Popular comic actor Kamilu Kompo, whose real name is Adekola Tijani is one of the most sought after Yoruba actors. He is also a producer and movie director. He has produced 10 movies. His first movie “Kamilu Kompo”, shot him to the limelight, in 2009. Since then, he has become a household name. He developed a passion for acting in the ’80s with his childhood friend, Olaniyi Afonja, popularly called Sanyeri. In 1995, they both relocated to Ijora in Lagos State for greener pastures. Before then, they did all sorts of menial jobs to make ends meet, like working in a bakery, shoemaking.
They both trained under Ajala Jalingo for 5 years before standing on their own. In this interview with City People’s Movie Reporters, BIODUN ALAO and Assistant Editor, SUNDAY ADIGUN. He talked about his journey into the movie industry, his relationship with Olaniyi Afonja (Sanyeri) and his challenges in the industry. Below are the excerpts.
How did you come about your name Golugo?
Before anything, I want to give Almighty God all the praise. Everything in life always has a beginning. I finished my secondary education in the early ’90s, in Oyo State and by then I and my bosom friend, Sanyeri used to partake in stage plays. We did it just for the fun of it and nothing more. We never expected it could take us this far. We usually toured around, especially primary schools, to entertain pupils, in 1994. We never believed that films, home videos will ever become this big.
We trained under Omo Oba Seyi Adeoye, though he is late now. We have always had this belief that acting is very difficult. In the course of touring round to entertain people, we always displayed our talents anywhere we feel comfortable, without anybody inviting us. We don’t get paid. The only compensation we got was food, from the food vendors around. There was nothing like paying gate fee to watch us. We just did it for the fun of it. Though I went to secondary school in Agege, Lagos State. It was after my education in 1983 my father took me back to the village. I learnt most of the slangs I use now in movies, way back from my days in the village. In 1995, I called my friend, Sanyeri, and we talked about the possibility of putting our talents on home videos.
So with the knowledge we’ve already acquired, we should be able to excel putting up our work in home video. After discussing it with Sanyeri, he listened to me. So we both returned back to Lagos to pursue our dreams, but we didn’t return back to my family house because, my parents were never in support of my acting career, most especially my father. He wanted me to be a farmer. So we both went to Ijora. We were staying with my elder brother. It was at Ijora we looked around for where we could join a caucus and learn more. We went to Odunfa. We went to Alade Aromire’s group too. From there, we started meeting people, and eventually, we joined Ajala Jalingo’s group.
Can you explain how you met with Sanyeri and the relationship you have with him?
We have been childhood friends, even before I joined the movie industry. Though, he is my senior colleague in the industry. He was the one that inspired me. I realized he was doing so well despite his smallish look and I was encouraged to join the industry too.
Though we started almost at the same time, but he started 8 months earlier before me. He was there before me, but immediately I joined, he carried me along. My entire family knows him well. Same applies to him too. We feature in films most often together. We understand each other a lot. It is very convenient working with him on set.
What movie shot both of you to limelight?
We have gone through a lot in life. Before acting came up, we took up menials jobs just to make ends meet. I once worked in a bakery. He once also worked as a cobbler. We went through a lot of suffering and hardship for over 5 years before we joined Ajala Jalingo’s group. We trained there for like 4 years.
When we realised, we are capable of standing on our own, we decided to leave. The movie that shot me to limelight is “Kamilu Kompo”. I produced it. And that was in 2009. It was released in 2010. I also produced “Aina Orosu”, starring Funke Akindele and Femi Adebayo. There was a particular movie produced by Ijebu, titled “Muniru Ati Ambali, directed by Murphy Afolabi. With all these movies, we got lots of fans and we became household names.
How many movies have you produced?
I have produced 10 movies. Some of them are Kotu Olorun, Aye Wami, Kamilu Kompo, Eda Losare, Janathan, Zombi, and lots of others.
What makes your movies unique and standout from others?
Acting is not an easy task, especially when you want to give in your best and you want to produce exceptional movies. I have been known since 2010, I still want to upgrade and meet up with my fans’ demand. Because I can’t afford to let them down. We don’t just make them laugh and not learn anything from the movie too. Most times, in the process of passing a very important message across, we also want people to laugh, not just laugh and no lessons to learn. When we are given a script, we know what is required of us from that scripts without being told. I just give Almighty God all the praises for the wisdom and understanding. It is not by our power.
What are the challenges you always go through in producing such unique movies?
The challenges are so numerous… If I have to mention all of the challenges, believe me, we won’t leave this place today. All the same, the first thing is capital. Before you consider producing, you should have a particular amount of money already budgeted for that movie. It is not just all about getting money. You also need a good storyline, especially something relating to the present happening in society. It could be on politics or any other thing. Lots of people are going through depression and frustration. They need to do things that will calm them down. That is why you see, some men are taking alcohol to derive happiness. So as artistes, we produce comedy movies, filled with lessons for people.
Lots of producers in the industry always complain that they don’t make a profit from movie productions. How true is that?
That is the bitter truth. For example, in the last movie I produced, I spent 2.2 million. After selling that movie, I lost 500k. Though it was not like that before, at least, back in the days, we used to make a profit of 1 to 2 million in movies, but things are not like that anymore. Everything has changed, and this is because there are a lot of miscreants now in the industry. ‘Yahoo Guys,’ Armed Robbers, and prostitutes are in the industry now. Nobody challenges or questions them. The only thing they are looking for in the industry is the fame, nothing else. They are not after making a profit. Take for example now, if a marketer calls me and says, come and take 2 million naira and produce a movie for me, and I say it won’t be enough. I need 5 million. And right there, a producer comes in and he or she is ready to produce a movie for the marketer at a lesser price. So, what else do the marketers need? The marketers might even call them and offer them a small amount of money and insist they want 5 big stars to feature in the movie, and these new producers will agree, and they will achieve it. So it is the grace of God that is still keeping us in this industry.