permission and guidance of His Excellency, we would do what we are expected to do.
Don’t you think you may lose relevance and followership when you resume acting fully?
Acting is living; it is just like law. I don’t believe I can be off; by the grace of God, I would continue to be relevant. I am an actor and I would forever remain an actor.
How much did your father influence your career?
Working closely with my father gave me a picture and maybe I got the passion from him since he is an actor. I used to take acting as a hobby before it turned to a profession. I wanted to be a lawyer and I went to school to study it. But I later realised that I was having more fun and getting comfortable in showbiz. That was why I settled for acting.
What are the lessons you’ve learnt from your father?
I have learnt so much from my father and I am still learning. I am using this opportunity to say thank you to him and if I am coming to this world again, I wish to come through him. He is an extremely humble man and we learnt that from him. Apart from the fact that he is a talented actor, he is a born leader and we got that attribute from him too. I have been using so many of his principles in my daily activities and it is really working for me. I give it to him and I see him as a major factor behind my success.
Do we still see you practicing law?
In as much as I am a qualified barrister, I can appear before the law court. But it is important to mention that the professional ethics of law won’t permit you to be a practicing lawyer if you are into any other business. As a lawyer, you should have enough time to prepare your matter. Inasmuch as you want to represent your client in the law court, you shouldn’t misrepresent the court. So if I am not doing any other thing again, I can decide to go into full-time practice.
When did you decide to dump law for acting?
Sincerely, it was even after my call to bar. I was called to the Nigerian bar in 2003 and I decided to turn my passion into profession in 2005.
How do you manage ladies, your admirers?
I am not a ladies’ man like most people think. My female fans appreciate my work and I appreciate them as well. I have not experienced a case where a female fan did things out of place to me. They are cool.
Why don’t you feature in English movies?
I deliberately don’t feature in English movies because I am a promoter of culture. Ever since I got into limelight, I have chosen to be a promoter of culture. In primary and secondary schools, they teach in English language. Even parents that cannot speak the language often force themselves to it with their children. I see that our culture is dying and I am a Yoruba man. I want our culture to still remain, which explains why I do 70 per cent of Yoruba movies.
Are you are aware that Yoruba movies are seen as secondary to English movies?
I am not aware of that; I am hearing it for the first time. Don’t they refer to all of us as Nollywood? Yoruba language has restricted audience because it is restricted to those who understand it. If we are seen as a second language, it is a plus to us because the language should be limited to the Yoruba alone. English is generally accepted.
Who is Femi Adebayo away from the limelight?
You can give me the opportunity to describe myself and I won’t say sweet things. I am an easy going person, straight forward and I am totally different from the person you see on screen. But when it comes to work, I interpret my roles well and I can go to any extent to achieve it. I do researches very well.
Would you act nude for a price?
Like I said Yoruba movies are meant to promote culture and it is not part of our culture to appear nude. So I would never for any amount. What is money?
How do you intend to combine family, career and your new appointment?
For now, I am more focused on the special assistant job and I have always been juggling my career and family. It has always come out well. I think this is more flexible because I now have the opportunity to go to the office and return home except when I have so much to do.
We have Malete Film Village in Kwara how do you intend to promote it to Nigerians and the world?
The Governor of Kwara State has identified the opportunities there and he has decided to support it. I have no doubt that Malete film village would experience a lot of patronage by this time next year. Work is really going on.
Are you not thinking of marriage any time soon?
Let’s wait for God’s time.