By Ayo Alonge
Eminent Nollywood star, Femi Adebayo, who was recently appointed the Special Assistant to the Kwara State Governor on Culture and Tourism, believes that his new role won’t affect his first love, which is acting, although he says he is backing the screens, for the time being, to squarely face his new office. As if his hands are not full enough, only recently, he bagged another endorsement deal from a popular real estate firm, Kayode Obembe and Co. Limited. To the thespian, a chunk of his success story can be credited to his father, Adebayo Salami (popularly known as Oga Bello), a veteran actor and film producer.
In this interview, Femi Adebayo reveals new developments about himself.
Are you excited about your new challenge?
I see it as a challenge and a call to serve and of course I am very excited about it. There’s no doubt it’s totally different from being on location, but we are trying our best. With the permission and guidance of His Excellency, we would do what we are expected to do.
Are you not under pressure to perform well?
I don’t feel 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’m sure by God’s grace, we would make some progress in the state.
What came to your mind when you were appointed Special Assistant to the governor of your state of origin?
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.
Would it be right to now call you a politician?
No, I am not a politician. It’s an appointment, not an elective post. It’s a call to serve and His Excellency knows that I am capable of handling the area of culture and tourism in my state.
Does that mean you have no intentions to venture into politics?
As we speak, I am called to serve and I would give it my 100 percent. Serving as a Special Assistant is obviously a huge distraction from my career, though I don’t mind really. I feel the society has given enough to me and it’s time I gave back to the society.
Don’t you think you would have lost relevance and fans when you resume acting?
Acting is living, it’s just like Law. I don’t believe I can lose relevance by the grace of God. I am an actor and I would forever remain an actor.
What are your plans for Kwara State as far as your new office is concerned?
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 partner with the government to develop our tourist sites. We plan to create more employment for our people and generate more revenue for the state.
How much of influence and support do you get from your father on your career?
Working closely with my father gave me a picture of life 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 studied Law, but I later realized that I was having more fun and getting comfortable in showbiz. That was why I settled for acting.
What lessons have you 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 still 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 imbibed that from him too. I have been using so many of his principles in my daily activities and it’s really working for me. I give it to him and I see him as a major factor behind my success.
Would you still practise law?
In as much as I am a qualified barrister, I can appear before the court anytime. But it is important to mention that the professional ethics of Law won’t permit me to be a practising lawyer, if I’m into any other business. As a lawyer, you should have enough time to prepare your matter in as much as you want to represent your client in the law court. You shouldn’t do a shoddy job of it. So, if I am not doing any other thing again, I can decide to go into full-time practice.
At what time 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 a profession in 2005.
How do you manage your female fans? You know Femi Adebayo is an all-ladies man, especially because you are good looking.
I am not an all-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 does anything 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 came 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 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 percent on Yoruba movies.
Who is Femi Adebayo, away from the cameras?
You can’t give me the opportunity to describe myself and I won’t say sweet things about myself. I am an easy going person, straightforward 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 them. I do my rehearsals very well.
Would you act nude for a price?
Like I said, Yoruba movies are meant to promote culture and it’s not part of our culture to appear nude. So, I would never for any amount. What is money?
How do you intend combining 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 and I think this is more flexible because I now have the opportunity to go to t h e office a n d return home, except when I have so much to do.
A r e you not thinking of marriage any time soon?
Let’s wait for God’s time.